Anyway back to my opinion of the mat. Well it actually looks like a big thick silk scarf. The pattern is vibrant and really detailed and I'm sure the weight of it is sufficient to keep it in place while gaming. It's even got a stitched edge to it to ensure it doesn't fray. My whole reason for checking it out is to raise the questions "What if this mat wasn't 5' x 3.5' and 6' x 4' instead? And what if it wasn't a sea-scape but a battlefield?" Is this something GW should be looking at? What would it be like for the next iteration of 40k to come with it's own battlefield included?
Granted GW might fear the cannibalization of it's Realm of Battle Game Boards but lets be realistic £155 is a lot of cash for a table-top, which you still have to paint yourself.
In actual fact GW is already aware of this which is why it already has a gaming mat for £18.50. Now I did have to do a bit of searching to rediscover this little gem but I think that's a decent price for what could be a new sideline in the GW market. Coincidentally it also seems to be roughly the price the Dreadfleet mats are selling for on ebay. I'm pretty sure these things would make quite a profit, even compared to the current play mat. I'm sure there are far more companies who can produce printed fabric sheets than sheets with flock glued on them. Having a multitude of fabric companies to secure a cheapest deal is more likely than couple of specialist model suppliers.
But the concept doesn't end there because if you can do one type of printed battlefield, 'Cityscape' for instance, you can probably do half a dozen -
- Chaos Waste
- Ice planet
- Alien infestation
- Oh, and Red Planet!
Because, as we all know when given the choice GW often tries to sell us six products when one will do (£15 for 6 Vortex templates?!):
I'm sure you actually need all 6 of those templates but it's sets a precedent that there could be half a dozen different battlefields on offer for those that just want to play, not interested in the hobby aspect and what better way than to include one in the next starter set? They could even add another £10-£20 to the base price and you'd probably find people amenable to the concept.
Of course I'm not going to hold my breath for such a thing, and you don't have to, you can always print out my FREE Ferron Proxima battlemat, either at a local high street printers or in tiled A4 sheets and piece it altogether on one big piece of MDF...