Zuzzy sells roll-up latex gaming mats with sculpted surface relief:
I ordered a 36×36-inch version of the mat in the link above on the 11th. The confirmation email told me to expect a 1 to 3 week wait for shipping, so I figured it’d arrive sometime next week. To my surprise, it arrived today.
It comes rolled up around a stiff cardboard tube and a layer of foam padding, in a plastic sleeve. This, in turn, is shipped in a box. You’ll want to keep these items so you can store the thing rolled up.
I cleared off one of my work tables and lay the mat on it to see how it looked. It’s a very thin latex mat that lays totally flat, and is in a very dark gray color. The 3D detail on it is interesting-you can see rocks, dirt, fallen tree limbs, and other things like that all over the place. It looks so much better than a flocked paper or vinyl mat-the surface relief makes it look much more natural, so your figures don’t look like they’re fighting on a giant sheet of green sandpaper.
I was worried that the raised 3D detail might make it impossible to lay flat-bottomed terrain items on the mat, but the latex seems to have enough give that things can settle nicely on it. Even the cardstock landing pad I built the other day didn’t look obnoxiously out of level. I then took the unpainted Battle for Macragge lander wreckage pieces and laid them out on the mat for the sake of curiosity…I visualized the whole thing painted, and if the finished result even looks just half as awesome as what I saw in my head, then this mat is gonna be very cool to play on.
I was also half expecting it to be easily torn and a little flimsy, but it feels pretty strong. Now, I’m not suggesting that anybody stretch theirs out like some sort of exercise aid, but you can be assured that it’ll hold up to gaming pretty well.
The only issue I have with it doesn’t really have anything to do with the actual product itself-I’d feel a lot better if Zuzzy sent out tracking numbers or even just a courtesy “We shipped it today, expect it in 3-4 days” email, because OMG the local delivery drivers suck, and I’m always paranoid that my stuff is going to be misdelivered. (It happens a lot around here. In fact, UPS delivered my BSG Season 3 DVDs to our next door neighbor today.)
I’m really happy with the mat itself, and I’m looking forward to getting it all painted up. I’ll have to hit the Warstore’s webshop and order some extra Vallejo browns later tonight.