Simply put a terrain counter is a small base (anything from 3/4 inch to 2-3 inches) that has representative terrain modeled on it. It can be used to represent blocking or difficult terrain or just for flavor. For myself I use them individually in Role Playing Games (RPGs) or on an irregularly shaped piece of colored felt on the war gaming table to represent large areas of difficult terrain (woods, swamp, etc.). In the war gaming context they are ideal in that the felt doesn’t move but the counter can be moved to facilitate the movement of troops.
Previously, I had made a couple dozen of these to represent scrub bushes, cactus and “junglish”looking terrain. I had planned to do more but that plan had lapsed into procrastination with other shiny new projects hitting the work bench. Recent plans in a RPG lead to a desire to take the game into the “fairy realm” and that posed the question, “How to credibly represent the fairy realm on the gaming table?”
I had some plastic flowers of the same variety that made the “scrub brush” counters that were pink/red and the idea popped to do specific terrain for the fairy realm.
One thing I wanted to try out was to try to create a terrain counter that would be more interactive with a miniature. Thus the inclusion of 2.25 inch bases along with my preferred 1.5 inch and a few .75 inch bases. With the large base I attached flower bushes in a horse shoe patter around the outer edge leaving a space for a miniature to “hide” hide in the center using the bushes for cover. Additionally, the small base fits in the center and I can deploy this base on the table as an ambush- when a figure moves within a certain distance from it the small counter is removed and the ambushing figure is place in the middle of the large base.