Over the past two weeks, Warpstone Flux has been asking readers where their battles have been taking place recently. This has been the first poll on the blog in quite a while, and received a sum total of 59 votes which was nice to see (maybe we'll have to have another poll soon?).
The poll was inspired by a question that we last asked in 2010. In that poll, both urban and rural battlefields seemed to be equally common. Following this, ruins were very common as well, with over one third of all battles taking place in their midst. This was closely followed up with deserts of one type or another.
In our 2015 poll, we can see that almost one half of all battles seem to be taking place in ruins. And of them, the vast majority are in urban ruins.
Seriously: why are we always fighting over ruins? What is it about a ruined cityscape that attracts space marines to viciously fight Tau (etc.) over the corpse of a Hive? Perhaps there's some ancient artefact that needs recovered? Or they're just scouting and their enemy tracked them down? I just don't know! Narratively, it bothers me a little bit to be honest! But I'll live with it.
Grassy boards and desert boards are almost equally common and account for the next main bracket of themed boards. These can, of course, be combined with ruins and other categories in our poll to make for some more unique settings. And it is these combinations of themes that seems the run a common thread through the poll.
For instance, I was watching many of them roll in. We saw a simultaneous increase in both daemon/chaos worlds with magma/lava theme. Presumably, someone inscribed a big chaos star in a board (example here).
I was also pleased to see ice worlds and craters feature at a good level in the poll. Presumably the ice worlds are somewhat inspired by the Space Wolves? Equally, seeing that some people put ice worlds simultaneous with trenches and ruins made it much more interesting.
Forge worlds (an intact type of ruin perhaps?), Trenches, Zone Mortalis / Space Hulks, and Hills, Valleys and Mountains rounded off the major themes for boards.
At a much lower level, dedicated boards to necrons, Tau, Eldar (pictured) and the like seem to be visible at a very low level. Its great that individual factions are still getting a bit of love and attention out there. I haven't actually seen a Tyranid game board yet, but if anyone has a link, or would like to provide an image, we can certainly feature it on the blog as I would (personally speaking) love to see one!
Overall, there is still strong variety out there, but we are perhaps seeing an increase of ruined cityscapes compared to five years ago. Perhaps this just demonstrates the popularity of Games Workshops ruined administratum (etc). Equally, there's perhaps not as many cratered boards (one of my own imaged above) as I might have thoughts. (Then again, the old craters can no longer be found for sale on direct order).
Let's hope that the variety continues, and we don't all converge on ruined cities. Long may you have both line of sight blocking terrain as well as area terrain covering your favourite gaming table.