Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DM Advice - Man Do I Love Battlemats!

 From flip mats to dungeon tiles no matter what anyone says I personally believe that roleplaying in any sense is more fun with miniatures and a battle map! I believe that the dungeons of the fantasy game, the streets of the modern game, the shores of the pirates game, the deck of a spaceship, the rough and tumble alleys of sci fi and post apoc games and the gritty realism of the road for a modern or cyborg punk game really come into their own with the addition of battle mats!

I believe that I have become somewhat of an expert on the battle mats since I own pretty much most of them. Some of my favorite battle mat and tiles producers are Scrying Eye Games and Paizo publishing. Sure I am friends with James over at Scrying Eye but that was AFTER I saw his stuff at HMGS Recon two years ago. I approached him about his product and he sold me almost his entire product line. How's that for liking something?
It happened the same way with WOTC's dungeon tiles. I saw the first two tile packs at Borderlands and I picked them up immediately.  Ten bucks was a deal for them! I have gotten years of gaming out of just the first three dungeon tiles that I purchased.

I go into my FLGS regularly to check out what new battle maps are available for my players to explore. They LOVE the color and depth that the mats provide. Yes I also use a chessex map from time to time and draw it out but my drawing skills are nowhere near as good as what is available commercially as battle mats.

Ok so maybe I am a bit crazy with the battle mats but you have to admit that I have some really nice gaming tables. I am the same way with terrain in my miniature games. Face it, the real world is NOT a blank sheet of paper and the real world does has at least a tree or two even in the desert so why should I settle for sub par game mats? I shouldn't and I don't.

My advice for DM's regarding battle maps - GET SOME!

For those of you who want to know what I have here's a listing of the battle maps, mats, tiles and other map pack like accessories that I have.

Scrying Eye Games
  Modular Towers 1: Knight's Tower
  Realms Subterraine Expansion Set 1: The Dungeon
  Realms Subterraine Expansion Set 1: The Sewers
  Tech Grids 2: Sewers & Coolant Floods
  INN Teriors 1: The Ravenclaw Inn
  INN Teriors 2: The Staghorn Inn
  Basic Terrain 1: Sand, Grass and Water
  Realms Subterraine Set 3: Dungeon Deep
  Realms Subterraine Set 4: The Sewers
  Realms Subterrains Set 1: The Labyrinth
  Arena Set 1: We Who Are About To Die (x2)
  Realms Subterraine Set 1: The Islands of the Void
  Roads to Nowhere 1: Urban Crawl
  Roads to Nowhere Expansion Set 1: The Bunker
  Tech Grids 1: Basic Deck Plans
  Tech Grids 2: Sewer & Coolant Floods
  Mechamats 3: Fire & Ice
  Ravenlands 1: Cast & Village
  Ravenlands 2: Inn & Mine
  Ravenlands 3: Hexiden Keep

 Map Packs
   Ancient Forest
   Swallowed Whole
   Boats & Ships

  Flip Mats
   City Streets
   Bandit Outpost
   Waterfront Inn
   Pirate Island
   Woods & Bridge

 Dungeon Tiles
   DT1 - Dungeon Tiles
   DT2 - Arcane Corridors
   DT3 - Hidden Crypts
   DT4 - Ruins of the Wild
   DT5 - Lost Caverns of the Underdark
   DT7 - Fane of the Forgotten Gods
   DU2 - Streets of Shadow
   DU3 - Caves of Carnage (x2)
   DU4 - Arcane Towers (x2)
   DU5 - Sinister Woods
   DU6 - Harrowing Halls
   DU7 - Desert of Athas

 Game Mats (In conjunction with Gale Force Nine)
   Ratfang Sewers
   Dark Sun Desert
   Inn of the Welcome Wench
   Caves of Chaos
   King's Road

 Box Tile Sets
   The Dungeon
   The City
   The Wilderness

 WOTC (Various Battlemats from the D&D Miniatures games including all three dragon lairs!)
 Dungeon & Dragons Box Set (Kellar's Keep)
 Prebuilt Adventures w/Battlemaps
 Starwars Tiles

 Chessex Doublesided Battlemats (x3)


  1. Wow! That's an awesome collection! I really like maps and terrain, too. I only refrain from their use when I playing in the World of Darkness as I like to flow from narrative to combat back to narrative without hassling with maps and minis.

  2. I used to be that way but even now with the storyteller system I find that the maps are so easy to setup and use that it really isn't a problem switching between the two.

  3. I still prefer the dwarven forge stuff, even if they are a true pain to set up.

  4. @Ladyskunk - I agree that the Dwarven Forge stuff looks great too! For quick setup and good layouts you cannot beat a good battle mat though. My next DM Advice article will be about the 3d Dungeon terrain such as Dwarven Forge and Foreworld stuff that is out there. We may also include doll house furniture and other ways to really spice up a dungeon. As you know though I also like to use 3d terrain with my dungeon mats.