Table layout plays an important part of any game. Whether you are playing an old school game of Monopoly where the bank has to be laid out just right, or Flames of War, it all comes down to planning. Preparing a table layout with very little terrain isn't much fun and the same goes for having too much. How can you move around the board and find the enemy or have any fun? The answer is simple, balance. It's a fine line you need to learn, whether you are having friends over for a weekend gaming session, or you are setting up tournament tables, balancing terrain over a 6'x4' surface takes time.
Open sides with a little bit of everything in the center makes for a balanced table where there is something in every table quarter for either player. It also helps focus the action, as both commanders will be vying for territory. The biggest issue with setting up a gaming table is terrain, the simple fact is whether or not you have enough to make up a full table or even two without spending a lot of money. You may have a ton of buildings, but no roads, mountains/hills or any type of trees. What then? Being creative in your setup with a few buildings can make for an excellent table.