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Subject: Atmospheric Maps that Look the Part rss

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Andrew Young
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And if you never have, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
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Good map design must be a difficult job. Not only does one have to make it functional but one must make it aesthetically pleasing. For me, a map (and map art) can make or break a game. If a game is good one may be able to overlook a lackluster map, indeed.

BUT, if the map is amazing it can really engender a great feeling and game experience. Some can make you feel like you are really there....

Red Barricades: ASL Historical Module 1



For me, this is the king of all atmospheric maps. I remember seeing it and saying "Where do I get it?". I was just starting ASL but this map and the module tipped me over the top. (Interestingly, there aren't a lot of great shots of the maps on BGG).

Here's a shot from Valor of the Guards: ASL Historical Module Number 7, a more recent ASL module depicting additional fighting in Stalingrad.



Just looks dirty, everything is broken... factories look like shadows of themselves, etc. And once all of the smoke and fire begins it looks even better!

Another map that I really like is Bastogne: Screaming Eagles under Siege. I've always struggled with The Gamer's aesthetics. I'm not an avid fan of them. But, Bastogne looks snowy, cold and windy. Makes me feel like I'm there- columns lined up on frozen roads and foxholes in the woods. Great map.




What are some of the maps out there that have made you feel like you are there? Or maps that look like the actual battlefield in a way?

devil
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Seth Owen
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NORAD isn't a great game. but he map is sure evocative.



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Neil Whyman
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Way back in my Napoleonic days I got hooked on the Wargamer/S&T. They certainly published their fair share of ugly maps, but this one from the "Napoleon & the Archduke Charles" series just hit the spot for me.




Here are two sections of it. It seemed to evoke all the struggles that the Chief of Staff faced in getting each Corps to the right place at the right time no matter what terrain lay in their path.

The movement rules were a big part of that feeling too to be sure, but a great map always helps.
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Andrew Young
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nwhyman wrote:
The movement rules were a big part of that feeling too to be sure, but a great map always helps.


This is a good point. Rules and their interaction with the map is a huge consideration in how the atmosphere plays out, in my opinion.

devil
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Bob Gallo
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Sometimes size does matter:



There is nothing like seeing a game of The Longest Day midway through to make you feel like a theater commander. The wealth of functional information on this map was absolutely incredible for its day.
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Tony Farrand
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I always thought that Turning Point: Stalingrad was a beauty:



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Brandon Pennington
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I think both A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943 and A Victory Denied: Crisis at Smolensk, July-September, 1941 have fantastic maps. They may not look like much at a distance, but there is a hell of a lot of detail there for this scale of map. The frozen lake at the bottom of the AVL map is superb. I wouldn't expect anything less from Nicolás though





Nicolás also did the map for PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-1943 which a lot of people have said they don't like, but I really like the look of the map. The ice flows almost have a schematic look to them.



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Michael Edwards
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I've always liked Napoleon's Triumph:



While the map itself is understated, it does seem to be to almost be one of those maps you'd see illustrating a battle in a history book. The gaming markings on the map, while perfectly readable, are subtle and don't detract from this. It complements the pieces perfectly, which also look like the illustrations out of a history book!
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Most of Rick Barber's maps do a fine job of capturing period feel and possess a little more of an illustrated appearance than most.

My favourites;

Napoleon At Leipzig


Landships


L'armee du Nord
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Sean McCormick
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I always very much liked the map for Raid on St. Nazaire: Raid on St. Nazaire
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Bill Eldard
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Storm over Arnhem





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Michael Dorosh
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Sniper! (first edition)


The rosy tint of blood matches perfectly the symmetry of polygonal buildings, with the parallelograms being a perfect allegory for symmetrical warfare in the 20th Century upon which the game is based.

Tactics II



As the first mass-produced commercial wargame to hit the market, Tactics and Tactics II are appropriately "blank slates" with stark white backgrounds upon which to do battle.

PBI



Our recollections of World War II are in black and white, and, appropriately, so is this map. How can you not be instantly drawn back to the days of the Second World War by this brilliantly rendered reconstruction of the battlefield by the clever use of stark black and white tones?
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