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Journal #4 - or, Time to show them Grass Tiles!

I feel that the time has come to -drum roll- stop bombarding you with walls of text and show you some actual Pedion tiles! Keep in mind: everything you will see in this and future relative posts are prototypes, what you would call a "Work in Progress" (or WIP). But they come quite close with what I envision the final product will be, so you will get the idea, and see more of my progress.

Adventurers ambushed by Goblins on Plain Grass and Broken Ground Pedion Tiles
(miniatures included for show only, manufactured by Reaper and WotC, painted by me and +Tasos Leontarakis
As established in all previous posts, Pedion tiles will be 30x30cm squares. My approach towards Modularity is that each Tile will fulfill a Specific Battlefield Role. While Pedion can act as a battle mat where players put terrain objects on top, its design is such that each tile will include specific terrain features as its integral part - at least, natural terrain features like rivers, rocks, forests, hills etc.

Therefore, each Pedion Tile will have a base Use declaration, and an appropriate design. Expect to see Hill Tiles, Forest Tiles, Road Tiles, River Tiles, Difficult ground Tiles, Orchard Tiles, Plain Tiles, Elevation change Tiles and so on!

With this blog post, I start a series of presentations of the Tile types which will be available for Pedion. And I will begin by describing two of the most commonly found kinds: what I call Plain Grass Tiles and Broken Ground Tiles. Fear not, it will be more "photo gallery" than "text description" ;)

A Plain Grass & Broken Ground tile layout in 3' x 4' formation
These tiles will consist, as you may imagine, the bulk of any Pedion configuration, and will cover most of your table. They are also quite straightforward to produce, so I will be showing them together.

Plain (Grass) Tiles

The so-called plain tile will be the most common type of them all, lacking any complex terrain features. Its purpose is to represent open ground, which usually imposes no penalties or modifiers to unit movement. It can also act as a base for any extra terrain pieces (like buildings) the players already have and want to include in their game.

Plain Tiles will vary depending on the prevailing terrain and weather conditions of the battlefield - they can be snowy plains, sandy deserts, urban concrete flats or exotic grey sci-fi valleys. However, I believe that most gamers, myself included, usually find their armies in grassy plains, and this is the design I started from. The main characteristic all the Plain Tiles will share is their flat surface. Not the most realistic state, but suitable for miniature movement in wargaming!

The Plain Grass Tiles are designed to be quite straightforward to make (ie not much to show you here). After prepping the tiles, a neutral earth basecoat will be applied, and they will be generously flocked with grass. I prefer the Spring Meadow tone of static grass from Noch for its natural looking color. Choosing the flocking type of the plain grass mats is important: this static grass will need to be present in every other kind of tile, especially at the tile borders, in order to achieve an unified look when interconnecting them together.

As an alternative to earn some production time (while it costs more) I decided to cover Plain Grass Tiles with 30 x 30 cm sheets of pre-flocked static grass mat. Again, Spring Meadow grass mats from Noch look and behave great. One of the advantages of gluing pre-cut grass mats (aside from it being much quicker) is the fact that I plan to cut the grass sheets with a few (1-2) mms extra on each side. The extra ribbon of grass can be used to cover the seam between the grass tile and neighboring tiles.

By the way - even premade grass mats shed an enormous amount of static grass! I found out that I could collect bags of the stuff that just fell off. This also meant I should seal the the grass tiles, probably with watered down PVA, to stop it from continuously shedding in your houses...

Broken Ground Tiles

Plain grass tiles put next to each other produce a single, solid green plain area... also known as a "golf course". Each battlefield will need some more variety, and thus I created the Broken Ground tiles.

These Pedion tiles can be used in a variety of ways. You can use them just to provide aesthetic variation between plain tiles. But they can offer much more: they can be declared as broken/difficult ground in the battlefield, imposing any special modifiers and penalties your game system associate with this type of ground. Players can decided to declare as difficult ground the whole of the 30x30 tile, or just inside the parts painted with a more earthen appearance.

Broken Ground tiles are again mostly flat -with the exception of some low rock features- to allow unit movement and any additional terrain object placement. They will be flocked/painted to correspond and blend with the rest of the battlefield type. For instance, my prototype Broken terrain tiles where painted to combine with the Plain Grass tiles.

Broken Ground Tiles require more involvement in their preparation, as well as multiple waiting periods for the various paint layers to fully dry. Check these images for a step-by-step presentation:

Checking layout configurations
Detail: checking ribbon overlay to hide seam
Low rocky features
More flocking - details, to make tile look realistic
Combining with plain grass tiles
Next to some Road tiles

Hope you like the result. My aim is to create a number of varied "Broken Ground" tiles to recreate an interesting -albeit flat- looking battlefield.

During the above procedure I learned some valuable lessons, sometimes the hard way (unfortunately). Suffice it to say, I can now make broken ground tiles in a more efficient and time-saving way, which does not include multiple flockings, and it certainly does not involve instant coffee powder to resemble gravel (don't ask...).

Plain Grass and Broken Ground Tiles will be a major part in every Pedion configuration. I would include about 6 Plain Tiles to every 4' x 4' or 4' x 6' battlefield, and probably the same number of Broken Ground tiles. However, I would like to hear/read your opinions on the matter!

Please do comment, the whole purpose of this blog is to get your feedback and build a better Pedion. Also, share these posts with people who you think could also help. And of course stay tuned, for more tile-showing posts, like my Road Tiles.

Good Gaming All!