Monday, January 29, 2024

The eternal war of pencil versus dry erase marker

 This feels like it might be one of the silliest topics I’ve written about. However, it’s one that I do find myself thinking about. And, as it’s getting time to order more toner, it’s definitely on my mind. 

Pencil versus Dry Erase marker lol

I play a lot of Print-and-Play Roll-and-Writes. Easy to make, easy to have the same quality as a published copy and there’s plenty of interesting games that use that medium.

And if you laminate a game sheet or even just put it in a page protector or a ziplock gallon baggy, you can use it over and over again with a dry erase marker. Over the years, it’s pretty safe to say that I have saved a lot of ink and paper that way.

But dry erase markers tend to draw thicker lines, even the finer tip ones. (And I’ve found the fine tip ones wear down but maybe I press too hard) And there are some games where thicker lines just don’t work.

For example (and there are many examples), Utopia Engine has you filling in lots of small boxes with numbers. I need a pencil or pen to play the game (and if you don’t, I’m jealous) Even with writing lightly and erasing after the game, that seriously limits the use of a game sheet compared to lamination.

It feels shallow, even silly, to judge a game on the basis of whether or not I can laminate it. However, PnP R&W gaming is definitely a form of budget gaming. There are games that I would have played a lot less if I had had to constantly reprint game sheets. It does make a real difference.

And it’s a similar line of thinking of that makes me go for the low ink option (well, not necessarily if it’s for a multi-player game). Material costs are real costs.

Over the last few years, I must have played over a hundred different games that I could use a dry erase marker on. And I will definitely play games that need a pencil. But I do choose those games with more scrutiny.

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