Let’s Talk About Gaming Mats

I want to start this post with the following disclaimer: I am pretty new to gaming mats. I have used a couple of custom printed neoprene Blood Bowl pitches over the years, but that is about the limit of my experience. I have technically owned a couple of Mantic Games mats for Deadzone for about a year or so, but since I have yet to actually play Deadzone, all I have managed to use them for is as a backdrop for taking pictures of miniatures. Well, it’s officially time for that to change! Deep-Cut Studio has graciously agreed to send us one of their Space Hulk gaming mats for review, so here we go!

One of the reasons that I haven’t picked up any gaming mats before now is that I don’t play Warhammer, 40K or any other large scale tabletop war games. However, anyone who has been visiting this site for a while, will know that I do play Mordheim on occasion, and have a table full of scratch built terrain. But do you know what the worst part of that table full of scratch built terrain is? Staring at the bare wood of my tabletop sitting directly beneath said scratch built terrain… Gaming mats can be a cost effective and convenient way of adding another level of immersion to your gaming experience. They role up easily for storage, and neoprene based mats can even provide a little bit of protection against paint chipping for your heavier metal minis.

Deep-Cut Studio is a Lithuanian based company that makes quite a selection of mats for a variety of different games and game types. They make mats for everything from Blood Bowl, Guildball, Malifaux, Warhammer and 40K, with sizes ranging from standard Blood Bowl pitches, to 4×6 foot giants for large scale battles. Their mats also come in three different materials. They have PVC mats, which are essentially sheet plastic with high resolution images printed on them, synthetic fabric mats with high resolution images dyed into the fabric, and “Mousepad” mats with the dyed synthetic fabric with a neoprene backing.

The mat that Deep-Cut sent us is of the Mousepad variety, and I have to say, I really like it. The image on the mat is really well designed, and conveys the Space Hulk, giant ship feel VERY well. There is a lot of attention to detail, and the mat feels both futuristic, and appropriately worn at the same time.

Here are a few pics showing off some of the detailed areas of the mat.

Since I don’t have experience with a lot of different gaming mats, I will have to make comparisons with the only mats I do have experience with… The Mantic Deadzone mats. In that regard, I have to say that the Mantic mats really don’t hold a candle to this Deep-Cut mat.

The Deep-Cut mat on the left has a bit more of a bluish tint than the Mantic mat, but that color fits the aesthetic of the Deep-Cut mat. There isn’t a lot of detail on the Mantic mat, but the detail that is there is very basic, and a little blurry. By contrast, the Deep-Cut mat is PACKED with details.

The image on the Mantic Deadzone Infestation mat in the lower left is certainly sharper than the original Deadzone mat, but the level of details on it drop even more to a very generic rocky red terrain look. Again, the Deep-Cut mat is leaps and bounds nicer.

As to the thickness of the mat. It is a little thinner than most mousepads you will find in the US, and slightly thinner than the new Games Workshop Blood Bowl neoprene pitches. The thickness is very similar to the Mantic Deadzone mats, but hopefully you can see in this picture that the Deep-Cut mats are slightly thicker.

And the best part about the Deep-Cut Space Hulk mat is that it is MUCH larger than the Deadzone mats (I know… Deadzone is intentionally designed to be played on a 2×2 foot mat). Deep-Cut sent us the 4×4 foot version of this mat, and there is definitely something impressive about a mat that takes up almost all of the available floor space in my office/hobby room. I think it’s actually wider than the table I was planning on putting it on top of.

To sum things up (just in case you couldn’t tell), I am really impressed with this mat. Getting it all laid out and checking out the details really make me wonder why I waited so long to add a gaming mat to the tabletop. I would say that there is a high likelihood that I will be adding a gaming mat to my Mordheim table very soon.

Now I know what some of you might be thinking. Wyrd Stones and Tackle Zones is 90% Blood Bowl related, if Deep-Cut Studio makes Blood Bowl pitches, why didn’t we review one of their Blood Bowl pitches instead of a Space Hulk mat? Well…

With the release of Shadow War:Armageddon in April, and the recent announcement of the return of Necromunda, things around the site will be taking a decidedly Hive World turn in the coming months! For me, this mat is not only great for Space Hulk, but I think it also really nails the industrial feel of the massive Hive World mega cities. Some of the details, like the designated landing areas might not be 100% fluff accurate, but I can also put terrain pieces on top of those spots.

Just in case you’re wondering what that is in front of the Shadow War: Armageddon box, that is the original terrain sprues from the Deadzone boxed set on the right, and two sets of the Deadzone Industrial terrain from the Infestation Kickstater on the left. Just because I haven’t played Deadzone yet, doesn’t mean I can add the terrain to the Shadow War: Armageddon terrain and make myself one heck of a Sci-Fi table!

With all of that terrain, and a couple of Kill Teams to put together… and a game to learn, check back soon for more posts about my adventures in Sci-Fi wargaming. There will definitely be more coming from us soon between Shadow War: Armageddon and Necromunda.

Keep an eye on Deep-Cut Studio as well. They are a company run by gamers who got started by designing and making laser cut terrain for their own gaming tables. They have more game specific mats in the works, and they will be expanding beyond gaming mats soon, with more information on upcoming projects coming this fall.

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5 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Gaming Mats

  1. I’d have to see them in person, with some terrain on them….but my first thought is that the mat might be too busy. In a way, the Deadzone mat makes more sense from an overhead view, the ground will be a little more blurry as its farther away. Conscious decision on Mantics part or just saving some bucks on the lower resolution? Hard to say. I think size-wise the Space Hulk mat makes more sense. Also it sounds like Necromunda is supposed to be very crowded, so that mat probably makes the most sense.

    • Well, keep in mind that the mat was originally designed for Space Hulk, which takes place on a massive derelict ship floating through space. In that sense, it works great. I’m simply going to use if for Necromunda/Shadow War: Armageddon… which is set in an ultra industrialized Hive city, so I think it works really well there, too.

  2. Pingback: Under the Brush: Ep 3 | Wyrd Stones and Tackle Zones

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