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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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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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    \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jan 12 '14 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Jan 12 '14 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ +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). \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jan 13 '14 at 0:00
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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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