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"Weighing my 'gaming mat' options" Topic

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1,217 hits since 5 May 2017
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Warmaster Horus05 May 2017 9:54 a.m. PST

So I've made some changes in my life over the last few years and am now looking to resume gaming. While I have minis for dozens of periods, my focus will Predominantly be the Sudan in 28mm. That said, gaming will now be done on the dining room table (7x4 roughly). I was leaning towards the 'mouse pad style' mat, but am not averse to felt mats. Any recommendations? Thanks


Jozis Tin Man Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2017 10:17 a.m. PST

I am a fan of Cigar Box Battle Mats, they have a desert one that is 60" x 80": link

Here is my review of the mats combined with Kallistra hills:

Larry R Inactive Member05 May 2017 10:23 a.m. PST

I saw the mouse pad type mats at Cold Wars and wasn't impressed. I used to build modular boards and just went back to painting felt. To me more flexible.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2017 10:34 a.m. PST

Each to his own, but unless you're the only one living at your place, at least have a backup to using the dining table. Family happens at the most inconvenient times.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP05 May 2017 10:51 a.m. PST

The mousepads are good for things like aerial games. But I think they look really "flat" – kinda like SciFi movies that are all CGI no actual locations.

Cigar Box are a tad better, but I think the regular old flocked mats from Monday Knight are still one of the best options out there.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2017 12:18 p.m. PST

I think it depends, echoing the "flat" comment above, on whether you intend for terrain placement under or in top of the mat.

Warmaster Horus05 May 2017 12:19 p.m. PST

Awesome guys! Thanks. I'd always been a texture guy, but playing Magic over these last few years I've gotten used to the mouse pad stuff. HOWEVER, This thread has shown me the errors of my ways. Thanks for the help

Warmaster Horus05 May 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

I've got a bunch of beautiful custom made buildings, along with the old crescent studios and MBA buildings as well as sand hills. So I should definitely roll with the textured mat.

45thdiv05 May 2017 1:05 p.m. PST

I like the cigarbox mats and I have also made some canvas mats that work well.

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2017 1:26 p.m. PST

If you were looking for green, I'd point you to the Eco Rugs fro Lowes. Those are the 8'x6' mats. You could make to 6x4s, but I made an 8x5 to cover most of my ping-pong table. I noticed putting it on recently how, thought it had been rolled up, it immediately went flat.

For green, you just spray a lighter green over it, toning down and mottling its color. But I don't think you could easily cover it for brown/tan. They made a tan or gray version, I think, but it had a rug texture on it. The green is more like felt, but catches less.


Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP05 May 2017 2:48 p.m. PST

I import the cloth mats from Deep-Cut. It's possible to put shallow hills (1-2cm) or thin foam under the mat to break up the flatness, although the designs on the mat already do this to some extent.

There are several designs that might do the Sudan- the Wild West, the Wasteland or the Sagebrush Steppe. The former is only usually available in 6x4, but I could order it in 8x4….


Lucius05 May 2017 2:55 p.m. PST

With Cigar Box mats, you can put plywood or Styrofoam under them, and get sculpted terrain. Mouse pads won't do that. I do have a mouse pad mat for Mars Attacks! Love it for urban play.

axabrax05 May 2017 4:30 p.m. PST

The chief advantage of mouse pad is that it doesn't wrinkle and lays truly flat, whereas with cloth or felt the mat will move around some and have bunches and wrinkles. Mouse pad, conversely, is very heavy and hard to fold whereas cloth or felt is super easy to fold up and weighs nothing. I personally think the image quality between the two types is negligible.

wolvermonkey05 May 2017 6:07 p.m. PST

Vinyl mats lay flat. I have 3 and love them all. Roll up to store and unroll to play. Plus they r water proof. And the colors/graphics really pop.

Markconz05 May 2017 6:25 p.m. PST

Consider Mat-O-War too.

Toronto48 Inactive Member05 May 2017 11:12 p.m. PST

I would recommend Hotz Mats

They have a good selection of sizes as well as a choice of hexed or non hexed. He also does roads and terrain to match the mats

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2017 11:47 p.m. PST

The problem I have with these large graphic mats is they work better with 28mm. 15mm not so much. The Cigar desert mats are too light. When I take a picture it shows up as white.

I went back to using my old Geo-Hex desert mats. Cigar Mats puts their label on the front of the mat instead of the other side which is annoying.

I also use a green mat I got from Monday Knight and use Woodland Scenic Turf sprinkled on them. I wanted an 6 x 7 ft. mat and custom made one. I love it. Less expensive. Use it all the time.

Woodland Scenic Turf comes in a wide range of natural looking colors, So you can customize your mat and change it again for the next game. The hills I make I spray with Testors Military Color paint. They work really well with the Woodland Scenic Turf



I have seen these plain mats highlighted with the Testors Military Color spray paint and to me they look more realistic. I might try doing that myself.

Mike Bravo Miniatures Inactive Member06 May 2017 2:59 a.m. PST

I petsonally like the woodland scenic vinyl backed grass mats. Largest size covers an 8x4 board nicely and they'll roll up fine. Good to have the matching flock available too.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP06 May 2017 3:54 a.m. PST

With regard to wrinkles and cloth mats, I use a gridded rug underlay under mine. It cost me a tenner and prevents any creasing; also makes it very comfortable to lean on.

axabrax06 May 2017 6:14 a.m. PST


In my experience if you keep vinyl mats rolled in storage the edges will curl when you lay them out and need to be weighed down. This is with the deep cut studio mats. YMMV

cwbuff Inactive Member07 May 2017 5:10 a.m. PST

For four decades I used an In door/Out door Armstrong carpet. Rolled it up and stored it in the closet between battles. Loved it and swore by it. Need some time laying on the table to unroll but worked great. Now it is the Cigar Box Battle Mats. So darn handy. To make hills, I use ziplock bags of assorted sizes filled with laundry soap and just slide them under the mat. Fold it up at the end of the game and stack it on top of my terrain box. And should I get stuck by the side of the road, it will make a great light blanket for an overnight stay. My wife says she would like a light weight jacket made of the material.

Smokey Roan Inactive Member12 May 2017 3:28 p.m. PST

Wow. Mat technology! Those links look good!

I only play on mats at RECON and HURRICON, but I admit, even a simple, high thread count canvas, mottled by spray paint, with Woodland Scenics particles, pebbles and sand sprinkled on, works great!

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