My Favourite Rack & Ruin Terrain
For those unfamiliar with Rack & Ruin selecting and placing terrain is kind of a mini-game unto itself before the game takes place. This phase happens before players know which side of the table they will be starting on, an important factor that must be kept in mind.
Depending on the Scenario each player gets a number of terrain points for searching and a number of blocking terrain pieces. Searchable terrain provides treasure, from humble supplies to chests of gold. Meanwhile, blocking terrain hampers your opponents from getting where they want to go.
In this article I will go through a few of the terrain pieces available in Rack & Ruin that I use often and why.
If you are a combat party you really don’t want to waste precious actions having your destroyers try and open locks to get into buildings or searching for treasure.
What you really want is to grab whatever you can on the way to the fight, because you will probably need supplies.
If you have a scout or two a copse can be the answer you need. It’s open, so your miniature can enter from anywhere, no matter how big they are, and there is less penalty for searching at night. And at 3 points you can play one in most scenarios.
As far as Entering Effects go copses have a relatively low chance of bad stuff, a player is safe on a 5 or more, and the good stuff starts at 8. Most importantly, In Bloom happens on an 8-9 adding supplies to the already very good chance of supplies on the treasure chart.
A copse also has a very minor Arcadian Aura (+1) and a chance for an Aura Flare, but I don’t recommend making that an important part of the consideration.
Rivers are awesome. In some ways they are a bit like placing blocking and searchable terrain at the same time, for the bargain price of 2 points.
Now, before you start slapping down rivers every game you have to make sure it is giving you the advantage. First, a river has to enter one side, and exit another side. So, placing one can effectively cut off part of the board. Which is not a problem, if you can navigate it.
Big don’t here: do not place a river if all you are going to do is enter it and get bogged down. The idea, if at all possible, is to place it and bog down your opponent’s party. Chances are that slow Dwarves or heavily armoured miniatures are going to have to sprint just to get clear of a river, so if that’s you, don’t use it. If you have scouts (or better yet a Trailblazer), flyers, aquatic miniatures, or any other way of ignoring the difficult terrain penalty, put down a river, maybe two.
As far as entering effects go, Rivers are In Bloom on an 8-11, which is pretty decent odds of grabbing some supplies. There is a danger of losing your action due to Animal Attack, but only on a 2-3. There is also a Stash possibility.
Treasure-wise, rivers are awesome for looters. Giving ore on a 7, and adding supplies on an 8, chances are pretty good you will find something.
In my humble opinion, a Rocky Outcropping is the best blocking terrain there is.
It’s tall and most of the outcroppings I’ve seen are spikey, making it impossible to climb it, since a miniature couldn’t balance there.
Often blocking line-of-sight, outcroppings are an excellent way to help you miniatures survive enemy magic and ranged attacks.
A bog is the only terrain I am going to discuss here that doesn’t come from the core rulebook. The rules for a bog can be found with the Rack & Ruin terrain cards, along with 11 other new terrain pieces.
Unlike the strategic value I discussed with the other terrain, I will mostly focus on this: no terrain is as much fun to have on the board as a bog.
This mostly stems from it being Dangerous. The Dangerous trait means that if you are not a scout, and you enter it, you must make a Perception save or be tangled.
You want to be funny? Manipulate another player’s miniature into the bog, see if they get stuck.
You want to be hilarious? Find a way to get another player’s giant transporting mount into the bog. Not only will the mount most likely get tangled, but everybody riding the mount might get tangled too.
Would you like to be side-splitting? Place a bog for the center piece in a Moment of Power scenario.
A bog is always dark, making it hard to search unless you are prepared, so the risk of your opponents searching it themselves is lessened. Furthermore, a bog has negative entering effects up to a 7, so maybe sending an opponent’s miniature in first is a good idea.
Treasure-wise a bog is solid, countering the all the bad stuff. There are supplies on a 5+ and a chest starting at 8+.
So there you have it, my four favorite pieces of terrain. However, it should be noted, I don’t tend to play a lot of treasure hunting parties.
The next party I am planning for a new campaign a local player is starting is going to be just that, so maybe my opinions will change and I’ll include some buildings next time.
Thanks for reading,