Saturday, March 19, 2011

The white hurts our eyes...

Seeing as minis will be a part of this campaign (with a new addition we could have EIGHT players at the table on Monday night- trust me- miniatures will be helpful), I made up a new battleboard this week, based on several needs- namely, being cheap, portable, and not WHITE. It's bad enough playing under flourescent tubes without a white battleboard giving everyone a headache. I was happy with how my yellow-ochre wash, complete with brown lines, turned out.

Note also my custom-made pillars/altars. These took no time to make, are easy to use and add to the experience at the table, and along with battle-board contruction etc, help get me through the creative doldrums without entirely neglecting my game...


  1. We use a sheet of perspex with the backing paper still on and an inch-square grid drawn on it, which works great. And with 6-8 players in our game it definitely makes it much easier to keep track of who is where and doing what.

  2. Yeah- I tend to fall in and out of love with miniatures, mainly due to their (in my view) too-central place in 3.5 and its extrapolations. With distance from the square-counting, though, their fun and utility begins to becomes apparent again...

  3. I must confess that I'm not fussed by miniatures, they're simply a means to an end and I'd happily use bits of paper with the character's name written on them. In fact for the last couple of years we've been using 1/72nd scale Celts and Romans as our figures. The scale seems a lot more accurate on our 1 inch = 5 feet grid than 25mm figures do.

    We recently had a new member join our group and he DM'd the other day for the first time. He brought a truck-load of gear with him, including a special case for his miniatures with individual foam layers having cut-outs for each immaculately painted, customised figure. During one outdoor battle he spent 10 minutes setting up model ruins and a few dozen trees, the sort you see on model railway displays. The kids were very excited (distracted even) but it did nothing for me. It was 10 minutes of game time lost in my book.

  4. Yep- props of any kind can be a slippery slope towards game-table fuss and distraction. Still, I find that if it's kept to a minimum it really takes no more time than a white-board marker. The pillars, for instance rarely even come out, but if there are bunks, or an altar, or a table- any obtrusive structure that they'll work for, then those plain old pillars come in handy as non-illustrative spatial props.

    On the other hand, if you want a 'beautiful' battleboard, that's okay too, but it will never work well enough and its cost in at-table time and distraction is too high.

    It is interesting, though, that D&D emerged out of wargaming- those early players apparently liked miniatures on the table...