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.

3. The whole mat.


Here are a couple of pics of hex grids:

4 thoughts on “A mat for “To the Strongest””

    1. That is the nice thing about the graphics program. You have the whole pallet to play with in addition to transparency settings, airbrush settings, etc. The hard part is knowing when enough is enough.

  1. Hi,
    You spoke the graphic process like a pro. 🙂 Line width 0 means that the adjoining lines are 0 pixels wide. AKA invisible. The intersection width 2 means the intersection points are 2 pixels wide. I am not sure about the “offsets” but I suspect it will grow the “cross” of the intersection since you came up with something workable!

    Great looking mat! Really nicely done!

    How does it look in real life? Better or worse than the pictures? I know sometimes pictures are not what things seem compared to the real life thing.


    1. It looks better in real life. The intersections are visible if you focus on them, but fade into the background if you are taking in the bigger scene. Once my terrain is out of storage I will take some pics of it dressed up.

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