Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Deep-Cut Studio - Darkwater and Plains, Gaming Mat Review

Von de Tann gliding over the new mat. 
A great addition to the gaming room here at Castle Reilly. Gaming mats are the newest "trend" in our world of little soldiers. We have all had scrappy bits of cloth which just happen to be about the right colour, snooker table cloth or table football cloths etc and to be honest that's been about it. I have seen teddy bear fur and home made cloths sprayed up with rattle cans but over the last few years gaming mats seem to have taken off.

Lots of different people make them, some come with pre printed roads and fields, I have even seen mats for specific battles, I like mine generic and most importantly reusable. I first thought about a gaming mat about a year ago, having bought and loved the space mats I use for X Wing it's not a giant leap for man kind to go from there to the historical table. A quick search of tinterwebnet found this company Deep-Cut Studio, what drew me to this company especially, well the wide range and being from Yarkshire, price. Tha hast to watch t'brass, tha knows.

Darkwater Mat
The mats can be purchased in a variety of different sizes to fit your requirements. Here at Castle Reilly we have a 12 x 6 table so three of the 6 x 4 mats covers the surface nicely. They also come in three different types of material, the entry level is PVC, next up is Cloth (which I bought) and finally Mouse Mat.

I can only really discuss the cloth version as that was my choice. I went for this medium for a couple of reasons. 1st I was concerned about the PVC being reflective for photos, I can't claim that this is true it was a fear so if anyone has the PVC version let me know. 2nd our gaming table isn't quite 12 x 6, it's a long story but we ended up cutting a few mm off the table during construction, so I needed cloth so that it would comfortably fold over the edges.

Plains Mat
I initially bought a single Plains Mat, as above, loved it and bought two more to fill the table. I will use these for my European games. There are plenty of different green options on the site to fit your needs, I particularly liked the mixed nature of the Plains mat with the different types of grass and random stoney areas.

Plains Mat in action during a recent SCW games and yes it is a donkey
I ordered three of the Darkwater mats for our Naval games and I will get another three mats for our "desert" type games, probably going for the Badlands design. The cloth option is about £5 more but as explained above that was my choice. Wayland Games has some offers on and I got the three Darkwater for just less than £110 including postage. Not cheap but cheaper than other manufacturers and for me it adds greatly to the visual appeal of the game.

Each of the mats has a manufacturer logo in one corner, it's quite discreet and on my table it folds over the edge anyway.

My only minor disappointment with the mats are the fold lines on the cloth. They arrive as you can see above in a large plastic zip lock bag folded up for easy delivery, it will depend on how long the one you buy has been in storage but the lines can be quite prominent. The picture above shows mine after I had ironed it, however do not despair ! I have had the Plains mats for a while now and they are now completely flat. I would recommend hanging them up for a few days post purchase and then gravity will do its work. A few games over the top will literally iron out any defects.

I am more than happy with my choice of mat. Some people like a bluer sea and Deep-Cut do offer more sea mats but having painted all my admittedly large collection of ships the same way for years they fit the bases well. I can't comment on durability as I have only owned them a week, but they are made from good quality strong cloth, you would have to go to some effort and probably a sharp implement to tear them. The design is printed on so I will keep them out of direct sunlight as a present caution.

Hopefully the review will be useful and if your balancing on the edge trying to decide whether to take the plunge into gaming mats, go for it, they are great.

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