Monday, 17 July 2017

DIY Battlefields: Laminate flooring?

So I’ve been wanting a decent gaming table for some time so I’ve been through the wringer for what to really pick.
You have a number of options.
  1. Battlemat + Table + Terrain
  2. Custom tables with storage.
  3. Single board battlefields
  4. Multi-board
Battlemat + Table + Terrain
At the local gaming club we put 2 long tables together, and lay a 6x4 battlemat on top. We have custom terrain, and a number of battlemats.
  • Quick to set up
  • Optional mats, change them up (grass or snow or lava?)
  • Mats are cheap for coverage
  • Partly transportable
  • No time to build
  • Storing the tables
  • Lack of battlefield texture/depth.
This is honestly the best option out there, apart from the last point, lack of texture.

It seems like a small thing but when your model bases and the terrain bases are lovely and finished, moving them about on a flat surface doesn’t feel great.

I’ve used a variation of this, and got a large piece of felt cut, so that there is slightly more texture to the surface. But I really want something closer to how my bases look, and the option for inclines/trenches

Custom table with storage.

I’ve seen a good number of these and they look great, design your table and the top to suit. Store models, books etc in the drawers. Potentially flip the boards over now and again.
  • Beautiful tables, re-used antiques, custom designed storage
  • Custom battlefields
  • The pinnacle definition of ‘I’m a gamer’
  • No time to setup
  • Cost
  • Time + effort to build
  • Fixed terrain/surface (dependant on setup of course)
  • Not transportable
  • Permanent fixture/space taker
  • Lessened ability to change/extend/expand
This would be a great option, and maybe one day, I can get this. However, with young children I’d rather leave them the room to play rather than having ‘daddies play desk’ taking up a room.

Single board battlefields
This is where you’d get a single sheet of wood or similar and then add texture to it. Stick that on a wood frame or a kitchen table to keep it level.

But oh, the detail.

  • Cheap
  • Quick-ish to setup
  • Custom battlefields
  • Fixed size
  • Not very transportable
  • Fixed surface/terrain once created
  • Storage of tables that support it
This choice has gone a little out of fashion lately, since battlemats have become more commonplace. I’d settle happily for this, if I could transport the damn things. But without access to a van transporting this would be a problem.

Multi-board This would be the above, but cut into transportable segments to swap positions and locations.

  • Cheap
  • Quick-ish to setup
  • Custom battlefields
  • Transportable
  • Swappable and not fixed 
  • Gaps in the board
  • Storage of tables that support it
  • Some time to setup
  • Build time
So this wasn’t my first choice, until I realised that I did want to be able to mix up my battlefield, and potentially extend it larger.

Choice of board was fairly key. MDF has to be fairly thick (at least 18mm) to take paint etc, and always be prepared for gaps if cutting into squares.

One thing I’d not even considered was cutting length ways until I’d been given the boon of these things that I’ve not found anyone try before.

These are fairly heavy duty laminate floor sections, that slot together very firmly.
I’ve seen square-cut modular battlefields, but not length-cut ones. One of the bigger problems I had was seeing massive lines across the battlefield.

With the ability to slot these together, I’m hoping that the seamless connection that flooring provides will help hide any cracks, and stop the bump factor.
One of the major obstacles here is the fact that these are pre-treated to be heavy duty, so their surface will need some distressing before it takes any paint.

Other than this, I can use any table to hold these, as they are weighty enough to not be easily bumped but I might get a simple folding table for the garage just in case.

First thing is distressing and painting.

Second will be contouring and deciding on scenery.

Third step will be texturing + protecting. 

Watch this space!


  1. Other advantages of the battlemats, for me, is the easy rolling of dices and movement of models. Also, the scenery and models always stands flat on top of it.

    In my gaming group, we used to play on a modular textured board and it was quite usual that some models ended the battle with some chipped paint. Sometimes we even ended up with some scratches in our fingers when we quickly gathered a bunch of dices xD

  2. I agree, you are basically making sandpaper to scrape your models along!

    I've factored that all in and still just want some texture, some contours, some elevation that isn't provided by buildings.
    I've just had enough of those battlemats now, especially after seeing the warhammer world boards.
    Think of the trenches, hills, ruts and pits :)