We’ve all been there; playing a game only to find that you need to measure some smallish distance but your tape measure is too bug and bulks to fit in among the terrain and figures. At times like this a measuring stick is invaluable.
Making your Stick
Simply get a length of thin dowel (1/8th inch is usually ideal), cut it to the maximum desired length you want and then mark it out in graduations. If you keep your measuring sticks to close range lengths it should fit in your figure case and be light enough not to add to the overall weight.
Custom is King
If you are going to the trouble of making a measuring stick you might as well customise it. Most games these days have ranges that are significant, whether it is the 8″ range bands used by Spartan Games or a weapon ranges used in a game like Dead Man’s Hand. It is often worth making range sticks specifically for these games, as it will help to speed up game play and can prevent arguments about whether so and so figure is out of range or not.
For some of my games I even go so far as to make range sticks for specific armies. For instance my range stick for my Dropzone Commander force is marked out at 1″/2″/3″ and 6″, as these are the significant distances for articulated weapons, Deck level flying/Type 2 walker speed, Type 1 walker speed and regular flying height. Anything over 6″ is generally easy enough to measure with a regular tape.
One other thing that measuring sticks are good for is determining Line of Sight (LoS). If you can place the stick between the two figures without an obstruction then they can see each other.