Review: Battle Systems Fantasy Roads &…… Rivers

Roads have been a challenge for us. There are a lot of road options out there but nothing seemed “just right” off the shelf and out of the box. We wanted to avoid “good enough” but that meant we have not had roads until now…. Battle Systems Fantasy Roads, made out of cardstock and modified just a bit by us.

If you are curious to read a long thread about our road trials and tribulations check out this…

We used Battle Systems terrain for our Sci-Fi gaming (Core Space) but the Battle Systems Fantasy terrain just did not catch us the way their Sci-Fi and Post-Apoc terrain did. Mrs. GG said that had she seen Battle Systems Fantasy terrain first she may have been satisfied with it but once she saw Dwarven Forge she was determined to focus on that.

Now a big advantage of Battle Systems is how quick it is to prep, requiring no paint but it does benefit from a little time spent coloring in the edges with marker pens. And it can be a bit fiddly to put together but this is balanced by a reasonable price. If the aesthetic suits you, then I would highly recommend it. The customer service at Battle Systems is amazing and the folks that make up the company are great.

Since we decided to pass on the Battle Systems Fantasy terrain we overlooked the potential of the roads for a long time. Until now. We decided to give the a shot and we were ok with the pieces out of he box but we noticed a problem right away. Glare.

Not only does it spoil photos but depending on where you stand while playing it can be distracting and upsets the entire aesthetic of the table. The solution? Vallejo Ultra Matte Clear Coat varnish. It works a treat.

But we also noticed the stones of the road were rather bright compared to the rest of the stones on the table.

…so… I tried Citadel Sepia wash.

Not bad but a bit darker. So I switched to Army Painter Light Wash cut with a bit of Army Painter Wash Medium. About 1 drop of medium to 3 or 4 drops of wash, give or take. I was not scientific or precise about it.

Now we are pretty happy with the roads. These should do the job until we find something we like better…. Such as the Hagglethorn Hollow roads in the recent Printable Scenery Kickstarter.

Battle Systems puts a lot of shrubs on the edges of the roads in their marketing photos but we think it is unnecessary.

You get a selection of pieces allowing for curves, a crossroad and y-junction. You can also have the road be damaged or just fade away as I have done above.

You also get more than roads. All the Battle Systems bits you see in this blog post comes together in just one pack. I like the cart, dock, signs and bits but Mrs. GG is not convinced they play well with the rest of the non-cardstock terrain, so it looks like we will not be using those bits.

Neither of us are fond of the river, which is on the other side of the road pieces.

They are not bad, it is just that we are so in love with the look of the negative space water we saw in the Dwarven Forge Wildlands Kickstarter.

We an eagerly awaiting our pledge but it is delayed and the state of things in the world right now it is impossible to say just when it will arrive.

Overall I would give the Battle Systems Fantasy Roads and Rivers a thumbs up.

EDIT: If you are interested in more information, here is another blog post review of the roads and rivers by a pretty good blogger.

https://comstarshistoricalwargames.blogspot.com/2021/08/review-of-battle-systems-roads-rivers.html


Overall, when it comes to the Battle Systems Fantasy Terrain I really like it, especially for a fairly easy, fairly cost effective way for someone new to the hobby to get a good looking table set up pretty quickly. Mrs. GG is a bit less enthusiastic but agrees it is good for someone not looking for a “Dwarven Forge Experience”. We both think it photographs well. Very well, so well in fact that it can look better in photos than in person. We also both think it would be just the kind of thing for a gaming shop to invest in for their demo game tables. I know if I was running a shop, yes I have thought about it, I would use this terrain for that.

And let me be clear, I absolutely love the Battle Systems Sci-Fi terrain. I do not know why Mrs. GG and I find it so much more immersive than the fantasy terrain but we do. It looks great, is cost effective and stores easily. I can not recommend it enough and I look forward for our Core Space: First Born Kickstarter pledge to arrive to add to our large Battle Systems Sci-Fi collection. One day I am going to have to find time to do a blog post about all of our Battle Systems Sci-Fi terrain, most of which is still unassembled due to our Fantasy projects having priority over Sci-Fi.

That is what we think about it but what do you think? Please leave a comment below to tell me and others what you think about Battle Systems, or any other terrain products. The knowledge and experience you share could really help another hobbyist and we all want to help each other, right?

13 comments

  1. I bought the ruined village fairly recently. It looks great. I may glue the sections rather than use the grey plastic connectors. And one box doesn’t cover the table enough so I’ll need another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a clever idea on gluing them together rather than use the plastic clips. It never crossed my mind to do that. It does reduce the storage advantage and modularity but would improve the look.

      One thing I really like about the buildings is all the playable space inside them.

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  2. I really like what you did to it to improve what was not a great product out of the box, in my opinion. My issue with terrain like this is that the flatness sticks out with more 3D terrain (so I tend to agree with Mrs. GG it sounds like) though for roads, it isn’t quite as much of an issue and it certainly isn’t as noticeable as other items would probably be. I don’t think I would buy this for myself but I do think a lot of people would enjoy having something like this. Making roads is a bit of a pain to be sure and to have something that saves you time like this is certainly worth considering for those who can get past that it isn’t 3D. This well-written review should help anybody on the fence make up their mind I would say too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have to agree with Kuribo on flat roads and rivers are problematic, I have stayed away from doing rivers in that I want them to be below the playing surface and roads level with the game board. That said, do you get a commission? I ordered the road set.

    I feel that enough can be done with them after reading your post that I want to try them. Will ignore the river side and the smaller pieces but I think with some grasses and stirland mud can make the roads work. If nothing else, they should photograph well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let me know how they work out for you. We were originally put off by the flatness but since the mat is so flat we found it kind of worked ok… but we still want 3d cobblestone roads at some point. And we still need to figure out dirt roads. I saw a video of a guy who made his own and I liked his design but Mrs. GG did not.

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  4. Received the Battle Systems Road pack today, impressed how easy they punched out and the sturdiness of the pieces. Will not be using the cart, signs etc. Since I won’t be using the river side, I will probably be putting scatter tufts, grass, etc on the road sides, still figuring how I can put something on the edges that would overlap when pieces go together. Overall, impressed with the set. Like you said, not a final solution but nice.

    Liked by 1 person

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