19 June 2013

GaleForce9 "Red Gas cloud" mat for X-wing

Ever since Star Wars X-wing was released I wondered how to best make my own gaming mat, a problem I shared with many others on the internet judging by posts on various forums. Some people use felt sprinkled with paint, other have painted MDF boards. I've seen some people use posters with space motif's.

Each solution has had its pro's and con's. Storage, durability, weight and glossiness are the factors that I was most concerned about. Luckily GaleForce9 started producing and selling these space mats specifically made for Star Wars X-wing. At the moment  there are something like half  a dozen different versions, all of them 3x3' which is the standard gaming area in Star Wars X-wing.

Having asked the experience of others using the gaming mat on WWPD.net I scoured the shops here in Sweden, like everything else Star Wars X-wing related these were all sold out, out of stock and pre-order only. All except for this one - which I naturally bought.

It wasn't my first or second choice, I really wanted the "Deep space" if I could choose, the nebula/gas cloud mats are very nice but a tad too cluttered and busy for my taste. Still, better a nebula mat than using a black blanket or keep playing on regular wargaming tables...

These mats come rolled up in a plastic tube, which is convenient for storage and transport. It is made out of vinyl, so you don't run a risk of tearing it apart and it stays nice and flat on the table when brought out of the tube. No problems with edges folding or something like that.

I was also worried about potential smell, rubber and paint on such products can be overwhelming, the smell however is fortunately no problem. You can smell the vinyl if you sniff it up close, but it's not a powerful odor what will fill your room.

My last worry was that light would reflect off the surface and make taking pictures from games impossible or make it look awful. Well, taking pictures with a flash turns out badly. But with no flash and no direct spotlights towards the mat you should be fine.

That leaves us with the price, is it worth it? Well, before I bought this mat I looked around the internet for a cheaper solution. I figured maybe buying a large poster would do the trick. However larger posters here in Sweden are expensive as hell, and buying one as big as the gaming mat would cost me 3 times as much!
Add to that the fragile paper material over durable vinyl and glossy finish...

If you are a wargamer on a budget I guess you could do with a black blanket or a piece of felt sprinkled with paint. But from my point of view the gaming mat is a sound and reasonably priced investment. If you play other space games that don't require a larger area than 3x3' than this is a recommended purchase.

I can see myself buying another one in the future to add some variety to my games.


  1. The mat looks good you should get good use out of it for years to come.

    1. I think so too, it's a very durable material!

  2. Where did you find it? Sci if bokhandeln? Thanks!


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