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I'm preparing a D&D campaign, and am unsure of what kind of materials I should use for the battle grid. At first I thought of using simple grid paper and to draw on it because I am good at drawing, but then I learned about erasable/reusable grids I could use. I am now unsure of which I should use, and my uncertainty is increased by the fact there seem to be a lot of different reusable grids.

I am looking for a grid that is:

  • easy to use

  • large in size

  • accommodates both planning maps ahead of time and on the spot improvisation, if possible

What kind of grid fits those criteria well?

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How much money do you want to spend? – wax eagle Jan 12 '14 at 19:01
See (possible duplicate)… for a question that provided specific criteria. If yours are the same, we can merge this over. – mxyzplk Jan 13 '14 at 12:52

There are numerous products available for sale that provide an erasable surface that has a pre-printed 1" grid on it. Here's one a lot of folks use.

  • Chessex Battlemat. Comes in several sizes, but it's pretty expensive and if you use certain markers on it, they won't come off.

You can also buy a large white board and draw a 1" grid in wet erase or permanent marker and use dry erase markers on it. This leaves your grid untouched when you erase your map. A lot of folks do this.

Lastly, you can do what I've done. In the poster section of walmart they sell 1/2" grid poster board, with a sharpier I've traced the 1" grid onto it, covered in contact paper. This gives me a dry erasable surface that's portable and cheap enough to be disposable if something happens to it (average cost per map is ~$2-3).

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Chessex battlemats: if price as a major issue, the "factory second" ones are a pretty good deal; the ones I've seen (including the one I bought years ago) didn't really have noticeable defects. – Alex P Jan 12 '14 at 19:17
I have tons of mats, from Paizo, Gale Force 9, etc, but the only one I use for every single game is by Chessex Megamat. – Mala Jan 12 '14 at 20:41
+1 for laminated grid poster! They're cheap, portable, durable, and a lot easier to get the Wrong Kind of Marker off of than a Chessex (if you use the wrong marker on a Chessex, it's likely you just have to get a new Chessex). – BESW Jan 13 '14 at 0:00

This is probably not as portable as a map, but we always play in the same location and we all own cars. I don't think we would have used it with the changing locations and 60min bike-travels back at school:

We have a opaque plastic board the size of the table and maybe 2mm strong. You can put any kind of map under it, a hexmap, tilemap, predrawn or simply white. Then you can draw on the pastic on top. This not only gives us a map to draw and erase on, in addition it protectes the map from anything that might harm the paper, like spilled coke or greasy fingers.

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It's kind of stiff, but I took a magnetic white board and used a ruler and razor blade to score the grid on it. You can use magnetic tokens and then hold it horizontally or vertically, or you can even pass it around.

For tokens, you can get blank magnetic tiles or you can glue magnets to the bottom of plastic pieces. You can also write on it if you don't have 35 goblin pieces handy.

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