I would really like to know how big the squares should be on my battle map. I haven't made one yet but I am hopefully going to, and I intend to use it with miniatures for combat.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you want help making miniatures that should probably be it's own question, but I'm not sure if it's on topic here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 5:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik it is, and we have a tag for it, but it's best to distinguish that it's for RPG usage, rather than construction for its own sake. We even have a papercraft tag! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 6:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! I've edited your question to fit our paradigm, consider posting the questions you encounter in figure construction seperately as you run into them; there's nothing wrong with posting a whole bunch of similar-topic questions at once on this site, and we do dislike single, broad, general advice questions, most of the time. I hope you stick around-- we could use more users with questions on those topics. Also, please visit our help center and take the tour when you get a chance so your learning how our site works goes easier. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 6:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Making miniatures - this may be the best use of a 3-D printer I've encountered to date. :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 2:09

3 Answers 3


1 inch squares, corresponding to 5 feet.

The DMG suggests that you make the squares on your battle map 1 inch on each side. These squares then correspond to 5 feet for game purposes.

DMG 250:

You can draw tactical maps with colored markers on a wet-erase vinyl mat with l-inch squares... The most common unit for tactical maps is the 5-foot square, and maps with grids are readily available and easy to create.

1 inch squares are consistent with standard D&D miniatures, which have roughly 1 inch circular bases.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You should mention the reason: most commercially available miniatures have a similarly sized base. Because DnD comes from wargames \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 9:15

They should be big enough to comfortably hold the base of your largest single tile minatures. For the most common miniature lines this is about an inch (roughly 2.5cm) on each side, but you should fit it to the scale of your miniatures.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you do this and your minis are NOT 1 inch bases, know that you are lessening the quality of your maps with the majority of future minis you pick up (if yours are larger) or screwing yourself over royally (if yours are smaller). There's an industry standard, and you should think hard before rejecting it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 19:38

Dungeons and Dragons has routinely used inches for its measurements, a tradition dating back to its late 70s wargaming roots. This means things will be easier on you if your battle mat has 1" squares like the Dungeon Master's Guide mentions; for example, metal and plastic miniatures in this scale are the easiest to find. That said…

This DM prefers a battle mat with 1½" (38mm) squares

For a variety of reasons—like ease of on-the-fly customization, removable accessories, and the fact that I can't paint—, I use Lego brand minifigures instead of traditional miniatures. While bigger than traditional miniatures, the bases that come with individual random minifigures still leave some room in these larger squares. (One of the problems I've had with using a traditional miniatures and 1" squares is that the mini's bases are the exact same size as the mat's squares, preventing folks from seeing the edges of images drawn on the map!)

Further, 1½" squares accommodate Mage Knight figures and other figures with larger bases that are also dials (which are often available inexpensively), and I've found these larger squares also tend to more easily accommodate plastic toys that are available at convenience stores.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for reminding me about this awesome origin of the owlbear. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 13:43

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