Monday, March 3, 2014

Space Playmats

Applied Perspective Mat
The folds are only because it wasn't on a flat surface.
 I wanted to take some time to look at a few different playmate that I've purchased for Star Trek Attack Wing and Star Wars X-Wing.  I don't have a ton of pictures of them in game use, since I'm focused more on playing that pictures.  I started off with black felt from a fabric store.  That was quick, easy, and relatively cheap.  The problem, it didn't really add anything to the experience.  Sure, it was great for marking borders, but that was about it.  In the summer of 2013, I decided to buy a mat from Applied Perspective which was $35-40.  I got the mat, and it looked great.  It was exactly what I wanted, and it does a good job of staying on the table, providing a great surface, and not letting things slide too much.  There is a bit of slickness, but far less than a standard table.

Then, in late November, I saw a link for a kickstarter by 2 astrophotographers (people who take pictures of stuff in space) that had really reasonable prices.  One mat was $30, more mats were less per mat.  I ended up buying 4 for $100, so $25 per mat.  I got them early of all things, and I absolutely love the mats.  The art pops off the mat, and really gives a new dimension to space battles.  Since I'm a tournament organizer, it's great to have 5 mats for people to play on.

All of these mats are great, and each time I have to decide which one to play on.  It's a nice problem to have. One of the things I wanted to do was to make the things I have look nice.  I play a lot of STAW and X-Wing, so it makes sense to have nice play mats.  Now, I fully admit that I don't need 5 of them, but it's really nice to have the variety.  All of the kickstarter mats are on vinyl, which really stays put on a table, and keeps the ships from moving around too much.  They're not perfect by any means, but they do their job of keeping ships there.  At this point, the black mat is but a low cost memory.

I know storage on something like this is an issue, so here's what I've done.  I have a poster tube, where I keep my mats.  They're all rolled up together, with the images face out.  Every time I roll them up, I roll in a different direction so I don't crease the mats, but I'm not too worried about that.

My personal favorite

Close up of two ships on my favorite mat.
You can see how the ships standout, as do the tokens.
A battle that I wasn't in.  This mat kinda absorbs the
dominion ships, but it's still a great play surface.

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