Sunday 10 September 2017

DBA Terrain Type - Steppe

Compulsory: Gentle hill
Option: river, rocky, scrub, gully, BUA.

Gentle Hill
We generally associate nomadic horsemen as having ‘steppe’ for home terrain, but the Meroitic Kush is a departure from that preconception. As I have both in my collection, I wanted the game table to reflect different geographical locations; the grasslands north of the Black Sea for my Huns, Alans and Sarmatians and the regions which are home to the Meroitic Kushite. 

Gentle hill held by Meroitic Kushites.

The terrain pieces for the grassland areas are the same as those used for arable, so they will not be covered here in any detail. I found it useful to add a few pieces of scatter (rock or scrub) atop a gentle hill; this gives uniformity to the game board and looks nice in the photos.

From the rule book, rivers must not exceed 1 ½ the length of a board. For our purposes, that would equate to 120 cm of length having enough sections to wind back on itself, thus creating an extra obstacle.  River section specifications you will find covered in detail on the page – arable.

River after a period of drought.

The templates for rocky or scrub are kidney or elliptical in shape. These are ideal terrain for psiloi and therefore are not more than 3BW across, as this can easily be traversed by fast troops. The rocks placed as scatter material are sculpted from leftover pink foam, glued to small triplex bases and covered with white glue and sand. 

Rocky ground.

Similar in construction as rocky ground, the scrub uses clump foliage which is readily available from model train shops. Busch and Heki are good manufactures of scenic material and on the other side of the pond, you have Woodland Scenics. The bases are covered with pieces from a scouring pad to give the scrub some height; the material is teased or stretched out before gluing. This is glued and covered with clump foliage. After this sets, the piece is given a thin coat of white glue to further strengthen the bond.

Scrub feature set in Kush.

Note; Both rocky and scrub can be crossed by rivers, so cutting templates for these you may want to have smaller pieces that can be placed on either side of a river.

I made two of these of different sizes. Painted brown, the gully interior was randomly coated with white glue and sprinkled over with sand; this was painted and dry brushed to blend with the floor of the gully. At the gully’s upper edge, I followed a similar process but used electrostatic grass. Dry-brushing the grass gave it an appearance of dried grass and to add the illusion of depth, I painted the gully wall a darker shade of earth. 


To be honest, I have not used a BUA with a steppe army. Any foot troops accompanying a nomadic horse army would make use of rocky or scrub ground with possible a river as terrain options. These features do not hinder a general’s command distance as a BUA would and are a haven for light troops.

BUA (Kushite hamlet). 

Next: Dry

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