Before going into detail, I want to clarify that I am in no way getting reimbursed for this Frontline Gaming mat review. Everything stated further is my true opinion unswayed by any undue compensation.
Frontline Gaming Mats
A few weeks ago I became the proud owner of two Frontline Gaming mats. I had been saving my pennies for a while, and actually didn’t plan on getting these so soon. However, over Thanksgiving week Frontline Gaming had a 1/2 off sale which conveniently put the mats in my price range. I gleefully purchased two mats the day before Thanksgiving: the Snowy Town 6×4 and the Grasslands at 4×4.
I did run into a small problem getting my mats. A week or so later I received an email stating that it may take up to 15 business days instead of the usual 10. Apparently the demand was so great that it overwhelmed their stock and capacity to make more.
Although I wanted the mats sooner than later, I thought their apology was sincere and their explanation legit. I didn’t really need them ASAP anyway, since none of my friends can do any gaming over the holidays (boo).
Frontline Gaming also offered an apology discount on future orders. I don’t hold any of that against the company and I appreciate the communication and outreach. I’ve worked for small companies and I understand their position.
When the mats did come around the 13 day mark, I tore into them like a hyperactive tween getting a Nintendo 64 in 1996. Since my bed was the only non-cluttered space to lay the mats flat, it had to do for these pictures. The images are beautiful on the mats; the detail is clear at a reasonable distance. You really have to get your face down to a few inches from the mat to see any evidence of pixels.
The background items also scale up and down nicely with none looking too large/small among the normal wargaming scales. A 20mm Airfix noob, your pimped out 28mm Noise Marine, and your exquisite 30 mm Warmachine Jack will feel right at home on these mats. The material itself is nice and fabric-y smooth. Other reviews have pointed out how nice the dice roll and that mat is essentially a giant mouse pad. These are all true –I don’t have much more to say about that.
One thing I would also point out is the fabric probably won’t take stains well. I have mousepads from back in the day that had innumerable amounts of liquids spilled on them and didn’t take it well. I’m sure water will be fine, but don’t spill anything on these mats with color, especially juice or wine. I can almost guarantee it will stain. I admit I haven’t tried it, but from experience this seems reasonable. Come to think of it, drinking wine with your wargaming would add a touch of class to your game (“YEA! I slaughtered your Annihilation Barge! Oh, and this pinot grigio has slight nutty aroma…”).
The mats also come with a cylindrical carrying case with a hard plastic tag denoting what mat is in the bag. The bags are a nice, added touch. When the mats are rolled up the bags tend limp over on themsleves, creating a sad, inverted V. Others have put dowels in their bags to prop them up, which I want to get around to.
Another thing about the bags is that they are almost exactly four feet. I had a problem with the 6×4 mat when I rolled it up. The first time I rolled it part of the layers tended to stick out the end. Trying to put it in the bag like this was nigh impossible. I had to unroll it and carefully re-roll it whilst avoiding and cones from forming on the end. This wasn’t a problem with the 4×4 as there isn’t an excess of mat to cone up.
All in all I would (and will) get another Frontline Gaming mat. On the spectrum of a felt covering up to detailed, 3D terrain table I would put this 75% to detailed table. For me, that is a happy compromise and I think my tables with the mats look fantastic. The portability and detail make it well worth the purchase for the avid wargamer.