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Scale, play mat size, play mat with or without grid?


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#1 jimgrant

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:07 AM

I played the quick demo at Gen Con and it was great.  I noticed in another post that somebody referenced buying a space-themed playmat and wondered what size would be best for this game and whether or not to include the optional hexes or grids on a semi-custom playmat.  At Gen Con, we played on a 3' X 3' space without any obvious measurement intervals like a grid or hex pattern.  I think we had 6 ships on the board in total (2 X-Wings and 4 Tie Fighters), and there seemed to be enough space to spread out but not enough that someone would be able to easily flee for turns to the other end of the map.

Does anyone have a recommendation on a mat size and what the practical limitations are on a 3X3 foot size for example?  Would a huge 7X4 mat be a waste for this game?  I plan to have 4+ players at times.  And what are peoples' thoughts on whether having a grid pattern is "cheating" or not?  It would give some rough measure of distance that everyone can reference, but does that take away from the game in any way?  I was thinking 2" hexes might be a decent size relative to the ship bases.  Anything smaller would add too much noise to some beautiful playmats.

There are some extremely cool playmats out there and I think it would be a cool touch to add to the game!  (Not that I'll need more ways to spend money on this game!)  Thanks in advance



#2 Manchu

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:54 AM

You may be thinking of me.  I mentioned ordering a Hotz mat specifically for this game.  I also thought a lot about the specifications.  Ultimately, I chose their 72" x 45" deep space mat with no grid or hex.  As to the size, Hotz does not offer a stock deep space mat in a smaller size without hex and grid overlay.  Additionally, I am interested in eventually playing higher point cost games over a larger area.  As to why I did not want the overlay, I don't plan on using the mat for anything but wargames like X-Wing and perhaps Spartan Games Firestorm Armada (plus, here's hoping, an eventual SW capital ship scale game!) because I personally don't care for grid/hex-based movement games.  The cost with shipping (continental US) was about 66 USD and I understand the wait time is about a month.

If you're thinking about getting a mat, I'll tell you that all my research pointed to Hotz.  Yes, they are costly.  But I have heard stories about quality and storage problems with other mats and I didn't think the savings was comparatively compelling.  I've also heard that paint-splattered felt from the fabric store is not an ideal solution in practice but budgets are budgets.  No matter what brand of mat you decide to buy or make yourself, think carefully about what purposes you want it to serve.  You'll ultimately get more for your money (and/or time) if you can use the mat for several purposes.  If you like grid/hex-based games, heaven knows there a few of them out there, then perhaps consider buying a smaller mat with the overlay.

 



#3 jimgrant

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:58 AM

Thanks for the note.  I had seen the Hotz mats and am considering them.  Can you easily fold or roll the mat smaller for 2-payer games or do you need to spread it all out?  What do you think about having a grid pattern exposed when playing X-Wing?  It would provide some distance estimates to all players rather than having people rely on their judgment alone.  I wouldn't want people to be pre-measuring moves (which some of my friends would probably try) but think having a visible grid might be a happy medium to allow everyone some basic distance estimating tool. 

Thanks for your thoughts and enjoy your mat -- they do look extremely cool!



#4 Manchu

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 11:27 AM

I think you have to consider the difference between casual and competitive play.  Mats with grid/hex overlays are totally unacceptable for competitive play for the reasons you've cited.  So if you want a mat to practice competitive play with, then a grid/hex mat is probably not for you -- or, rather, I know it wouldn't be for me.  Even if tried to keep myself from using the overlay to measure, I would probably do it unconsciously and therefore not develop the skill to eyeball distance for competitive play. So that leaves you with the possible conundrum of wanting a grid/hex mat for some games and mat sans overlay for others.  Hotz can help you out there, too.  You can order a double-sided mat from them for cheaper than buying two separate ones.  You can certainly fold a Hotz mat down but keep in mind that you are folding fabric.  That means that as the number of folds increases, the "surface" will get thicker and more springy.  That springiness will probably not be an issue given how wide and stable even the smallest bases are in this game.  Personally, I'm not sure that I will fold the mat for two reasons:  (1) I don't really want to put creases in the mat (even though you can iron them out using a towel) and (2) the mats are airbrushed and I'm not familiar with how folding cloth affects the airbrush paint on it.  Hotz does send mats out folded so I'm guessing its not too big of a deal and I am just being conservative.



#5 Acrizer

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 06:52 PM

Manchu said:

You may be thinking of me.  I mentioned ordering a Hotz mat specifically for this game.  I also thought a lot about the specifications.  Ultimately, I chose their 72" x 45" deep space mat with no grid or hex. 

 

I did the same. Months ago. Although in the initial contact with them they replied swiftly and indicated it coincided with other work they were doing and I'd get it real fast… I still haven't seen it. They also don't respond to any of my emails. I'm a bit miffed at the total lack of contact - including contacting them when I received no confirmation of my payment to their paypal invoice (like they instruct you to do) but have seen enough people talking about their Hotz orders that this seems to be par for the course with this company and the product will eventually show up out of the blue sometime after I've forgotten about it or put together something else to use instead.

That said, I'll never order from them again.



#6 Sanguinary Priest

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:21 PM

They're somewhat infamous for their long delays unfortunately.  I know that doesn't help you at the moment but at least you can be relatively sure that they're not just trying to rip you off but are known for keeping their customers waiting for months.  :( 



#7 DavicusPrime

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 04:05 AM

It seems like the current game is designed around 100pt lists played on a 3' x 3' square, but scaling up should be entirely possible.  I suspect that it would  increase the time required to play and would give faster ships a bit of an advantage in some scenarios.  Any kind of interdiction style scenario would heavily favor the Imps and their inherent speed advantages.  The rulebook assumes that you'll want to experiment with larger play areas as soon as you start going above 100pts.  As a lot of folks who play miniature wargames treat 4' x 6' as the standard table size, getting a mat that covers at least that much area wouldn't be a bad idea.

Low cost game mat solution:  Buy a piece of black felt of whatever size your table can handle…  Get some white paint and an old toothbrush.  Thin the paint a bit, dip the brush into it and hold it a couple feet over the felt and run your finger across the bristles to flick little dropplets of white paint randomly over the felt.  When satisfied with the resulting "star pattern", allow to dry.

When you play with the felt, you can either fold it to the desired size or use something like string to mark out the dimensions of the playable area you're using for your game.  This would allow you to scale up from 3' x 3' to what ever your table can handle.

 

-DavicusPrime



#8 Nalydd

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:38 AM

My local shops were doing material 60" wide and then by the metre for anything from £5 to £10 per metre.  I left without buying anything and considered my other options.  Using a black double bedsheet would work just as well and can be picked up for a fraction from the right bargain stores/supermarkets.

BUT

What about using my existing 4ftsq gaming table which I will paint black and add stars to?  Originally this was just going to be pin points of white paint (some with hints of red, orange, blue) and a few specks of glitter to catch the ambient light but after some further thought I realised that I could do  something more.

I have bought some battery powered LEDs from Ebay (40 in a string for £3 or so) which will be inserted into holes drilled into the mdf table (smaller holes on the black top to allow just a little starlight through, bigger holes underneath to hold the bulbs in place).  As I won't be hosting any major events and won't cost me more than a few pounds this will be perfect.



#9 Manchu

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:07 AM

Nalydd said:

I have bought some battery powered LEDs from Ebay (40 in a string for £3 or so) which will be inserted into holes drilled into the mdf table (smaller holes on the black top to allow just a little starlight through, bigger holes underneath to hold the bulbs in place).

Holy crap that's a good idea!



#10 DavicusPrime

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:15 AM

Seconded!  Fairly cheap and freaking awesome.

-DavicusPrime






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