Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hobby Highlight: Interview with Sniff of Battle Markers

Nope, not that kind of battle marker
You may recall last week the hobby highlight we posted on Battle Markers. Sniff from Battle Markers was nice enough to answer a few questions about his business and plans for the future.
The Battle Markers I've purchased so far have been really helpful in the process of playing 40k. How did you come up with the idea for this product?
Well first up, thanks for buying them! I appreciate your business! I came up with the idea last year. I hadn't played 40k since 1995, and my friend sucked me back into the game around June of last year. And I got sucked back in bigtime! 5th edition was quite different than 2nd, which is when I had played last. The game seemed much more complex than from what I had remembered back in the day, and there were no more Wargear cards! I don't know if you remember those! And flying things! Not the kind with wings, but with engines! What are those?!! My friend was playing Tau, talked me into Necrons, and we played nearly every day. He kept losing track of certain Wargear and conditions, and so did I. 

So I decided to make some markers to help him out. I didn't know if they would work or not, but just gave him a handful. Immediately it was a night and day difference, and we didn't argue as much after that! Our games tended to get heated, as we are both pretty competitive (not in a tournament sense, but in a "um dude, that guy has ONE wound left, where'd the dice go that you had marked it with?! WTF man, quit cheesing me."). A few other friends saw them and really liked them, requested that I make some for them, and then it just took off from there.
These are super clear... you never need to ask your opponent if they are marking wounds off, or wounds left
Many of the designs are very creative. Did you draw them yourself? How did you come up with the ideas for the images?
Thanks, yeah I create them myself. I'm a graphic designer for a Japanese language services company, so my brain is always turned on in regards to certain graphic elements in objects. I create them all in the vector application Adobe Illustrator, and have drawn each marker using the built-in vector drawing tools in the program. My process for coming up with images to represent each marker doesn't always result in a decent marker either. They're only 1" in size, so I'm quite limited to how much text I can put on them, and the size of the text I have to take in to account as well.

I try to come up with colors that don't get lost in the myriad of playing surfaces too, but also compliment the army I'm making them for. I'm very grateful to the 40k community, because so many people have given me their input on what would be better, what should change, what's missing, etc. Many people have directly influenced how many of these markers look too. It's one thing that I have found to be really awesome - these gamers are selfless people that are genuine and sincere. They're not all ragequitting virgins!

Did you take suggestions from local players and friends for each marker, or did you know all the armies that well? It seems like most armies have almost everything needed to 'mark' during a battle!
Oh man, without the help of my friends and other gamers from literally all over the world, my markers would suck! I don't play every army (and certainly do not play ANY Imperium armies in 40k, I'll tell you that. "Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.") Fortunately in my group of friends, we have every army in the 40k universe being played by someone (almost the same for WFB). Yes, before you ask - even Tau (which our guy who plays them is dedicated, he never gives up, and he has become a master tactician as a result. But he still has to go first against me or it's game over. Haha! Zing!) So it wasn't hard to tap them for suggestions. But I also watch them play. Sometimes you think "THAT would be a great marker" but then you watch it being played and you come to the conclusion "Nope, that kid should know his damn codex! Screw making a marker for that.".

I still get suggestions regularly from players. One thing that I have learned making these, is that so many people play this game differently. Some things, you say to yourself "why would someone need a marker for this?" but then some guy emails you and says "it's because I'm 52 years old and I can't even remember what I had for breakfast!". So some of my sets have markers in them that aren't that popular with certain players who play one way, but popular with some who play another. I want to get everyone covered in the sets, so I try to be as well-rounded as possible.

Just this morning I had to change my Dark Eldar Vehicle Movement Set. A player named Ben showed me that Dark Eldar Reaver Jetbikes can turbo boost up to 36", not 24". I didn't know that. Friggin' OP DE shenanigans. And I had Fast Skimmers wrong too, they can Flat Out 12" - 24". No wonder I haven't sold many of those. Lawl. Bottomline - without the feedback (both negative and positive) I can't get these right. So I am extremely grateful to players who've helped me out. I don't know every army!

I love how verbose they are... you know exactly what each one is
One thing I think a lot of readers would love is the ability to purchase 40mm objective markers. How close are you to doing something like that?
That's something that I'm looking into, but it's going to be awhile before I get to making them (the equipment to make them at that size is a chunk o' change). I'm certain that I will be making them though, I've had a lot of requests for them as of late. I expect to have something available by August at the latest. I'm so backed up at the moment, making WFB markers (which is a huge undertaking).

What about custom images? I could definitely see getting Mantis Warrior and Tyranid logo battle markers for objective markers and other needs. Perhaps some Fresh Coast 40k markers!
I love doing custom work! If you've got art, send it over. Doing custom design work though is obviously a little different. It would have to be enough sets to be worthwhile. Look at my prices, I'm not exactly raking it in doing these things! I'm always open to ideas though, so get at me.

Will you be at any conventions / tournaments coming up showing off your products?
Absolutely. I just don't know which ones. Yet. I'm still in the process of creating all of my lines, so I will be focusing on that for the next 3 months before I look at actually doing any real marketing or cons/tourneys. I don't even know which one's to attend, so throw me a bone willya's?!

What are your plans for 6th Edition and getting markers out for any new conditions that are developed with the new ruleset?
Oh man, as a player I'm chomping at the bit. I read every damn rumor and news site/forum multiple times a day, just like any other 40k junkie does. I am already in the process of designing all new sets and modifying existing sets. So I'm all over it. Probably within a week of the actual release of 6th I'll have them all available. Warlord Traits, Hull Points, vehicle damage, new flyer rules for zoom and hover, etc. I'm all over it. And if you have any suggestions, puh-leese send 'em my way! I need all he help I can get to make these perfect.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Yeah, I'm getting to your gaming system soon enough! On deck now is Infinity and WFB 8th edition codices and rules. Dust Warfare is done, I had so many requests for those. It's a huge set, but already players are stoked on 'em. Also Battlefleet Gothic is done, and I just came out with a blast marker set that works great in play.

I really need help with WFB, so if you play a specific army and can help me create a good set or sets for it, I'll send you them for free in exchange for your help. I've done this for no less than a dozen other people who've helped me create the sets that are now available. So heads up! scott@battlemarkers.com
I update my blog just about every day, so follow that for all the news and updates. Also send me your pics of your markers on the field! And help me spread the word!

And to the lady who said to me that Warhammer 40k and other tabletop miniatures games are "of the devil, and only Satanists play them" - I added some more blood to my logo just for you, on the left hand side at the top:

Happy dice rolling! Slay 'em all!

Scott "Sniff" Takahashi
"We make wargaming markers that don't suck!"


  1. I recently purchased 7 sets of your Battlemarkers for my Necrons and BA. Will you be making "update" kits to bring your current Battlemarkers in line with 40k 6th Edition or will I need to buy all new markers? - Thanks!

  2. Thanks for snaggin' all of those too, btw!

    I wouldn't do it if some jagoff company said I had to repurchase an entire set of markers just because a couple changed. Screw that! I think if someone said that to me, I would take their markers and flush them, but only after "marking" them first myself.

    Hit me up after release, and we'll get you sorted. Usually if it's only a couple of changes, I'll send them to you free of charge. If there are several new added, I'll only charge you a nominal fee. No need to repurchase any sets!



    PS Necrons FTW!

  3. Thanks for the quick response! I look forward to putting them on the table!

    Necrons FTW!


  4. They look good. Are there variations in the colors (different themes or sets)?

  5. Actually it's something I am doing, making different colors of certain sets. Was there a suggestion you had or something specific that you were interested in? I'm open to anything!



  6. I'm just looking for something that matches my army's paint scheme. I'm looking for something that resembles a metallic rust or Gothic theme. I'm not sure if this is something that can be pulled off though.

    Either way, I do plan to buy your tokens and a container to put them in. I'll probably wait until your 6th edition ones come out though.

    Do you do custom orders?