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Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Random Terrain Generator

With the arrival of the Tempest of War cards and the ability to place objectives within terrain pieces I thought it would be about time to dust off an old topic. Random Terrain Generators.

For those that are quite new to the game, a random terrain generator is simply a way of creating a battle scene using your own terrain collection with a chart to randomise the terrain you are placing on the table.

Now, this does fly in the face of regular 8th/9th Edition matched play thinking as it can generate a table that can be quite one-sided but don't fret, I'll tell you how you can create a balanced battlefield using these rules.

The Chart

Normally a random terrain generator will have lots of charts and options. This is great when making a table for specific terrain setups but as I won't know what folks will have in their terrain collections then I'll be using the Terrain Traits and Features to create a simple chart that virtually anybody can use.

Area Terrain/Obstacles/Buildings

These terrain features will really be based on what you have in your collection. So the generator won't randomise these elements, it will be up to the terrain collection itself to sort of 'dictate' some of your terrain features.

Set up

So regardless of table size, divide the table into 4 even sections. Then roll a single d6 to see if you set up any terrain in the middle of the table. On a 4+ set up a piece of terrain in the centre.

To determine what type of terrain to set up consult the quick chart below.

Roll a d3

  1. Obscuring

  2. Dense Cover

  3. Difficult Ground

Once you have placed this piece of terrain in the centre (if you rolled it up) then pick a quarter and roll a d6.

Now the result of the dice will depend on the size of your battlefield. If you are playing on a table 44"x 30" then a result of 1-3 is a single piece of terrain and 4-6 is two pieces of terrain. If you are playing on a 44"x 60" table then count the dice as a D3, giving you up to 3 pieces of terrain. Anything bigger count each as D3+1. (Note that if you are playing on anything larger than 8' by 4' then divide the table into more sections).

Once you know how many pieces of terrain will be in that section, randomly determine how many of these pieces of terrain have the Obscuring Trait (to the minimum of 1). This will mean that each section will have some Line of Sight blocking terrain. Once you have done this, randomly determine what types of terrain the remaining pieces are. Note that this can mean that you can end up with all of the terrain pieces as obscuring. At the moment, simply place these features onto the section.

If you are wanting a fair and even battlefield then place the same terrain on the diagonal opposite. Alternatively, you can roll for each quarter separately.

If you think that your terrain is quite light and would like a few more pieces then roll a D6 and randomised additional obstacle style terrain into random sections, but you don't have to do this bit.

What to use?

This of course will all depend again, on your terrain collection. I do suggest that you make use of your bigger pieces of terrain for sections that require fewer terrain pieces and on the small tables make sure not to have colossal pieces of terrain, especially for obscuring pieces, as it makes the rule a little redundant.


An obscuring piece of terrain must have the obscuring trait, which is a piece of terrain that is at least 5inch in height. Most people will use a ruin for this, but that doesn't always have to be the case. I have trees that are at least 5inch tall, meaning that they too can count as obscuring terrain pieces. This can be important if you are wanting a jungle-themed board and still need obscuring terrain. So if you roll up an Obscuring piece of terrain you can use ANY terrain piece that fits the criteria of obscuring. That terrain piece will also have the additional traits that you give it, such as Light, Defensible, Heavy, Dense, etc. They can also have the area or obstacle trait.

These pieces above can be used as Obscuring Terrain, you can also use intact solid buildings as these will block line of sight easily.

Dense Cover

Dense cover can be applied to any terrain feature that is at least 3inch high. Again you can use any additional rules in conjunction with your dense terrain as well as Obstacles or Area terrain.

Terrain features such as low(er) walls and Trees are good examples of dense style terrain. Note that if you are using a lot of the same 'type' of terrain (lots of trees or lots of Ruins) make sure everybody is clear on what each terrain piece counts as. You can also use large pipes and such in clusters if you wish.

Difficult Ground

These tend to be represented again by trees (giving you more Dense as well) and Craters, anything that would slow units down while they try and cross the battlefield. You could even use impassable pieces of terrain in this slot if you have them.

Once you have placed your terrain in the sections then organise the terrain to make it look good and balanced, coping diagonally across once you have set it up.

A typical looking setup.

This will give you good random terrain setups. Don't get me wrong, sometimes your set-up will be light and sometimes it will be quite heavy, Hopefully, this will give you some good looking battlefields to fight over, and because of the way you put terrain down and then sort you can still follow Matched Play mission rules regarding objectives.

I will try and get some more examples placed up soon, so keep an eye out for that.


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