High Orbit Mats – Review

When I was waiting for my order for Dropfleet commander one of the fun things was to look at what else I was going to need.  I knew pretty early on I was going to need a new gaming mat.  I have a few star maps but as Dropfleet is all about grabbing land masses I needed something new.  I had a look around the Facebook group and to be honest the ideas were all the same, either big land masses or mats that looked like Mars.  The selection didn’t really grab me at all.

This is when I spoke to Lee at High Orbit Designs.  I explained I was after something that matched Alumina from the game.  Alumina is a mainly oceanic planet with small areas of land dotted about.  We looked at few designs and I got Lee to make a few suggestions as well on what he thought would work.  I settled on one of the stock choices and away we went. Beyond the simple idea of stock choices Lee has the ability to make things look better, he can tweak colours and change whole aspects of a design to suit the customer’s needs and wants.  Being able to have input on your own design for some is key, I wouldn’t say wargamers are fussy but sometimes you want what you want.

Once that was all sorted I just had to pay up and then await my order.

Communication was amazing, as soon as it was dispatched I got a message with all the details and from that point onward I could sit back and just await for the delivery guy with my mat.  Something very weird and exciting about knowing that your order is number 7 and the guy is currently delivery number 5.

With the mat in my hands I really could resist in having a look.  I can safely say it’s amazing, the colours are very vibrant and it really stands out.  The land masses work and are in the right spots which means I can create some custom sectors for it.

The mat is printed on high quality PVC, the same sort used for outside banners and even though a lot of people always question that sort of material I’ve never had an issue with it.  Lee has done X-Wing mats for my local club in the past and they are still good now as when we got them made 2+ years ago.  It’s also not the first Mat that Lee has customised for a game, we recently sorted out a nice concrete style mat that works really well for Infinity and could work for other post future games as well.  Whilst for some it’s not the same bouncy feel as a mousepad material may give you I have found they are just as hard wearing and far easier to clean when someone spills their drink on it.


High Orbit Designs is certainly a company I’d use again.  I do a lot of show demos and having a Mat is often a lot easier.  So I can see me needing one for Dropzone very soon as well.  They have the ability to make mats for any game (BFG, Guildball, Deadzone, Dropfleet/zone, Bloodbowl, 40k, AoS etc.) and multiple sizes (2×2, 3×3, 4×4, 6×4).  Though if you go for the custom service you could have a mat of any size you want.

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