This is a review of a commissioned set of jungle terrain for tabletop wargaming created by Go to Ground Wargaming. They were kind enough to send me a heavily discounted set for my gaming club if we wrote a review about the set.
But before we get into the nitty-gritty of the terrain they made, a short story is in order:
Recently a community has begun to spring to life around Age of Sigmar in my local area. This is amazing! People play regularly which in turns attracts curious new people to the flock. We have a fixed spot to play with tables and mats. Only problem? We have some growing pains, and part of that means borrowing 40k terrain (since the location we are playing is primarily a 40k place).
This means we have been HUNGRY for some nice fantasy-themed terrain, not least because turneys are starting to become “a thing”. In 2019 we held a small 20 player event, but we lacked some quality terrain.
Imagine my surprise and joy when Tom from Go to Ground Wargaming wrote and asked if I wanted to review his commission terrain. I jumped on the chance instantly, because terrain for the club and the tournament would be sweet.
This is the review of the jungle commission terrain Tom sent us.
Overview of the jungle terrain set (what exactly are you getting)
Above you can see what arrived from GTO Wargaming. To say it was enough for a whole table is an understatement!
Upfront it looks good. The base is sturdy (strong pdf) and the green flock attached only rubbed off very slightly.
On top of each base, you have various jungle plants. Imagine my surprise as I recognized most of these plastic plants from the basing on my Gloomspite Gitz! They are all very common plastic plants for aquariums. If you have ever worked with those, you know that the green colour they bring looks very nice and vibrant. But if you get up close in detail, you will quickly notice that it is plastic. Some like it, some do not. I use it on my own basing, so I am in the like camp.
On each base you have small to medium ruins. The bricks are made out of pink'ish XPS foam (or whatever you call it in your country). I love this material. It is sturdy, but you can cut it out with a good hotwire cutter. The ruins have been sprayed grey after assembly and a slight touch of weathering/shading + a but of dry brush have been done.
The terrain was packed up very safe and sound and I found no damage upon arrival (for those of you who get your panties in a twist about that sort of thing).
There is less bare base than I expected, which was a happy surprise. A good amount of jungle plants had been placed throughout all the pieces and the variety in the different plants was decent. You could get a better look by cutting up some of it into even smaller pieces, but I can understand why this is not an option when we are talking terrain that is commissioned. The time used will affect the price and that needs to be kept at a minimum!
I had hoped for the ruins to look more like they had been in the jungle for decades. Spots of the jungle are creeping up on the ruins but it still sort of looks like the ruins dumped down into the jungle a few years ago. No biggie, as the bricks should be ripe for some homemade weathering. If I wanted to improve more on it, I could also add more jungle plants creeping up the ruins. I still have the urge to go back and add more to the terrain, trying to make it look more natural and wild (see picture below for what I mean).
But I digress! The point of commissioned terrain is to get cheap terrain on the tabletop very fast (so you have time painting your minis instead). The point here is not to paint the most photorealistic terrain in the world (that sort of thing actually exists).
Once I got everything set up had on a table it had very cool “wow” effect. The board is cohesive as heck. It is the same pattern of jungle plants and ruins, with small dots of colour here and there to break it up. The jungle terrain will tie well into most green/brown battle mats (the one I use in the pictures is from Frontline Gaming, but it might be out of production) and once you have one of those the set will make a 1-2 complete table for most wargames.
When I got my own minis on the board it just looked even cooler! The way my small grots (goblins) blended in with the terrain, looking like they were hiding in the jungle ruins was exactly what I had hoped for.
Playing with the terrain
The first time I had an opportunity to use the terrain was at a 2-day 20-man Age of Sigmar tournament we held, so I had ample opportunity to see it in action and hear from people using it.
Off the bat, we decided to split the terrain up, as it was just too much terrain to use for one table in the style of Age of Sigmar turney we had picked.
I must say, the terrain performed more poorly on the tabletop than I expected. The gripes I talked to people about where:
- Stairs too small for even the smallest minis to stand on
- No pieces that blocked line of sight
- Most pieces just worked as an obstacle (hard to move minis into or stand on a piece with a whole unit)
- Only the stairs and one other piece added elevation for anything to stand on
Now, your experience might be different depending on your gaming system and how you like to use terrain. But for us, it was a slight miss. I have some ideas on how to rework it and make the pieces more tactically useful in-game, but that means using time on that instead of different hobby stuff (which is not really the paint of a commissioned terrain).
A note on this: I had in no way been specific about what game the terrain was for and what I wanted. So this is not really the fault of Tom, as I could have been more specific on what we needed. This is just a fair warning that you yourself should be very specific when ordering commissions (of any type really).
Price of the commissioned terrain set
The large set of the “Jungle Fantasy Ruins” that I ordered is normally £160. Is it cheap? Is it expensive?
All depends on your point of view.
First of, for one table you could probably get by with the smaller set for £105.
Secondly, it depends on how much hobby funding you have and the price you set on your own hours that you have available for hobby. For most people, painting and making terrain will just never happen. Why? Well, they have a hard enough time getting a few units painted – let alone a whole army. Buying terrain is a godsend for them.
For clubs, I think this method is a no brainer. You can quickly gather the money between people and outright buy the terrain and save yourself the pain of doing it yourself. Run an event where the proceeds go to buying some terrain.
Ohh yeah, and I have not even mentioned the exorbitant prices GW are taking for their (granted beautiful) plastic terrain pieces. Also, getting hold good fantasy-themed terrain can be a bit of a pain.
All in all, I really do think it is worth the price – even with the gripes we had about using it on the tabletop.
Summary of the Pros of the jungle terrain set
- Overall very sturdy materials used (good for a club where things do get damaged)
- Looks cohesive, vibrant and good (especially from a slight distance)
- A quick and efficient way of filling your gaming board (so you can concentrate on painting those minis instead)
- Easy to theme your basing the same way
- Easy to make more terrain in the same theme or adjust it as you like
Summary of the Cons of the jungle terrain set
- Not very tactically useful in the games I play
- The pieces get a bit “samey” (the same thing over and over again)
- Not as realistically looking as I had hoped for
- Depending on your perspective, the price might be on the expensive side
Overall verdict of the jungle terrain set
Overall, I am fantastically pleased with the terrain I commissioned from Go to Ground Wargaming.
It is sturdy, looks better than expected, arrived quickly and (at least compared to what my time is worth) I think it is cheap.
It fitted perfectly with my minis and I can easily “jungle up” some other terrain pieces to make it fit.
Sure, I would have liked to get less terrain but more line of sight blocking and strategically useful terrain. But I guess that must be next time I order something from GtG.
If you are looking for a cheap, quick and efficient way of getting your wargaming board filled with terrain, this is a good place to do it.
If you are looking for the cheapest option ever or the most amazingly sculpted terrain in the world? This might not be for you you.