All wargames use a map. Even laying out cards of terrain as the forces collide is effectively wargaming using a map.
For what concerns the Accursed Solo Wars I had to come up with deciding if i would use a real world or a fictional map and after that was done if i would use one shared by the fantasy cartography communities or make up my own.
Given this is a creative hobby I took the plunge, after a deep breath of conscious decision understanding what it meant to create a map, and went with creating my own.
I needed a method that was quick but also gave credible results in generating the terrain types and as such decided to use three sections which I aptly named 1, 2 and 3 with 1 being nation Blue, 2 being sort of the middle, and 3 representing nation Red. It is of note that section 2 may carry swathes of land that belong to one or the other nations but also presents a neutral territory with one single non aligned free city.
I decided with a simple random generation based on the 8 more common types of terrain
and divided each sheet into sixteen sectors and rolled for each and marked the terrain type. After it was done I rolled for the coastline sectors to further generate the type of coastline. This would allow for beaches, mangrove type of coast + forest, and cliffs when mixing coast + mountains.
Having rolled for all the sectors then I connected the more logical river courses.
And there I had it. A map matrix ready to be translated into a “cartography” representation of all the terrain types, not as a strict rule of what starts where and ends where but in an organic way of existing together.
While creating the map can be a very interesting process in which one can spend a lot of time and definitely get lost in detail and crunch it was important for me to keep myself in check and remember it is to be used as a wargame map and still being a venue of location, of where events will happen and with names that mean something “important” in the future when one looks back to the “story of This War”.
A simple and very rudimentary but extremely effective method was used to generate location of capital city for both Blue and Red nations and the Free City – just roll 2D8 and find out on what sector of its own map, red, blue or center the city is located.
The next step was evil, unbalanced and totally worth it, for it gave me immediately a foundation to think about nation characteristics. I had to find out how many settlements other than the Capital city each nation had, so I rolled a ten sided die for the Blues and another one for the Reds and the results were very opposite with one of the nations having a something like the double of settlements as the other and then rolled for each generated settlement to find out its location, on the previously generated sectors, so another two eight sided dice per settlement.
What I found out was very interesting and I couldn’t expect for a more pronounced difference between the nations than what was randomly generated, with one being definitely more spread into various regions and focused on industrious activities like mining and wood logging while the other had a strong generated presence in fertile plains with almost unique focus on agriculture.
Just with rolling a few dice I could see what the map was like, where the landmarks were, how the different regions related to each other and the foundation types of the factions I had to play with.