Travel gaming boards case

Neither Mrs Doodler or I drive. This doesn’t impact much of our day to day lives – we’re very fortunate in being able to walk or catch the bus to most places we need to – but it does affect how we pack. If something can’t fit into a pulley case or rucksack, it doesn’t come on holiday.

Alas, wargaming is not well suited to sharing space with hand luggage. I’ve had to go abstract and work with felt tips on laminated maps:

Until now.

I married into an old art box, formerly filled with colour pencils but more recently just rattling with the last few unpopular ones. I commandeered it and emptied the last dregs.

Closed, it has a 37cm x 30cm footprint, and opens up to give space for two 35 x 28cm boards with space for 20mm walls in each.

Taking inspiration from these excellent geomorphs, I sketched out a rough floorplan aiming for a slew of rooms and corridors with plenty of options for getting across the board. I had a lot of plastic shims which made up the walls, and sketched around some old sprues to create some patterns on the EVA foam flooring.

The other half, for a more open battlefield, was just a lot of old filler smeared around some scrap bits of foam core. The spaceship came from a busted stapler and mouse, and a dismantled keyboard made up much of the rest of the scenery.

I gave everything a few layers of PVA glue to seal things in, then sprayed a primer over it. Unfortunately my plans didn’t work out – there was quite a bit of warping of the EVA foam, and the baking soda floors I’d made for the bar and store room interiors didn’t solidify into a mass.

I tried pinning down the EVA foam and then smothering that and the baking soda with some old superglue, before giving both boards a few thin layers of acrylic lacquer. So far they’re holding better.

I then found myself remembering how my enthusiasm for painting figures far exceeds that for painting terrain, as I slogged through two boards’ worth , increasingly slapdash as I started hurrying up to get it done in time for a holiday with the in-laws.

The vast majority of the terrain got covered in sample paints from interior decor brands, picked up cheaply from a nearby charity shop. I further ruined a few old brushes as well as a cheap make up brush in the process, but far better that than working through the dedicated model paints and tools!

With less than 24 hours to go I managed to complete it and give it some more lacquer coating for added protection.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and I write this having played a few games of 5 Parsecs From Home on it. It survived its first journey on the UK train network, and the two board designs have proved flexible enough to sustain quite a few different battle types.

As an when I do this again, though, I’ll probaby look for an alternative to the EVA foam floors for the rooms. I don’t dislike them on their own, but they don’t quite fit the aesthetic of the rest of the build. A tad too basic, which stands out from the finer detail of the walls and greebles.

That same charity shop from which came the paint and shims does stock a lot of empty cases, so I’m game to try and do this again, perhaps with an old drill case which, with the greater depth, might allow for multi-level boards.

Here are a few shots for scale:

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