Ha-ha! Did you catch the pun there? In all seriousness, though, it seems like for something that we all use so much we really don't talk about them that much. To be honest there's a reason I'm bringing this up now. I bought a couple new tape measures. They were in the remainders bin at a local discount shop. For fifty cents each, I thought I was getting a good deal. They are tiny, and well, I got what I paid for.
The thing is when considering what measuring device you want to use there are certain things that need to be considered. Size, length, legibility, and flexibility. Some of these are obvious and some are not, and well, I like to list things almost as much as Cracked.com does- so well, here's a break down list. And then I'll have another breakdown list of the different types of measuring devices!
-Size. This one seems to be pretty obvious doesn't it? Well, it is a bit more complicated when you get down to it. This is almost a second thought for most people, especially those who play big games on open fields like WHFB or 40K. In Mordheim, though, it is much more of a consideration. If your measuring device is too big, you will have a hard time getting around terrain. In Mordheim you want a tape measure that is less then two inches by two inches. Smaller would be better, but any larger then that and you are running into some serious problems.
-Length. Ah, the whole thing that everyone talks about. The thing is that in most wargames, you really don't need that long of a tape measure. To be honest, if you are trying to shoot at something more then 48 inches away, then you are worrying about the wrong target. That's why most smaller tape measures are great, they top out around five feet. Now, there are reasons for an even shorter length, but those are typically specialized equipment.
-Legibility. I cannot stress this one enough. If you can't read it, what's the point? It's even better if your opponent can read it from a distance as well. Not necessarily mandatory, but helpful.
-Flexibility. This is a different one, and in most cases less flexible is good, however, there are times when a bit of flexibility is good. I like a very flexible measuring device, especially when playing Mordheim. There are times when you want to walk around something and if your measuring device is too rigid then it is difficult to measure accurately. The flipside of this is that if you want to measure long distances, less flexibility is preferred since flexibility will cause your targeting to be droopy.
So while I talked a bit about the things to think about when getting a measuring device, but I also want to talk about the three most common types of measuring devices.
The Whippy Stick: Now, for those of you who have ever bought a GW starter box, these are the 18 inch long red sticks. I like calling them Whippy sticks, cause they are AWESOME to smack your opponent with. They are bendy enough to get a great smack, but that's about all they are good for. They are too large to get in between even WHFB terrain, too short for most distance shooting, too inflexible to use in small games, and they are the most illegible things for measuring that I have ever come across.
Tape Measures: The ultimate tool. It's easy the most legible, and the most common. While being flexible enough to kinda bend around corners, most of them are rigid enough to measure distance easily. The recoiling action of them is also great for saving space. The main thing about them is getting the right tape measure. Anything will work, but to be honest, I would skip out on the GW ones, and I'd spend the extra couple of bucks for a name brand one from a tool company. I personally love the three Stanley tape measures I have. One of them is rather small and I got from a set of screwdrivers, the others I stole from my dad years ago. They are all over ten years old and have no rust or wear on them. Now, my Eldest Child has stolen one of them for his Star Wars RPG game. The cycle goes on.
String and Sticks: Now, bear with me here. I like string and sticks. I think they are great. The main problem is that they are inherently illegible. The thing is that they work. You need to get permission from your opponent, and chances are that the opponent will spot check your measurements. I like to use strings since I can just lay them down where I want to go, and boom there is the distance I can travel. Sticks are great for distance. The thing is that you can have a different string/stick for each different measurement you have. Most warbands (and most games for that matter) only have a couple of different ranges. So a few strings roll up comfortably in almost nothing. Sticks are a bit more, but if you have a max range of 12 inches, they are a treat. It's a bit different, but it is cheap and effective. Which is something I like, if you haven't noticed.
Well, that's all for now. Next week, I might not have a post, its Cub Scout weekend, so taking the kids away for a weekend of fishing, dodge ball, and we might just be able to get some games of Mordheim or Star Wars d6 RPG in (weather depending).