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Thread: Grid Paper

  1. #1

    Question Grid Paper

    I have many things left over from the time when my dad played RPGs, including a variety of maps and grids on various scales of paper. What I'm wondering is where I can go to get grid paper of various sizes. I can readily find 1/4" grids at my school bookstore, but this paper comes loose leaf and intended to be placed in a binder, and I can't stand working with the holes for much more than actually graphing things out in maths and science, or for helping to train my handwriting to fix some of my biggest handwriting problems, and I use Game Paper, which has a 1" grid, for tactical mapping on my RPG tabletop (along with planning to use a 128 ppi scale for tactical mapping on my VTT). In fact, I find I do a lot of my best precision mapping when working with a grid, and since nearly everything I do is hand drawn in the initial phase (even when I use a program, I use my tablet to draw what I want), I find that I still go through all of my grid paper fairly quickly when I am in a mood to make maps.

    So my question is where are the best places (primarily chain stores in the USA) to get high resolution and good quality grid paper, say in the 1/8" to 1/2" ranges, and what sizes of paper are available? What size would you recommend for my city mapping? Should I be looking at art supplies, drafting supplies, or gaming supplies for various sizes and densities of grid, or is there a good place to order grid paper online at a good price? How much can I probably expect to pay as the base price for a pad or bundle of sheets? I already know where to get a roll of gaming paper if I need more of it for tactical maps, but for anything other than that or notebook sized paper with 1/4" grids, I am at a total loss.

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States


    I used to go to the office supply stores and the art supply stores and my college bookstore had all of the stuff for the engineers. There were these giant, poster-size pads of paper and you could get a variety of things. They had 1/8 up to 1 inch...but that was 25 years ago. Not sure what's available now.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
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  3. #3


    I guess I'll check some of he other nearby colleges' bookstores for larger and higher density grid papers. I was just at the hobby store earlier and while they have mats, dice, and minis available, they don't carry any grid paper at any scale.

    Let's broaden the topic, though:

    I love working with grid paper because it's so easy to keep clean lines and angles when you have such easy references as the grid lines. I feel that it's ideal for any sort of structure-based mapping, be it a city, a castle, or a man-made dungeon, just because they help keep some feeling of scale and angle that doesn't keep as well, to me, in a grid-less map. In addition, it's wonderful for any sort of scaling projects -- be it a city you need to scale up for a street gang brawl in Shadowrun or a building that you need to scale down to fit inside of a city. Whatever direction you need to scale in, grid paper makes it easy to set aside however many squares your new scale requires and work in that. In fact, I find it difficult to work on such structured things in computer programs because I don't really want to do stamp-based mapping, and anything less than having view of the full page distracts me too much on detail over the concept, even though with scaling my own manual skills tend to make any non-rigid lines difficult, and so I prefer to scale curves and such digitally or with tool assistance.

    Who else enjoys using grid paper for mapping? Who used to work on physical grids, but has since moved digital? Who has found it to be more useful, or at least authentic feeling, than digital? I know there's a charm and appeal to hand drawn maps, especially as we move more and more into the digital realm, but has anybody actually stepped back from computer mapping to physical mapping for the benefits of scale and scope? What about other benefits or motivations for moving one way or the other in the digital age?

  4. #4


    Hang on a second I seem to recall something... let me find that link again....I think it's right up your alley -

    Hehe, yep, here it is.. gamingpaper <-- I should get a commission for that I think.

    I used to always do my dungeons on grid paper, then I used stencils for a while....just lines for hallways and whatnot, not very great to look at but easy to follow and perfectly functional. Now I'm getting into the digital thing but I still prefer the hand drawn look of things so I'm working on trying to merge the two styles and have it look right.
    Last edited by Jaxilon; 08-24-2010 at 12:23 AM.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

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  5. #5
    Community Leader RobA's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Toronto, Canada


    I also use this site:

    To generate custom graph paper pdf files that I then print out.

    It might be worth it to generate a set of different pdf files of various grids in various sizes upload them here?

    -Rob A>

  6. #6


    Funny thing about this: Gaming Paper is (a) local to me, (b) cheaper than any other option, and (c) already my preference for tactical mapping (I set up a table for nothing but tactical maps by just taping down two strips of gaming paper). Last fall, I heard about it when looking for a mapping solution for my Shadowrun group, and so I swung by GrandLAN (home of Gaming Paper) to pick a roll up. So, my thoughts?

    On the 1" scale, I'd say it can't be beat in everything from usefulness to durability -- we've spilled Mountain Dew on it and at one point a map we'd set on the floor got soaked by a bit of flooding from a severe storm -- the map is still in one piece and the ink didn't bleed at all. It comes in square (which I bought a roll of last year and finished up about a month back by setting up the aforementioned table) and hex (which I might buy next time just to see how it works out) grids. This year they have added singles to the options, 8-1/2x11" sheets that can be used standalone or put into a printer, but I cannot presently comment on the non-square grids, and I'm sure that the singles are of the same quality as the rolls.

    If you need grids for tactical purposes, or like working on a large grid (I never recognized how big one inch really is until I got this paper), check out the site and order some, or see if you have a local retailer who carries it and support your local businesses if so.

    Unfortunately, while Gaming Paper is, presently, wonderful for tactical mapping, I have a terribly difficult time working on a large area, like a city, on the 1" scale. The roll is easy to trasport, and I could slip singles into a folder, but the space I'd be using to map out a town would get ridiculous, not to mention a city, dungeon, or castle. I currently am using a sheet of clear vinyl to make my table reusable, but I also plan to make cutouts of tactical scale bits from future investments in gaming paper, and once the SR group got into mapping things out, they started to love the gaming paper too, so it's definitely part of my gaming repertoire from now until the cows come home, but when I'm planning a city or other structured area, whether I'm doing so as GM or just as a diversion when work is slow, I can't really work at a 1" scale, and I get frustrated by how spatially limiting an 8-12x11" sheet of 1/4" grid can be for a huge city, even though I could easily go onto multiple pages.

  7. #7

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