So you’re running late to game. The only thing you need is a map, and you need to do it fast. Here are 5 quick mapping options.
1. Dry Erase Board
Dry erase markers and a whiteboard make for great mapping options. The only problem, for the tactically combat inclined, is their lack of gridlines. Some places sell dry erase boards with grids on them. Some of these more professional “presentation” boards can get expensive, so do some web searching and find a good cheap one. You can always make a grid yourself by scoring a regular dry erase board with an exacto knife, using a permanent marker (comes off over time) or using thin black tape with a strong backing.
2. Office-Mart lamination on a gridded mat
A slightly cheaper dry erase solution can be found at your local office supply store of choice. Most office supply stores with a copy center can print on large 2 foot by any length blueprint paper. I’ve whipped up a quick 2ft by 5ft 1 inch grid for you here, but you can probably find better ones online or make them yourself.
3. Wood Blocks/Dominos
One problem I find with all dry-erase or wet-erase options, is that they eventually get neglected and lose some of their ability to be cleaned. Quick solution to map out an area and make a nifty 3-d feeling area? Use wood blocks or Dominos. Easy to arrange, easy to change and a nice raised wall feel. Wood blocks can be a bit bulky, but they are more stable on a mat.
4. The Plain Old Piece Of Paper
Who needs a grid? If you’re working a map up quick then just throw it on a couple of pieces of scrap paper. It works for quick encounters and can be moved off and on the table as needed. Still need a grid for it? Pick up some graph paper and do every 4 boxes. Ok ok, fine. I’m too good to you. Here is an 8.5 by 11 grid, if you feel like using the ink.
5. Print just the Objects
Any mapping program, google search or a trip through mapping sites can wield a plethora of objects that you can print for game. Print a few basic pieces (woods, corridors, tables, evil altars, etc.) and keep them in a folder. Throw them on the table to set up a scene in just a few seconds.
These are just a few quick mapping tips and they cover some basic ground. There are a lot of other great mapping ideas out there. What other mapping solutions do you use at your table? What is your preferred method of mapping?