How Terrain Affects Movement II : Area Effects

Area Effect Terrain is a feature having a defined area that slows the movement of a combat piece while that piece is within its boundaries. The slowing takes the form of a one-step reduction in the piece’s normal movement stick.

Area effect terrain is divided into two general types, Open and Closed.

Open Area Effect Terrain is generally clear of vertical objects but has a surface that is more difficult to move across than the normal game surface.  A couple of major examples are shown in the picture below:

Area Affect - Plain

Ploughed Field (on the left) is represented by swatches of brown terrycloth which may very in size and shape (although rectangular is the usual form). Strips of tan terrycloth (on the right) represent Beach (or mudflats) found in any littoral zone or tidal estuary. Ploughed field and beaches are particularly subject to environmental effects (weather, tide, etc)

Closed Area Effect Terrain has variable surfaces with usually one or more vertical objects that further impede movement and may block line-of-sight (LoS) for pieces moving within the boundaries of the area. Currently there are three types of closed area effect terrain:

Area Affect - Vertical Objects

Dark green terrycloth (on the left) represents Heavy Woods. At least one (but usually several) tree stands are also present. No combat piece with either pikes or horse may enter heavy woods.

Bluish Gray terrycloth (in the center) indicates Rough, areas with difficult footing such as skree or fell. In gaming terms, Rough replaces Heavy Woods in more northerly or mountainous parts of the British Isles. Rough areas may also have a few rough cover stands scattered about but are often clear.

Hodden Gray terrycloth (on the right) shows the boundaries of a Built Up area such as a village or town. Usually several structure models are present (at least one must be) but for churches, inns, or mills one may be sufficient.

Movement Through Area Effect Terrain

A typical movement sequence involving Area Effect Terrain is shown in the photo below:

Area Affect - Movement Through

In Action One, a combat piece enters a heavy woods area and immediately has its movement shortened. A one step reduced movement stick is placed along side the normal stick at the point where it enters the woods. The piece is moved to the end of the stick that gives the shorter move. In this case the normal stick is used.

In Action Two, the reduced movement stick is used for the entire move.

In Action Three, the combat piece moves out of the woods but any move that begins with a reduced stick must be completed with the reduced stick.

In Action Four, the combat piece is clear of the woods and can move normally.

Positioning of Vertical Objects within closed area effect terrain:

To a certain extent the vertical objects within closed areas become movable playing pieces in the game. The rational is that a good deal of individual and small group maneuvering is done in this type of terrain and can not be replicated by the figure scale used. In the phasing player’s turn she may move objects in number equal to the number of actions taken by ONE of her units within the closed area.

Objects may be moved for any reason (to facilitate combat piece movement, impede enemy movement, block LoS, etc). An object can be moved in the four cardinal directions up to one standard base length (1″). The object(s) are moved prior to the execution of actions for the unit moving them:

Area Affect - Vertical Object Adjustment

No portion of a vertical object may be moved outside of the closed area in question nor can they be placed on any combat piece.

Fixed Vertical Objects

If vertical objects (such as those shown below) are NOT within the boundaries of closed area effect terrain, then they are fixed in place and may NOT have their position altered:

Area Affect - Isolated Object


Composite Effect Terrain

The two most common composite effect terrain areas are Rivers and Elevation.

Rivers have both edge effect and area effect (in the portion shaded in pink below):

Area Affect - Water Ford

In crossing a fordable river a combat piece would halt its action when contacting the first river bank (edge effect), on its next action(s) it would move through the water (the pink shaded area above) using a one step reduction in movement stick (area effect). When a combat piece encounters the second bank it would again terminate its action (edge effect). From that point it’s next action would be normal movement until encountering the next terrain effect.

The area effect for elevation occurs in all the space from the elevation line to the crest of the elevation (the pink shaded area in the picture below):

Area Affect - Elevation

Movement reduction through the pink shaded area is the same as any other area effect terrain BUT the movement must be clearly up-slope (toward the crest and away from the elevation line). As already discussed in the previous post, the elevation line has an edge effect.

In some cases the rise of the slope is so severe that it receives a double movement reduction (two movement sticks lower then normal). This condition is shown on scenario maps with a numerical 2 placed between dotted lines that demarcate the steeper area (as shown in a scenario map for theBattle of Justice Mills).

In a forthcoming post I will next discuss the types of terrain that blocks all movement and the use of roads.