Up Front - Make Your Own Board Game Counters

I know that most of the time I write about miniature painting and games that feature miniatures. But every once in a while I break away and post something a little different. Today is one of those days!

Up Front - Make Your Own Board Game Counters DIY
The finished results!
If you are not familiar with Up Front, allow me to quickly introduce it to you. Up Front is an amazing WW2 infantry squad card game from Avalon Hill that came out in the mid-80s. It features a quick set up and a medium difficulty learning curve. It rewards solid infantry tactics. It is brilliantly deep. It has a delightful, old-school feeling to it. It has been out of print for a long time.

It has stood the test of time, so much so that in a recent Kickstarter it beat its $30,000 goal and made $340,000... which was then used to defend a legal challenge and pay off other debts... leaving the backers with... nothing! Nada! It generated one of the largest Board Game Geek forum topics that I have seen with 568 pages and 14,000+ posts filled with anger, tears, curses, armchair lawyers, passionate fans, hopeful players, vitriol and hubris. Okay, so why am I building this up so much? Well, because after the Kickstarter crashed and burned with the villain absconding with the loot, I thought that there would be no way that I could EVER get ahold of this gem.

But I was wrong.

Up Front - Make Your Own Board Game Counters DIY
The printed sticker sheet and a few stickers cut out.
A few months ago, Wargame Vault announced that they would, to the surprise of all, be offering a reprint of the 80's version of Up Front. Whoa! I purchased it as soon as I heard about it. It arrived in the mail a few days later and it was everything that I was hoping for... except for one thing.

The only item that was lacking in their reprint were the very, very poor counters printed on bristol stock. Now, they had warned everyone about this (and even offered a PDF of the counter art in the bundle for those who might be mad enough to make their own), so it wasn't a surprise. But I wanted something better for my game. So I embarked on a journey to learn about homemade board game counters. I decided to go for the best results that I could get, regardless of the time per counter that it would take. That effort is what you are seeing here.

I resized and adjusted the color and contrast of the counter artwork (that came with the purchased bundle) and inkjet printed it onto Staples brand Sticker Paper. Then I gave it 5-6 coats of W&N Matte Spray Varnish. Then I carefully cut them out, peeled and placed each square onto a GMT 5/8" blank counter. A quick trim of any overhanging sticker with an Xacto knife tidied up the edges. The final step was a few quick corner clips. The counters look good. Really good! The scans that Wargame Vault used are a little fuzzy, but they have highlights and shadows that give the counter a classic punched look.

Up Front - Make Your Own Board Game Counters DIY
Stickers placed onto the blank GMT counters.
They take forever to finish... but this is a labor of love... and I am a miniatures painter so I am used to delayed gratification. I am so excited to own this game! Three cheers for Wargame Vault!


  1. Just saw your post. Do you have a file I can use? I purchased the recent reprint and hate the counters. kaufmad at gmail. thanks

  2. Just saw your post. Do you have a file I can use? I purchased the recent reprint and hate the counters. kaufmad at gmail. thanks

    1. Dan - Good morning! I used the Wargame Vault scans. They were a little dirty, but I decided not to Photoshop them. I adjusted my printer settings and was able to brighten them up a bit.

      However, if you want to get different counters, head over to Board Game Geek and check their files section for Up Front. They have a great counter set there that looks really good when printed. It is very legible. I printed out both on paper and the only reason that I decided on the older version was that I wanted to keep everything old style.

      So, the new counters might be just what you are looking for.


      Thanks for the comment!


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