WizKids has just released a range of Game Mats for use with their WarLock Tiles range and more generally for Dungeons & Dragons games. These mats measure 24″ x 24″ and feature a 1″ grid akin to the WarLock Tiles, which is supposed to make them ideal for combat scenarios in D&D. Material wise they are rubber backed felt maps, with that backing helping the maps not to slip around on the table. We’ve been able to get hands on with two of the range, the Magma Chamber and the Expansive Cave mats. However, will these be unrolled for every D&D session? Let’s find out!
Pulling the maps from the box the first thing players will unfortunately notice is that with a felt top to them the game mats are prone to creases. Most visible on the Expansive Cave mat, these do detract from the initial look of the mats, distorting any terrain details below. As with all felt things these creases do fall out if kept flat. Still, it’s not just a case of unrolling and having a crease free surface ready to play on – which a neoprene mat would provide. An upside of the felt material is it allows the maps to not be reflective at all. With matt mats there’s no annoying shine from lights and such around or above the table.
Both mats feature a 1 inch grid, though in non perfect light it can be hard to see the grids clearly. The magma map’s mixture of dark and bright colours even makes it hard to see the grid in good lighting – so much so at a glance it’s like there isn’t a grid at all. These mats aren’t to be used primarily on their own or as the main map. As a result, the lack of a visible grid can be somewhat overlooked.
Game Mats like these are to be placed below other terrain – such as the new free form style WarLock Caverns tiles set. For this purpose the game mats start to shine. Sitting terrain simply on a table or black mat loses some of that immersion that 3D terrain provides. It can break the look of the scene, and with these mats underneath they can look much more like fully fledged locations.
Of the two the Magma Chamber is the flashier depicted terrain. It’ll allow Dungeon Masters to craft an impressive scenario that’ll leave players saying “wow”. The downside to this is that it won’t be as versatile in usage – as not every cave can be filled with lava. The Expansive Cave mat therefore will see more usage, without standing out as much – though this is better than a mat that won’t be used. It could also be used as muddy areas between buildings to allow it to hit the table even more frequently.
It may sound like just any old packaging but it is a nice touch that the plastic the mats are rolled up in, when they arrive, can be reused for when storing them later on. Gamers won’t need to rip it open, thus after use the mats can be rolled up and put back into the plastic for relatively safe storage. It’s an added protection and means you don’t necessarily need to hang onto the boxes – though these hardly take up any additional space.
With the release of the high quality 3D WarLock Tiles terrain these Game Mats had a tough billing to follow. Perhaps it is due to this that they feel a lackluster entry into the WarLock range. The creases in the felt lose the detail and the 1 inch grid is almost non-existent. Of the two the Magma Chamber mat will help a location shine and bring that wow factor to the table best. Unfortunately, the Expansive Cave Game Mat seems to have missed the mark a bit, though it could get more consistent usage, despite being an uninspiring product.
(Editor’s Note: The WarLock Game Mats were provided to us by Asmodee for the review. They are currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)
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