Sunday, 19 July 2015

4 x 4 Game Board in Three Easy Steps

I have been in need of a proper 4 x 4 gaming board for some time now. While there is nothing wrong with a roll away mat and my dining room table, I wanted something a bit more durable and larger for use with 15mm scifi games. So, I figured it was high time to make one.

I already had the perfect 4 x 4 plywood off-cut laying around from another project and that would make the perfect start. The rest of the materials were things I had laying around as well from other hobby projects, so not a single new thing was bought for this project.

The first step was to lay on a good coat of Deck Restore. I like the 10X stuff because it tends to stay where I put it and provides a good solid coating which works well for adding to terrain projects. I should also note that Deck Restore does come in colors but I had the clear stuff on hand.
I was rather unceremonious about the application of the Deck Restore and started by pouring out a good amount of the can into the middle of the board. I then spread this around, changing direction a lot so as to minimize patterns in the stuff.

The final step in the application was to come back after about 20 minutes, with the material having set a bit and then distressing it some more for the look I wanted. Don't be too worried about texture after you apply it. Gravity will smooth a lot of those.

After the Deck Restore dries and hardens (24 hrs unless you leave it out in the summer heat), I went over it with a brush of a basic sandy color that I picked up at Home Depot in their paint department. I should note that this wasn't painted on but was still wetter than a dry brush. I more fanned a semi-loaded brush over the surface to catch most of the details.

Just as an aside, I cruise the paint department for mismatched or returned sample jars that they sell off for a pittance. It's easy to build up a collection of handy colors this way.

Once the base color was dry enough, I then went around adding some irregular splotches of other color by spraying on several colors of spray paint. I used tans and even a light olive color. The idea here is to break up the monotony of the tan base.

The final step was to stain the whole thing and bring it all together. I chose a Honey Cherry stain. A small 0.5 liter can was enough for the whole board. Again, not a lot of care was taken in the application here. I poured the entire can into the general area of the middle of the can, making an irregular pool. The only care I took here was to keep the precious color on the board.

After the can was empty, I then took my brush and pushed the stain out for the middle, making sure that ever part of the board got some and that too much wasn't pooling in any one place. This produced a nice irregular orange-ish sand coloration that looks quite nice. 

The end result is a durable and lushly colored earth tone and textured board. While it makes for a desert board easily enough, the color is neutral enough to really work for most ground types. Adding foliage will make it seem less barren and structures added could make it look like lived on ground.



  1. This table looks great, and I hope it was as easy to make as you made it sound to be!

  2. It really was. Being able to work on it outside really helped with that. Almost every step was applied with a good deal of recklessness. Having all the stuff I needed before hand also helped. This is one of these cases where hoarding supplies came in handy.