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"Simple method for unit status markers" Topic

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1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2013 4:13 a.m. PST

I thought if I did all this typing, I might as well post the following at other sites, which it might be of use to some people. Maybe its obvious, but anyway..

ochoinlite WROTE
11 Oct 2013 7:15 p.m. PST
I need tokens that give these two morale/order states for an upcoming game..
Clearly, I can simply print these words but is there anything on the net that I can copy which might look better?

1968billsfan REPLIED
13 Oct 2013 3:59 a.m. PST

A quick thing you can do is the following.
[1] Get a dollars worth of pennies from the bank or the sofa.
[2] Bring up Excel and fill the page with "UNSTEADY" AND "SHAKEN", written in font that will just fit on the back of a penny.
[3] Cut out the words and white glue or rubber cement glue them onto the back of one side of the pennies. Separate these coins into the two different piles.
[4] Get some scenery flock and pour it into a small tray.
[5] Mix up one shade of green acrylic paint with white glue. Take an old 1/2" brush and brush this onto one of the pennies- the opposite side from the label. Hold the penny over the tray and dust some of the flock over it. Enough will stick to make it look like ground. Shake off the excess and put it aside to dry and finish that pile of coins.
[6] Repeat [5] using the other set of coins but a notability different colour of green. This will help you know what a coin represents without having to turn the thing over everytime.
[7] At the start of the wargame, give each side a necessary number of each coins. The coins should be placed next to an affected unit and move along with the unit.
[8] I usually don't allow the opponent to look under these unit status markers, so they can make incorrect assumptions about the unit status- intelligence which the historical commanders would not have accurately either. The same method can be used to keep track of casualties (e.g. "1 fig lost", "2 fig lost" or "1", "2", "3" etc.) or track ammo supply or other features of your rules.
You can probably finish creating these markers in about an hour. What I like about this method is that the wargame table is not visually violated by a bunch of poker chips, coloured pipe cleaners and other garbage. It still looks like a 50 foot general's view of an actual battlefield without straining belief very much. Try also to keep play sheets, dice, beer cans, rulers and whiskey bottles off of the table for the same reason. There is a reason why we play with artfully painted figures, rather than cardboard counters!

CATenWolde13 Oct 2013 5:19 a.m. PST

Nice, intuitive method, and I agree wholeheartedly about table clutter! I've started using figures for markers whenever possible (casualties, fleeing or surrendering figures, ammo boxes, etc.) and it really helps.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2013 5:48 a.m. PST

Thanks for the idea. I hate colored poker chips and pipe cleaners and what not; just ruins the look of the game.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2013 5:58 a.m. PST

Now see, I use red or green bingo chips. Small and inexpensive. You can buy a tub of 250 chips for about $4 USD or so.

The other option is inexpensive poker chips, the solid color plastic ones. You can paint & flock those if you like and agin, pretty low cost items to make.

FireZouave13 Oct 2013 6:14 a.m. PST

Yes, very good ideas. I hate table clutter and agree that we put so much work into making the figures look good, that we should try to make the table stay realistic looking also. Makes for better pictures too! I also use different figures to mark a status!

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2013 7:42 a.m. PST

Dear TKindred,

You pay $4 USD for 250 chips….400 cents for 250 chips. That is 1.6 cents apiece. Also they are light and may move around a bit. I will sell you my bare markers for $3 USD for 250 chips plus postage. Deal?

DesertScrb13 Oct 2013 8:19 a.m. PST

[2] Bring up Excel and fill the page with "UNSTEADY" AND "SHAKEN", written in font that will just fit on the back of a penny.
[3] Cut out the words and white glue or rubber cement glue them onto the back of one side of the pennies.

You could streamline this further by going to the office supply store and getting a package of small circular sticky labels. They come in white as well as various colors. Microsoft Word has templates for the various sizes and shapes of labels, so you can print your various statuses directly onto the labels and just peel and stick the labels onto the coins.

I used this method to produce drift markers for Galactic Knights, a spaceship combat game. You can see the results here: link

KaweWeissiZadeh13 Oct 2013 3:21 p.m. PST

Very nice. Your approach puts more elusive yet space consuming schemes to shame.

Benvartok13 Oct 2013 4:23 p.m. PST

The whiskey should stay though, that's historical!

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2013 5:15 a.m. PST

Good Idea!

uglyfatbloke31 Oct 2013 6:50 a.m. PST

Great idea. We use big stands of figures and an individual figure to denote a stronger or a casualty to denote a weaker one, but the penny marker is a much better concept – less information for the players.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP31 Oct 2013 8:44 a.m. PST

For my fantasy games, I use to-scale figures of goats (Shaken; typically, a goat won't charge your front, but they will butt you from behind, so they make a perfect marker for troops who will only attack from the side, or rear, due to poor morale), and chickens (Routing), bought off of Mega Mini's, several years ago. I just place the painted animal figures near the unit ("attached"), to denote their morale level (no animal means they are in Good Order).

Prior to that, I used paper tents, with the proper term, in yellow, and red. I like the goats and chickens much better. Since my fantasy is medieval based, the goats and chickens fit into the scenery perfectly. Cheers!

bgbboogie31 Oct 2013 9:05 a.m. PST

We use..

1. A single running figure with no weapon on a penny with a yellow CSA kepi for shaken.
2. An empty ammo box for short on ammo.
3. A triangle with an officer or standard bearer on for encouraged if at the front of the unit or discouraged if placed at the back.
4. A casualty on a triangle for disordered, 2 for broken.

Maxshadow01 Nov 2013 8:48 p.m. PST

I use a drummer and an Officer. These seem to cover it what ever rule set I'm using.

Lion in the Stars02 Nov 2013 1:18 p.m. PST

Thanks for the idea. I hate colored poker chips and pipe cleaners and what not; just ruins the look of the game.
White pipe cleaners make great WP shell explosions, and a red-orange one painted with some black at the end of the spurt makes a great flamethrower shot.

Dust-colored pipe cleaners can make good 'under fire' markers, cut them into short lengths and glue onto a base like the puffs of dust from small arms fire.

I love the idea of using chickens for routing troops, and I suppose the goat will still work for my Colonial troops.

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP14 Jun 2021 3:48 a.m. PST

I think the following looks much better. Buy some grey, white, black and red "roving" from eBay. (It is used by hand spinners as a source of clean wool to spin into wool yarn. IT is cheap). This can be teased into different shapes to represent clouds of gun smoke or fog. You can also use it for explosions- red center ball and black surrounding it. Wool has "scales" on it and is stickly to itself. You can also make up flocked pennies and glue the shaped roving to it. You can make up a diluted (~ 3 water to 1) white glue to soak the rovening in, in order to make it hold it's shape better and connected different colours together.

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