(Picture heavy post). A good while ago I posted about a fairly successful jaunt into the DIY game mat arena. I was well please with the results. More recently I posted about a similar experiment, also using Pixartprinting when they ran a juicy special offer, but this time on Flag material.
The results on that occasion were less “Wow” and more “Nae Bad” (Scot dialect for okay). Subsequently Vinyl printing at Pixartprinting came around again so I thought I’d have another run at it.
Aside from a couple of standard “roll ’em out and use ’em” mats (images below) I thought I’d try something a bit more ‘flexible’ as well this time. Gaming tiles.
Not a new idea by any means – I’ve made many homespun ones before as will many of you. They work well but the print quality is always going to be restricted by the quality of your printer. Likewise durability by the stock you can print on to. I used to have a great colour laser which was great for this type of printing but it died a few years ago. The inkjet that replaced it, while a good machine, wasn’t so suitable for this purpose. Add to that, some stock that I used wasn’t totally ‘official’ and colour fade to a pinkish hue not long after printing (and all the work involved with trimming and mounting on to foamcore). Imagine how annoying the same result had on carefully built card building models! Grrr.
So, a few of the images below will at first appearance look odd. Big vinyl sheets with randomly dotted terrain on it (see the coastal set). These were laid out in Photoshop before going off to print to minimise the amount of cutting required and to get as much bang for your buck (i.e. you don’t send off thirty 12″x12″ bits of art to print but one big sheet).
For example. here’s a screenshot of the artwork that went off to print for the City tiles. One big file. One big sheet.
With the coastal one I was looking to get from the big sheet a 3’x3′ plain ‘water’ mat (hence the appearance of pirate and viking ships!). The actual coastal areas and land areas were to be sliced into individual tiles to be used either in conjunction with the ‘water’ or in their own right.
Worked out well.
The City banner, whilst it ‘looks’ like a laid out ready-to-use mat, was always intended for slicing. Which you can see in the later pics. The reason for that was – if the slicing proved problematic then I’d at least be left with a City mat that could be used. The cutting and subsequent mounting was not a problem though.
Print ‘n Play Mats: Red Desert/Planet
Print ‘n Play Mats: SciFi/Near Future City Streets
Slice ‘n Dice Mats: Sea and Coastal Mat and Tiles
Pre-slicing and mounting.
Tiles sliced and mounted using Permanent Splay Mount on to 5mm Foamcore.
And same tiles (and the ocean mat which I kept as a roll-out mat rather than tiles) with some toys scattered on for scale.
Slice ‘n Dice Mats: Fantasy/Medieval City Mat and Tiles
Pre-slicing and mounting (daylight conditions make these look washed out – which they are not).
Tiles sliced and mounted using Permanent Splay Mount on to 5mm Foamcore. Some of the larger buildings span two tiles and were kept as such.
With a bit of terrain and minis plopped on
If I can get my head around to playing tabletop wargames with 2d terrain then these are perfect – but then it is hard to beat a 3d tabletop. Sometimes though ‘needs must’ be it time, cost, portability.
Here are a few parting shots of ‘both’ sets of tiles, plus the rolled up sea/coast mat and the cobbled street mat which can be used with the city tiles. Pretty compact for two very large tables worth of ‘2d’ playing surface.
Note on scale: Both of these ‘sets’ are fairly scale agnostic. Even the city tiles with all the detail ‘looks’ to fall somewhere in between 15mm and 28mm so that it can (to my rather forgiving eye at least) work for both sizes.
Now, just to convince some of my gaming mates to give them a go.
For those that are interested, I seem to have churned out a fair number of posts relating to DIY Gaming Mats and the printing and materials thereof – you can see an index of them by clicking this link here. 😉