A Battle Board for D&D

So, we finally switched to D&D 5e – with some house rules taken over from 13th Age (like the Escalation Die, Distances, etc.). What can I say, it works just fine.

But after playing RPGs with theatre of the mind for years, D&D seems to just call for miniatures – and I’ve got that covered, oh yes, I do.

But when it comes to miniatures, the next thing are Battle Mats. For those using a grid, they are essential to measure distance. To me, I just need a base on which to draw walls or place actual terrain pieces.

I use some books with battle mats, on which I can draw with a dry eraser pen, but it just doesn’t look the part.

So, I build myself a Battle Board.

Its made up of two parts, each built from 10 x 10 x 2 cm squares of foam. The two parts are kept in place with magnets, so they don’t seperate while in use, but can easily be stored.

One side is textured to look like cobblestone, so it can be used as a base for city and dungeon encounters alike.

Placing houses makes for a full-3D battle map – like the narrow street above. Houses are made by Tabletop World and Terre Ostili.

On the other side, I used Woodland Scenics turf to build a basic outdoor environment.


A few trees*, probably other terrain pieces and there’s a whole lot of wilderness encounters that can take place here.

The two boards are sealed with a mixture of acrylic paint and ModPodge, so they withstand use. The turf was sprinkled onto the freshly applied ModPodge, then sealed with two coats of clear varnish. There’s nothing coming off, even when turned over to use the city-side.

Those two boards form a surface of 40 x 30 cm (roughly A3), but there’s nothing preventing adding some more to make it even larger.

Most battles until now didn’t need anything larger, though.

*) If you wonder where those trees come from: the conifers are made by Faller, and the others are 3D-printed and dressed up with clump foilage by Woodland Scenics. The Shadow Gate is a print from Printable Scenery.

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