A mat for “To the Strongest”

I recently purchased the rules “To the Strongest” from BigRedBat for fighting ancients battles.  It looks to be a fun quick system using playing cards instead of dice.  Units succeed in a task by turning over a card high enough to beat the required number.  Units can perform a second or third, etc., task by beating the number previously played.  Movement is done using a grid system with units moving either one or two grids a move.  The size of the grid depends on the scale of the miniatures you use.  The units just need to fit within the grid.

I decided to create a game mat with the grid printed on it.  The game’s designer recommends only marking the intersections of grids rather than the entire square.  I decided to go with a 15cm square grid since this seems to accommodate both 15mm and 28mm figures.  The mat was to be printed by Banners on the Cheap on a 4’x8′ sheet of vinyl.  I used GIMP2, a free graphics program to create the jpg to be uploaded to the banner company.  I created a canvas that was actually 4’x8′ and then used the various texture, color and blending tools to create a mottled green background.  I then added the grid using an add-on tool for inserting grids.  This tool can also add hexes for those types of games.  I will be honest my brain does not grasp graphics easily, so it was hit and miss to finally get the grid to be just small crosses where the squares intersect.  It had to do with setting line width to 0, intersection widths to 2 and something with offsets.  I finally got it to the point where it worked is all I can say.

The mat, including shipping ran me $45.  In the past I have also done double sided mats but this one I decided to just go with one and save the money.


1: Extreme close up of the intersection, Iphone picture 3 inches from surface.

2: From about a foot above the mat.

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Off with their heads!

I worked a bit on making up some specialized units out of my Armies in Plastic AWI figures and All The King’s Men heads.  Just a snip of the cutters, drill a small hole for the head and a combination of superglue and hotglue to hold everything in place.  Two line units, one grenadiers, one highlanders, and a light infantry skirmish group.  I will need to do a bit of trimming around the neck once I have my exactos out of storage.

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Mancave week one summary

Week one is over and most of the demo work is done.  The cost went up a bit when, after removing the ceiling the workers found sagging beams and some termite damage from long ago.  Better to fix it now than have a disaster later.  Everything is still well within budget though.  The drywall and insulation is one site so hopefully next week we see more progress.  The wall where the garage door was has not been framed in yet.  What you see in the picture with the light pouring in is a temp plywood covering.