Here's something which has been nagging me for a while now: why are terrain hills in tabletop battles usually so very 'unrealistic'?
[image used without permission from Kallistra, with no implication intended about their hills, which look beautifully crafted.]
This was brought to my attention by three things. Firstly, my attempts at 'imagining' line-of-sight when I played on very makeshift, mostly 2D terrain, here. Secondly, my recent realisation that I have pretty much no terrain that is not 40K cityfight stuff; and thirdly, I read an excellent and intriguing set of exploratory rules for cover on hills over at The M42 Project.
I was also re-watching 'Band of Brothers' for the umpteenth time, and when I saw them studying the D-Day sand tables I got very jealous.
I suppoe what I wondered was, 'can natural undulation be better represented in tabletop wargames?'.
I know that the simple answer here is no. For most practical purposes, normal terrain hills are fine...they're just not very realistic.
Obviously, the smaller your figures the better hills work, and there's always bound to be an element of silliness and abstraction when a 28mm figure is 'hiding' whilst standing up on a reverse slope (again see M42's ideas here) - but even in the reasonably small-scale Flames of War the hills seem a necessary yet unconvincing add-on.
No doubt a board of gently rolling downland or stark, rocky valleys would be beautiful, but a pain in the jacksie ruleswise and an absolute bugger to store too...but has anyone ever played on a more 'realistic' board like that? Did it work okay? Do please share.
That's enough from me - my brain has stopped functioning. Anyway, you get the idea.