Wednesday 22 May 2024

A new map board.

My current campaign map board is a pin board which is hung on my wargame room door. It is 900mm x 600mm and it isn't quite big enough. Cue the map board saga....

A couple of months ago I decided to buy a bigger campaign map board. After much thought I finally plumbed for a magnetic whiteboard over a pin board and decided to get the biggest one I could store (1200mm x 900mm). My first thought was to wall mount it (in the position it now occupies but at the height of the pictures above it) and initially that's exactly what I did. Unfortunately, when stood in front of it in this position it was very difficult to view - the distance between eye and board being too short. Consequently, I had to come up with a different solution. 

The map board still needed to be stored here because its the only free space large enough to accommodate it but it needed to be made moveable. So I decided to make a baton with wooden pegs to support the board at the bottom, and use magnets and wall mounted metal plates to hold it against the wall at the top - an unclip and shift affair. 

This is only a plasterboard studding wall. It has just two batons behind it (one at each end) and I wasn't sure that a single screw at each end of the baton would be strong enough to securely hold it in place over time (the board is quite heavy), so I decided to drop the baton to the top of the skirting board; the skirting board supports the baton and weight of the whiteboard along its entire length: it's much stronger.

When in use, I plan to put the whiteboard up in front of the figure cabinets, at the other end of the room, supported on my trusty Black & Decker Workmate. 

As some may have noticed, in the comments section of the previous post, I have been working on version 2  of my Peninsular campaign rules because, against expectations, version 1 is proving to be 'the campaign without end' and better victory conditions needed to be formulated to inject better defined strategic goals. However, the basic campaign system works well and the Peninsular campaign is one I fully intend to run again. Hence the new, much bigger and improved map and magnetic counters for it.

The counters: 

These are (weather/divisions/holding box) 18mm round magnets which came as a sheet. They have a self adhesive side. 

I magnetised up some tiddly winks with white labels for other counters/markers using bits cut from what remained of the round magnet sheet after the round magnets were removed. 

3mm magnets painted with enamel paint as markers and left bright metal for use as 'paper holders' complete the mix, except for a bunch of old red and white magnetic draughts/checkers (not pictured) from a travel game which I'm not sure I have a use for yet.

A bigger board allows for a bigger map; a bigger map allows for bigger counters/markers; bigger counters means they can store a fuller ID. 

These 18mm diameter magnets are divisional ID markers; they are 2mm thick and, although they stick to the map pretty firmly, are very easy to move from place to place. When I bought these I thought that they might stack one on top of the other but they don't stack very well at all.

I decided to colour this version of the map using paint pens. One thing we noticed when using the black and white map was that major rivers, as a possible defence advantage, were often missed. 

Overall, a larger map, with larger counters/markers should make the campaign easier to follow. 

The use of magnetic counters was the chief reason for swapping to a whiteboard: Pins damage both map and board - magnetic counters, as you can see, damage neither.

Anyway, I like the magnetic whiteboard campaign map solution very much and, if you are planning a wargame campaign, I would definitely recommend you consider it.


daveb said...

Enviable board there! I think I'd struggle with the same problem of finding wall space to host it (and I've got small children who'd love to play with such a thing). Looking forward to hearing about the changes that 2.0 rules bring about.

Neil said...

Very clever and functional. Thanks for sharing.

roro said...

Clever idea for the magnets, definitely something better than the pins. Looking forward for the version 2 of your campaign rules. (And also for some battle reports of your campaign when you'll find some time, always a joy for me to read them).

French Follower said...

I've been considering switching to campaign mode for some time now. The use of Murat Maps has long convinced me. The use of a metal board and magnetic pawns is consistent with what I envisaged. Regarding the coloring of the map, perhaps you could consider coloring the reliefs brown and very lightly laminating the map to ensure greater durability?


I did consider colouring the reliefs but, I tried it on an old version of the map and thought it too much - in that it made the map slightly more confusing.

As the reliefs are not actually 'hills', in the wargame sense, but denote larger regional areas at of 'uplands' I thought it was best to have them effect the severity of the terrain rather than its make up - in V2 of the rules I'm going over to a small selection of table maps (replaced as each is used), all usable for lowlands and uplands: A random dice roll will determine the severity of each feature but, there is a different result table for lowland and upland areas - so a hill in a lowland will most likely be gently rolling whereas, in an upland area the hill will most likely be steep and cause disorder, etc. Likewise the roll will effect wood density, etc: Uplands are areas of 'more difficult terrain'.

Working from the premise that a Murat map is an 'atlas' scale map: In England, the Pennines show as an upland area on an atlas map of Britain but, taking a battlefield sized slice, in the Pennines the general relief is often not much different to a lot of lowland areas of the country but the severity of the relief can be more severe than elsewhere. Now, I have travelled across Spain by train and it does get pretty rugged in some upland parts but not everywhere. Not having very detailed relief maps of each map node, I decided to randomly determine the severity of the terrain with players having a fair idea, when moving across the map, that terrain will be more rugged in upland areas. It's the law of KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid - which should be the first law of any campaign rules system.

I also used the uplands to basically change the nature of the 'roads'. Upland 'roads' are generally more difficult to traverse than lowland 'roads'. The dice score required to move is higher in upland areas. Remember, the roads on the map aren't actual roads - the are links between nodes and represent a much wider, more complex road network.

Joseph.Cade said...

Looks very impressive! Too much work for me to do it though. :)

I am not a handy do it yourself person.