Thursday, 17 March 2011

Mo' like DUH-ngeon Tiles...

Today's crafty tip and fiddle from yer uncle Von is all to do with RPGs and maps.

Even for an armchair-theatre type like me, roleplaying sooner or later ends up generating the need for maps.  Now, necessity is the mother of invention, and consequently many RPG manufacturers have invented things for you to spend your money on in order to establish just how far into ur base the characters are, and how many d00dz still require killin.  Things like this.


Don't get me wrong, it's very pretty, but it a) costs money and b) only represents the one thing.  I am a) poor and b) inclined to run lots of different roleplaying games, in lots of different settings and with lots of different environments coming up in the space of one story, sometimes even in one session.

That's why I use one of these instead.



Oh, I admit it doesn't look as nice, but the thing is, I'm not limited with this.  I can choose to have a grid, or not to have a grid, can choose whether this blank white space is a dungeon, or a field, or a lava flow, or whatever I like.  If I'm feeling terribly artistic, I can even draw out multiple areas in different colours and use them to trigger events in play.  I also don't have to spend a fortune on graph paper.  I tend to whip it out for any particularly busy encounters and then put it away again, rather than tracking the entire course of an adventure on it, but in theory, smaller pieces could be used to track out quite a substantial area.

In the UK, Wilkinson's sell the board and a black pen for £2.  They also, for just over £4, do a larger board that's half whiteboard and half cork, allowing you to pin resources like world maps, interesting documents and other stimulating papery things onto, but since I can't fit that one in the Nerd Bag (of which more later), it's so far been a no-no.

7 comments:

BigLee said...

Our group has used the full range of products for floorplans. From resin tiles (that looked awesome but were uber expensive); through downloadable floorplans (that looked awesome but took a lot of time to cut out and prepare); to a whiteboard and some dry wipe markers (that looked less awesome but were inexpensive and quick to set up).

My preference is for the downloadable stuff, but as a group we have settled on the whiteboard option. One added benefit is that the game has become less of a ‘tabletop wargame with added roleplaying’ and has moved the 'adventure' back inside our minds where it belongs.

Benjamin said...

Comment from random fellow nerd. Our games use clear plastic and wet erase markers. Whiteboard can smudge unintentionally, but wet erase won't budge until you say so. Plus, you can lay the clear plastic over grid sheets. Something to consider. Good gaming!

The Angry Lurker said...

Like that idea for my skirmish games aswell. Good one.

Dave G _ Nplusplus said...

You can also get other surfaces that erasable markers work on, like smooth plastic.

I used some and created a grid to build a 3D gameboard a while back.

http://nplusplus.deviantart.com/gallery/24242866#/d2sembp

Von said...

I like the thought of the wet-erase markers - things have displayed a tendency to smudge like buggers during extended use.

sonsoftaurus said...

We have some tiles and stuff we use sometimes. We used to use dominoes a lot to lay things out too, and we have a supply of laminated maps one of our players did for some common modern-day locations for our supers games.

Mostly though we use a whiteboard - I got a big 8'x4' panel from our local building supply store and had them cut it in half for ease of movement and storage. We use the dry erase markers on it and have tons of room, and it was only like $10-15USD.

Example

PsyckoSama said...

Stuff like card stock terrain is actually rather reasonable if you have a Continuous Ink System and thus don't have to fret about cartage costs...