You may well have caught my findings some time ago covering the Big Book of Battle Mats. Having used it a handful of times, I did find one of the few issues with it was that it simply wasn’t big enough. It seems that the manufacturer Loke Battle Mats have been reading my mind! I recently found my hands on a copy of the Giant Book of Battle Mats. Is size everything? Let’s have a gander and see whether bigger means better…
A Tool in the GM Toolkit
In short, I’d say yes. When playing tabletop games you’re limited to either your imagination or the space at hand; at times, both! For anything more than a small skirmish it was somewhat lacking should you want anything bigger. It would prove difficult to try and achieve anything even remotely more grandiose than, say, a small market square or tiny creepy cemetery.
The quality of the Giant Book of Battle Mats is as good as its predecessor. Ideal for opening, drawing on with whiteboard pens, then wiping clean before packing up or moving on. It’s sturdy and can likely take a battering. If you’re a games master that may leave your stuff in your car between sessions, this thing will likely survive fine, freezing cold weather be damned. The image quality on each page is nice and crisp, allowing you to ascertain exactly what it is you’re looking at, even from a distance.
Whilst obviously proving a little less compact than the older product, the Giant Book of Battle Mats still feels like a GMs “get out of jail free card”. I actually had an instance recently where I’d simply not found time to design a scene for an encounter for my player party. Thankfully, being able to get this book out onto the table and have something to work with is certainly better than nothing.
Having the book open and using both pages of a mat grants you an A2 sized play area. This is plenty big enough for most game scenarios that I can currently comprehend. The unavoidable binder running through the centre of the map can sometimes make you wish you had single, cohesive mat. However, it’s not enough to make me feel like this was a wasted purchase. Again, you’re paying for convenience.
Making a Tough Job Slightly Easier
Designing and creating scenarios for your party is long, arduous work. Sometimes you simply cannot grand the time to commit and focus in making these encounters as intricate as you want. Or, even, you have created a wonderful experience for your players but foolishly let your notes or roll-mat at home! The Giant Book of Battle Mats is something you should keep to hand whenever you can. Be it for a quick, impromptu session or when life gets in the way. However, I’d not become dependent on it and rely on it too much. The best adventures are the ones that fall out of your head, after all, not ones reliant on the same maps over and over again.
The superior size of the book compared to the older product simply makes it too good to pass-up. The sheer size of areas you could now use opens up many more options to you and your players. Should you be looking for one of these books as a tool in your games master arsenal, there’s no harm in getting the smaller book. However, if you want what’s best for you and your players, especially in a pinch, then fork out the extra for the giant book.