Friday 8 May 2009


One of my particular hot topics of the moment is the concept of using a gridded playing surface. This could be hexed, squared or offset squared. I first came across the offset square grid in use with the Axis and Allies War at Sea collectable miniatures game. The starter pack included a double sided map which comes out at 7 by 11 squares each of 9cms. This equates to a playing area of roughly 63 by 99 cms or 2ft by 3ft as near as makes no difference. Coincidentally, the standard sized grid in use in Mike and Joyce Smith's Tabletop Battles is 3ft by 2ft. For me personally, a 3ft by 2ft playing area is ideal given my space availability at home although I could go to 3ft by 5ft at a maximum. With this in mind I am considering making some bespoke playing surfaces (probably the old standby of hardboard with a supporting frame) in green, desert sand and blue. The first two would then be gridded up in accordance the Tabletop Battles system of 2" squares (making 12 by 16) but I did hit a slight snag when considering the naval board as I have yet to finalise the rules for the set up. Hexes would be nice and I think I am right in that a base set of Hexon terrain tiles comes in with sufficient pieces to make a playing area of the desired size. I have a further consideration with the naval grid as whilst the War at Sea version uses offset squares I am now leaning towards conventional squares - if only because from an aesthetic viewpoint the ability to have 8 compass headings rather than 6 would be preferable.

In any event, the standard War at Sea grid at 7 x 11 squares is slightly too small both in terms of the number of squares available and the area covered. My bespoke grid for 1/3000th will use 4" squares and I have resigned myself to the fact that I will need a bigger playing surface for naval games. I am thinking on a minimum of 9 x 13 which is 3ft by 4ft 4" - as mentioned previously, that would be as far as I could go.

I have acquired a big chunk of blue cloth at Ikea that has been chopped in two pieces and overlocked at a local dry cleaners. The blue is idea for naval actions - I prefer a royal blue for my seascape - and I shall grid this over the weekend using my trusty black permanent marker. I am confident that it will not take as long to grid as the double sheet in use for the 1/1800th War at Sea models with 8" squares!


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Good luck with your grids. My advice would be to stretch the cloth as tight as you can and be very careful when drawing the lines with your permanent marker.

I look forward to seeing the end results in due course.


David Crook said...

D'Oh!! Should have read this first - i did get some cloth slippage but not too much...;-)