Tabletop Review: Perfect Playing Surfaces

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you regularly read my GeekDad columns, you’ll know that of late I have fallen back in love with the wargames’ table. From my first post 18 months ago where I used a fruit covered tablecloth and some kitchen towel as scenery, I’ve progressed to a vinyl matt, stackable hexagonal TerraTiles, and have now finally arrived at the glory of 6’X 4′ rollable mousepad battle mats. My playing days will never be the same again.

I’ve been lucky enough to check out different game mats from two different companies, both based in Eastern Europe. To be honest, it’s impossible to pick between them. Their products are excellent.

First up are DeepCut Studios.

They have a great range of mats to choose from. For Agents of Sigmar, we wanted a standard grassy battlefield. DeepCut studios have this more than covered with “Grass,” “Swamp,” and “Fields.” Not only that, if you’re after something a little different, they have “Inferno,” “Red Planet,” or “Asteroid.” I could easily have picked half a dozen or more equally cool examples.

DeepCut Game Mats
Just four of DeepCut Studios many game mat options. Plains for pitched battles, a starfield for ‘X-Wing,’ an orbital image for ‘Dropfleet Commander,’ and their ‘Walking Dead’ terrain

If you play Dropfleet Commander, there are four orbital options to pick from, including the beautiful Orbital Night Coast, which is so good, you could mount it on the wall when you weren’t playing with it. DeepCut also offers Blood Bowl mats and a range of 3’X 3′ starfield maps perfect for X-Wing

For fans of the Walking Dead, there is even a mat for you. You can even buy this mat in sections to give you greater flexibility. This leads me onto DeepCut Studio’s unique selling point. When I was chatting too DeepCut about the mats, they said to me “Shall I send you some pieces for you to cut up?”

“Cut up? Cut up my nice new game tiles? What heresy is this?

Well, if this is heresy then I’m converted. DeepCut makes “Terrain tiles”  That you can use to add roads or rivers. They lie very flat so don’t block line of site and can be trimmed or cut to make your rivers exactly how you want them. The thin mouse mat rubber is easy to cut with a sharp model knife or utility (Stanley) knife.

This is a neat idea and a great way to add a modular feel to your standard one-piece game mat.

DeepCut Studios make three grades of mat. In order of increasing price, vinyl, cloth, and mousepad. Exact pricing depends on the size and design of your chosen mat. The terrain tiles start at 2.50€, about $2.70. You can buy a pack of 12 pieces for around $25-$30.

Next, is the equally excellent Gamemat.eu.

Again, Gamemat.eu make fine quality game mats – the product is literally in their company name. Possibly, though, they should think about changing their name to freakingawesomescenery.eu because the resin Gothic Ruin scenery they sent me is extremely impressive. I  keep all sorts of off cuts and funny shaped packing with the intention of making my own scenery. Looking at the quality of these ruins, I know any such project is doomed to failure. My efforts will just never be as good.

The set comes with a hefty price tag but is definitely worth the money. It consists of 9 pieces. 1 large ruin, 2 sets of 2 medium ruins, and 4 small ruin sets. More than enough to fill any reasonably sized battlefield. You also get several window inserts included to add a little flexibility on lines of sight.

gamemat.ue ruin
Gamemat.eu ruin. Sturdy and hugely evocative. Half-painted Stormcast not included.

The pieces come painted; fairly plain – black with gray drybrushed over the top. It’s simple but effective, but I imagine with a small amount of attention and the addition of moss, bloodstains, and perhaps graffiti, it would be very easy to take the ruins to next level by personalizing them to your taste.

Gamemat.eu sells a number of different terrain options including an industrial set (which can also come unpainted) and a badlands set. They all look great, but I think the gothic ruins offers the most versatility. Considering the price and the number of buildings included, I would say it’s ideal for sharing with friends or for gaming clubs.

As far as game mats go, like Deepcut, the choice feels boundless. Once again the quality is brilliant. For players of Age of Sigmar, the company does a “Mayhem Square” option which is deeply evocative of a cavernous chaos temple. I absolutely love this mat. The quality is excellent and it adds an extra dimension to a game than another carpet of grass.

gamemat.eu
Gamemat.eu’s ruins and its Mayhem Square, starfield, and imperial base mats.

Gamemat.eu offer a number of different dimensions, 3’x3′, 4’X4′ and 6’X4′ and again they offer an array of playing surfaces. From grassy battlefields through to the aforementioned Mayhem Square via snowfields, star fields, and imperial bases. There’s even Martian landscapes, deserts, and something called The Kingdom of Heaven. If all that wasn’t enough, they even do baby playmats, so that your younglings can relax whilst you pummel the latest undead incursion into the ground.

Gamemat.eu’s mats come in one variety only, mousepad, and start at $35.50 for a 3’x3′ rising to $62 dollars for 6’X4′. You also get a very handy projector screen case to carry your mat around in. A small, but a very useful addition.

These mats are a super addition to any game, and whilst you might think one is enough, once you have your first, it’s very hard to stop wondering whether you ought to buy more. The mouspad mats from both DeepCut Studios and Gamemat.eu roll away very easily and are quick to unfurl for an instant battlefield. Do beware, though, the backs of them pick up dust and dirt that has been left on the surface you roll them out on.

As far as quality of mat and customer service go, the two companies are inseparable. Both DeepCut Studios and Gamemat.eu offer flawless service and great products. It really is simply a case of rummaging through their websites and deciding which mat you like the look of best. The hardest bit will be not buying too many.

Disclosure: I received a free mat from DeepCut Studios and heavily discounted mats and scenery from gamemat.eu. Opinions expressed here are my own.

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