About a week ago, I tried an experiment. At my office, we had a couple of vinyl banners that had been printed incorrectly on the large plotter, and were cut off on one side. Normally, those would be thrown out, but by coincidence, the banners were just about 3′x3′…a perfect size for Pirates.

So, I took the vinyl home. That weekend, I went to the store and picked up 2 different colors of spray-paint. Then, I laid the vinyl out in the sun and spray-painted them, trying to get a water pattern. For most of the sheets, I painted the back so that I wouldn’t have to cover up the printed side, but on one or two, I painted over the print. It didn’t work out so well; I had to use quite a bit of paint to cover up the print, and even them I could still read the print when the sun hit the surface right.

Finally, I had one or two nice playmats, and two or three that were ok. Unfortunately, the spray paint didn’t quite dry, and when I rolled the mats up at the end of the afternoon, several of them stuck together. I’ll have to see if I can clear coat them.

This past weekend, I tried a different tactic. I spent about an hour or so in Photoshop creating a mottled water pattern. Then, I took the pattern into InDesign and added a border, and white and black gridlines. then, I took the file to a local printer and had it printed at 36″x36″ on vinyl. And it came out amazing! The pictures here don’t really do it justice.

I made the map at 36″x36″ so that it could be used for both Pirates and Sailpower. The map is divided into 49 5″ squares by a grid of black lines, and then white lines go diagonally across the map. This is that when the map is used for Sailpower, you can line your ship up with the lines. I also put a 8-point compass rose in one corner, to be used with the wind indicator in Sailpower.

I’m planning on taking the map to tomorrow nights Pirates game and see if we can use it. It really depends on how many players show up, because 36″x36″ is good for a couple of small fleets, but tomorrow night’s scenario is a no-point limit game, so I expect large fleets.