I’m a recent wargaming convert but in my wild and wooly youth I enjoyed building highly detailed models and dioramas. Nowadays, when I lay out an Afghan or Iraqi village for a game, the modeler part of me screams that it’s not done yet: There should be details that add authenticity and clues to location, such as shop signs, street trash, farm animals, and the ever-present spiderweb of overhead wiring that seems to grow of its own accord in the Middle East.
Most of these details won’t make a difference in a game. Some minutiae, such as wiring between buildings, will get in the way of moving figures and should be minimized or even avoided.
However, that doesn’t mean that a wargame board and terrain should be a bland, anonymous setting that could be anywhere from Basra to Birmingham. Some details are easy to add, such as street signs, flags, and logos.
I strongly recommend you check out 5682 Miniatures, a producer of excellent and easy-to-use decals and print-ready files that will add a range of color, depth, realism, and authenticity to your wargame scenery.
These are inexpensive, come in 15mm, 20mm, and 28mm sizes, and add so much to a scene.
In addition, I’ve found a number of images for shop and restaurant signs from the Middle East. Some are for chain stores and others are creations from people off the intertubes. I claim no copyright images for them but you should feel free to save and print them for your own use.