Tuesday, April 7, 2009

First impression Hotz Mats

Eric Hotz was the artist behind a lot of Columbia Games artwork, including the uniform illustrations used in Dixie and Eagles collectible card games.

He has his own art operation now, and from a wargamer's perspective the most interesting products are his lines of felt playing mats.

I bought the European Fields 72-inch by 45-inch mat with 2-inch hexagons. My primary intention is to use it for playing World War II aerial combat games using the Check Your Six! rules and Axis & Allies Miniatures planes, but I selected that pattern and size because it should also be able to do duty for Heroscape, Lord of the Rings Tradeable Miniatures and Axis & Allies Miniatures as well.

My main concern prior to buying the mat was durability, but now that I've had a chance to toss it around a little and set up some miniatures on it I think it will be a sturdy enough playing surface, at least as durable as the Geo-Hex terrain system I bought more than a decade ago.

This image from the Hotz game site ( http://www.hotzmats.com/ ) gives an idea of what it looks like in use.

The mat is very flexible and should lie over hills and other irregularities rather well. It's lightweight as well and can fold easily. If it wrinkles the creases can be ironed out. Hotz warns against trying to wash the material, but spills for most common liquids should be able to be blotted out easily enough. Still, I would definitely enforce a no-liquids rule to avoid any problems.
The European Fields mat is one of the more expensive ones, at $44.99, but the shipping cost from Canada added another $25. My budget didn't allow for spending more at the time, but if thinking of buying multiples it makes sense to buy them all at once to save on the shipping costs. A group purchase by a club, for example, would be a good idea.

1 comment:

  1. Hotz Mats shipping rates of single game mats to the USA:

    Surface Mail (folded game mat):: $8.50 USD
    Air Mail (folded game mat): $10.00 USD
    FedEX Ground (rolled game mat): $20.00 USD