So, back in the day (I think it was fourth edition, but maybe it was in 3rd edition), Gale Force Nine released a set of vehicle damage markers, and markers for various unit effects like “pinning” or “broken.” I picked up a set, but I find that I don’t often use vehicles in my games, so they generally don’t get used–at least not for their originally intended purpose.
Anymore, they wind up serving a variety of roles. Except in the very rare instance where they count for what is printed on them, they generally are flipped upside down and marked with various dice to symbolize whatever buff/curse is on a particular unit. Most often, this has been used to represent Catalyst (Feel no Pain), but really anything with a lasting effect gets indicated by these markers.
For the most part, I don’t think I get them mixed up all that much, but it would be quite easy to do. There are also a variety of effects in the game that I denote with just dice laying on the table. I wind up using red dice to indicate wounds taken, green dice often denote mysterious forests, and blue dice mysterious rivers/lakes. There are yet some effects that I have no viable way to represent, so I leave them to the whimsy of my addled memory (which is always a mistake).
I’ve been looking for a better way to handle this, but since my army looks good, I wanted to be careful to go with a really slick looking solution. Dwez over at Confessions of a 40k Addict does some pretty nice markers and posts the templates for free (click that link for the examples). While they look good, I just fear that they’ll fall apart or bend/fray at the gaming table. There are also some solutions crafted with a button maker available on Ebay, but they’re close to $1 per button. Granted, I have a ton of money invested in this silly game, so what’s $1 more?
The problem is that between the Warlord Traits, Psychic Powers and Unique Army/Unit effects–for even just the two armies I play with any regularity–that would still mean dozens of buttons. Add in a sufficient amount of terrain (Mysterious forest, water, archetypes, objectives, etc.) and you quickly jump up over $100 for a few buttons.
I got to thinking that maybe I’d be better off buying a button press and making my own–though I quickly shied away from that (did you know that button presses alone can be upwards of $300??). So then I started asking around the button making hobby community and found someone that agreed to make custom buttons for far cheaper–I just had to come up with the designs.
So, having never played with photoshop, I downloaded a free trial and started tinkering. I’d been provided with a template as to how the graphics would lay out on the buttons, and been given free reign from there. The first night I came up with a few designs, and I’ve since done up about 30 different buttons.
The problem is that I think I got too far ahead of myself. While I really like the look of these designs, I fear that they’re going to be far too intricate to be represented on a 1″ button. So, before I go any farther, I’ve asked the button maker to provide a sample. When I gave him the art originally, he didn’t seem to have any qualms, but I’m still leery, so we’ll see in time. I suspect that I’ll ultimately have to tone down the designs a bit, but I figured that I’d share what I had thus far as I’m pretty proud of my inane tinkering in photoshop.
I’ll post later an example of the button progress and what, if anything, I do to “fix” their level of detail.