Saturday, 30 July 2011

Marking Damage Grids / Life Spirals

It has come to my attention since I started playing this game that people mark their damage grids/life spirals differently. While it doesn’t tell you about the player’s personality, it does give you a glimpse of how a person perceives a damage grid/life spiral. Since this is not an article on psychology, I will leave the deduction of people's perception to you. Here are some examples of how people mark their damage according to my observation.


Thick Line
Don't worry, it's only the open fist that's busted!
This is the most common type of marking technique seen in the area where I reside in. This is probably due to the easily available whiteboard marker. The best part about this marking technique is that if your card is on the tabletop, the damage of your warjack is quite visible from eyeview level when sitting down at the table (subjected to individuals).

Thin Line
Cortex busted!! Eh? Wait a minute...
This technique is usually used when a thin whiteboard marker is provided instead of a thick one. It “feels” neater and it's easier to clean but it does play eye tricks on you. Most of us wear glasses (if you aren’t, you eventually will). The resolution generated from this technique requires us to actually pick up the card and glance at it closely in order to check if our warjack’s cortex is busted or not.

Screw the right arm, this Lancer is still a threat!
It doesn’t matter whether the whiteboard marker is thick or thin (picture shown above is from using a thin whiteboard marker), this technique is defined by the pressing and lifting motion of the whiteboard marker on each of the individual cells. It is time consuming, but some people mark their grids this way like it is their second nature. Not only is it tough to see, but a slight smudge (i.e. part of your resting arm accidently landed on the card) would result in a marked damage grid being lost without a trace. Unlike its thin counterpart, the thick version would at the very least leave some trace behind when smudged.


Didn't kill it? It's gonna kill you then.
When I see players mark their damage grid of a warbeast, I see the above technique a lot. Like its warmachine counterpart, both thin or thick whiteboard markers can be used. This technique makes it difficult to see which aspect is busted, but due to the design of the life spiral, this could be the most preferred method around the world for marking a warbeast life spiral.

Mind Blown!!!
Perhaps the easiest (and laziest) way to mark a life spiral. Unfortunately due to the "compactness" of the life spiral, one would still need to pick up a card to ‘double-check’ whether the required aspect is still online. Using thick whiteboard markers can potentially overlap the life spiral beside it. Hence, using a thin whiteboard marker for this technique is highly advised.

In case you have not noticed, various whiteboard marker colours are used when marking damage grids/life spirals. The most common ones I see are red coloured markers, but I do tend to see blue and black ones from time to time. Players who use black-coloured markers need to be careful when checking to see the damage inflicted on your model as it is easily obscured by the card’s background colour. This leads to a misjudged inflicted damage. Green colour is uncommon but I have seen it used once before. Red coloured ones stands out the most for easy identification, but it is interesting to note that green is the colour our eyes are most receptive to.

One thing I would like to add before I end this column. I notice a trend where players who started off from Warmachine tend to mark their damage grids in a line fashion, regardless of which game system (WM or H) they play and players who started out from Hordes tend to mark their damage grids in a dotted fashion regardless of which game system they play. Old habits die hard.

Not all players mark their damage grid/life spirals the same. How do you mark yours? Also, do you mark the “System Status” box under the damage grid once a system is busted?


  1. I use a darker blue marker and dot mine. This is mainly for cleanup reasons. I almost always forget to bring something to wipe the cards off with and usually end up with ink on my fingers, which sometimes gets transferred to models if I'm not careful :(. However, after reading your post I may switch to a thin line (as I have a thin marker) and to a red or bright green color after the blue marker runs out.

  2. I personally find that red markers are the easiest to see. I guess if the contrast of your green marker is strong, it should be the best colour option to use.