Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mounted vs. Paper maps

One place a lot of wargame publishers save money is by printing folding paper game maps. Recently, a discussion broke out in the GMT games forum on Consimworld when it was announced that several new games would feature mounted boards. I was shocked to see that there are actually players who prefer the paper maps. For the most part it makes no difference to me, but I thought the subject was worth covering here. I suppose a factor favoring mounted boards would be durability. I'm not really certain that a mounted map will have more durability, but one assumes that if the board is properly constructed it will hold up longer than a paper map, which if mistreated is easily torn. On the other hand, a mounted board can be folded back the wrong way and then be broken. If players care for their games properly then the difference in durability will be negligible. A mounted board might allow for cleaning with a slightly damp cloth (a baby wipe) if it becomes sticky, etc. A glossy paper map might permit this as well. Of course, some people who suffer from game-owner OCD will wonder how dare someone bring food or drink to the war. One factor favoring paper maps mentioned by a player in the forum was that a paper map has more of a "military" feel to it. I guess he can imagine hunkering down in a bunker somewhere and ordering his troops about. I'd never thought of such a thing, but to a small extent I have to agree with the poster about the "feel" even though I never get that deeply immersed into my fantasy command. Paper maps certainly have an edge when it comes to weight and box-size. Especially if a gamer is packing around a number of boxed games. Obviously, a game box will have to be a bit larger to accomodate a mounted mapboard. If a gamer has a large collection of games then the space on his game shelf might be filled up more quickly. I can't think of any more reasons to prefer one over the other, except to say that while I tend to prefer mounted maps, and thicker heavier components for durability purposes, that preference doesn't translate into a factor when making a purchase. I may "oooh" and "aaah" over some really nice components, but the real deciding factor is whether or not a game offers a challenge and is enjoyable to play.

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