Saturday, July 18, 2009

Counterclipping - yes or no?

What if something happens while separating the counters from their frames, or what if you buy a used and punched game? What if you always see these ugly paper remains on your otherwise beautiful counters? Then your only chance is to do some counter cosmetics - and I proudly present a classic flamewar theme:

Counterclipping - yes or no?

Wargamers are divided into three factions here:

  • Group A rejects any counter treatment. Counters are used as they come out of the frame - period. Wargamers of this faction tend to a very careful counter separating and punching process. In general, no cosmetic treatment is necessary; little paper lappets are accepted. On the other hand, some gamers from this faction couldn't care less about their counters (in fact, this is only a minority - the average consim player has an almost religious relationship to his games ;)
  • Group B accepts the necessity of cosmetic treatment if counters are punched out without much care, because untidy counters spoil the aesthetic impression of a game (and, by the way, one could encounter problems with grabbing a counter with tweezers). This is why this type of player cuts the paper lappets with a sharp nail-clipper after punching and gets a satisfying result.
  • Group C thinks counter punching is only the initial act. This act is followed by a religious ceremony: clipping the counter's edges. The following pictures give a good impression of counter clipping in perfection:

Here you see clipped counters in perfection: clean and regular. Very few material was removed from the counters, thus conserving its die cut form (if you don't have much talent or time, counters tend to become hexagonal, in extreme cases even circular). The reason for this radical treatment by the "Total Clipping Faction" is that counters fit more easily into the map board hexes, which enhances the optical impression and allows easier gameplay.

Alas, some problems are related to this counter treatment

It's very difficult to provide a regular treatment to all counters - you need time, a quiet hand and sharp eyes. Some games have 2000, 4000 or even 6000 counters - and you can imagine how long it takes to clip them all! This is no problem for the followers of this religion, though. They are looking forward to clipping the game for months and spend evenings and evenings clipping their counters.

If you fail in clipping some counters, the final picture will be quite irregular - which spoils the intended aesthetic effect.

Finally, in some games you could encounter rules problems: some games define a LOS being blocked by a counter. If you change the counter's appearance - the original form intended by the designer -, you could spoil a game. You may also face trouble with your opponents who prefer playing with unclipped counters.
As a result, we cannot recommend this radical method of counter treatment to an inexperienced player with average handcraft abilities.

By the way, don't be confused: both methods of counter treatment (group B and C) are called "Counter Clipping", but - as mentioned above - there is a great difference between only clipping the paper dips with a nail clipper and trimming all the counter edges. Sometimes eBay sellers offer a game with "clipped counters", simply meaning the minimal treatment which actually increases the game value. On the other hand it can be a bad surprise if you buy such a game, hoping for only minimal treated counters, but getting a game with radical clipped counters. In extreme cases, these counters can have a circular form when someone without any talent tried to clip the counter's corners...and the eBay seller only shrugs and says: "But I told you that the counters were clipped...."


1 comment:

  1. counter clipping worries are a thing of the past..

    Try the C4 Counter Cutter... Works great.. Google it and you will find out how to get it.

    I slice up a copy of Beyond Valor in about 2 hours.