I have been rightly accused of having too much terrain. I cannot deny that I get a great deal of pleasure from building and designing a table with bucket loads of character.
Back in the day, when wargaming manufacturers could be numbered on one hand (with maybe a couple of extra fingers), the common and garden wargamer would think nothing of building their own terrain and the only real decision to be made was 'should I build sloped or stepped hill?' [In a situation where I was asked to draw up a list of the top ten wargaming nerd's nerdiest conversations of all time this would be right up there].
However, over the past few years a fantastic thing has happened. Thanks to laser-cut MDF, crowd funding websites and pre-painted pieces, manufacturers never fail to disappoint on the variety, detail and affordability (Although, if you want to spend a awful lot of money, this is also catered for).
A game that has really benefitted from all of this is Infinity N3. When I first began to play, we used GW terrain, but, although this was functional, this never really ticked the boxes for being aesthetically pleasing. Weirdly, the trickiest piece of terrain to find was the humble shipping container. Not now. Even with such a supposedly simple item, there are a great many options available.
Above: Shipping containers
Above:......and in their natural habitat.
Despite everything that is now available, the art of scratch building is not dead. In fact, having a unique piece of terrain owned by no one else has a great appeal, and I still dabble every so often.
Above: Recently built raised walkway pieces with some custom built steps and ladder access made from various other kits.
A nicely laid out set of terrain which is pleasing to the eye and can tell a story is a real joy. Whether it's a piece of inhospitable jungle or an abandoned factory, it all adds to the gaming experience. It's probably why I like Infinity N3 as a game over Drop Zone Commander.
Above: I have gone too far. (Although, you do need to be careful, as the table above shows. Too much terrain on a table, or conversely, too little, can ruin a game, making it a haven for either chain rifles or sniper nests. As with tightrope walking, balance is everything).
I appreciate that at this point I risk accusations of being a terrain snob, and I am aware that some very good firms have created a huge range of different office blocks and the like. But fundamentally, Drop Zone does not need anything too grand. Whether it is an amazing 4 Ground piece, or a cardboard cereal packet, the game will still play the same.
For instance, Darkops have created some brilliant Drop Zone buildings. But when I saw them, all I could think of was 'I don't want to waste them on Drop Zone, how can I convert them for Infinity?'
Above: My Darkops buildings taking pride of place Amongst some very nice Plast Craft Games pieces.
And for a final note, conventions and tournaments are a great place to get inspiration. For instance, following an Infinity tournament in Exeter a few years ago I saw an ornate Japanese themed garden table, and this has been a long dreamt of project ever since.
Above: Stuff for which my next terrain project will be built.
The answer to the question I posed myself in the title - Answer: Both.
Happy gaming to you all.