After trying to play my first 10th Edition 40k game out of my phone, which was handy about 1/3 of the time and a pain in the ass the other 2/3 of the time, I put some time into prepping for my second game.
I thought about coil-binding the core rules, but didn’t feel like schlepping myself to a FedEx Office store to do that. My laziness got me thinking about the convenience of a 3-ring binder, since I could add more than just the core rules and keep everything organized with tabs — plus have the flexibility of altering its contents later on.
So I made a binder.
This is a 1/2-inch Avery Durable View binder, which in addition to being fairly tough has two features I love: slanted D-rings, which make snagging and binding up much less likely; and clear cover overlays to accommodate inserts on the front, back, and spine. My laser printing can print on both sides of the page, which keeps the binder slim.
Three rings to bring them all, and in the bright greenness bind them
Here’s what’s in — and on — my binder:
- Outside cover: A one-page USR reference sheet based on the list originally created by Team Hivemind, now on version 1.1. My version prioritizes my aging eyes: It uses the largest font size possible with maximum legibility even under less-than-ideal lighting. (You can download the much prettier original version directly from Team Hivemind.)
- I trimmed the occasional non-essential word to make everything fit on one page.
- I originally had the old Rogue Trader cover here, but during play we referenced the USRs so often that I replaced it with this reference sheet.
- First section: Two rules references, one from Reddit and the official Quick Start. They present the same info slightly differently, and I find both to be handy to have.
- Second section: The free core rules. I love that GW has gone this route!
- Third section: Datacards for my current army, including the Detachment rules, faction Stratagems, and the core Strategems. I highlighted the weapon options that are modeled on my minis. These are also all available for free from GW now.
- The official card packs are pretty, but given the nature of 40k and errata I’d rather just print — and write on — my own freebies.
- Fourth section: Datacards for units I’m not currently using but have already highlighted to match my minis, followed by the current Munitorum Field Manual (just in case we need to check points). The MFM is also free from GW. It’s version 1.2 as of this writing, downloadable from Warhammer Community.
- Back cover: The little chart from the core rules showing the Strength vs. Toughness table, which I reference all the time during play.
And that’s it! It’s a pretty simple setup, but it’s a million times easier to reference during play than the app, or even a large core rulebook. (I do love the app for list building, though!) I don’t own a copy of one of the newer slimmed-down rulebooks, but given that my binder includes those rules plus play aids customized to my needs I’m pretty confident I’d still prefer the binder.
Binders aren’t sexy, but they’re versatile, customizable, cheap, and effective. Despite wholeheartedly embracing other digital tools and media, I keep using binders for stuff because they’re often the right tool for the job.
Playing Kill Team at home, it’s been easy enough to use different-colored dice to track CP and VP for each player, and just set them off to the side where they never get bumped.
But playing 40k on a giant table we circle constantly, in the middle of a crowded game shop, with limited “side space” available? I swear I spent at least a quarter of the game accidentally bumping the dice we were using to track CP and VP.
So this morning I ordered two of these killer all-in-one trackers from schoonerlabs on Etsy. They feature little bump-proof dials for CP, VP, and current turn, plus Kill team combat gage measurements, in a single tool with high legibility that works for both 40k and KT. Slick!