All of the tasks involved with creating scenarios require a lot of attention to detail, whether researching a scenario, creating historically accurate forces, or putting together the scenario itself.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding tasks is working on the game maps. The Airborne Assault engine utilizes extremely detailed maps. In many hex-based games, the maps are very good quality, but they don't have as much detail. A 1 km hex will have a list of attributes that generalize the terrain within that area. In Airborne Assault, the same 1 km x 1 km space will have up to 100 different types of terrain - all based on real maps from the period of the game.
Below is a 1943 U.S. Military Map showing the town of Marvie in the Ardennes. The town is just southeast of Bastogne and it was the location of significant fighting during the Battle of the Bulge as German forces sought to break through the defenses of the Bastogne perimeter and capture the city.
Looking at the map, one can see some significant tactical concerns for both the defender and the attacker. The small hamlet of Marvie lies in a draw and has a small stream which runs through it and another on its southern edge. There isn't much cover close-in - the woods are almost 1 km away in every direction.
An improved road runs east-west just to the north and east of Marvie - this will be one of the vital routes for the attacker. And it will mean that an attacking armored column will have to traverse a 2-3 km stretch that lies within 600 m of enemy guns. Within the town there is one minor road and 3 small roads.
To the south and the northeast, the terrain is higher than the hamlet. But with in the square km, there are six or seven changes in elevation. This will obviously be a strategic location within the game, just as it was within the actual battle.
Next we'll look at how the map will be portrayed in Airborne Assault: Battles from the Bulge.