Battle mats are big business these days. Yarro Studios raised nearly $1,000,000 for a book of maps that could lay flat.
Yarro’s battle mat project has had to contend with humidity issues which caused the clever binding to warp, creating curves, and delaying the project. While I expect the Yarro mats to ship, so it’s a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’ those mats will arrive, there are other products available for purchase right now. Loke has an alternative and straight forward solution which also allows the designs in the Big Book of Sci-Fi Battle Mats to lay flat. They used a ring-binding.
Loke is already known for good battle maps. Last year they won the prestigious UK Games Expo’s People’s Choice Best Accessory for Big Book of Battle Mats.
In advance of UK Games Expo this year, Geek Native accepted a copy of the latest in the series, the Big Book of Sci-Fi Battle Mats. As before there are two different products; the giant book which is A3 sized and the big book for A4 mats.
There are 60 different mats in the big book, wipe clean and sci-fi themed. Straight-away I found that the ring-binding didn’t bother me at all. If I was tight for space on the gaming table, then I could use the book single sided and present an A4 mat the players. I had enough room to open the book up and use two mats side-by-side. Cleverly, Loke has designed the book, so the adjacent maps fit perfectly against one another.
I’m not much of a photographer but here’s a few samples of the mats in action along with some painted minis I picked up off 2nd City Games at ebay.
There are plenty of different styles under the term sci-fi. At the back of the book, there are plain hex and square grids to use, there are mats for outside in space, sometimes with asteroids, sometimes on the edge of a spacecraft. There are battle maps that look like the inside of human spaceships (square and military) and others that seem more alien (crackling with energy). There are non-descript generic surfaces, alien caverns, rooms and corridors.
Loke has favoured environments which allow most of the mat to be used as a gaming area. That makes sense but the two sci-fi rooms I can imagine that will see lots of action and yet which didn’t make the collection were the bridge or the engine room.
All the mats in the tome are wipe clean, though, so both engine room and bridge could easily be marked out on one of the more generic designs.
I’m really happy with the mats. I feel as if I could improvise almost any sort of sci-fi skirmish should the theatre of the mind not be sufficient. We’ve got the horror sci-fi Grimmerspace and Free League Publishing’s Alien RPG to look forward to in coming months and it strikes me as a good time to stock up on sci-fi accessories.
Loke will be at UK Gaming Expo again, and they’ve managed to get two books of mats into the Best New Accessory section at the Awards Shortlist. I imagine it might be another award-winning year for them.
My copy of Big Book of Sci-Fi Battle Mats was provided for review.