In order to break my war gaming drought I ventured to purchase a gaming mat made by Cigar Box Battle Mats.
Why the drought and why will this be an important step?
For a few years now I have been stuck in my wargaming hobby nightmare. You see I have a bunch of not yet completed armies and a small collection of less than ideal terrain but what I really struggled with was a tabletop. I don't mean the physical table but the base of my wargames terrain onto which my scenic items and troops can play their part. Over the years I have tried cork tiles, timber tiles, spray painted fabric, canvas clothes, painted mdf and nothing has satisfied me and this in turn has delayed all those other aspects to my hobby and therefore killed any drive I may have to get to my goals.
This Battle Mat has a lot of pressure riding on it
So this mat is yet another attempt to break that deadlock and actually get some runs on the board to finally get back into some momentum. With my tabletop sorted I can begin to visualise what my terrain pieces may look like and how my armies will move across the fields and roads into battle. And with the number of project creeps I have had recently, adding Boer Wars and Crusades, this roadblock really needed to be smashed through.
My Battle Mat
They have a number of different preprinted mats to choose from and after searching through all their options and googling them to see them in use I chose the European Just Fields mat and placed an order with a local gaming store. They also have a just grass mat and a desert mat which I may purchase in the future along with snow, ocean and space.
After a short wait it arrived and from initial inspection looked very good.
Do I like it?
Not 100% sure just yet. It's thinner than I would like it to be and the preprinted fields are way too big for 6mm gaming but that may not be an issue for my goal to have 50% coverage with scenic terrain items.
My other concern is hills. The website talks about placing angled sheets of mdf or foam underneath and I have some cork tiles angled as such to test with. I guess my issue with hills in the past is that balance between height and playability. Too high and the fabric does not sit correctly and various hollow sections exist looking unnatural and causing figures to fall over. Too low and they don't really model blocked line of sight or superior positioning very well.
I put down my mdf boards to create my tabletop, in this just 2 sheets of 2x4 mdf side by side.
A small contour off the top left corner was added to model rising ground in that direction and a small hill was added in the opposite corner.
Next the sheet was rolled out over the top of the whole and the fabric was pressed down and encouraged to hug the contour and hill edges.
My scenic terrain was then added along with trees and some troops deployed for action.
Next is to get to work on roads, fields, farms and woods.