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Create Your Own Battle Board for D&D

Figuring out maps for in-person D&D is tough. Whether you use a whiteboard, printed maps, dungeon tiles, or terrain, consider adding a battle board. This is a fun, low-effort crafting experiment that gives you a dynamic artifact to bring to the table each week.


First, find a good-sized picture frame with plexiglass. The edge should be relatively flat and wide. I used an 18x24 Black Belmont Frame by Studio Décor.

18x24 Black Belmont Frame by Studio Décor

Next, you’ll need paint or pens for designing your frame. Make sure they work well on wood (or whatever material your frame is made from). I used Sharpie® Oil-Based Paint Markers, Medium Point Basic Set.

Optionally, you might consider something to seal your designs. I used Krylon Workable Fixatif that I had from a previous project.

How To Build It

Remove the plexiglass and backing so you’re left with just the frame. Wipe the frame with a clean cloth to remove any dust or debris. Grab your paint and begin! That’s it. Try not to plan it out too much. No need for measurements and pencil tracings. Just begin. Find an artist or style that inspires you. Consider your games and the themes you tend to follow. My designs were inspired by the art of Runehammer.

If you bought a sealant, seal it as soon as you finish the designs. Once the seal is done, add back the plexiglass, a white sheet of paper (the reverse side of the stock one works great), and the backing.

How to Use It

Your battle board is ready for the game. Set it on the table in front of your gaming group. You can use dry or wet-erase markers to draw on the plexiglass (wet-erase work better in my experience) as a whiteboard. You can also print off maps and put them in the frame for some more detailed scenes. You can even use it as a stage for your terrain or dungeon tiles!

Track initiative on the board. Write down ongoing effects. Scribble out mysterious runes the characters find—anything at all to bring your game to life.

A black frame decorated with white and red runes, patterns, swords, and dice. It’s framing an empty white space with a black chalk marker lying on top.

Between games? Hang it up like any other frame to be proud of.

Game on.