The major terrain features of the initial map are Forest, Woods, Rough terrain, Clear terrain, Cities, Towns, Rivers, Roads, Bridges and the victory line at the Meuse river. A board with those essential items blocked out would be perfectly functional but utterly dull.

There’s a whole host of different ways of representing these different features and each lends its own flavour to the game so first thing is to go through my library and the net and look for how other people had represented them. I don’t want to be copying anything that’s gone before so like brain storming you get all the most obvious ideas out of the way first and then build on them.


Inspiration Sheet 01

I haven’t got credits for everyone but I’ll do my best .. Marc von Martial, Mark Mahaffey, Tim Schleif, Bowen Simmons, Craig Grando and others


The above is a random selection of what I was looking at and there’s a variety of different styles and techniques on show.

Top right. We’re not making a first person shooter or real time strategy but these are computer games. This is visual quality computer games players expect.

Bottom left. Some older examples were form follows function. For many people this is still the perfect wargame artwork but they do nothing for me at all.

Bottom right. These are more modern looking maps.

Centre and top centre. The top Berezina map is very harmonious and beautifully designed though I have issues with the rivers. The Monmouth map to the right (and its Prague sibling) is deceptively naive and works well printed on beige paper.

But of all of them it’s these three that strike a chord for Bulge.


Inspiration sheet 02

Now then. I bet that’s a surprise. Remember that it’s not about copying, it’s about being inspired.

Top left. Yes its cartoony but .. look at the way the forests are clearly defined. Obviously thick dense woods but the edges are clear. Could almost be managed European woods. And the perspective is minimised. Units far away could almost be the same size as those closer and still make sense.

(These are small .. these are far away … Father Ted at his best!)

The bottom picture I chose because it just oozes winter. The scale is wrong as it’s more appropriate for Conflict of Heroes but the feel is there. We can all understand it. We know how that snow and frozen mud would feel. The smell of the cold winter air. The shine from the footprints of all the people who have walked through there and experienced it too. Its all there.

The top right because it captures the forested hills in a way that non of the other maps do.

So at this stage I was hoping to create something that had the essence of these built below the functional elements, or better still, incorporating them.

I can hear the intake of breath from many traditional wargamers and designers alike. Maybe they’re right. Maybe not. But I’m getting a clearer picture of what I want. Are you?


All the original posts can be found here ..

The Map – Beginnings
The Map – Finding a direction
The Map – The Visual Feel
The Map – The First Brush Strokes
The Map – Decisions Part 1
The Map – Decisions Part 2