These photos look disastrously bleak, but it really was a useful process.
Becuase I find placing terrain difficult (being an unimaginative type) I had a brainwave: why not base the terrain on that I'm familiar with within my own parish? After all, where I live is far nearer to the Bocage than it is to - say - London.
With that in mind, I chose a hamlet about a half-mile away, and brought it up at a suitable scale on google maps, before using powerpoint to overlay a 12"x12" grid onto it (shaped to fit the extended version of my dining table), so I could match the scenery to a chalked grid on my table. Here is the result:
Sadly, what was lacking was any terrain at all. The only terrain I have at home is 40K Cityfight terrain...so I improvised in the most basic, late-night way imagainable: I drew the terrain on in different coloured chalk (essentially giving myself a map to play on) and used a mix of small tubs and my daughter's wooden railway houses as the buildings and objectives. I'm not proud.
This is what the real terrain looks like (remember: this is familiar to me - I can clearly picture it in my head):
...and this is what my interpretation of it looked like. I know - it's laughable, right? I should note that the chalk was far clearer in reality. Remember though - a better understanding of the game mechanic was my aim here:
looking from north-west
this and below: same view as googlemap image
Overall, it was very useful indeed at ironing some things out. Needless to say, even playing myself blue-on-blue I still lost.
Importantly I discovered the following things:
- true sightlines really do make a significant difference in Flames of War;
- I really need to make some scenery (and I am - more soon!);
- Close assault is BRUTAL in Flames;
- Veteran troops are hard as nails, and
- The softcover rulebook cannot withstand more than one game. Rats.