Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Saturday 19 January 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Giant Book of Battle Mats

Book: Giant Book of Battle Mats

Publisher: Loke Battle Mats

Year: 2018

Giant Book of Battle Mats is a 62 page tome made of Wipe-clean A3, square-grid, battle mats with a lay-flat spiral binding for use with fantasy roleplaying games (you know the ones). Each page can be used individually but can also be twinned with it's neighbour to create a double-page spread for larger encounters.While most of the pages have full-colour prints of terrain and buildings to bring the maps alive, several are purposely blank allowing you to use a dry-erase pen to draw in your own details as needed. Of course all the pages are wipeable so you can add your own flourish or notes to any map as needed and then wipe clean later

Anyone who has ever tried to run a roleplaying session has come across the same problem The plot is in one direction and your players are desperately trying to go the other. For some reason you didn't prepare for the obvious encounter that was the party rogue backstabbing the king openly in court or the bard infuriating the entire town by trying to woo the wrong person. For all those unprepared encounters the Giant Book of Battle Mats is there for you. and that's why I find it an invaluable tool in my DM kit. Suddenly you are prepared for the unprepareable.

Our heroes are being Ambushed as they escort a horse and cart across a river, fortunately there's a map for that!
The size of the book is a slight double-edged sword, the maps are done to the standard 1 inch squares with each map being 12 by 17 squares (the outermost squares are a little cut off) or 24 by 17 for a double page spread. Enough for most encounters, but unlike a standard fold-out battle map this size really is all you are getting, if your encounter needs an area over 120ft long then you won't be able to do that with the book alone. Also unlike a standard fold-out map you are stuck with the A3 format of the book which is, let's face it, a little large to carry around with you everywhere you go. The flexibility of the book is really where it wins it's brownie points back, with 28 distinct, double-page, encounters along with a few pages of blank terrain.

An Orcish Necromancer starts raising the dead of the local graveyard, our heroes desperately try to hold the line against the undead horde, The Giant book of Battle maps works great in culminations with a couple of pieces of scatter terrain and miniatures.
To the book's credit there is just the right amount of repetition on a theme; a small handful of urban encounters, including a docks and a market. Another small handful of encounters out on green plains with roads, camps and rivers thrown in for variety. Then a collection of dungeon maps with everything from natural caverns, carved out dungeons with puzzle rooms and the obligatory sewer level and tavern brawl. The rest of the maps have more unique themes such as the beach, the lava caves, the kings courtroom and the desert oasis. I mean it when I say this book prepares you for almost anything.

Delving deep into the volcanic caves, the elements themselves take life to attack our heroes!
Overall the advantages of having such a wide selection of terrain available to me at a moments notice far over-weighs the bulkiness of the book and the limit in map size presented. Most encounters won't be using a larger floor size outside of a full dungeon anyway. So while the Giant Book of Battle Maps isn't able to be my sole roleplaying battle map solution, it is an incredible powerful tool that brings moments to life at a moment's notice or provides the background for planned encounters.

If you like any of the miniatures you see in the photos, you can find them, free to download on Thingiverse, including some creations of my own!

No comments:

Post a Comment