Monday, December 20, 2010

Game Mat from Hotz

I have this thing about seams. I don't like the look of them on a wargames table. Ok, I'm a bit weird that way but that's why I have a blog to work these things out. Anyway, in the quest for a 'seamless surface' I ordered a 72x90 'European Fields' game mat from Eric Hotz at HotzMats to see if it looked as good as on the website.

Well, almost two months after my order the mat showed up at our door.  I quickly cleared off the kitchen table, put on my foamboard game surface and draped the mat over the whole works.

I was quite impressed with how easily the mat shook-out its wrinkles and flattened out over the table surface. This is good as I often have all my gaming stuff packed away and having something that can be quickly laid out and played on is a definite bonus.

I quickly put out some terrain features to get an idea of how well they blended with the surface. I think it looks quite good. I really am impressed with the use of colour and pattern to give the impression of the different fields.

I tried putting a hill under the mat and while it looks rather neat it is really hard to determine where the flat surface ends and the hill starts - which is requirement for most rules so I think that hills will have to stay on top of the playing surface.

I wanted to see if I could use pins to fix stuff to the surface as regularly do in my games. So I pulled out the excellent rivers that Brian made for me way back when I had a head of hair (but alas not Brian). These are ingeniously made from sheets of thin blue foam, cut to shape and then hot-glued with flock and tallus. I've added a few more sections to the collection over the years so I have around 8ft of the stuff if need be.

Anyway, I pin the river sections down so they lay nice and flat. After I set in the pins I use a dab of cheap, dark green hobbycraft paint to touch up the heads of the pins. They just disappear into the flock and the rivers look like part of the landscape.

Voila! A river, a hedge, a field and some pliant sheep. What else would a Scotsman want?

There, pins and rivers removed without any telling marks to the HotzMat surface. Brilliant! Even the nervous sheep are happy. 

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