While I've been working on my Collapsed Mordheim Tower, I decided to create my entire pile of rubble without a base. When i was asked about my feelings regarding adding bases to my pieces of terrain, it started a lot of thoughts I've been doing a lot of thinking about this, and blogged about it some.
Here are my thoughts to start with. Feel free to comment; I'd love to hear your opinions on this matter:Good things about having a base:
1) Stability. With a base, you don't even have to worry about the stability of your large building. Just glue it down.
2) Debris/objects. It makes it very easy to add debris and fallen pieces of terrain around the building as you can just glue it to the floor. You don't have to worry about connecting it to the building for support. This also includes objects like Tombstones, light poles, etc.
3) Creating Elevation: Using bases to create elevation is a great idea, although I wouldn't really consider that using a base. It becomes part of the terrain. Here's a great example of a beautiful base that is part of the terrain and creates elevation.
Image Courtesy of Tom's Boring Mordheim BlogBad things about having a base:
1) Color Schemes: When you have a base, you must texture it to look like the board you play on. So if you have a brown board with sand, your base will need to stick to that color scheme. Which normally is fine. the problem is with the future. What if you make a new board with a different pattern? go to a friends house with a different colored board completely? Then it will look like this:
2) Lip/edge: You also end up with that small lip which depending on what you use for a base can be enough to stop a model from stopping on it. So you have to change your placement... (This is a small picky thing that annoyed me to no end at a friends house)
3) Proximity: Bases also prevent terrain from being placed close together. And some scenarios like "Street Fight" require that.
4) Storage and Transport: Along the same lines of proximity, when you're trying to fit all your terrain into one box, having those wide bases prevents you from compacting your buildings close together, and requiring lots of storage space as well as the use of an SUV just to transport your terrain
5) Doesn't work very well with hills. If you look at the terrain in the middle of the image above, you will see that because of the two hills next to it, it isn't actually flat on the table, it is raised about a cm. It would have fit perfectly without a base.
The only time I will add a base to my building is to create elevation or to add to the terrain, but my base will never be a thin piece of mdf/board that sticks out far beyond the edge of my building/terrain. It really is not too difficult to add stability to large buildings made from foam and Popsicle sticks. It does take some extra work to add the stability and debris, but with everything considered I think it creates a much more professional building, and after working so hard to make it aesthetically pleasing I want it to always be that way, no matter who’s board I play on.
When I make my graveyard, I will probably use a square base, and hide the lips by making it a part of the wall. Since it's a graveyard, the dirt can be a different color, and this will make it easy to have tombstones and piles of dirt, graves, coffins, etc. spaced however I want it, and all the points above will be covered.
Please vote in the poll, and let me know what your thoughts are.