A road less travelled

Roads might be one of the most important discoveries in human history. In fact, roads are such an integrated element in our modern society, that it is hard to imagine a world without any roads. So why do so few wargaming tables feature roads?

The reason why we see so few roads on gaming tables might be because roads do not offer any benefits in games of Warhammer (40k). For example, most gaming tables I have played on only feature some woodlands, a few buildings and a hill or two. Scenery that gives the player some clear benefits and strategic possibilities. Forests, houses and hills block line of sight, offer defensive positions, and can obstruct the movement of plastic soldiers. So why would we want to invest time in building a set of roads? Because roads make a gaming table look even more cool and realistic!

Sanded edge of a road
Sanding the edges of the wood ensures a nice transition between the scenery and the gaming table

Building a set of roads is one of the most easy scenery projects you can start. You only need a sheet of thin multiplex (or any other type of cheap wood), a piece of textured wallpaper, some wood glue to stick the wallpaper to the wood, some sand to texture the edges of the wood, and finally a large amount of paint to give your roads some colour.

In my experience, the best set of roads is a modular set. This ensures that all the different pieces fit together nicely, no matter the way you lay out the roads on the gaming table. I opted for a modular set based on 1 foot (or 33 centimetres) so a straight road fits exactly a 4’x6’ gaming table. In addition I created some corners of 45 and 90 degrees and a couple of T-junctions and crossings.

Sand on the edges of the road
After applying the textured wallpaper, I sanded the edges of the wood for a more natural look when painted

After I had finished my entire layout, I used an electric jigsaw to cut all the pieces from the sheet of multiplex. I also choose to sand the edges of the road to ensure a smooth transition between the road and the gaming table. Now the foundation was completed, I cut some pieces of textured wallpaper and glued them to the wooden under layer. In addition I glued some sand on the edges. Finally I painted the roads and the sides with cheap acrylic paints and added some static grass to make them look even more natural. All in all, it took less then one day to make these roads and make a splash on the fields of battle. So why not make your own roads? Roads ready to be contested on the fields of battle.

Finished Roads for Wargaming
Roads look great on the field of battle

House Rules:

Roads might be cool looking, but it’s even cooler when they serve some purpose in battle. As roads offer troops in the real world more rapid movement, giving troops a movement bonus when moving their entire movement allowance is most fitting. For games of Warhammer Fantasy, I’ve found a bonus of 1” a reasonable benefit. It allows troops to move slightly faster around the board, but it is not so overpowered that close combat orientated armies have a huge benefit. When you place your roads in the more open areas of the gaming board, it also poses a nice strategic dilemma: do I go for a movement bonus and expose my troops to shooting attacks, or do I take a more slow and protected approach?

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