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Tactile Wargaming
Yes, I mean tactile and not tactical. For one of the  pleasures board gaming offers over computer wargaming is the tactile feel of moving actual pieces vs just virtual ones. And I have found a way (after many tries) of enhancing this aspect of board gaming  that works well for PG. First I lay a magnetic whiteboard on my gaming table and place my game maps on it. But one could use sheet metal as well and maybe save some money but they do tend to rust over time. I put a clear plastic sheet over the maps  to hold them down, protect the maps from wear, and this allows allows me to write on them with my water erasable marker pens. Also, I have bought  laser cut clear acrylic  squares, drilled holes in the center and  placed small  disk magnets in them that fit snugly and thus don't come out and use those as bases for my game pieces. This is the tactical enhances for  when you move that base and let go you get this  very nice, very strong, and very satisfying snap, that you can both hear and feel. 

Also I used  my red and green wet erase markers to  color the sides  of these bases and that gives them a really cool glow plus  helps tell one side form the other  (green vs red). I choice those two colors in that they  are both easily distinguishable and have the best glows. And I use spot lighting to light my table and not room lighting and that makes that glow even cooler. So with  with that my tactical wargaming fun meter is now really pegged!

Now to do this does require a financial investment. And if it came down to buying the latest new PG game of spending money on this I would probably go for that latest new game. But at the same time I am happy to have made that investment in that  I really like having  my tactile wargaming meter thusly pegged. So maybe instead of having the cost of this come out of ones board gaming funds rather take it from ones computer gaming funds in that this brings some of the things that make computer games cool to you table top like pieces that better stay put and glow and such, but a 3D glow and not just a 2D on a flat screen for it is the sides of these bases that glow. and if one loves optics those laser cut acrylic squares a  gorgeous in their own light.. pun intended.

Just a practical note here. I bout 1" laser cut   acrylic square and the a just a  bit bigger than the game pieces which IIFC are 2/3 and inch. My thinking is that better having it a bit too big than almost the right size but not quite.

And I used  1.4  magnets. My latest purchase of these were these:

These work really well with  the drill bit I am using in that the earlier brand I bought did not quite fit snuggly in the holes I drilled and that is a problem in that then one must glue or tape  them in which is  both messy and adds work. But with these I just need to snap them in with my plairs and they seem to stay in quite well.

And earlier I used a regular drill bit and that did nit work well and I cracked the acrylic squares. But I bought a special bit for drilling acrylics and it works great.

I also use a drill press, but the cheaper kind that you can attach a hand drill to and that helps me  drill a straight hole perpendicular to the surface of the acrylic  square which is really important  else the magnet won't set right in the holes. Here is an example (but not the one I own so I can't comment as to how good this model is):

Now there may be better parts and better supplies than these I listed but these I have tested and  they work well for me. For most of my expense was  having to try many different approaches and experimentation always seems to take lots of money and time.

At any rate, this is how I am pegging my tactile wargaming meter. 

And BTW, another advantage to having these magnetic held bases is that if you  bump some pieces at least you  have the base to help you remember what hex these pieces were in. Also  if you want to  use one water erasable pen to mark on the  base 9e.g. an ID letter) you can do that. 

BTW, I would not recommend using dry  erase pens for they can be hard to  get off ones they really dry. I spent  money and time making my bases and don't want to ruin them so I strictly use wet erase markers. Here is the brand I use:

And BTW, it is not just the  tactile feel that is cool, and the sound of that snap, but is visually quite stunning as well with those glowing bases with their edges  colored  red and green. So it  enhances  sight, sound, and feel of my board gaming experience. Plus they were fun to make as well... once I figured out how to make thme and  found the right  parts and tools.

And while I am on the subject of the well equipped wargamer's table I might also mention that I found this great for jotting down notes during a tunr like was it a M1 or a M2 that I rolled... one would think I could remember.

At the end of each player segment I hit the erase button to start afresh in making those notes.

And in regard to my white board, I did not lay that  directly on my gaming table but put it on small blancos to make what I call a hangar deck under  it where i can  put small things like rules, charts, playing piece, storage trays  and such so as not to clutter  my playing surface. It elevates the board a few inches but with my poor eyesight that is a plus.

Ome other note. The strong rare earth magnets work really well with having that  clear acrylic sheet over the map in that  when the magnets are flush with the magnetic whiteboard they have a really lot of pull but when separated by the thin  sheet the pull is just about right. Using weaker magnets they would be too weak and one does not get that snap.

And of course if one is on a strict budget  these can be acquired over time and one could start by buying the acrylic squares and forgoing the magnets and a pack of  wet erase pens and get the glow even if one doesn't get the snap to go with it. For the magnets us what runs up the price in that one needs a magnetic white board, the magnets, the bit and such.
Thank you for your post!

Can you post a picture of a game in progress and a very close up of a magnet in an acrylic square. A side view of the acrylic square would be best in my case because I want to know if I could glue counters to the top and/or bottom.

I have been looking at acrylic squares to craft PnP games and prototypes and your post certainly opens new options to me. I do like my prototypes to look and feel good when I playtest a game for months.
I will try to see if I can figure out how to uploads some photos.

Here is a link to my photo box upload.

I also show my drill set up and how I made guides to help hold the  pieces when I am drilling it from rotation (though I do have to also hold the piece with my finger, albeit carefully when drilling. I also show my hanger deck set up where i put my whiteboard on blocks.

You can also see how I used my wet erase marker pens to color the sides of my marker counters. You can also see in the first photo how I used these markers to box in  the name of the marker to give it more pop and that harkens back to their  previous color schemes such as the dig in counter visible on that photo. 

I also added a few more photos that show how I did this for  disrupted and demoralized markers. Plus I show my dice tower and all the n sided die I have  to do one of my house rules that  lets one interpolate combat value totals. 

You might note that my last photo I showed how one can create a magnet sandwich back  stacking magnets  squares with  (in this case) 3 playing pieces  sandwiched  between  the two magnets. This can keep  your pieces pretty secure in that  if your cat jumps up on your game table it wont prevent the cat from knocking them over but ait will protect them for any slight bumps. And if they do fall over the stack is still intact. In fight this application is one of the things that lead be to  make these in that I wanted to be able to play board games out side and these  would keep the pieces in place from  mild winds. However, I found the pastoral settings were I was outside did not quite recommend them selves to reacted such violence as a war game depicts, even if it is just cardboard so I never really  followed up on that other than it did work. However, one doe have to be careful that a magnet in on stack does pull over a magnet in an adjacent stack when putting them any place other as the base where that is not a problem since the magnets  are there more attached to the whiteboard than each other.

Another approach is to use double sided but non permanent tape.

BTW, If you have any problem accessing my photos let me know.

And BTW, while I am on this subject of magnets what would really be cool is if one could embed  tow small magnets in a game piece. To do this where the piece could be flipped one has to use two magnets, one  the north pole is up, the other the  south pole up... like  like this:

.....x ..................,x
.....x .......N..........x
.....xxxxxxxxxxxxxx piece

that way when one flips (vertically in this case) the piece that flipped piece with have its north pole at the top and south pole at the bottom as well. One could use much smaller (and hence  less expensive) magnets in that the magnets would only typically separated by the  outer papers (if they  have the same  height as the piece thickness) and  thus that smaller gap means the magnet can be smaller and still have produce same force between pieces. I used bigger magnets in my bases so that one can have bigger gaps and still have lots of force. The trick would be in sizing the magnet so as to  have enough force to keep the pieces together but not so much that it would be hard to separate them when  lifting a piece.

These these pieces would be expensive for sure, but would be really cool too  and maybe worth that expense. For then one could use the on a flat table was I am doing or on a magnetic white board on a wall. And since the magnets would be covered by the outer paper on the top and bottom face of the piece  where the artwork is printed you could not see the magnets  in that they are embedded in the piece but each piece  would have a weight and heft to them  and stick together and one could make large stacks that would be  resistant to falling over other than a big knock. 

I have tried to make my homemade version of these but it is too hard to do without special tooling. But if one die cut or laser cut the holes and the had a machine to insert the magnets  as part of the process that manufactured the game pieces and bought the magnets in bulk quantities maybe they could be made  for something like  $30 a sheet or maybe $50. Pricey for sure but not so pricey that they would not have some that would be willing to shell out  that much money for such high tech pieces. I certainly would be willing to do that. Even better is if one could have the magnets  added  to the cardboard when it is being made so one does not even have to cut the holes and insert the magnets but just bake them into the cardboard itself.

And incidentally, this idea came from years thinking about how to mount game pieces using magnets where the existing schemes did not appear to be all that good.This approach would solve most of those short comings (from a technical standpoint that is)  other than  the price and that it would not be applicable to existing pieces but only to new ones.  But using sandwich method that I described hear can be applied to  any pieces new or old and while it would not work quite as well as  the embedded magnets it still seems to work OK for  holding pieces in place and work great for just proving a base to a piece.

BTW, I just test  making a 6 counter sandwich and that seemed to work  well. So  butting a  base on the bottom and on the top as well seems to secure  up to six pieces well, maybe even more. So that is one way to secure a game over time against  small jolts. 

One more use ( and I imagine there could be many more) for these clear acrylic 1" squares is to use them (without magnets) as Moved/FIRED markers in that being clearly they let you see the unit under them, they are easier to see when buried in a stack and easy to pick up. I am adding a photo of how this would look. I colored the edges red and green for each side but put a black square  on the top to make them even easier to see. One could still use the regular MOVED  /FIRED counters  in addition to these  clear ones to denote special  things like first fire, mired, etc.
RLW, email me your photos ( and I will post them here for you.
...came for the cardboard, stayed for the camaraderie...
(07-13-2017, 08:50 AM)Shad Wrote: RLW, email me your photos ( and I will post them here for you.

Thanks, I'll do that.

BTW, I did add captions to those on photobucket. Also thought one could download thne from there but apparently not now that I look more closely at it.

Update: I tried sending you an email by clicking the email button below but it seems that it might not have worked.
(07-13-2017, 09:37 AM)RLW Wrote:
(07-13-2017, 08:50 AM)Shad Wrote: RLW, email me your photos ( and I will post them here for you.

Thanks, I'll do that.

BTW, I did add captions to those on photobucket. Also thought one could download thne from there but apparently not now that I look more closely at it.

Update: I tried sending you an email by clicking the email button below but it seems that it might not have worked.

BTW, I did  put some additional photos  at that site. One shows how one could use  1" clear acrylic hexes as  Moved/Fired markers. The take up miore spae but are easier to see. One can buy them at the same place on buys the squares.

I originally bought these to see if they would work in making 3D terrain but they really didn't work that well for that. But they are cool and I am sure one can find many uses for them on ones wargaming  table.

The next shows how I use  old Wire.AT Ditch counters from  AK  to keep track of losses and mines for initiative and wreck counters to keep track of  fog of war  status and  initiative remaining. The wired side stands for either 1 loss (if on the right) or  the number of losses that causes a loss of initiative if on the left. The AT ditch side  shows non losses. Thus say if one  losses a step of initiative for every ten losses then one would start out with 10 AT ditch counters in the stack. For each loss one flips the counter to the wired side and places it to the right of that stack. When there are no more AT Ditch side up counters on that stack place a wired counter there that would stand for 10 losses. Then flip the stack of 10 wired counters on the right to the AT ditch side and  proceed from there. 

The  mines show the current initiative (one has to use  several  for initiatives above 3 by adding them up in the stack). The wreck counters shows  played and unplayed  action segments. I place them outside the box if they are due to initiative. I put the to the side once that action segment is played. When they are all played at the end of that turn one starts rolling for fog of war. 

So in the photo one can see that  green (that side that has the green bases, in this case the Germans) has an initiative of 3 (the 3 min counter) has 3 segments it can move before the Russian can move, those  3  wreck counter above that black box (made by my wet erase marker) and not in it, where the Russians do have there 3 wreck counter in the black box. Once the re are no more wreck counters either over or in those two black boxes fog of war  rolls  commence after that  turn. 

The German  loses a step of initiative for every 12 losses while the Russian does so for every 10. Thus the game started out with the German having a stack of 12 AT dit markers and the Russian 10. As play has continued on can see from the photo that Rusian has  suffered one  loss of initiative and  thus was at 2 but now is at 1 and so that wired maerker to the left stands for 10 loss points while the stack on the right stand for 1 loss per  marker. One can also see that the German has not yet lost any initiative but is about  there with just a few more losses in that the stack of AT ditch  markers is almost empty.

Incidentally the three 8's in that  photo show how I marked my off board infantry house rule  and show that those 3 hexes can be fired on by that off board infantry  (virtual) stack of 8 rire value (at a 2 hex range). BRW, that rule effect game play more than any of the others I have deviced in that those game board edges or no longer the (relatively)  safe haven they sued to be.

The next photo shows how I use the  old AT ditche wired counter  to mark turns, the wired side being a played turn. One can place reinforcements on the piece (or near it) to mark that as the turn that they arrive, plus can place other pieces such as aircraft a to jog one's memory that something special is happening that turn.

I devised these methods (after many an unsuccessful tries) to make it easy to keep up with this info and in a manner that does not require much board space or writing and can use old pieces that I have already bought... so there can be a use for for all those marker pieces that one has to buy  over and over with each new PG game.

And being the experimenter that I am I have just discovered that  if one has trouble picking up a piece on a crowded area of the game board (be it a cardboard  piece or an acrylic one ) that a small piece of sticky tack can do the job rather nicely and will lift any light weight piece with ease (though obviously not any held by magnets). Also, this seems to work much better than using tweezers to do the same, which I never could ever really  make work that well after having purchased various  types for that very purpose and now lie unused and largely forgotten in some random storage box stuffed in some drawer or shelf waiting for  some need that they might fulfill to arise.

 I am thus   keeping a few  pieces of sticky tack stuck to my dice tower to be ever so handy whenever I might want to use them to lift a MoVED/FIRED counter or such. 
(07-13-2017, 08:50 AM)Shad Wrote: RLW, email me your photos ( and I will post them here for you.

Shad, I still haven't figured out how to email my photos.  Confused

 ...but I did notice that it seems you can  right click on the images at photobox and copy the image and  then past them into  your own document. 
(07-14-2017, 07:59 AM)RLW Wrote:
(07-13-2017, 08:50 AM)Shad Wrote: RLW, email me your photos ( and I will post them here for you.

Shad, I still haven't figured out how to email my photos.  Confused

 ...but I did notice that it seems you can  right click on the images at photobox and copy the image and  then past them into  your own document. 

Very nice. I use the cheaper, but definitely less efficient method. I get the clear poster frames from Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon (readily available online) and enclose the map. The frames are reusable and I use washable dry-erase markers to mark key features or objectives as needed. They make several sizes, up to 24x36 inches; the 18x24 is great for a single map, 22x28 for a 2-map, and the 24x36 for anything else.
BTW, I just had one of those, duh!, moments.

For the best 9and cheapest) way of making magnetic game pieces is not to embed the magnets in the fame piece (two per piece non the less to make them flippable)  but  embed) but rather embed a small powerful rare earth magnet in a base piece (like the clear acrylic pieces I was suing for bases) and embed a small  piece of metal in each piece like a small steel hex nut. If the hex nut is as thick as the piece then the pieces stack well  and the hex nut  (being attracted by magnets) then  allows  other stacked pieces (each with the embedded steel hex) to be held firmly as well concentrating the magnetic flux lines from the bases magnet. Small hex nuts are relatively cheap. One can use a hole punch to punch a hole in them in the cardboard, insert the nit, then  glue the front and back  sheet that has the piece art work  to each side covering the hex nut

 made one this morning using a 1/4 steel hex nut. They need to be steel and not stainless steel for the later  do not work with magnetics. The thickness of the cardboard need to be about the  same as the  thickness of the  hex nut to be embedded. With these embedded hex nuts and using the magnetic bases one can secure  a stack of pieces to a magnetic white board or a piece of sheet metal. This works fine  on a table and perhaps might work  for a wall mount but I have my doubts there based on my testing in that  the  strength of the magnet falls off for a stack of two or more counters that lets the pieces slide. just from their weight Thus for wall mounts, embedded the magnets in the pieces themselves is probably the way to go using two magnets  one flipped with the polarity of the other, i.e will likely be more expensive. 

The pieces can be flipped in that the  hex nut has no polarity and takes  what ever the polarity of the magnet in the base piece. And I am thinking that one can fill the  hole in the hex nut with white glue  to give support to the top and bottom cover paper that has the piece front and back artwork. 

This is definitely a cheaper and  and easier method than embedded  the magnets in the pieces themselves.

I just noticed that if I stack two sheets of  the latest counters on top of each other then they are about the same thickness as my  hex nuts. So if I glued two of those surplus marker cardboard pieces together they would make a core for embedding ta hex nut.  So by this I can put to use any surplus marker sheets and use them to make nice looking magnetic cardboard counter (via the embedded hex nut). And I just tested using  my 1/4" rare earth magnetic disk as is (i.e. not embedded in a  clear acrylic square as a base and that even works better for holding the magnetic pieces in that there is a small  space under the piece that  makes it easier to lift with one's finders. 
RLW, did you see this thread on BoardGameGeek?

I don't have any, but the customer feedback is all positive.
...came for the cardboard, stayed for the camaraderie...

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