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When you write on a hex battlemap, is it best to use water-soluble markers?  I tried dry-erase and it was difficult to get off. The map bottom is canvas and the hex-top covering is a soft latex for rolling it up (I think).

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That sounds like a Chessex battlemap. If so, then you definitely want to use water soluble pens on it.

 

Also, don't leave red or red based colors (brown, purple, etc.) on the map for too long or they will stain it.

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I have a friend who used dry-erase markers on a battlemat.  That completely ruined it.  I've heard suggestions of using rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball -- I'd try that in an inconspicuous area first before going for the whole map.  But you may have to write off that battlemat as a loss.

 

Water soluble / wet erase markers (Expo Vis-a-Vis are my weapon of choice) are what you want.  I get 8-color variety packs from Staples, with the occasional black-only pair (since I use that the most). 

 

And I second what mallachain said -- avoid red and purple, and maybe minimize use of brown.  (I personally don't have as much an issue with that color, but YMMV.)  I've actually had more of a problem with blue leaving a faint stain than I've had with brown.  And orange doesn't seem to make a long-term stain for me.  But again, YMMV.

 

Since I love putting details on maps, mine tend to be pretty involved.  After getting done drawing them, I often take a photo of the finished product, in case I need to recreate it.

 

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Doing a search online, someone suggested using white vinegar or lemon juice (both are mild acids), followed quickly with soapy water so you don't leave any acidic residue.  Again, I'd try that on an isolated area first before attacking the whole dry-erase map.

 

Failing that, try diluted ammonia (again followed quickly by soapy water).

 

And I don't know if this is still a valid site, but it looks like Chessex has been discontinuing their single-side battlemats and they may still have some at reduced prices.  Here is the page:

http://www.chessex.com/mats/Battlemats_Megamats.htm

and here is the page for the order form:

http://www.chessex.com/Customer Service/Order Form.htm

 

Since I use the 21mm hex mats already, them being out of the 1 inch hex mats doesn't bother me.

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Yeah, dry erase is a bad idea with a vinyl battlemat.  The battlemat absorbs the ink more readily and stains.

 

The vis a vis wet erase markers work well.  The black ones clean off well.  After a while, you can take your battlemat in the shower and wash with mild dish soap to get a lot of the residue off.

 

Dry erase should only be used on plastic.

 

One thing I like for games which use a standard 1" grid is to to get a grid based pad for easels and the like.  Here's a smaller one for sale on amazon.  Larger easel version can be bought at most office supply stores.

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I had some success getting old dry-erase off of battle mats with a Pink Pearl pencil eraser.  It was not pristine after the treatment, and it took substantial elbow grease, but the result was serviceable.

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A couple of years ago I was at a fabric store looking for something to recover the seats in Big Ugly.  I found a sandy-colored fabric that had a black slightly-smaller-than-one-inch hex pattern on it (seems like it's something on the order of 13/16" ).  Later I would find this same fabric in a bold red at Sprawl Mart.  I bought about six yards of it for next to nothing.  Use chalk to write on it, toss it in the washing machine with my work clothes when the game is over.

 

Best twelve bucks I ever spent.  :)

 

The seats in Big Ugly remain untended.  :lol:

 

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