Sunday, 11 September 2016

Creating Hill Crests For Crossfire

Terrain is handled a little differently in Crossfire than in many of the other WW2 Rule Systems I've played. Due to the non-measuring nature of movement in Crossfire terrain features cleverly act as Zones where the active units move to in single bounds as long as they maintain the Initiative.

In this way terrain features become a type of "Game Board Square" where the units or pieces are shifted around the tabletop.
This can be a marvellous way of allowing both players to concentrate on the tactical challenges of the battle rather than continuously measuring out their slow crawl across a wheat field.

This unique movement mechanic does present some challenges to how certain types of terrain on the table should be represented. One of these represented terrain types are hill "crests." Crests as terrain features in Crossfire are not mentioned in the main rules but in the later Scenario Supplement "Hit The Dirt." If like me you've ever walked through the European countryside you might have noticed that even the plainest open field will often have low and high points that can offer the alert solider many natural positions of cover. In a small skirmish game if I was so inclined to place these features I would normally elevate the cloth of the table by placing batting or cotton wool beneath. But with the terrain representations of Crossfire these crests should be modelled in a way that highlights their placement and position.

A hill crest in a regular skirmish game.

My first failed attempt at creating a "crest" was made with simple cork. I have to emphasize that the failure had nothing to do with the material I used but by the fact that I wasn't entirely sure what I was trying to model. The attempt was far more like an actual hillside:

 The piece itself was simply sculpted out of some flat cork tile with broken cork pieces added for effect. While the piece isn't unattractive (in a terrain kind of way ;) it didn't shout "crest" to me at all.

My next botched version was made using the modellers best friend: foam board.
Again this failure is nothing to do with the fact I used foam board but again my interpretation of how a crest should be represented in Crossfire:

Again for me there's nothing a lot wrong with this apart from it looks like a burial mound for a large banana.

My third and final attempt (and forgive me if this is beginning to sound like the story of the 3 Little Pigs) I actually thought of what the heck this is really representing: an area of elevated ground that provides cover!

This time I relied on my personal favourite combination of chalking (mastic) and a canvas drop cloth material:

Caulking on canvas


And there they are! In my mind at least these will best suit the job!