Monday, 1 April 2013

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game - Space Gaming Mats

X-Wing Gaming Mats
The docking bay had really come into it's own since the owner had been to Carpet Right...

Since I picked up the X-Wing Miniatures game I've been looking for a gaming surface with which to wage intergalactic war over. As mentioned in a previous post, I'd picked up a 5ft sq. sheet of black vinyl from the local fabric shop and at just under a fiver, this proved to be more than suitable as a temporary solution.

And admittedly, whilst the vinyl side is somewhat shiny, star-less and maybe even a bit kinky even for Lord Vader's tastes, the reverse white felted side, will be perfect for those games set on the ice world of Hoth...

Any way, back to the mission in hand...

There are a number of gaming mats available on the market that will be good for your games of X-Wing. Although critically, if you live in the UK like me, you're probably going to be at the mercy of long shipping times and high relative costs. Not a great start is it? You may be tempted to head to the local fabric store and pick up some appropriate material and if you have an airbrush or you're skilled with a toothbrush and thumb :), paint the star field on yourself. And who can blame you...

It should be noted that barring one of these mats, I've not seen them in the flesh, so unfortunatley I'm not best placed to comment on the quality of the printing or the material used

With that said, let's take a look at the options (all images copyright of their respective owners):

Gale Force 9 - Coming in at around £35 inc. p&p, GF9 produce a range of printed 36" by 36" vinyl mats. The two mats pictured on the left are available for purchase now and the two on the right representing prototype images of mats for release later in the year (depending on how well the first two sell, I assume...). Importantly, GF9 seem to be the only supplier on the market that currently offers the 'Death Star' style mat.

Hotz Artworks - The Canadian based design company, produces a whole heap of gaming mats for different gaming genres and settings. With X-Wing in mind, they produce the 36" by 36" 'Classic' and 'Enhanced' Deep Space gaming mats. They also produce a variety of other mats - Moonscape, Ice Planet & Dirt Planet - that could be utilised in planet bound games. However, coming in at anywhere between £70 - £80 including shipping, will mean for that the Hotz gaming mat will be a luxury purchase for most...

Monday Night Productions - Next up we have MNP, based in the U.S. Pretty slim pickings here, with only one space-scape gaming mat available. Price wise, you're probably looking at about £55 inc. shipping. But wait! These mats are available in the UK from The Wargames Command Post! You can find them on eBay under the seller ID thewargamescp. They'll sell it to you for £39.50 inc. p&p...

Terrain Mat - Are UK based and offer an option of two space field 'Galactic Mats'. "Based on images from the Hubble space telescope showing swirling gas clouds with near and far star clusters", these mats are available in no less than seven sizes from 3x5ft to 6x12ft (!), with prices ranging from £32 - £154.

Corsec Engineering - Offer a large selection of gaming mats and from the reviews and forums I've read, the quality is supposedly outstanding. The images are printed on a thick cotton fabric which unlike felt, probably results in a sharper, crisper image quality. Available in 60" by 50", these mats will set you back about £55 inc. shipping.

Lex Stormwalker - Taking matters into his own hands and championing the little guy, Lex Stormwalker is a blogger hailing from Spain who's set up his own custom X-Wing gaming mat service. You can find helpful details on the mat itself and the ordering process/experience over at the Gaming With TooFatLardies blog site...

Well, a fair few options available, although not that many available directly from UK manufacturers / distributors. I'd still recommend you keep on searching the web to see what can be found. I've no doubt there are a whole bunch of other options out there, even if they are making themselves a bit of a challenge to find... If you do find anything worth a recommend, post a comment below :). Ultimately  it would make sense for Fantasy Flight Games to make their own licensed X-Wing gaming mat. They're sure to make a killing if they do...

So what option did I go for in the end? Well, like many gamers, when they set their mind on a purchase they don't want to wait weeks on end as it heads over the Atlantic buried at the bottom of some shipping container. And for this very reason, I went for the quickest route - The Monday Knight Productions Space Mat available on eBay through the Wargames Command Post.

How does it stack up?

Firstly, it arrived in two days and The WCP had packed it up really well in a strong postal bag (for some daft reason I was expecting it to come in a card tube!?). The game mat itself was shrink wrapped in clear plastic.

Opening up the packing revealed the inserted product label in more detail. Printed on thin paper, one side shows Monday Knight Productions' contact details and the price - $37... The other side of the label provides helpful care instructions...

The mat itself is made of black felt with one side having the space-scape print. I say print, but in actual fact, this very much is the 'tooth brush and thumb' approach, with paint sprayed / flecked across the surface and a purple nebula design sprayed centrally on the cloth...

Two things are immediately noticeable 1.) Some of the paint flecks are quite large, for star 'flecks' at least, and 2.) There's an abundance of colour at use here for the stars, including blue, red and a rather vibrant yellow. Now, don't get me wrong, I fully appreciate the colouration of the cosmos is made up of more than just white stars on a black background but when the coloured stars out number and on the whole out size the white ones, it can look a little odd up close.

Importantly though, when the mat is fully laid out it does all 'blend' together quite well. I think the problem lies in the fact that when compared to the artwork available from other game mat manufacturers, it does all look a bit like the MNP's mat was done in someone's garage with a few spray cans. And who's to say it wasn't?

Alongside the ability to get the mat delivered quickly, one important aspect that further spurred my purchase was the fact that the MNP mat comes in a 6ft by 4ft size. Like Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap, I need to know that my gaming mat can 'go up to 11' and when 36" by 36" isn't enough, I can unroll a bit more cloth to give me that little bit extra...

36" will never satisfy a Frigate Class ship and who can blame her? More on this beast in a future post...

So, in summary, I'd give the MNP's Space Mat 6.5/10.

On the plus side it's readily available if you're based in the UK and if your gaming mind is geared to 6ft by 4 ft, you'll get exactly what you need. It also goes without saying that the mat is highly store-able, folding away into a medium sized plastic bag with ease. Equally, when laid out and because it's felt, the creases settle and smooth out of the surface very well.

On the downside the artwork / printing is a bit of a let down. Not enough to ruin your game by any means, but certainly the 'competition' have got nothing to worry about in this department.With this in mind (it's black felt with paint sprayed on it!), the price tag of £39.50 does leave you with a persistent 'I could have done a better job than that!' doubt in your mind... Ultimately, only actually taking that particular challenge on will prove this to be the case or not and to be fair to The Wargames Command Post, they will have had to factor trade and shipping costs into the equation to get the product into the UK. I should also say that the service I received from The Wargames Command Post was excellent throughout.

Good luck on your own quest to find the right X-Wing gaming mat for you. I'm certainly happy for the time being but something tells me that the DIY challenge will be one I'd love to take on in the future ;)


  1. Great post, very informative.

  2. There is also a german shop with 2 complementary mats (size 3x3 feet, 92x92cm):
    "Spacematte blau" (blue)
    "Spacematte Rot" (red)
    32,50€ each + shipping

    I own one myself, and it's of good quality!

    Additionally you can lay both mats side on side to have one big gaming space.
    Examples: (both mats)

    Interesting fact is that the shop owner works for "Heidelberger Spielverlag" which officially distributes the FFG games for germany. So for us germans this is a kind of our official gaming mat :)

  3. There is also a german review for this mats:

    They say:
    "Fischkrieg as a small scale manufacturer offers interesting and quality matching game accessory for X-Wing. The price of 32.50 euros is also reasonable, we compare this with the 35 euros that require the competitors.

    The mat can be rolled and folded, is durable and manageable, so also an interesting option for casual gamers. However, you do not have to do it here with a textile mat such as the Citadel, which is why you should exercise some caution when folding to make no permanent kinks in the mat."

  4. The mats are very cool - Thanks for the recommend and the great info! I particularly like the fact that both mats can be combined. They also look excellent in terms of print quality and finish. Interesting regarding Heidelberger Spielverlag - There should be a lobby for FFG to franchise the game mats ;)

  5. I have believe that there comment are believe so you can visit tha game

  6. when compare to the artwork obtainable from other game mat manufacturer, it does all look a bit like the mat was done in somtop online strategy games.
    real time strategy game.
    eone's garage with a few scatter cans

  7. I know this is an old post, but it's the sort of thing one finds doing research. So I think it's worth asking you to do an edit:

    Monday Night Productions is not based in Canada. MNP is in Vancouver, Washington, which is part of the US, not Vancouver, British Columbia, which is no doubt what you were thinking of. As a Canadian looking for solutions that don't involve import costs, that's an important detail. :)

  8. That ol' salty sea dog Captain George Vancouver was a popular man indeed... Not one, but two cities named in his honour and divided by a mere 305m!

    My home town, Brighton (UK), also shares it's name with a further four towns around the world. You'd think someone would make a stand and stop this ridiculous behaviour... Post updated ;)

  9. Been looking for a good alternative to the GF9 mats in the UK for sometime, recently found a thread on the FFG X wing forum by a guy based in the UK that was making his own custom mats and selling them on Amazon and ebay and after checking them out decided to purchase this one:

    It arrived a few days ago and it's perfect. The vinyl is thicker than the GF9 mats and the print is really clear and crisp and it was a pretty decent price as well. So if your in the UK and looking for a non-GF9 mat check out these ones.

  10. Hey Huey, that is a great looking mat - good shout. The fact that the vinyl is thicker can only be a good thing; ensuring your gonna get a game surface that stands up to the rigors of gaming. I also like the the print image - striking without being too busy. May have to invest... Cheers :)

  11. Hotz is still up and running, great mats!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...