Create your own Battlefield! A fully modular, lightweight Terrain system with realistic prepainted features for 15-28mm Wargames & RPGs (full development process at www.pedionterrain.com).
Can you imagine a terrain system which could allow you recreate almost any kind of battlefield on your home’s tabletop? Not printed, but realistic, beautiful looking battlefields that could be mistaken for dioramas? That you could interchange features to suit any battle scenario? But when you are done, you could easily fit them into a cupboard locker? Or you could easily transfer it to your gaming club for the pleasure of your mates, since your 4’x4’ table would weight only 7 pounds and fit into a 1’x1’x1.5’ box? Because all these and more, you can do with Pedion.
Pedion is a Terrain System; a way for wargamers, role-players, even hobbyists to create every time any battlefield* they wish to play on, without sacrificing aesthetics or requiring much room for storage. The principle of Pedion is that the board will consist of a number of terrain “tiles”, that is, square pieces each depicting specific terrain features: open plains, roads, rivers, forests, hills, corps etc. The tiles are 30x30cm and only 1cm thick (1’x1’x0.4”) and they connect to each other without any restriction. They are pre-painted with realistic features while still practical for miniature movement and combat. By combining the tiles, the players can form multiple layouts, covering most table sizes, or even expanding them a bit, as the tiles can overhang from the table edges. The tiles are very lightweight, durable and take minimal space – making storing and transferring them extremely easy.
*ped·i·on, noun \ˈpedēən, from Ancient Greek πεδίον (“plain, field, flat surface”), πεδίον μάχης = battlefield
Pedion started by giving into my desire to play as many wargames as possible. I could not create a magnificent one- or two-piece terrain board as I (like many) have no space to permanently display or store it. I was not very happy with the 2D solution of a printed battlefield, or the unrealistic solution of extra terrain pieces over felt cloth or printed vinyl, so I went for a modular terrain board.
Why the Kickstarter?
Pedion started as a homemade project, but I believe it has the potential to reach gamers worldwide – and that’s what the Kickstarter is for. This campaign is for mass producing and making Pedion Battlefield Sets commercially available.
The modular system has already undergone extensive design and prototyping. However, the tiles are still mostly handmade, although much of the development process is standardized and the bases are machine-cut. By this Kickstarter campaign, I aim to: a) determine if there is actually a "market" for pre-painted modular, expandable terrain, and b) -main reason- acquire an initial sum in order to invest into mass-production solutions, namely molds and matrices.
The Pedion system was designed, tested and re-designed, in order to fulfil a series of requirements which I considered crucial for efficient modular terrain. Therefore, if you are considering a 3D battlefield for your living room or club games, Pedion offers these advantages:
- Modularity – your terrain can be used to create multiple layouts, something that a fixed (or printed) board cannot do, however beautiful. Many other "modular" boards are actually larger boards simply cut into pieces. They can be stored away, but always fit the same way (or with slight variations). Pedion tiles support different gaming maps & scenarios, they are interchangeable and expandable!
- Efficient storage – Pedion tiles strike a "golden" medium between size and storage space. Neither to large or too small, they are designed to fit on a regular 30-40cm (~1 foot) self and stack over another, allowing you to close the cabinet door and keep them out of sight. Their 1cm thickness allows them to be stacked easily. A 4’x4’ board with hills fills only aprox. 40cm when stacked.(see photo below)
- Lightweight – Pedion terrain is designed to be moved around. Carry it to friends' houses, your game club, conventions, even ship it. Their materials are lightweight, as I avoided wood or heavy plastic. The above-mentioned 4'x4' board weights only 4kgr (8 pounds)!
- Durability - The tiles are "gaming resistant". Normal usage, dice rolls and storage should not see them bend, flayed, shrank etc.
- Appearance - Realistic 3D terrain that creates the illusion of a real landscape. All tiles come prepainted and flocked, with uniform shades in order to fit seamlessly. The shapes and painting quality compete with those of modelling dioramas.
- Level Surface - The terrain is made for wargames. You get realistic looking ground, but on the same time you can move your miniatures along and roll dice. The tiles are designed to strike a fine balance between the illusion of a 3D environment and large flat (or gently sloped) surfaces where the minis do not fall off or get stuck when moving.
- Connectivity – Since the tiles are neither heavy nor thick, they have magnetic connectors to their 4 corners. They stick to each other, without any constraints in orientation. If this campaign allow for mass-produced plastic tiles, the connecting system may be replaced by some sort of clips.
- Multiple Scales - Pedion tiles are (for the time being) better suited for a range of scales, starting from the so called 15mm, up to the "heroic" 28mm. Their terrain features are designed in such sizes that make sense from 1/100 up to 1/56.
- "Vertical" expansion - Specific parts of each tile include magnetically enabled areas or points. So you add or remove features with magnetic bases, like trees, fances, extra hills, buildings etc
Basic Pedion Design parameters
The concept and implementation of Pedion System has gone for quite some time now, with many improvements, hurdles and redesigns.For those of you reading all this for the first time, there is an extensive development journal in the form of blog posts you could check out to see the progress. The aim is a System to serve the qualities listed above and still be mass-produced. While the development is ongoing, there are a series of design details which are fixed and will most likely make it to the final product. These are:
- Pedion will be better suited for a range of scales, starting from the so called 15mm, up to the "heroic" 28mm. Smaller scale tiles may be added later or through Stretch Goals
- The Pedion Tiles are Squares, with 30 cm (~1 ft) sides, and 10 mm depth. The 1' helps with the usual table sizes used for wargames, fits in most cupboards and it is still large enough to layout easily and without many seams showing. You can read more on Tile shape and Size decisions here.
- The base of each tile is a combination of solid foam sheets (XPS) with solid PVC foam sheets as basing material underneath. The tiles can also be improved to full lightweight durable plastic if this campaign is a success. Curious on the choice of materials? read this.
- The tiles connect to each other in a way that they snap and unsnap to each other without effort, and are truly interchangeable but still keep solidly connected. On the prototype system this is done with magnetic connectors on the 4 tile corners (without any polarity issues whatsoever). The connectors may be upgraded to jigsaw plastic shapes through this campaign
Each and every one of the Pedion 30x30 cm tiles represents a unique feature, and acts as a special battlefield characteristic. Thus you add variation to your terrain, and allow you to add or subtract tiles depending on your battle scenario layout (or your wargaming whim!). Terrain features are not simply placed upon Pedion tiles (not that you could not do so with terrain you may already own), but are actually a seamless part of the tile itself. This allows for better and realistically looking terrain, not to mention some specific capabilities built into the tiles. As a result of the development and prototyping process, the core Sets of Pedion tiles will comprise of six (6) Base Tile Types (these Types can be expanded with new designs and even new Types as the Kickstarter campaign unfolds):
The so-called plain tile will be the most common type of them all, lacking any complex terrain features. Its purpose is to represent open ground, which usually imposes no penalties or modifiers to unit movement. It can also act as a base for any extra terrain pieces (like buildings) the players already have and want to include in their game.
This Type will be covered in flocked Grass (temperate, Spring) and will be found in all Pedion Battlefield Sets. New designs may be available through Stretch Goals.
These Pedion tiles can be used in a variety of ways. You can use them just to provide aesthetic variation between plain tiles (to avoid the "golf course" effect). But they can offer much more: they can be declared as broken/difficult ground in the battlefield, imposing any special modifiers and penalties your game system associate with this type of ground. Players can decided to declare as difficult ground the whole of the 30x30cm tile, or just inside the parts painted with a more earthen appearance.
Broken Ground tiles are again mostly flat -with the exception of some low rock features- to allow unit movement and any additional terrain object placement. They will be flocked/painted to correspond and blend with the rest of the battlefield type. For instance, the prototype Broken terrain tiles are painted to combine with the Plain Grass tiles.
The concept of "Forest" tiles is really simple: dedicate an area on a tile (covering most of its surface) as forest/difficult terrain. This area is not only painted differently but will also be magnetically enabled, to add trees and other forest features on top. The main characteristics of the Forest tiles are:
- The players may place the 2 kinds of Forest tiles anywhere in a Pedion™ battlefield, or adjacent to each other, creating a larger forest: the "forest" borders are drawn in such a way to connect on one side!
- The "forest"area on each tile is defined by color and textures, and can be declared by the players to act as Forest, Difficult Terrain, or Cover Terrain, depending on their wargaming rules.
- The "forest" area DOES NOT PROTRUDE from the neighboring terrain, but feels completely as a part of it. Therefore, miniatures and Unit bases do not have to "climb" when entering the forest, as is the case with most forest pieces in the market.
- The defined area is also magnetically enabled (either by metal "hard-points" either painted with magnetic primer). Thus, the player can place on top any kind of terrain feature -like trees, bushes, logs, rocks- with magnetic bases.
- The tiles are designed this way in order to allow for a) aesthetic placement, b) different sizes of trees in case of smaller scales, and mainly c) enable the players to remove only the trees that are in the way of their units movement or placement, without either ruining the whole forest nor trying to fit the miniatures in the spaces among the trees.
- The magnetic connections is strong enough to protect the trees from scattering when the tile is moved accidentally. The metal hard-points allow for declaring the Forest tiles as other kinds of terrain, depending on your rules. For instance, by placing rock formations or bushes with magnetic bases, you can declare the tile as Cover terrain.
The borders of the forested area on the tiles are not randomly drawn but are digitized from real forests' borders near rural areas, as shown on satellite images.
- There are four (4) basic Road tile designs: two kinds of Straight road, a 90 degree road turn and a "T" shaped intersection.
- The Road width is approx. 7 cm on the tiles (that's about 2.75"). This size corresponds to realistic road sizes for the whole 15mm to 28mm scale range Pedion is intended for. Therefore, the road can correspond to a 4m (13') wide road in 28mm scale (1/56), up to a 7m 2-lane (23') in 15mm scale (1/100). For smaller scales there will be tiles with less wide roads.
- The prototype tiles represented cobblestone covered road parts. Τhere will also be the option for dirt or asphalt roads. More "sci-fi" road styles will be available with stretch goals.
The Road tiles can be combined in an almost infinite number of ways over your gaming table. The final result is both practical and realistic, since the roads do not "protrude" from the surrounding surface, but look natural in the terrain. However, their modularity capabilities do not stop there; real roads have trees or other features on their sidelines, or are usually followed by lines of fences. So, the roadsides are magnetically enabled, in order for the players to place any magnet-based terrain feature they want next to them! Instead of predesignating walls, trees etc, you can place and remove features as you wish (or your gaming scenario dictates!). All the "dirt" area on the tiles is actually capable of holding terrain features. More info on Road tiles and a Video here.
- There are three (3) discreet Hill tile designs: A full tile hill with an extra level piece, a 4/5 tile hill with an extra hill piece, and a 3/4 tile hill without extra levels.
- The three main hills are designed so that they can be fitted side-by-side, creating longer hill pieces, or they can be placed alone in different places across the battlefield.
- The hilltops include metal hardpoints. These can be used for the second-level pieces to snap onto, or for other magnetic terrain pieces from Pedion tiles, like trees, walls etc.
- The hills include both steep and gentle sides. Thus the players can declare sides which are unapproachable, pose a penalty to climb or have no effect on movement.
As with all other Pedion tiles, the hills are actually part of the tile, rising seamlessly from the surrounding ground. However, keeping up with my modularity requirements, two of the three hill sets consist of two pieces: the main hill tile, where the first elevation level rises, and a second, smaller "hill", which represents a second elevation level, that can be placed over the first one. So the players can either place a 2-level hill or two 1-level hills on their battlefield. The second level snaps magnetically over the main hill, staying in place. Each hill elevation rise is about 3cm (1.18"). More details and photos of hills on their development blog page.
Following the Pedion system logic, part of the tile can be designated as River or Stream. It depends on the players, the scenario and/or the rules to define what this means, if it is impassable, if it includes difficult ground crossings/fords, or if bridges are required. As with Road Tiles, River Tiles are designed to connect to each other, forming a meander and crossing the table/battlefield from one side to another (not necessarily opposite ones).
- Realistic-looking, 1 cm depressed river tiles, with 1:3 slopes on river side for secure miniature positioning.
- There are six (6) discreet River tile designs: Three "straight" designs (river crossed from opposite sides) with different kind of curving (one includes an islet), and two right "turns". They may be expanded through Stretch Goals.
- The River width is approx. 7 cm on the tiles (that's about 2.75") although it varies across the tile.This size corresponds to realistic river sizes for the whole 15mm to 28mm scale range Pedion is intended for. Therefore, the river can correspond to a 4m (13') stream in 28mm scale (1/56), up to a 7m wide river (23') in 15mm scale (1/100).
- The Riversides include metal hardpoints. These can be used for magnetic terrain pieces from Pedion tiles, like trees, walls etc.to snap onto.
I once more put my expertise into cartography and GIS into good use and digitized real-life data: the river flow and turns are not made-up, but copy parts of the flow of the Columbia River in the USA.
River tiles are among the most demanding tiles to produce, both regarding the time and the material needed. To keep the overall cost under control, the players could acquire two different versions of the River tiles: the Painted version or the Liquid Glass version (more realistic but also considerably more expensive). The main difference between those versions is the addition of two-part resin on the river surface to emulate the water flow - check our the photos at the dev blog to see the difference.
There are six (6) base Reward Sets, each consist of a predetermined collection of Tiles. These sets may be expanded and upgraded through Add-ons and/or Stretch Goals. Keep in mind that the tiles in the photographs are handmade prototypes and the final products may vary slightly. These Rewards will be available at -25% of the future retail price, some even more if you are fast enough!