How to make a Sevens Board

Posted by Ooarrtracter on 20th July 2018

Making a Bloodbowl 7s Board

Sevens fever seems to be sweeping the country with tournaments and mini leagues popping up all over. So far the only known cure for this epidemic is not having a suitable board to play on, and masking tape just doesn’t cut it. After offering to make some boards for the ECBBL summer 7s league, and being asked for 12(!), I was also asked to help the Tacklezone get in on the action by documenting the procedure for posterity. A good deed never goes unpunished it seems.

Hot action as Sevens Kings face down the Butchered Hog’s Kitchen Staff in an ECBBL Summer 7s game

So here is a TZ exclusive guide on how I make my boards which hopefully will give you pointers on how to make your own. It’s simpler than you think…

You will require:

  • A suitable sevens pitch image
  • A printer
  • A3 and/or A4 full page labels
  • Artists mount board
  • Cloth Gaffer tape
  • Scalpel or suitable knife for cutting card
  • Metal ruler
  • Pencil

I’m making this board in club colours but any mountboard will do

The real key elements here is the good quality image and the large format labels. All of the rest is just showing off for transportability sake. If you’re just going to keep the board at a single location, and have the storage for a full size board, skip straight to sticking the labels on a large piece of mountboard and start rolling dice. Otherwise this guide should help if you want it to fold up into a bag.

First a quick primer – Sevens is played on a special pitch which is 6 squares shorter and 4 squares narrower. To prevent elves and skaven spoiling the game for everyone the LoS has been split into two so the pitch is formed of 3 zones, 6 squares long each, and you still have to drive 13 squares to score. An image is worth a thousand words:

The official NAF pitch from thenaf.net

To save time you can find existing sevens pitches online. The NAF site has a download for the one above under the variants tab but you don’t want that. If you make it all the way to the end of this blog you too could use the custom designed TackleZone board!

If you can’t find one though you may want to try harder, we just linked you to two, or you can make your own. There are plenty of guides for making realistic textures yourself online. However for my boards I usually browse DriveThruRPG where you can find a number of downloadable battlemats for a few pennies or pounds each. Find one you like the look of and use an image editor like Photoshop (£££) or Paint.net (free) to add the lines, squares and other paraphernalia until you have a nice looking board. This will probably be the most learning intensive element for those who don’t regularly use image editors, and slightly beyond the scope of this guide. But it’s worth it and if you don’t have time hopefully you can find a friend with the suitable skills.

The finished ECBBL board image in Paint.net ready to be flattened down and split into printable sections. Yes I love lots of layers.

After that the magic which transfers this image to your board are full page printable labels. If you Google “A3 full page labels” you should be able to find a provider. A3 are easiest to work with as they can fold over hinges and need less alignment for a more seamless look. A4 will do, with a little more finesse in matching your print. My sevens boards are formed up of 6 panels which fold together and the image can go over two hinges. I add a 5mm white border around the image to allow for edging and split it into four images; two which are ⅔ length, ½ width and two which are ⅓ length, ½ width. Print at the highest quality you can onto the labels.

Image printed and trimmed down. Yes I’ve done the image the opposite way round, I will stick it on upside down to compensate

Next is preparing the physical board. I use artists mount board which is 1000gsm and about 1.5mm thick. This has the nicest balance between rigidity, durability & cost. It should be available from any good art supply store in various colours for around £3-5 pounds per sheet. I’ve used Daler Rowney board (available from here and here if you are London based) but you’re best to find a local art supplier and see what they have. Failing that stationery shops may have suitable products.

Through trial and error I have found cutting up a large A1 board gives a better result than matching A3 boards together. Both will work though with care. Unfortunately my design is just too large to fit on an A2 board but you could tweak it if you hate cutting or like separate dugouts.

I carefully measure out the 6 panels which makes up the folding pitch and cut. For the TZ board image, with the white border to the design, these are 200mm by 225mm each. Remember measure twice, cut once. You can’t uncut things! I also then mark which panel is which so they don’t get mixed up and which panels/edges will fold face to face or back to back.

Board all cut up, time to stick it back together

Diagram of how the board folds together for the more visually inclined

The board is then brought back together with cloth gaffer tape. I use Pro-Gaff as it is strong, durable and has a nice linen finish. The six panel design is made to ensure the printed labels fold against each other to protect them in transport. You can do this in any order you wish but mine is as follows;

Start with the vertical hinge which connects Top left and Bottom Left. This is an inner hinge that folds the design against itself. Lay the pieces down together, making sure that the edges which will connect to other panels are absolutely flush and the board will fold straight. Stick your tape across the pieces and then trim the ends.

Next will be the rear hinges which connect the two left to the two middle panels as you look at it normally. Flip the whole thing over and again line everything up flush, make sure you don’t get your panels and edges mixed up when doing so! It is essential that there are no gaps or the labels will need to overhang to match up, making the whole thing more fragile. Stick the tape right across both panel joins and then trim the ends, and the half tape width ‘overhang’ in the middle through the seam.

Make sure you trim the tape through the seam or your board won’t fold up

Finally flip back to the top side and add the right two panels to the middle panels in the same way. Keep going slowly and ensure the seams are as tight as possible before sticking them down. The whole width of tape will need to be trimmed through the middle seam for this join. The board should now neatly fold together into a ⅙ of the overall size.

I also like to edge the whole board with the same tape folded over the sides for a neater look. This will also protect edges in use. Remember to trim the gaps where this goes over the join on the right side that isn’t a hinge.

Reassembled board, edged and ready for the imagery. Can you spot the mistake?

Finally comes the slightly tricky bit; sticking on the labels neatly. Trim the labels down to the right size being careful not to trim any of the design away. The trick to getting a seamless join is to slice only a small strip of backing paper off each sheet, the outer edges is most effective. You can then butt them against each other and adjust the sheets to ensure they all meet whilst gently tacking down one edge until they are all in place.

Trim off just a small strip from the labels when initially applying them so that they can be aligned more easily

If following the format I’m using the ⅔ sized image labels should go over the top side fold of the right and middle pieces. The smaller images goes on the left side panels as there will be a natural split. Again go slowly and once happy with their positioning the backing sheet can be gradually peeled back and the label smoothed down to prevent any bubbles. Congratulations, you now have a beautiful sevens board!

Allow the labels a few minutes to bind and then for the first fold ensure you help the labels over the hinges remain stuck down as you go.

The complete board with a couple of it’s folded brothers. Pay no attention to the levitating knife

 

The TackleZone Sevens Board

So do you fancy trying it yourself and getting in on the short sided action? As promised in addition to the NAF design above the TackleZone has created two (Well one but with 2 centre variations) sevens pitch images for you to download right here. This is available in the old 29mm square size here, with both full size and pre-split images included.

The TackleZone Sevens Pitch, version B

If you prefer your Bloodbowl in the new size then modify the images to be 177 DPI rather than the 200 they currently are. Note if you do this it will no longer print in the 6 panel design using A3 labels. A 4 panel design may work but I leave this as an exercise for you the reader to work out.

If you make a board with these please post a photo and let us know.

Best of luck and may you need no rerolls!

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