Curled Maps that Will Not Lay Flat? I Have an Elegant Solution

An ongoing issue for tabletop war gamers and RPG players are maps that will not lay flat. Long-term storage in a tube or rolled up in a car trunk permanently creates hills, valleys and curling corners in soft maps. Most groups solve the issue with some well placed books and the occasional “Mountain Dew” can.

My solution is a paper weight, but they are far more elegant than a soda can. Bunchin – pronounced “boon-chin” are paperweights used by Japanese calligraphers to weight down their rice paper. I found them at a Japanese grocery store I frequent and was stunned I overlooked them for so long.

Bunchin Weight on Batttle Map
Bunchin Weight on Batttle Map

Lying Down Bunchin
Bunchin Lying Down

The miniature is a standard “medium” character, included for scale.

These particular examples only cost $3.00 each, but there are many, many types available on the internet far more elaborate and expensive.

I like these “bar” style bunchin as they are perfect for both weighting down the map and as the occasional supplement to an encounter. They make excellent wall miniatures and the little knob makes picking them up a snap. It is a solid metal bar that weighs about 100 grams, so it is easily heavy enough to hold the map down.

Of course, these are just paperweights, but the shape and style make them perfect for gaming and they come in many styles, some bordering on art.  I said the solution was elegant, not original. 😉

Trask, The Last Tyromancer



Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.

4 thoughts on “Curled Maps that Will Not Lay Flat? I Have an Elegant Solution

  • February 23, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I actually find it funny that for over 700 years we still have these issue with curling paper. I also find it funny that the solution is still basically put something “heavy” on it.

  • February 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    My “heavy thing to put on curled maps” is a sheet of clear plastic from a poster frame that I bought at Michael’s.

  • February 26, 2009 at 1:11 am

    What an awesome find! I played Battletech for years and we always had that problem with our mats. And we’d always weight them down with something horrible, like soda cans or candy bars or bags of dice. Much better idea that you have proposed here!

  • February 27, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    When we’re playing HeroClix we usually use coasters, but these paperweights are a really good idea!!

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