Spotlight on Design 13 – Marshes and Fords
Marshes and fords may not seem like a terribly exciting topic, yet they can do wonders in a map. First is the purely aesthetical aspect of making a natural-looking landscape. Additionally, castle resources can be increased when pitch is added to marshes, and the careful placement of fords can be used to specify where troops and peasants can go on the map, ultimately changing gameplay.
Aubergine has created a unique area in this screenshot from Glazebury Muse. The marshy field is walled off with wooden walls and gates, and a slightly raised ridge of land holds a stony path. In the center, a single grave marker.
In Camargue of Rohan by Bismuth, the sea meets the land via marshes lined with grass. It looks nice and detailed close-up, as well as from a distance, as in the minimap.
Brave Sir Robyn’s map, Quiglesbury, features an old beaten-down wood fortification next to a newer stone castle. Separating the two, and continuing throughout the map, are finely detailed fords, water, and grass.
This close-up shows where the meandering river forks off into two directions. Note the careful placement of the ford and grass in the water – doing this can be used tactically to force troops and peasants into taking specific routes through the landscape.
Cptr II The Iron Isles by Jax Omen is different in that the marshes have been used to create furrows in the landscape. This is a great way to vary terrain heights and create visual interest in a map.
In the final map, The Weir at Wolf Fen,, Pirate Roberts has made a mosaic of marsh, grass and beach, all made perfectly passable by the use of fords.