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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Component Corner: Ep. 3 - Player Mats

This week's review looks at another component for your tabletop games, not required but desirable and adds to the experience for every gamer present.  Player mats come in two different forms.  They can be used as direct placement for specific game pieces, cards, or just a place to rest your hands and add a more artistic atmosphere to the gaming environment.  Read on to learn about how player mats can enhance your gaming environment in more ways than one. 

In the cases of our player mats, they serve a more practical purpose for our games, but that doesn't have to be the case for each one.  There are thousands of player mats that provide nothing more than visual appeal for a theme, or just a blank color.  If you're wanting to add more theme to a fantasy game, there's plenty of mats with fantasy artwork on them.  There is artwork for every type of genre, timeline, or theme.  
If you purchase them for your games, then you add to the environment and enjoyment of the gaming experience.  In the case of Star Realms, this displays one of the mats with the game setup.  Even if you understand how the games are played, you still do not need the mat, but it adds structure and a nice visual component.  Every positioned boundary line provide an indicator for where the game pieces or cards are to be placed.
The same can be said for Boss Monster.  We know how to play the game, but it adds to the enjoyment and structure if you play it on a player mat.  This provides the detail that carries the 8-bit style theme of the game.  Unlike the Star Realms mat, this one only supports a two player game.  A lot of player mats will support more than two players, but the ones that do not will require an additional purchase of another mat.
This is however the case with Marvel Dice Masters.  In this two player game, both players must have individual placements in order to play the game.  Smaller versions of these mats can be printed from online, but the scale is considerably smaller, and if you print them, it will only be placed on paper unless you have a more pricy alternative.  In our case, we wanted a higher quality mat on a larger scale that would grip the table.  These particular player mats are actually hard to find as they have been out of print for a while.  In the Marvel Dice Master series, all of the player mats are actually the same, with the only difference being the artwork and the title.  These particular mats match the theme of the Avengers vs X-Men game and especially for a game like Marvel Dice Masters, we would not recommend anything less than the quality of the actual player mats.

Every kind of player mat finds it's purpose onto the table whether to create a placement for your cards, to hold a beverage or to just rest your hands.  They are a great investment for your games and they are a great component for any tabletop gaming event.  


  1. Very cool. Kinda wish the Star Realms on had an authority track on each side. I love it when a playmat add utility.

    1. I could definitely see that and I agree!