24 April 2009

The Final Frontier

In my excitement over Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander, I began looking for a hex mat to play with miniatures on. Both games feature cardboard counters with paper/cardboard maps to play on, but those are boring. I'd heard quite a bit about Hotz Mats, but I was reluctant to order from them as they've had some timeliness and communication issues in the past, even as recently as a few weeks ago. These are well-documented on The Miniatures Page, but it always appeared that people who ordered from Hotz Mats got their product eventually even if it took a few months. So I decided to order one and see what happened. I placed the order on 06 APR and on 07 APR I got an e-mail confirming the order and explaining that the mats are custom-made to order and some designs (like the space mats) could take a while due to the extra steps (airbrushing the nebulas and whatnot). The e-mail told me to expect a five-week wait, and the threads on The Miniatures Page warned me to expect a several-month wait. The mat arrived today, for a turnaround time of 18 days from order to delivery.

I am quite pleased with the product. I ordered a 72" x 45" Deep Space Mat with 1" hexes. I've taken a few photos of it below. The package felt pretty light at first, but upon opening it I found that the mat feels quite sturdy and should hold up to wear pretty well. In real life the hexes aren't nearly as intrusive as they look in the photo; I think the flash made them several times brighter than they are in person.

I am rather pleased with it. I think the last thing left is to get my Klingon ship painted up and try the game out.

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