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How do you all make use of your grids?

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
This is kind of what I was assuming. Stick to theater of the mind for the most part and then use the tiles when needed.

Do you have any recommendations for dry-erase markers? I got some cheap ones off Amazon and while the black ones are okay, all of the colored ones that came in the pack are barely visible.
Note, if using Chessex matts, you want WET erase markers. I've always bought Expo. Never had any issues with them. Just don't mix them with dry-erase markers or Sharpies. :)

Note even for dungeon tiles and plastic surfaces and matts that support dry erase, I MUCH prefer wet erase. They don't smudge as easily. You do need a damp cloth or wipe to erase, but when moving minis around, etc. the wet erase marks and drawing hold up much better than dry erase. I've even had laminated character sheets for some games that I used wet erase with.
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Note, if using Chessex matts, you want WET erase markers. I've always bought Expo. Never had any issues with them. Just don't mix them with dry-erase markers or Sharpies. :)
And don't use the red ones....or if you do, be sure to wipe them off immediately after the game. There's something about the pigments in the red wet-erase pens that makes them stain quickly.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Note, if using Chessex matts, you want WET erase markers. I've always bought Expo. Never had any issues with them. Just don't mix them with dry-erase markers or Sharpies. :)

Note even for dungeon tiles and plastic surfaces and matts that support dry erase, I MUCH prefer wet erase. They don't smudge as easily. You do need a damp cloth or wipe to erase, but when moving minis around, etc. the wet erase marks and drawing hold up much better than dry erase. I've even had laminated character sheets for some games that I used wet erase with.
The crayola washable markers are good too if you want a variety of colors.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
A trick I used recently with the Against the Giants cavern is to use the 1 inch grid inside Christmas Wrapping paper. I bought some after the holiday for $1.00 and rolled it out. I worked great for set places like the cavern at the end of Forge of Fury and big fights or rolling places like the cavern in AtGiants. Although the one, long roll was not as cool as I though in play with coiling up one end and unrolling the other on the table without fiddling around with player space and moving a lot.
Gaffers tape is your friend. For wrapping paper, you are not going to get the tap off without damaging the paper, but I'm guess you are not intending reuse if you use wrapping paper. The benefit of gaffers tape is it is easy to remove and won't leave a residue on the table. For my battlemaps printed on large sheets with a plotter printer, I just cut the tape at the edge and leave to portion of tape on the edge of the sheet. If you have a chessex mat that was rolled up and don't have time to let it sit and relax, the gaffers tape can hold it down and it comes off the chessex mat easily. Even with a well relaxed chessex mat, I like to use gaffers tape to avoid some one accidently moving the mat and knocking over minis and terrain.

Similarly, to keep terrain in place, blue tac is really helpful to keep things in place. It comes off most surfaces easily, including paper, if you are careful. Not useful with felt mats though.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
And don't use the red ones....or if you do, be sure to wipe them off immediately after the game. There's something about the pigments in the red wet-erase pens that makes them stain quickly.
This is a classic tip, and I'm thirding it. IIRC I've seen the same happen with brown, though less severely.

I have heard that windex can get the stains off, but I don't have certain firsthand knowledge.

Other colors I've been able to leave on for an extended period without permanent staining.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
I have heard that windex can get the stains off, but I don't have certain firsthand knowledge.
Kathy Bates Lies GIF

I've tried Windex, soapy water, even bleach, but nothing removed the red shadow from my Chessex battle mat. I ended up having to buy a whole new one. Now whenever I buy a new pack of Expo markers, I take the red one to work and leave it there--it's not allowed within 1000 feet of my battle mat.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Also, these are amazing for maps: Post-it Super Sticky Easel Pad (25 x 30 Inches)

They come 30 Sheets to a pad. They're kinda spendy, a two-pack costs $38 on Amazon, but they have a sticky strip on one side that keeps them from sliding around the table, or you can stick several of them together and they line up nicely--excellent for large dungeons that keep going and going and going...

Best of all, nobody cares if they get stained up, marked up, or torn because you can just wad them up and shove them into the recycling bin after the game.

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kronovan

Adventurer
I mostly host via VTT (Foundry & Fantasy Grounds) now, but in the past with grids I've taken a variety of approaches. I've used both Chessex and Paizo grids, sometime pre-sketching out the map and hiding portions by folding the map, but mostly just sketching as players explore. My preference is to use wet erase markers too (good results with Sharpie & Staedler), as others have already mentioned, I've found they tend to smudge less. I've also had good results using printed tiles from the Paizo map pack series. I've used a few of Paizo's laminated scenery maps, but generally found them far less useful. Of those, I've only ever purchased ones that also had a blank, reverse side with mostly a uniform terrain tile like grass or water and minimal details. I probably used those reverse sides 10 times for every 1 time I used the detailed map.

I enjoy making digital maps as a hobby and have become proficient with Campaign Cartographer. I've created many a map for my campaigns using different techniques and styles and have even created some of my own 8x5 tiles like the Paizo's MP's. I've also used the plexiglass placed over maps techniques mentioned already. At times I've used the technique that the OP mentioned, of creating a map, printing it out and also printing and cutting out out a series of shapes that cover and conceal individual rooms/areas. It takes a lot of effort though and I only went to that extent for maps I was sure I'd use more than twice.

With digital maps being the only option for VTT's, I'm using CC more than ever. Ironically, with more experience I've found my maps have generally become simpler. I've gotten to the point via some homebrewed templates and symbols, where I can bang out an encounter map, save it out to my import folder and load it in game while the players are on a break.
 

And don't use the red ones....or if you do, be sure to wipe them off immediately after the game. There's something about the pigments in the red wet-erase pens that makes them stain quickly.
No kidding. I have part of a 20 year old Ravenloft encounter on my oldest map with notes on a PC's shattered leg in the margins. Our buddy's poor monk was constantly near death.
 

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