Este artigo é a versão em Inglês da resenha publicada hoje. Você pode conferir a versão em Português aqui.
After the battle report published here last month I got a few messages from readers and curious friends asking about the table where we played that game. As that might be something you might be interested in as well I thought it would be a nice idea to write a review here on the blog about the gaming mats produced by GAMEMAT EU.
Returning readers of the blog will probably be aware of the importance of a well dressed table on my games, and that’s for a simple reason, I find that beautiful tables add a lot to the immersion in the game and the narrative of the game making it a lot more interesting.
That’s the reason why on the events organized by the blog, “Rumble in the Jungle” and “Rumble in the Jungle II – A Missão”, I did my best to receive participants with beautiful tables with different themes and scenery pieces, however, as the years went by a problem slowly began developing in my humble abode: The lack of space to store all those scenery pieces and especially the tables.
With the typical playing surface of 6″ X 4″, Warhammer 40.000 gaming tables aren’t exactly small, even when divided in smaller pieces (the ones I make are formed by six 2″ X 2″ squares which making storing them a little easier), but even smaller sized games (like Infinity, Kill Team and Mordheim to name a few) will be played in 4″ X 4″ tables that still pose a problem when it comes to storing them, especially when you own a few of them.
And that’s why a while ago, while looking for a way to solve my storing problems I came across what was back them a somewhat new product: gaming mats. Made out of a rubber very similar to the material mouse pads are made of, gaming mats first appeared in the collectible card gaming scene (Magic the Gathering players, I’m looking at you) where they were called “playmats” and were used as a playing surface where players could put their cards on without damaging them and without them being pushed aside by the wind or a careless opponent.
The first of these rubber mats where simple rubbery rectangles with some cloth glued to them, very much like mouse pads, only bigger, however the market was soon introduced to more elaborate versions of playmats with printed images on them, and soon after with custom images tailor made for gamers, stores and tournaments.
From there it took no time at all for someone to have the idea of printing a larger sized gaming mat with textures that could be used as a gaming surface by enthusiasts of varied miniature games and wargames, calling them “battle mats”.
The big deal of the new battle mats was that instead of having a mere illustration printed on them, which was normally flat and two dimensional, battle mats had textures printed in “faux 3D” which tricks the eye into believing it’s looking at something in 3 dimensions. In doing so this fake 3D replaces the textures and structures gamers would normally model on their table and which were, for all purposes, “real”.
Battle mats thus offered what seemed the perfect solution for gamers combining a beautiful gaming surface and the ease of storage as, by the end of the game, you could roll the “table” up and place it inside a closet, or on top of a shelf.
The only problem to me was that those first battle mats aimed at wargamers were kind of ugly, with printing that, at the time, left a lot to be desired and that, to my eyes, looked “blurred”, and without details, and that’s why I abandoned the idea of using them for a while.
Fast forward a couple of years and suddenly the printing quality being displayed on gaming mats got a lot better, and I do mean A LOT. So that’s why during the preparations for the 2nd Rumble in the Jungle event and faced with the possibility of having more players enrolled than I had tables to accommodate them, I decided to search the market for a battle mat that would match my expectations, and that’s how I came across Gamemat EU‘s battle mats.
Based in the Czech Republic Gamemat EU produces a large variety of sizes and styles of gaming surfaces from the ubiquitous green field, to gothic city block, they have you covered, and the “Snow Storm” one seemed like what I needed to match some of the scenery pieces I had home, ensuring I’d have a “plan B” in case I got more than 10 participants in the Rumble II event.
In the end we only got eight enrolled players, so I didn’t use the battle mat at the Rumble II, but shortly after that I broke it out for a couple of games, and man was I pleasantly surprised, so much I thought it would be worth reviewing it here on the blog.
The first surprising characteristic was that even after being kept wrapped for a couple of months in my closet, when I first stretched it over the table there was not a single mark or crease upon it. Nothing, zip, nada… perfectly flat. Besides, the rubber it is made from adheres perfectly to the surface you place it upon, so it doesn’t move during the game creating a pretty stable surface to place your miniatures upon, but to me, that wasn’t even the best of it.
The battle mat truly shines because of how well printed it is. Everything I ever wanted from a gaming mat was finally there printed in fine, faux 3D, crisp detail. Manholes, stair steps, even snow, all textures look great and don’t seem fake or blurred at all, especially when seen at arm’s length during the unfolding games. It looks so good a friend emailed asking how I did the snow on the table from my last battle report, and that’s a definite win on my book.
The mat looks even greater with scenery added to it, and truly shines during games with models added to the mix. It looks beautiful, it looks realistic, and especially cinematic:
And the best thing about these battle mats is that they work in other games as well and not only for Warhammer 40.000.
Being a huge Star Wars fan, I recently got into the X-Wing Miniatures game (which I should cover here sometime soon), however it really bothered me to play with the ships on my dinner table’s surface or on the green felt tablecloth I use when playing board games (especially because the miniatures’ bases keep getting tangled on the felt when moving them).
So when I saw Gamemat EU also had a battle mat which was perfect for the Star Wars spaceship game I decided it was time to step up my game and upgrade my X-Wing Miniatures gaming experience and as the photos prove the visual of my games improved 100%, with the unexpected bonus of having the ships now drifting effortlessly over the gaming surface (which I must stress is also the case in 40K games where it was not uncommon for a model to get caught on a surface when it was being moved, drop and have a bit of its paint scratched off).
To wrap this up I must admit being surprised with the overall quality of the battle mat as a product and I couldn’t be happier or more satisfied with Gamemat EU’s battle mats. They offer a great, affordable solution for wargamers, offering the best of both worlds when it comes to making beautiful battlefields to play on while also offering a great way of storing your gaming surface without needing a warehouse to do so, being an excellent investment for anyone looking at enhancing their gaming experience with great looking battlefields without having to devote significant time to modeling and painting them. I definitely recommend you guys check them out.
I also must add that if you’re into organizing gaming events, or if you are part of a gaming club and need a lot of different playing surfaces, look no further as these battle mats will save you a lot of headaches when setting up, storing and transporting your gaming stuff.
And on that note I’ll sign of. More to come soon guys.
Over and out.