Today, Duncan looks at options for making the most out of your gaming surfaces and home and at your club.
Hi Duncan here and today I’m going to look at the gaming mats that are available over at Deep-Cut Studios. My local club – Crawley Wargames Club – here in Sussex have been on the lookout for some replacement gaming surfaces for our permanent gaming tables; the delightful mono-chrome green baize that has graced our tables for more than a decade was beginning to show its age.
Me being me – hello! – I volunteered to take up the mantle of finding us some new, modern and frankly ever so slightly sexy gaming surfaces. Having perused Google and seen what was out there I plumped in the end for the offering from Deep-Cut Studios; there were a number of factors that really swayed my opinion:
As well as offering playing mats designed for the majority of gaming systems – 3” x 3”, 4” x 4” and most importantly for Flames of War 6” x 4” – they also do custom mats. Custom in this sense means that Deep-Cut were able to create mats for us in the unusual dimensions of 10” x 6”. The reason for this is that we have 3 large table tennis tables that are 9” x 5” so factoring in some overhang along each edge would give us a lovely finish.
Again this seems straight forward but the ability to have both cloth and mousepad materials for our gaming surfaces was a really advantage. The cloth that Deep-Cut use has the paint soaked into the material and this will hopefully mean that it won’t scratch or scuff and also because you can bung it in the washing machine too hopefully the careless slopping of tea won’t be too much of an issue either.
The cloth, with the slight overhang, also meant that for members who preferred to have natural contours of hills this could still be achieved by placing hills and other material underneath the cloths rather then
I’m reliably informed that that mouse mat material is made from synthetic cloth and has a 2mm thick rubber foam backing on it. These are for our standard 6” x 4” tables and the additionally padding of the foam will hopefully dull the clattering of d6 dice as my lovely panzers are shot of the table.
As a club with a magpie-esque nature for new systems and theatres of war the range that Deep-Cut offered was fantastic – we opted for the following:
- 1 x Wargames terrain mat – Wild West
- 1 x Wargames terrain mat – Waterworld
- 2 x Wargames terrain mat – Plains
- 1 x Wargames terrain mat – Fields
- 1 x Wargames terrain mat – Urban Ruins
Quite some variety and give us some flexibility in the way that we can also set up tables – looking forward to some Team Yankee on an 18” x 5” table!
So enough of all this waffling about why I chose to do what I did… what are the mats like???
The Cloth Mat
Cloth mats aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – they have a certain waft of the 80’s and 90’s for me – these are, however, different. The patterning alone breaks up the large flat areas of colour and give some depth and definition. The cloth is strong and yet very light with the added bonus that you can fold it for storage purposes where the mouse mat material really can only be stored rolled up.
Cross section of the cloth mat
The clarity of the printing is very nice and the pattern and variation is of a very high level. Personally I’m not a fan of cloth to play on – but these have changed my opinion totally and I’m very pleased that we didn’t opt for all mouse mat material mats.
If I had to be picky I think that cloth mats are better the bigger the area you are covering with them. I think 6” x 4” for Flames of War is as small a surface area as I would go for and for Tanks! on a 3” x 3” I would definitely opt for the mouse mat material. This means that on my kitchen the rubberised backing would hold the surface better and there is less scope for knocking everything for six.
The Mouse Mat… well Mat
Described on the Deep-Cut Studios website as “The choice for a premium gaming table” I have to say having the mat in my sweaty grasp I can’t disagree.
Cross section of the Mouse pad mat
As you would probably expect the quality of the imagery and print on the surface of the mouse mat material, I think, is slightly better but only slightly which is a true reflection of how good the cloth printing is. The weight is nice and hefty but not too cumbersome that feels unwieldy. In terms of storage you have to roll the mat – there really is no alternative. That does mean end up with a 4” long tube that whilst does sit snuggly in its own carrying case it is something to bear in mind when you are thinking about storage.
Overall I am very impressed with these mats as playing surfaces – weirdly I actually think I prefer the cloth mat for the large sized tables and I honestly thought I wouldn’t.
Jagdpanthers to the fore! *Obviously not terrain… well until the Jabos turn up anyway!*
The finish on the final mats really is excellent and as you can see that they fit in nicely with the Battlefront pre-painted terrain as well as some of our own home brew terrain pieces. If you are lucky enough to have your own gaming space or part of a larger gaming group the investment in a high quality gaming surface really does make a difference.
I’d score the Deep-Cut cloth mats a, surprising, 8 1/2 out of 10 kill rings and the mouse mat material slightly higher at 9 out of 10 kill rings purely because the finish is superb and I think for our purposes of playing a Flames of War or Team Yankee on a 6″ x 4″ it really is an exceptional surface to game on.