I had chewed over the idea of either painting and or texturing the gaming surface, but ruled both out; the painting would have been cheap and simple but not all that aesthetically pleasing. Texturing with sand or flock would have improved the overall look, but the boards need to be portable as they will be stored in the garage when the dining room isn't being used as a battlefront. I've had experience of textured boards before, all that movement causes them to shed messily and would result in a gaming ban being enforced rather quickly I fear.
I decided on a gaming mat and carried out some brief online research into what was around, prices and recommendations, finally settling on product from a company called Mat-O-War based in Ireland and run by a guy called Thomas. The reviews I read were all a little old, 2008 & 2009, but all remarked on how durable the matting was and as I was planning for the mat to be permanently fixed to the boards this sounded the best bet.
|Making a mess already|
I ordered directly from the company but I know of at least one online gaming store Antenocitis Workshop that also stock the mats; you can also see some good photos of the mats in use on this site. I get the impression that Thomas is a war gamer himself and that Mat-O-War is a little sideline business, as such his site is a tad basic and could do with a bit of work, I had some difficulty contacting him via its contact page when a delay occurred in delivery.
The delay was a bit of a frustration, I placed the order on 29th of Jan and had heard nothing for two weeks despite several chase up messages to the site. That said, I finally managed to contact Thomas via his email addy from PayPal and he was very polite and quick to respond, explaining that he had some problems with stock but that mine was now on its way and he would have over 800 more in soon.
|Slightly rigid, wonder if it will fly?|
The mat arrived last Friday and my initial findings are good, it's about 2mm thick and slightly rigid, you're not going to be able to drape this over piles of books to make hills, but likewise it will provide a stable gaming surface that won't ruck up every time you move something. It has some minor creases from delivery transit but nothing major and I’m hoping these will be addressed when I secure it to the boards; if not I think they can probably be ironed out.
|One of those lethal hands...well a couple of deadly digits.|
Its surface has a felt like quality to it, with the reverse being slightly rougher and it's made up of solid weave rather than being adhered to paper backing or similar so shedding will not be an issue. I opted for the green mat which has a very temperate look to it with a good mix of greens rather than one flat color.
|The green, green grass of home.|
This is pricier than GW's Citadel Battlemat (how often do you get to say that!) over twice the price if you take into account courier costs; but it certainly appears hard wearing and just what I was after. I now plan to cut it and fit it to my boards, as long as I manage to do that without slicing any fingers off I should be able to type an update in the next week or so.