Wednesday 2 January 2013

A Tale of Two Game Mats

I've been waiting for a space mat so I can continue with Delta Vector the Game (my modernisation of space rules.   I currently prefer 1.5" hexes as your "normal" GZG spaceship or Silent Death fighter tends to fit inside it without much (if any) overlap, and having more, smaller hexes = more maneuver room for your game.

Hotz Mats
I had 6x4 mat used for ground games and I was impressed by the sensible pricing and good quality finish.  Delivery was about a month and a bit which is par for the course Down Under, and considering it is hand-made on request, quite decent too. So when I needed a space mat to trial a hex variant of DvTG, there was only one supplier in my mind...


unfortunately this coincided with shifting house.  The Hotz order was one of the things caught in the "overlap" and the real estate laziness (I asked them for onforward any mail for the period).  A few emails from me were replied to, confirming it had been returned to them, but could not be located in the warehouse.  Then, radio silence for 3 months....

The MKP mat looks a lot better without the rather chunky hexes printed on it...

Monday Knight Productions
A little tired of waiting I sent an order, and had an email reply saying it could be dispatched the same day. MKP then re-advised they needed to get stock in. A day later, I got a Paypal invoice and email saying the stock was ready to ship.  I then received an email saying the product had been shipped, as well as a refund on postage.  I was not surprised at their efficiency, initiative or customer service, as previously I had wished to get a set of their Galactic Knights rules and they suggested they burn it to a CD to save me postage.  The mat does not have the treated "finish" of a Hotz mat and the dots that make up the hexes are a little large, but a game mat in the hand is worth two in the bush, as they say...

So the matchup:

Hotz Mats
Communication: 2/10  Erratic responses to emails, none for months
Delivery: 0/10 Pending (ordered 9 months ago in March)
Quality: 8/10 (going from my last mat, great finish, bulletproof, good quality materials, good price) 


Monday Knight Productions
Communication: 10/10  Impressive.  A stream of friendly emails letting me know exactly where my order was at.
Delivery: 10/10  2 weeks, plus $4 P&P refunded due to costs being lower than quoted
Quality: 6/10 (solid but lacking the "finish" of Hotz Mat)

I recall playing on a vinyl Chessex mat but they seem mostly out of print now...

There is also Corsec Engineering who have a reputation as a "top of the range" mat, and also Terrain Mat who I know have some great coastline and land mats as well, but at $150+ vs $68 for the Hotz and $58 the MKP, I'll pass...

Oh, and some people are tempted to make a home-made mat. There are quite a few techniques out there on the interwebs, and even a hex stencil from Litko. I've tried a few, including the stencil, and I must say DON'T DO IT if you value your sanity. You're better off waiting 9 months for a mat....

Off to dig out DvTG and put a bit of work into it. I'll try to have downloadable "test" rules up soon.


  1. My own experience with Hotz was quite the opposite actually. I now have a Space mate and a European fields mat, both reversible with hexes on one side and nothing on the other.

    I agree, don't make you own hex map- it isn't worth the sanity stresses!

  2. I had a quick google - sadly my experience re: communication is more representative :-(

    Another interesting hex map alternative I came across when googling was this:

  3. I have to disagree with your next to last statement. One of the best times I have had with my Dad was ruling out hexes on bristol board for divisional level PanzerBlitz. Then again, buying hex paper wasn't an option because it wasn't available. ;)

  4. I agree with you (mostly).
    If you have the money, you should go for a commercial mat.
    If you're tight on cash...

  5. That's a pretty good idea - the poker chips are better than a stencil, for sure...