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Obscuring terrain in a desert


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I've built a desert map. Now I'm building terrain for the map. As about 1/3 of the table should be obscuring terrain, I was wondering what could that be in a desert (and easy to built, so no sandstorms ;)).


Do you have any ideas or examples?

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I grew up in Arizona so I have a couple of suggestions.  Stands of brush (most common).  Cactus patches (second most common).   Water tanks/troughs.  Barb wire fencing lines always encouraged growth at their bases.  Empty/abandoned shacks. 

I built rocky spires similar to the ones back home.  Here is an example.


Hope that gives you some ideas.

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Aside from the suggestions of mesas (I have some photos of the board I built with these) and Who Doos (the pieces that Snitchy shows above) you could also build copses of Cotton Wood trees around a pond or stream. Another option is to build several larger pieces to give the board more elevation so you can include wadis (dry stream beds that usually have steep sides). I have an example of a wadi board I built as well if you are interested.

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I did some standing stones for a table though it was not a desert but could still likely work.  Was actually done pretty cheap.

I got a four pact of Cork Tiles from Walmart, about eight old CDs, some craft glue, and some woodland Scenic Ballast for basing.  All in all you could easily made pretty easy terrain for under 12-13 bucks *Cork tiles was like five and half bucks, CDs were left overs, glue I had from other projects, and my ballast was left over*.  All I did was tear the cork into sections and stacked them.  I made sure they went to a narrow top and put some small pieces there to prevent anyone from getting cheeky and trying to put a model on top *Mine were like 3-6 inches tall*.  I then based the CD with the woodland scenic.  At that point I put some of the woodland scenic also on the rock, to break up the flatness of each layer a bit and to make it look more weathered.  Not over the whole thing, just on points were it was sticking out from the next one on top and it was clearly flat.

Even with making as many of them as I did I still half most of the 4th piece of cork to do more if I want *I filled up the paperbox I was keeping terrain in so stopped with what I had for the time being*.

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Thanks fpr your replies. ^_^

I like the ideas of cacti, wagons and brush. All of these would have the soft cover rule. Other suggestions my friend came up to were sandstorms and big dinosaur bones.


The other suggestions I would count as BLOS or dense and would count them to the first 1/3. So I wonder if I have some misunderestanding (because I'm not a native english speaker). :blink:

I was refering to this statement from the "terrain and you" thread:


1/3 of the terrain should be blocking. Buildings, walls, Piles of crates, etc.

1/3 of the terrain should be obscuring. Vegetation, Walls with holes in them, an area of Mysterious Fog, etc

1/3 of the terrain should be Difficult. Rivers or water, uneven or rough flooring, snow, mud, blood, disco flooring, etc


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That is worded a bit odd but let me see if I can clear it up a bit.

The first third would be tall usually solid structures. Think Ht 3+, Blocking, Hard Cover, some times also Impassable, Climbable, Enclosed, and/ or Vantage Point. Key feature is the complete blocking of LOS.

The second third would be medium size, more open structures. Think Ht 1-2, Soft Cover, Dense, sometimes also Severe Terrain. Depending on what you are modeling it could be Hard Cover instead of Soft (Stone ruins as opposed to vegetation). Key Feature would be Cover but this terrain doesn't completely block LOS or necessarily inhibit movement.

The last third would be terrain which has very little height and is very open. Think no height, no cover, Severe terrain, possibly also Hazardous Terrain. The Key feature here is the Severe terrain feature, this terrain is only intended to slow or restrict movement.

So in short it should be 1/3 providing no LOS, 1/3 Protective terrain that allows LOS, and 1/3 movement inhibiting terrain. You can overlap these in larger peices.


Back to the original post you could represent these by:

1/3 of the terrain as rocky "Who Doo's" and hills (Ht 3+, Blocking, Impassable or Climbable and Vantage Point).

1/3 as stone ruins, small boulders, cactus groves (Pegasus Hobbies makes some really nice sets though can be a pain to glue), a copse of cotton wood trees, or wagons (Ht 1-2 (possibly taller for the trees), Soft or Hard Cover, possibly also Severe).

1/3 as rivers, ponds, Quick Sand or perhaps a rocky "scree field" these would be (Ht 0, Severe Terrain).

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