Sonar Sub Hunt
What About Those Grid Markers?

Updated September 12, 2018

Whether they are melted, smashed, broken, worn down to a nub or just plain gone, your grid markers are the items that you will need to replace sooner or later.

Your choices are many, so here is information to help you decide which option to select.

Grid Marker Choices

Original Grid Markers

Wipe-off type markers were originally shipped with the game. These were waxed based crayons with a different content than regular crayons. They make a darker line and are much easier to clean. Unfortunately these markers are now a very rare find, and most are broken or partially melted even when they still exist. However after 40 years they still work well in most cases.
After-Market Replacement Grid Markers

Wipe-off type crayons of the same composition can still be obtained today. The ones I have tried work well and their marks are easy to clean. Check the Spare Parts section to obtain these new markers.
Oil Pastels

I have experimented with the use of colored oil pastel sticks and found the results quite pleasing. They leave nice dark lines without the waxy residue of the regular grid markers. I also left the marks for two weeks to see if the oil might permeate the plastic, but found that the marks still cleaned easily. Unfortunately, these sticks can be quite expensive, and you often have to purchase full sets of eight colors or more to obtain just the 3 colors needed for the game. If you wish both players to have a set of the markers then you must purchase two of the larger sets. I have also found that old sitcks tend to leave oil residue or "ghosts" on the grid covers that are difficult to remove.
Dry-Erase (Whiteboard) Markers

A game owner recommended the use of dry-erase type markers. I found the darkness of the lines to be acceptable, but cleaning to be rather difficult. Simple use of a rag or dry-mark eraser did not remove the marks, and use of the cleaner spray made for the markers was necessary. A great deal of time and effort was required to obtain good cleaning results. Also, yellow markers will not give images dark enough, so another color must be substituted.

I recently obtained several games with dry erase type marks that were left on the grid covers. I was unable to remove the marks even with the proper cleaner. I succeeded with a stronger solvent solution, but was not comfortable until I was done and had throughly washed the covers to remove the residual solvent. Based on this experience, I can no longer recommend using these markers under any conditions.
Poker Chips or Coins

I have heard of people using small poker chips or tiddlewinks to place on the grids, but I have yet to find any that are small enough to be used. Coins can also be used, pennies for misses, nickels for mines, and dimes for sub hits. The only drawback I can see to their use is if the gameboard gets bumped, the may move out of place and cause problems for that round of play.
Colored Tape

I once obtained a game where colored tape was used. Not too bad an idea, except that the glue on the tape has a limited life and you may be cutting a lot of small squares to play for any length of time. If the tape is left in place for long periods of time or in locations of high heat, the glue may stick to the covers and make cleaning difficult.

Grid Marker Recomendations

Overall, I prefer to use the wipe-off grid markers, either the original or after-market type. They leave nice marks and are easy to clean. My second choice is the oil-pastel markers since they are slightly easier to clean. However due to their high-cost and the "ghosting" effect, they are far less desirable.

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Jeff Popp
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