Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Making Unit Counters

Since I have all these nicely painted figures, it would be a good thing to be able to make unit counters (for the campaign map and even as reference for the tactical game) instead of generic counters. I'm making 1/2" counters here for use in the Vidi Vini Vici campaign game. Click on the picure for a better view of the draft print.

For graphics, I took some good high-res pictures of the figures that were going to be used.

I had to doctor the figure pictures so that there colors are more contrasting (when you shrink them down to fit on 1/2 inch counters, they lose a bit of resolution, so this helps compensate for that) and remove the background white, creating a transparent mask (so I can make counters of different countries different colors- see picture at the bottom).

These *.PNGs I import into my drawing program (Visio). I add the counter info, counter outlines then paste the PNGs into them. I use layers to organize and help me with editing, as it can get pretty messy when you have to say, change the color of 1 stat so that it appears better on the counter when you have a page full of counters.

I wanted these as double-side counters with a weaker strength and ID on the back, so I divided the page in half, where the 1st half (the color PNGs in the picture) is mirrored by the second half (the gray PNGs in the picture). This way when I cut the page in 2 halves and mount the 1st half on cardboard, I can turn the cardboard around and mount the 2nd half and it will line up reasonably well. Note that I use 1/2" boxes around the counters on the 1st half of the page, but make them transparent on the 2nd half. You use the boxed side of the counter sheet to cut them out. That way, if your alignment is not perfect, you still get reasonable looking counters.

A word of advice, be sure that second half of the page is a mirror of the 1st or your counter backsides will be wrong ! In this case it did not matter, as each horizontal row was composed of the same counters. It becomes important if you have say an ID on the front you want to match with the one on the back.

I printed this sheet out on an 8 1/2" x 11" full label sheet (Avery Laserjet Labels).All I had to do was cut the page in two halves, peel and stick the halves on some thick-ish cardboard (being careful to line them up as well as possible). In no time I had some decent counters. With a few clicks, I could create army counters in various colors, such as the Red army counter below

I can't wait to get more of my troops re-based (especially the cavalry)- I'll be able to expand my troop types and army possibilities.

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