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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pre-made Gaming Aids - Mechanical Warhorse product review

by Jason

As a gamer, would you rather build your own gaming aids or do you prefer to buy ready-made products?  I typically prefer to make my own gaming aids, from custom objective markers to a variety of wrecked vehicle templates to match what vehicles I may come across.  As I get older, and my hobby time grows smaller, I'm gaining a greater appreciation for cool-looking gaming aids that I don't have to build and paint myself.

I got a package in the mail of some pre-made gaming aids from Mechanical Warhorse.They are sponsoring our upcoming Indy Open (If you haven't registered yet, you should.  There are very few slots left), and wanted some feedback on several of their more popular items.

I'll start with my favorite-looking of their options (and the one I found the least useful), the flamer template.  While this template gives a cool cinematic effect to your flame-throwing model, the effect is completely lost when you lift the flame handle portion of the marker up and over the enemy models to see how many models are covered.  The other option would be to turn it upside-down to see the flames washing over the enemy models (they're probably heretics anyway).

The "Vehicle Wreckage" markers definitely stand out on the tabletop, and come in a variety of sizes to represent most of the common vehicles that you find in a lot of tabletop wargames.  Their newest marker is a large oval that would nicely represent a wrecked flyer in 40k.

My only issue with these markers is that they did not fit snugly together, and would require some glue to make them sturdy.  This is less convenient for the player who wants to disassemble these markers and take them from game to game.

 My favorite products ended up being the objective markers and deployment zone markers (they come in a combined pack).   While I typically prefer to make my own objective markers and personalize them to match my army.  The simple skull design and high contrast of the colors make it easy to notice on the tabletop.  The deployment markers were very handy, and look a lot better than a row of dice strewn across the table.

These two items are perfect for the gamer who wants an easy solution that can be tossed in a bag and easily transported with his army.

All said and done, Mechanical Warhorse has some cool-looking, ready-made gaming aids that are priced pretty reasonably.  If you factor in the amount of time and effort spent making your own gaming aids, these are probably cheaper.  But that's not really the motivation for the gamer who prefers to do things themselves, is it?

What about you?  Do you prefer to make your own gaming aids?  Do you look for ready-made products like these?  Do you use dice and poker chips for your games?  Leave your comments below.


  1. Crashed fliers don't leave any wreckage, lol

  2. I am very much the DIY gaming aid guy. I want my gaming aids to match my army, be functional in the game, and look fantastic. That being said, I totally agree with Wienas on the subject of TIME. Another factor on the matter I think is the particular game. While in 40k my Ork army has 'kustom' wrecked vehicle craters and objective markers, my Axis force for Dust Warfare uses generic tokens for suppression and other effects. Why? Well, with 40k once a crater or objective is in play -it stays. In Dust, you're constantly tossing and picking up tokens so I think it makes more since just to have very simple and durable tokens for that.

  3. ...and BTW, great product review Jason!