After the last table of ALO Con on Sunday, I spent a few minutes chatting with the people at the table. As the subject turned to the really nice maps the DM used, he told us his secret: 2-Minute Table Top by Ross McConnell.
Now admittedly, the Justin Timberlake and Madonna song did go through my head briefly–hence the article title–but then it got serious. Here was free online resource that not only had very nice maps, but had printing instructions that actually used additional abilities in PDF, such as layers for different grids. Great! I was running a game on Monday night–perfect timing.
It begins with the account registration being impossible–I mean, literally the site did not let me create an account, even when I wanted to purchase something. If it doesn’t work, it’s a feature is not applicable in this case. The password authentication was uninformative and extremely strict on what it decided was a decent password. What I ended up typing in was ridiculous. (I know this has nothing to do with gaming accessories and maps, but buyer beware…)
So finally, I managed to order a $1 map and the first thing I noticed was that it would not tile properly for a poster print. Apparently, the older maps–by the way, the site does not tell you which maps are the older ones–need some special wrangling in order for them to work properly. Even going through Photoshop and Acrobat, I was still unable to get the print to tile to four pages instead of six. At this point I was getting properly annoyed. It took nearly an hour of careful cropping and trimming afterwards to get the map to print on 2 x 2 with a regular printer. Players beware the irate DM…
What is the prognosis? I had not planned on taking nearly two hours in the afternoon to print a map. While the site does give 10 free maps in both PDF and JPG format right off the bat, my experience with layout and printing made me quite agitated before the game. The images would probably go very well into an virtual tabletop (VTT). There are also tutorials about how to build 2.5D battle maps. Go check out the site for yourself… your experience may vary.
Here is what it looked like during our game:
…and from the DM’s view:
(The map is shiny and reflective because there is a plexiglass sheet covering it, great for use with dry or wet erase markers, by the way. Much easier to wipe down and clean off than my old RPGA battlemat.)
I realize that I did not speak much about the actual maps or the art this time, but it did make me add a poster printer to my gaming accessories wishlist… and a good paper cutter too!
But… what do I know…?