Join us today as we try out the Tabletop Laser XL650-5, a gadget designed to let you easily check line of sight between models in your tabletop skirmish and wargames such as Infinity or Warhammer 40k. It’s not always easy to tell if a model has line of sight to to its target, even when bending down to try and get a model’s eye view, so hopefully this red line laser from German laser specialists Picotronic will make things crystal clear.
The Tabletop Laser XL650-5, comes in a flashy metal case and is priced at 22,90 EUR over at Amazon.de. The front of the case displays the the website address plus some artwork showing a soldier carying the laser like a weapon. The rear of the metal case lets us know that this is a 5mW class 1 laser.
Opening up the tin we find a couple of information cards, plus the laser and several sets of extra batteries well protected with custom fitting foam.
The cards are quick start guides including some guidelines for use and instructions for replacing batteries. There’s a card written in English and one in German, even these feel great quality.
The laser itself and the 3 battery packs a safely held by custom cut foam within the metal case.
The laser unit itself is a small black cylinder that immediately feels like a high quality piece of kit. At one end you can see the lens, with the other housing a red button used for turning the laser on and off.
Tabletop Laser XL650-5 is a small device as can been seen in the photos below which include a pencil for scale. This is great as it makes it extremely easy to carry with you when gaming. The laser unit can be twisted and suncrewed so that batteries can be changed easily.
Turning on the laser we’re pleased to say that its very clearly visible in normal light conditions and so will be very useful for our games. The laser will project a bright red straight line on whatever surface you point it at. Moving the laser towards the surface will reduce the length of the line, and moving it further away will extend the line making it easy to draw line of sight right across any gaming table. We didnt test this out to its limits, but were easily able to see the red line drawn across surfaces around 3 meters away, which exceeds anything we’ll need for our wargames.
The idea behind using a laser like this as a wargaming accessory is that we can draw an instant perfectly straight line between two models, which negates any confusion or disputes about drawing line of sight. From experience we know that its not always easy to tell whether one model can draw line so sight to another, but as you can see in the photos below, you can get a definite answer in just a second by using a red line laser. In the first photo below, you can see we’ve drawn a laser line between two models out in the open – no problem there. In the second and third photos is where the laser really comes in handy. Photo 2 shows that line of sight is blocked by the ruin, it’s close but the laser clearly shows that the ruin is providing cover. The last photo shows the models moved slightly and again its close, and might require some guessing or discussion in game, but the red line laser clears this up instantly. The laser links the two models from the one out in the open, running across the base and arm of the model partially hidden behind the ruin.
The great thing about using a laser to draw our line rather than something physical like a ruler or piece of string is that the laser adjusts to obstacles and terrain as shown below. There is no hiding from the laser!
So lets try this out in a game. Below you can see a rather hectic Warhammer 40k battle going on and we need to check to see whether the Chaos Warpsmith in the bottom right, can draw line of sight to the Ork Trukk on the left. There’s various terrain and models here that could possibly be blocking line of sight, or providing cover, its not easy to tell. In the second photo you can see the difference a red line laser makes, we can simply line up the laser line between the models in question, and in this case we can see it results in an unbroken line between the two models meaning line of sight can be drawn.
Another use we’ve found for our laser is checking line of sight in regards to vehicle facing in Warhammer 40k. Sometimes its not easy to tell which armour facing arc you models are in when trying to shoot at a vehicle, and now we can easily draw a laser line from corner to corner and know for sure.
Without a doubt the Tabletop Laser XL650-5 will be a regularly used accessory in our games from now on. It’s compact, light, and precision made, and it does a great job of projecting a uniform and highly visible laser line for answering any questions around line of sight. It comes with several battery packs as standard, so we don’t expect to need to buy any for a long time. We didn’t realise how useful one of these was going to be until we tried it out in our games! If you’d like to learn more, head over to www.tabletop-laser.com