Friday, July 29, 2011

Hotz Mats

As part of my fantasy MERCS project, which I'm calling CLANS, I wanted to create a suitable battleground for my skirmishes to take place.
The first thing I needed was a theme to the battleground - something versatile for which terrain would be common or easy to make.

The first thing that came to mind for fantasy wargaming was grassy fields, which suits fantasy somewhat more than Sci-Fi. I already have my Toposolitario Battleground for Sci-Fi, so I thought I'd go to the other end of the spectrum for my fantasy battleground. I guess if I really wanted to, I could play Sci-Fi on grassy fields too.

With that idea, I started thinking about all the options for terrain that would be appropriate for Grassy Fields - and the options were really limitless. I could have hills, towns, ruins, trees - pretty much anything appropriate for a fantasy setting. Hills would be great for creating elevation ratings, town houses and ruins for full and half cover, and trees would be pretty good for half cover too!
So I was set on creating a grassy field battleground!

The first thing I need would be a gaming mat - something suitably designed that would thematically unify all the terrain on it, while still being durable enough to withstand the rigors of miniature wargaming (the occassionally spilt Coke).

I wasn't able to find any good papercrafting options, but after some looking I stumbled onto Hotz Mats.
Hotz Mats are treated felt gaming mats, designed specifically for miniature wargaming. Check out their website for all the details - they come in a range of designs and sizes, with the option for crater artwork and/or squares/hexagonal grids.

So, I found the size most appropriate for MERCS: the quarter-size (22"x34") which is close enough to the MERCS recommended 24"x36".

I ordered the Green Planet design, with no craters or hexes - the craters suits 15mm wargaming moreso than 28mm, but I guess they could represent a very war-ravaged landscape.
I also ordered the Moonscape design, with no craters or hexes, after I found out postage for two quarter-sized game mats had the same cost! I thought the Moonscape design could also be used as a dungeon, cave, or mountain pass setting.
For the two mats it costed me about AU$32, including postage. I went down to the local art store, and found the Hotz Mats prices (including postage) were actually cheaper than plain felt mats without any designs on them of roughly the same size... go figure.

32 days later, my package arrived from Canada! This struck me a particularly long, but Eric did warn me when I put my order through that there was a postal strike in Canada.

So here are some photos I snapped real quick before bed - I'll take more photos over the weekend, hopefully with better lighting.
I'll also be posting a short review on the mats as well, so stay tuned!

Green Planet (no craters, no hexes)
Moonscape (no craters, no hexes)

Sync out.

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