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Zid
2010-05-19, 05:39 PM
I am about to start up the scales of War campaign in my IRL group. When we were playing 3.5 ed, we usually played without mat, and just used paper with squares on it when we needed tactical combat. As 4E puts so much importance on tactical manovering, I am looking for some kind of good, large playing mat that is big enough to play most of the encounters in SoW on. What do people use? I was thinking some kind of large papers with printed squares, that could be pre-painted as a map by me. Does anybody know where you can get something like that? What do you use for underlay?

AslanCross
2010-05-19, 08:21 PM
I draw 1-inch square grids on A3 size paper and have that laminated. I draw on the map using whiteboard markers. They get dirty eventually, but they work quite well.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/AslanCross/DnDCampaign/DSC04045.jpg

Masaioh
2010-05-19, 08:37 PM
I draw 1-inch square grids on A3 size paper and have that laminated. I draw on the map using whiteboard markers. They get dirty eventually, but they work quite well.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/AslanCross/DnDCampaign/DSC04045.jpg

Magic Erasers are good for cleaning them up. I have the same thing, but it's around twice the size.

tcrudisi
2010-05-19, 08:49 PM
While I dislike Paizo (thanks, Pathfinder), there is one thing I purchase from them, and that's battle mats. Obligatory link: http://paizo.com/store/gameAids/gamingMats/steelSqwire/v5748btpy83yx&source=search

It works really well.

Thurbane
2010-05-19, 09:24 PM
We usually make ours the old fashioned way - with a long ruler and some stiff paper. I have found that covering the mat with clear Contact makes it erase easier than with professional lamination, but that may be due to the whiteboard markers we use.

The Big Dice
2010-05-19, 09:28 PM
I adapted a board from an old game that I'd lost a bunch of the pieces from. I printed out one inch hex sheets, then glued them to the board and laminated over the whole lot. It's fairly sturdy, easy to store and I draw on it with whiteboard markers.

I've seen bigger battle maps, but since most fights end up taking place in about eight square inches, having one that's about two by three feet is plenty.

AslanCross
2010-05-19, 09:30 PM
Magic Erasers are good for cleaning them up. I have the same thing, but it's around twice the size.

Ah, thanks for the advice. I wish I could get something twice the size, but unfortunately the guys who laminate paper only go up to A3.

TheThan
2010-05-20, 12:32 AM
I have a chessex battle mat, its pretty nice. Its about 2x2, its a little small for mapping out any real dungeon, and almost too small for other sorts of combat. But I usually use the map bits from my decent board game for that (multi-purpose yay) anyway.

Keld Denar
2010-05-20, 12:44 AM
Any time you'll be using a battlemat for D&D, I highly encourage the use of Steelsqwire (http://www.steelsqwire.com/prod02.htm) products (or home made equivalents).

They make planning AoE attacks really simple, and if you have a couple, are great for notating lingering effect AoEs like Cloudkill (which moves).

Thajocoth
2010-05-20, 01:06 AM
I made some interlocking pieces with a T-Square, ruler, pencil, foam board, laminate and an exacto knife. The good thing about interlocking pieces is that I can remove some, shift the board over, and add more beyond what is currently seen, instead of redrawing the same thing. My usual group has Tact-Tiles, which are the professional version of the same, so my homemade ones aren't needed.

With the scraps, I made tokens to put under the minis for status conditions.

Note: Dry erase markers were permanent on it, but ordinary washable markers come right off... Kinda weird, really.

AslanCross
2010-05-20, 01:53 AM
Any time you'll be using a battlemat for D&D, I highly encourage the use of Steelsqwire (http://www.steelsqwire.com/prod02.htm) products (or home made equivalents).

They make planning AoE attacks really simple, and if you have a couple, are great for notating lingering effect AoEs like Cloudkill (which moves).

Those will be very helpful. I think I could cobble together a couple using wire.

Irreverent Fool
2010-05-20, 05:59 AM
We have a couple vinyl battlemats (Chessex, I believe). We keep a smaller one that's about 3 feet square for most minor battle scenes, but we've also got a huge one for mapping out towns and long dungeon crawls. They were pretty expensive (way too much for a couple sheets of vinyl). Each has a normal 1" grid on one side and a hex grid on the other.

I've seen other groups at the shop I go to using a series of plastic squares that link together jigsaw-puzzle style. They have a grid drawn on permanently.

On both cases, vis-a-vis or lumocolor overhead projector markers are used. They have minimal staining (but your mats will stain if you use these methods, don't sweat it) and clean up easily with a damp towel and water. (Do NOT use dry-erase markers on vinyl).

Another method I've seen used is dry-erase whiteboards with a grid affixed. In some cases this has been on the wall much like in a classroom (in which case one could use a chalkboard as well, but they are messy). In others, the group simply laid out the whiteboard (or in once case built it into the tabletop) and used it in the classic play-mat style.

When strapped for resources, we pulled the paper gaming grid out of the back of the DMG (3.5) and used dice and other implements to map out walls and terrain features. In the old AD&D days, I was known to meticulously draw out map grids and terrain on butcher paper, though there was less call for it, then.

If you want to go all-out, the Dwarven Forge stuff has grids built-in. Their stuff is awesome, but expensive. You're also limited in what sort of things you can build by how many pieces you have, obviously.

I recommend the vinyl mat. It's fairly easy to cart around if you need to and rolls up for easy storage. I'd be afraid of breaking the plastic grids. Laminated paper mats are fine too.

Plastic grid pieces (http://www.battlegraph.com/)
Dwarven Forge (http://www.dwarvenforge.com/products)
Vinyl mats and pens (http://paizo.com/store/gameAids/gamingMats/chessex)
Laminated mats (http://www.steelsqwire.com/prod01.htm) Laminated mats via Paizo (http://paizo.com/store/paizo/gameMastery/maps/steelSqwireFlipMats/v5748btpy83yx)
Edit: Partial ninja?

If you have a brick-and-mortar store you go to, support them rather than shopping online.

obnoxious
sig

Divide by Zero
2010-05-20, 09:36 AM
I use this one (http://www.rpgminiatures.com/acatalog/2766_Mega_Battle_Mat_-_1_inch_squares_hex_reversable.html). That isn't the site that I bought it from, but I don't remember where I did and that's the first site Google turned up. It's big, easy to clean, and has both grid types if you want to switch games.

valadil
2010-05-20, 10:48 AM
Most people I know use chessex battlemaps. I'm very happy with them. One of my GMs has the interlocking whiteboard pieces. They seem clever, but I'm not really that impressed by them. We spend so much time pulling them apart and erasing that I just don't see the advantage.

We also use pipe cleaner for determining area of effect (see Steelsquire suggestion). They're also nice distraction for fidgety players.

I've recently also started using construx (http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4068/4487311081_6e16a33ff6_o.jpg) for 3d terrain. I like it quite a bit, but the panels don't quite line up with the grid on the battlemap.

Lev
2010-05-20, 11:00 AM
Get an actual whiteboard, and put small cuts in lines on it to draw a grid, the dry erase marker will eventually settle into the grid as you erase and you'll have nice clear lines on a perfect dry erase surface.

Fhaolan
2010-05-20, 12:02 PM
This one costs a bit of money, but it's *far* more useful than a lot of store-bought equivalents.

First thing to do is go to the local Kinkos/Printing Palace/whatever and find out if they've got a plotter/large format printer, and what sizes it can do.

Do a search for printable graph papers, like this place: http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/ and get some stuff for both hexes and squares.

Take the files to the printing place, and say "I need these things printed out on these big sheets, so that the squares/hexes/etc. are x" across." They should be able to figure that out.

Go to where you can buy plexiglass sheets (or perspex, or whatever it might be called where you are living.) Here's an online place: http://www.eplastics.com/Plastic/Plexiglass_Acrylic_Sheet_Clear. Get a sheet the size of the printouts.

Here's the advantages: The grids can be whatever the heck you want, whatever scales you can get printouts for. If you want to stick photographs and the like under the sheet for terrain features, go for it. The plexiglass can deal with both wet and dry erase markers, and if you get a set of bad markers that actually stain the plexiglass... buy another without needing to re-draw all your grids. Spilling drinks on the plexiglass only erases the wet/dry marker stuff, as the grids are protected by the plexiglass. So on and so forth.

One group I played with had an old dining room table that we got grid sheets big enough to cover, and a plexiglass sheet the same size as the table. Since we tended to use the same size grid throughout a session, we only needed to set up the table once we started and we were golden.

EnnPeeCee
2010-05-20, 03:25 PM
One of my groups uses a cloth mat with the grid printed on it, which we cover with a piece of plexiglass and draw on with dry-erase markers.

With my other group though, I had to improvise by printing a bunch of pages out from Excel of 1" grid. It works well enough for a temp solution, but not recommended.