Ever since first seeing them offered, I have liked the look of the terrain mats manufactured by Cigar Box Battle Mats. However, I was apprehensive about the material used. Described as "High quality durable fleece" on their website, I wasn't sure exactly what that meant.Mental visions of the fluffy fleece blankets that my sons enjoy danced - unappealingly - in my head. I imagined the same difficulties with felt - the clinging nap of the cloth causing figures and bases to snag as they are moved, pilling of the surface, etc.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to see one of the mats in person at our monthly get-together. One of the good fellows, Jim Johnson, late of the US Army and currently a great guy and a salesman of things which I don't exactly understand, brought along a Europe mat. I'm not sure which one, precisely, but pretty certain it was the 28mm scale version. Certainly 4'x6' in size. And I was very pleasantly surprised by the material. It's quite thin, and drapes well over bare hills placed underneath. It's soft, doesn't seem to hold creases badly, and lightweight. Best of all, the material used lacks the dreaded stick-catching nappy fibers of felts!
The scene of the action - somewhere in a rather wet part of the North African desert. Coastal Cyrenaica, perhaps? A patrol of LRDG chaps must rescue a downed pilot from advancing Afrika Korps troops. In the end, they would have succeeded had we not run out of time. Played using Bolt Action rules.
I'm not precisely in the market for a new mat. I made a few heavy duty canvas ones a couple of years ago which are still serving me well. But, I am very attracted to the pattern printed on these. I might prefer the "All Fields" rather than the road-printed versions, just for a bit more flexibility, but I am Quite Impressed. Might just pick one up at Historicon in July...