It is one of the most important aspects of a wargame, capable of changing the course of a battle quite significantly by its placement, nature, or absence.
Which is why I feel justified in looking at a few types of terrain here. I'll start off with WarmaHordes (since that is what I'm playing right now) but might branch out.
Today is about water.
Water in WarmaHordes comes in two flavours: deep and shallow.
Deep water is immensely game changing. So much so that it's probably a good idea to avoid it in pick-up games. Troopers basically die if they end in deep water, and barring special rules, a model can do basically nothing worthwhile, and is more or less defenseless to boot.
So deep water is much like impassable terrain to all but a few models, meaning a small feature of deep water might be workable - but then how often does one come across those? The common offenders are things like lakes, coastlines, and (some) rivers - none of them small.
|Yes, it's for Warhammer. So?|
When it comes to shallow water, we have the interesting phenomenon of different rules in the two systems. Hordes Primal Mk II says "Shallow water is rough terrain". Period. New header, nothing to see here. Warmachine Prime Mk II (I'm going to stop with this Mk II business now; I don't generally refer to the 40k rulebook as 5th edition, except when also referencing previous iterations, so I don't see why I would here. It's mk II, okay?) adds one very important rule: steam engines do not like being submerged in (shallow) water.
Therefore, a Warjack knocked down in shallow water has its engines extinguished, and can do nothing until someone comes to relight it.
|Steam engines. They're so sensitive...|
If this was all there was to it, my verdict would be a simple 'don't use water, unless you want something weird on the board'. It's not all, though. See, there are a bundle of model's rules that trigger off of water features. Amphibious not only lets a model ignore most effects of water, but let them hide in deep water. The Earthborn Dire Troll's Elemental Communion grants it extra DEF if it's near water. The Gatormen also have a few interactions with water.
|Yes, crocodiles like water. Anyone surprised?|
So I generally set up one, sort of out-of-the-way, small shallow water feature on every board I play on. I intend on doing this when I play Cryx as well as Trollbloods, regardless of who is on the other side, unless terrain is dictated somehow. I think it's part of having a balanced terrain setup. That way, if one player has happened to bring along things that like water, he can choose to stay close to one of the sides, to benefit from the water, or he can take the more direct route up the centre, and leave the water alone.
Playing with an Earthborn, I have generally chosen the second option.
So that's that on water. Both forests and obstacles have posts in the pipeline, if I can just be bothered to write them.