– We are the new breed (Of battle mats)

Solid roundabout skills. Jar of Mellow Birds just out of shot.

Battle mats, basically a grown up version of the old road/town carpet mat I was told to play on, during my first day of infant school. No idea why I remember that so clearly but there you go. I don’t even like cars. Anyway, they’re patterned to look like some sort of terrain of your choice, lava, steppes, snow, jungle, you get the idea, and roll up nice and neatly. None of that eternal “how do you store a realm of battle” rubbish. They’re usually made out of any one of a myriad of different  polymer compounds to provide a flat colourful surface for you to play wargames on. Pretty much all the same eh?

Well not quite, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the full set of mats from and they’re a cut above the rest. Read on to find out why.

First up, there’s 3 types of mats on play mats, and they all behave differently, but all 3 have really tight fine detail across the whole surface. I’ll  get some images up close but they are really impressive. The greens look lush and tropical, the dust looks as dry as a me on a podcast, the snow looks more crisp & cold than a glass bottle of full fat Coke straight from the freezer.

This is the heavy duty rubber backed mat, really nice detailed swampland.

So, fine detail, check. Your models will look bang on when using any of these mats and you really cant beat a nice colourful board to game on for full immersion eh?

There’s even ones with deployment and objective zones lightly lined in over the texture so you know where top put your models, nothing worse than a line of dice to show your deployment zone? Well thats a thing of the past now.

Glacier mat with the 2d scenery in effect to recreate the war on Calth

But, whats more important here is the scenery they sent. Rolled up. I’ve not seen owt like this before to be honest and was genuinely impressed. One of THE worst parts of war gaming is scenery, everyone likes a full colour painted battle zone, but who has a tonne of scenery painted, and even if they do, where the fuck do you store the stuff? You end up with broker bits of trees and manufactorums all over your house, flock on every single surface and bits of broken off gravel in the car.

So what have Playmats done? They’ve used the same technology as their mats to print flat scenery in a load of different styles. There’s trees, rocks, bushes etc, that are all as crisp and colourful as the mats themselves but on much smaller rounded pieces of mat.

Don’t get me wrong, this alone wont go too far for your complex games of Necromunda or Malifaux but its an amazing start and the portability is perfect. Even if you were playing those games, Malifaux in particular, you don’t use true line of sight anyway so trees could be H3 for example. You can work out a way to play them in your games with any reasonable opponent.

But its in games of 40k, fantasy, Age Of Sigmar, Warmachine, Hordes and all that jazz, that these begin to shine. Light, detailed, easily distinguished and all can just be rolled up with your mat and taken home.

The detail on these is amazing, really deep colours and high pigment.

These really are a little breath of fresh air and a great solution to an age old problem. Add to the fact that you can get mats with the deployment zones for your games marked on them, and I’m really impressed. I loved this aspect of them, your boards already marked up with the deployment zones for most of the popular games, even odd ones like some of the Malifaux scenario’s and the attacker/defender ones from 30k with a circular zone in the middle.

Hats off to Playmats here for pushing things forward that little bit more, and for thinking outside the box (of broken scenery).