05 December 2019

Dry erasable playmat for tabletop RPG's from Playmats.eu review

Last month I placed an order with Playmats.eu on both dry erasable playmats and some 2D terrain. I got an extra playmat for a review of both product types, and having tried out the playmats there was enough experience to write up a proper review.

First a quick backstory. The reason I even stumbled upon this company was when I was looking to find reasonable dry erasable playmats since the original Dungeons & Dragons playmats were all sold out here in Sweden. The only alternatives were paper based playmats, which is a big “no thank you” for me since I want durability and spill proof materials. A bit of Google-fu led me to Playmats.eu, a company based in Poland with reasonable prices for both products and shipping to Sweden. What I was looking for was one playmat for "indoor" locations and one for "outdoor" locations, preferably different colors. If possible I wanted something a bit more pleasing to the eye than just plain black & white grid.

Playmats.eu had a variety of designs, I went with a slightly stained parchment colored playmat for the indoor/cavern locations and a slightly faded green/grey playmat for outdoor locations where drawing with a pencil is not as important and where the squares will be used for movement together with regular wargaming terrain.

The playmats arrived in separate hard cardboard cylinders and plastic wrappings. The material of the mats is vinyl, and compared to other vinyl playmats I’ve had before (like X-wing playmats from another manufacturer) these did not smell at all even though they have a printed texture. Each playmat comes with a non-permanent black whiteboard marker and a wipe cloth.

Since this was my very first ever product that I was supposed to draw on with a pencil I made some tests with the black marker that came with the playmat as well as a few other whiteboard markers I got from work (black, blue and green colored).

Starting with the pen that came with the playmat, it’s easy to draw and erase as you go. The drawing stays “moist” for quite a while and there is always the risk that you smudge out some of your drawing with hands or miniature handling. You can easily and without any kind of pressure erase drawn lines with either the supplied cloth or your bare fingers. In our Dungeons & Dragons session we erased “Door” markers as soon as doors were opened, so it was a convenient way to make changes on the fly. We did not notice too much “wear and tear” of the drawn maps during our 7 hour session during which I wiped and drew new locations as the campaign progressed.

A couple of days prior to our game I let the playmat stay on the table with a large drawn dungeon and let it sit for 4 days. I wanted too see if – and how- the draw dungeon would dry and how hard it would be to wipe a map if you used the same location for multiple sessions spanning more than one day. The first day the drawing was very easy to erase, as previously described. By day 2-3 the drawn lines had begun to “dry out”, still easy to wipe them though. By day 4 the surface was pretty dry and you could no longer easily erase the lines without putting some effort into it. I had to put circular motions, some effort and pressure to rub off the drawn lines with the cloth, which resulted in black particles similar to that of a used rubber eraser.

Regardless of which day (day 1 within minutes or day 4) wiping the playmat did not leave any marks when using the supplied black whiteboard pencil.

So now I tried out the whiteboard markers from work. The black pen was identical in its effect. However, I would advise AGAINST using a green pen as wiping it did leave light green stains on the board when wiping the surface with the supplied cloth. The blue pen was pretty similar to the black pen. My conclusion is that you should try to avoid colored markers and stick with black, or at the very least really avoid green markers.

The gridwork on each map is made up of 25mm/1” sized squares, and 32x32 squares in size. I found that this was enough for even fairly large dungeons or locations. I would recommend to get two “indoor location” playmats that you can have side by side for those really big dungeons where you want to allow backtracking across the map.

Being made out of vinyl you can spill and wipe off drink from the surface, and you will not tear it apart from use. 

However, there is one problem with the material and that tied to rolled up storage in containers. When you put the playmat straight out of the cylinder storage the playmat keeps curling up on the edges since the material is not heavy enough to weigh itself down like you see with mousepad material playmats. I put my playmat on the table and weighed down the two edges using heavy books overnight. This pretty much solved the problem. However, this might not be optimal if you plan to bring the playmat over to a friend or a club where such preparations won’t be possible. In such case you should somehow weigh down the 4 corners

Overall, I think this is a great product that perfectly suited my needs and requirements. I can see this being used for other tabletop roleplaying games other than Dungeons & Dragons. There are also designs with hexes instead of squares it that suits your game better. I can honestly recommend checking out this company. 

In a day or two I will post a review of the 2D terrain I purchased intended to be used for miniature wargaming SAGA, By Fire & Sword and other stuff in 15 and 28mm scale.


https://www.playmats.eu/



2 comments:

  1. I use Crayola brand, wet-erase markers: leave them on for weeks, any color, green or red, black or blue, and they still come off with water. Dry erase is something I avoid, due to the fact that it is too easily wiped off, during play. I love the Crayola markers, as I have forgotten to wipe my Chessex mats, for weeks, and they still came off, without any ghost images, or color, left behind. Crayola markers will work on any dry-erase mat, as well.
    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sor those interested, here is a link to what Crayola markers I am referring to. Soldy at Target stores, in the USA, a 10-pack of different colors, for $2.39...

    https://www.target.com/p/crayola-markers-broad-line-10ct-classic/-/A-14152241?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&fndsrc=tgtao&CPNG=PLA_Seasonal%2BShopping_Local&adgroup=SC_Seasonal&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9019795&gclid=CjwKCAiA8qLvBRAbEiwAE_ZzPTkdQOTsA18MIJgRQlm3KIxhuAeuvSjEQcaDun1PpXli6f7vWi29vxoCx3sQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete

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