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Battle mats

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:50 pm
by Snarkythekobold
What are you all's thoughts on the Chessex battle map? I bought one that was basically just laminated paper with squares and it's . . . O.K.

Does the Chessex lay flat pretty well? Is it easy to roll up, store, and lay back flat?

I am a little hesitant to get a wet erase map because of all of the mess that goes with it. But I figure that I could just keep some wet wipes and some paper towels with a small trash can close by. The Chessex map looks great and I love the size.

I was also wondering how long the Chessex mats last with moderate use.

Thanks for graciously answering my questions!

Re: Battle mats

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:00 am
by Metroknight
I used battle maps back in the 80's/90's and they were ok. They usually laid flat if they were not folded (never fold them as that creates a crease that never goes away). Never let the wet erase dry or it will stain the sheet. There are a few other never do things but it has been so long ago, I can't remember them but in general. There was something about a cleaner that bleached or removed the grid design. I want to say windex with ammonia but not sure. Also make sure you do not pick and use permanent markers on it also.

Re: Battle mats

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:22 am
by orobouros
I have one and used it and it works fine. Clean it up, let it dry after use, and roll it up and it should be fine. I got some cheap dry-erase markers that work well and as necessary just use a damp cloth to erase.

Re: Battle mats

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:46 pm
by pawibus
Our group has a dedicated table where our GM leaves his map unrolled most of the time. However, if he takes the map with him, he gets to the game a little early the next time we play and unrolls it while he's waiting for the rest of us to arrive. If it's curling, he puts some books on the corners and usually by the time we play it's pretty flat. He uses Clorox wipes to clean it and makes sure to have it cleaned off by the end of the night.

Of course, if you have a dedicated space where you can leave it unrolled, that's going to help. I also wonder if it would help to unroll it for a couple hours before you game and then roll it up to travel and then unroll it again as soon as you get to your destination.

Re: Battle mats

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:16 am
by minstrel
If you do get a mat, I would recommend using dry erase and clearing it with a damp cloth, even if the mat is advertised as wet erase. In my experience, they'll accumulate some marker residue no matter what, but dry erase + damp wipe is your best path to a long life.

My current group is using 36" rolled paper, which serves the same wide-format needs. Upside is you can write with anything, let players keep as a party map, rip custom lengths. Downside is it's blank unless you have access to a wide format printer, eventually runs out (it looks like you can get 600 feet worth for about the price of two 34" x 48" chessex mats), rolls are a bit heavy/bulky to lug around.

Re: Battle mats

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:29 am
by Solomoriah
I have three Chessex mats, one old single-sided map and two newer, larger double-sided mats. I use wet erase markers, and from time to time I spray them with my wife's bleach cleaner to remove the residue. Works like a charm! (Or some kind of abjuration...)

Re: Battle mats

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:34 pm
by Longman
I just use blu-tak to stick rolled maps to the table and it works fine.

Re: Battle mats

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:02 pm
by Clever_Munkey
minstrel wrote: Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:16 am If you do get a mat, I would recommend using dry erase and clearing it with a damp cloth, even if the mat is advertised as wet erase. In my experience, they'll accumulate some marker residue no matter what, but dry erase + damp wipe is your best path to a long life.

My current group is using 36" rolled paper, which serves the same wide-format needs. Upside is you can write with anything, let players keep as a party map, rip custom lengths. Downside is it's blank unless you have access to a wide format printer, eventually runs out (it looks like you can get 600 feet worth for about the price of two 34" x 48" chessex mats), rolls are a bit heavy/bulky to lug around.
I highly recommend AGAINST dry erase markers!

It depends on the brand of mat, but for Chessex the dry erase marker will be absorbed into the fabric fairly quickly. I had a friend accidentally use a dry erase marker on my mat, and it stained the mat after about a minute before I could wipe it off.

That said: All polymer materials are at least a little porous, so they can get stained if the marker is left on too long, regardless of what kind of marker you use.

I find isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol works pretty well to remove most stains, (although the dry erase is still faintly there).

Ethanol might work as well if you can get a hold of it. Chemical supply stores sell denatured ethanol for pretty cheap. Just don't drink it, it's called denatured because it has toxic additives (meaning more toxic than ethanol). Ethanol dissolves permanent marker ink so you would have to test it to make sure it doesn't dissolve the grid, or bleach the "parchment" texture.

Either way just gently rubbing it on the stains will eventually get them out. Don't rub too hard though, or you might start to rub the grid off :roll:

Re: Battle mats

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:50 pm
by Solomoriah
Why all the hard work? Seriously, bleach solution (not straight bleach, but diluted) does the trick every time. Works fine on my 30 year old battlemat and the ones I got in the last few years.

Re: Battle mats

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:03 pm
by Hernes Son
I've had a Chessex Mega-Mat since the late 80s, and it still works great. Does have a few weird stains on it from pen-marks left too long, but it doesn't bother me. I kind of like the reminder of past exploits!

I've also got a couple sets of Role4Initiative's "Dungeon Tiles", which I like a lot: https://r4i.us/product-category/dungeon-tiles/

Best thing about them is that you lay out the tiles as you need them, rather than laying out the whole mat at once. Just makes it a little easier to use on a small table. You can get rid of the tiles you're not using as the players move around the dungeon, and bring them back if you have to.