Friday, December 12, 2014

Bushido: Completed Objective Markers

I made these for Bushido. The Tourny Pack calls for a series of objective circles as well as 6 small based and 2 large based markers. The small markers are craft store wooden bits on magnets, attached to a small base. At one point I was under the impression that I needed to make these rotate to show the status of who controls them. Watching a game, I saw players simply turn the front of the marker to face the controlling player's board edge. Doh. Oh well.

The large based markers are 2 Feng Shui dogs I picked up off of Amazon for US$10 and mounted on large bases. All told, a few nights of work here from undercoat, some drybrushing layers, sponge painting, washes then a custom moss recipe of moss made out of basing flock, water, Mod Podge glue and a dab of green paint. The kanji are just technical pen and a lousy Westerner's hand. Sorry Japan!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bushido: WIP Temple Bushi and Finished Objective Stones

Just a fast WIP on the Ito Clan I am painting now, a Temple Bushi.

Chiyo is on the table right now and she's underway, even as I wrap up some details on him. I am toying with the idea of cobra skin on his lapels. We'll see.

Also, I finished 3 of the 6 small objective markers recommended by the Tournament Pack. These are wood, magnets, paint, technical pen and a homemade moss (which dries rock hard but looks soft).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Robotech RPG Tactics, Bushido, Strange Aeons and Forge World

Seriously, you can't tell how big the box is. It would hold a tomcat.
I am supposed to be getting ready for a 40k Apocalypse game in January but... but... Kickstarter! My copy of Robotech RPG Tactics landed with what seems to be 400 eleventeen sprues of Wave 1 mecha plus cards, rulebook, dice, counters, decals and Gloval knows what else. My buddy Pete describes this as a slow-grow effort at his house. I'd have to agree. Totally going transparent bases with these, a first for me... looking at you, Litko. First impressions are good though the ruleset really does seem to be a child of litigation, where the parents (Harmony Gold and Palladium) settled on making this game but not making it a "miniature" game even though that's exactly what it is (it's detailed game pieces, NOT miniatures). That aside, the ruleset is interesting in mechanic, a hybrid of a few systems. I'm giving the stink eye towards it's army building guidelines and that some sprues were damaged in transit. That said, I've seen a lot worse. Big ups to my buddy Pete for fronting this until I could sign the adoption papers, this will be fun. For the record, the first game I ever made on my own, with written rules and playtesting, was a Robotech game using Matchbox, Orgus and Revell models plus wooden blocks for buildings. Yup, the buildings took damage. So this is a Homecoming of sorts.

At the same damn time as this large box invading my house, I jumped into Bushido, with some insanely beautiful miniatures. Actually, maybe too beautiful? I am not sure that everyone will go in for the intricate and beautifully delicate figs despite the just-as-beautifully elegant low model count rules. I went Ito Clan and I'm painting them now, eschewing all other obligations, including some Top-Secret Lurker stuff I started for Strange Aeons. Seriously, check out Bushido if you like movies like Ninja Scroll, the Avatar cartoon or almost anything Jet Lee flew through sideways.

Here's a few objective counters I made for Bushido as a warm up. I needed to work out a mossy vine recipe and stone paint scheme. Nailed it!

Finally, I'm waiting for some jeweler's saw blades that hopefully will make it through the impending Nor' Easter/Thanksgiving Slingshot Catapult/Clothesline. We'll see but I know Philly ain't Buffalo so we should be fine. Once they get here I'll be building a Forge World Avenger for my buddy Lovell.

Speaking of full plates...

Happy Thanksgiving to all my US peeps and peace to everyone else.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Strange Days

It has been pretty quiet on the blog but not so much in real life. I guess that meant that I did see a real division between blog and life, as this space here is supposed to be representative of the escape that games were for me. Not so now.

Reality makes updates (or lack thereof) as real as it gets and any division fades.

More than a week ago my mother went in for a life-saving lung transplant in New York. She was critically ill with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Despite a less than 7% chance of finding a donor matching her rare antibody profile, she did or I should say, the poor donor passed, and the life the donor lost gave mom a fighting chance at her own, so it found her. Relief at the news of a donor match can feel very transactional at first but the emotion sets in fast; it is humbling when a donor tries to save a life with their passing. It is a very real sacrifice. Well played, whoever you are.

Today, mom is still in critical care and has had every setback possible short of dying on the table during surgery. Before that surgery, she basically slept for 2 weeks running up to the donor's death as her O2 diffusion was so poor that breathing was only a clinical truth. Graft dysfunction, ECMO, kidney damage, organ efficacy, bypass, dialysis, hundreds of gallons of meds and blood infusions, neurological complications, MERSA... hell, even one of the doctors at the hospital where mom is residing in tested positive for Ebola but mercifully things are going well both for the doc and everybody else. See also: Give everyone a break already.

All of the above elicits feelings that range from, "what can I do to help" to "why bother?" The former isn't really a question. We're all there to support her and each other which we do. The latter takes more gumption both to ask to begin with and then, to answer. But the answer is simply that this was the only shot that she had. With less than a month or so left alive on her own, a transplant was what she wanted, it was her only hope. I remind everyone that she wanted this; technically, she could have just skipped it and passed on. But she chose to fight and did not want to just fade. She doesn't want to keep missing out on the kids growing up. She loves people and wants more time. She was an ER nurse for 30 years... she urged so many to never give up for so long, it is ingrained. So the answer to the former and the latter is the same, "she's fighting and so, we are too".

If you've read this far, I guess you get that this is the sort of free therapy that the internet is good for. Thanks. But more importantly beyond that, you are human and have a family. Given the games & hobby this blog orbits, you are probably the same-ish demographic as me in age, income and responsibilities: you are seeing how kids become the parents of the family as your family ages. When my kids were born, advice rained on our house like hail. But in the cool quiet of your elder parent's late years, that advice only patters on the pane when the wind seems to blow and the prevailing opinion changes direction like Fall gusts. So, we play the same game on many levels and it is easy to only see it as player one.

To close out this post, I just feel compelled to say that I don't want to escape too much from reality since we are what we do, but that was where it clicked. If you are blessed in life, you will have tough choices to make that almost always affect people. Games aren't really an escape, I realized, since they recharge me by the intrinsic interaction required to play or discuss them. The shared experiences games create is a nexus for interacting with just about everyone I know. Sure the settings are daydream fuel... and I daydream a lot, an escape of sorts. But my escape is really about joining others in reality. Hell, I'm taking Memoir '44 to the hospital with me so my dad and I can play and unwind. And that is my point, even in games high on "fighty" it is always a test on resolving people conflict, finishing the fight together. Games are great at empowering people to feel what closing out a conflict feels like probably when they need it most, like during a too-long lung transplant procedure. Or losing a loved one who is an organ donor. And at last, this is the reason I didn't really sweat the lack of updates as we fight for a reality that includes mom.

Life is a game and the goal is to play it. You only win when you play, when you fight. You only lose when you don't take your turn. Mom knows losing doesn't matter, only living to take a shot at the win.

Good luck on your turn.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

NOVA 2014 Open: Jake Hoffman Warmachine/Hordes Hardcore Finals

I knew Jake when he started out playing Warmachine at Roundtable Games in Conshohocken, PA, years past, when my buddy Joe owned what was the best game store ever in my area. Great community of guys that I miss a lot. Always great to see somebody start out, then blow way past you in ability and enjoy the game the way you want. Great guy and good game play ahead!Don't look back, Jake!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Strange Aeons: Swimming Fishman

Ok, first attempt at the swimming fishman for Strange Aeons is passable but really shows what rendering water in resin does for you when you try and fool the eye. By cutting up the Bones Tiik warrior and gluing it to blister plastic the size of an average base, I thought the illusion would be made with clear latex caulk... and it does look cool. The problem is all of my water features are deep tinted resin so the illusion of a swimming Deep One is sorta ruined as the eye sees below the surface and there isn't anything there. The effect will look fine on darkly painted water features that have no depth to them, like paint and polyurethane covered board.

That said, I was happy with the improv of putting caulk into a small medical syringe to aid laying down small ropes. It took more than a day to dry but overall it is an effect I'll develop more.

The real issue in this was the water based polyurethane I used on the painted fishman itself. I wanted a deep wet look on him and when I applied the polyurethane, ANY backbrushing tore the paintlayers right from the figure, leaving just the spray primer. So I imperfectly re-covered a few layers of paint and just moved on.

I'll be heading back to this idea of sculpting waves and swimming, as I add some more fishmen to the mix.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Strange Aeons/Pre-Paint Repaint: "Puma shirt... panther shirt. Puma shirt? Panther shirt."

Alright, here's another cheap pre-paint repaint of a... well, I don't really know what the hell this is supposed to be. The base said, "undead panther" but it really looks like a bobcat or baby bear or something. No idea how a panther becomes undead. Guess I should look for undead koalas, narwhals, pigeons and sloths.

But this thing looks undead enough (and small enough) as a counts-as Swarm for Strange Aeons and cost 2 bucks so I took it home, cleaned up mold lines, primed it, rebased it and repainted it in about 20 minutes. Nothing fancy. Just an undead panther-thing. No big deal.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Strange Aeons: Fishman

Here's a $3.00 model that sorta puts minis twice as expensive to shame. I'm using a Reaper Bones Tiik Warrior as a Fishman for Strange Aeons. Fun to paint, looks good and scary... what's not to like?

He originally had that latern-thingy on his head and I rather liked that as a detail but I wanted to keep this jerk closer to the Innsmouth look than farther from it. As it was, I added more color than I had planned but glad I did in the end.

I based it in black, with layers of Sage Greens over greys with a purple/brown wash to pull detail out of the scales after layers. Color accents on arms and legs are scrubbed in with a short brush and some aqua, ice blue and GW green layers adorn the claws, horns and snarly bits. Most of the purples go up to pink which is why I did the eyes pink and rheumy.

Don't touch my Daaarrrrt

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Forge World: Mechanicum Myrmidon Secutor = Enginseer

So, I bought the 7th BRB and the new IG codex (Astra Militarum). I stripped a ton of Valhalla IG models over the last 2 weeks, readying them for paint.

I also ordered some Forge World, the first in probably 10 years I think. I converted the Adeptus Mechanicus Myrmidon Secutor  a bit, relocating his axe arms into a higher position on his frame and holding the large power axe upright. It looks cooler, is more sturdy and less likely to get hung up on other models. I also mag-mounted the arms and weapons… he’s my new Enginseer, as pictured above. Yeah, I see some flash I still have to manage on his power axe... damn it.

So, off to the paint line for some coatings to protect his vital systems from the miasma of war in the dark future of 40k.

Here's hoping he lives long enough to repair something.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Star Wars X Wing Miniatures: TIE Phantom First Build

A cloaked TIE Phantom right out of the box.
I picked up my first ship of Wave 4, opting for the most interesting (Cloaking mechanic) vs the coolest looking (Headhunter or TIE Defender). The E Wing is really nice, according to her girlfriends, and has a great personality. She's also sitting home alone on Friday nights, watching The Middle with her Mom and little brother. Well, in my mind anyway.

Let's just start off with how I'm probably running this ship my first few games. The Phantom comes with a Cloak Action and Decloak. Notice that Decloak is NOT an Action. When you use a Cloak Action it gives you a Cloak Token, which goes on the ship and is not removed at the end of the turn. It remains until you spend it to Decloak. Cloaked ships add 2 Defense dice, bringing the base Phantom up to 4 Defense while cloaked. You can't attack while cloaked but that is made up for with base 4 Attack dice. Like the other Small ships that can take Crew (HWK) it can take 1 Crew. Upon decloaking before you reveal your dial, you take a 2 Straight or 2 Barrel Roll (also not an Action). It's easy to imagine that this is the ship not reappearing exactly where the enemy expects. This sets up some interesting ambush or dogging tactics. The dial is workable, it feels like it is cruising at 2 and 3 and has a sprint of straight 4. You are shedding Stress with a complete set of 2 moves, all Green, which I like. She has a red 3 and 4 Kiogran which I was surprised by too.

It comes boxed with 2 Modifications specifically intended for the Phantom, though only one is named Phantom-only. These make sense on the Sigma and Shadow pilots below without other upgrades. But I left these alone for now... Stealh Device was calling my name.
Some neat ability and options are on these cards. Being the compulsive shopper I am, I opted for psychological warfare instead of hitting power and doubled-down on the Cloaking ability. To do that I needed an Elite Pilot Skill and so, Echo.

That's 36 points... a tad pricy but probably frustrating to fight. I hope.
 I took the named pilot, "Echo" along with Stealth Device to give him 3 Defense dice uncloaked and 5 Cloaked. Push the Limit allows for an Evade or Focus to pad out a Cloak ability or Evade and Focus while cloaked. Echo's ability to use the 2 Turn templates instead of a 2 Straight upon decloaking is ok but I really took Echo for PTL via Elite Pilot Skill. You are looking at 36 points for everything you see here. Interesting, no?

If I were rolling this ship build against a Rebel Transport or Tantive list I'd probably opt to add Recon Specialist to help with Focus, which makes defense more annoying or shooting better when decloaking. 39 points is A LOT for a Small ship but again, a few hundred points of a large game can soak the gimmick up easily.

Look, 5 Defense dice is nothing to sneeze at, inconsistent as that may be. Decloaking behind some Rebel ship and throwing 5 Attack dice at Range 1 on an Ambush is pretty damn fine as well. To follow an old paint-makers saying, "you can make it nice but can you make it twice?" I don't know yet. It may be that the build above doesn't do much after you unzip your fly and take a shot. I guess it comes down to how much of the game you want to spend cloaked to begin with. For now, I like the odds it has to close against Rebel turrets and not bleed-out en route to Range1 or going stealth as the lines cross, head-on.  PTL is awesome on almost everything but if I find it's possibly overkill for the role this ship trends towards then I'll gladly take Determination.

I gotta say, I think the Cloak action is pretty elegant as a mechanic and it will be interesting to see if anything else ends up with it. While not FFG-legal I will definitely be removing the ship from the base when Cloaked for the visual gag during friendly games. Becuase why not.

The above is not a deep analysis of what you can do with the Phantom, more like a first blush response. I've found that my dream builds of newly released ships usually equates to going to the gym and just working the vanity muscles. Looks good in a pic but living it may be very different than anticipated when there is heavy lifting to be done on the job.

Well, I'm off to my sister's this weekend where I will face my Rebel-Scum-in-Law Mike. I'll share out how the Phantom worked in a (ulp) 100 point list.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Star Wars X Wing: Shout Out to Fantasy Flight Customer Service

Hey! Eyes up here and off my female peg!

This update is overdue. I bought an X Wing expansion a bit ago to pad out my army lists for the bigger format games these days, thanks to the largemungus Rebel Transport and Tantive box sets that were released.

When I opened the blister I noticed that the "female" peg that was seated and glued into the X Wing model itself wasn't seated all the way in before it was glued at the factory. I didn't think it'd break. It did, right after I put a flight peg into it. Bummer.

Let the record show that I own multiples of every expansion except for the new large ships and Wave 4 so I had not seen this before in X Wing Miniatures, nor any other FFG game I own. I didn't really worry as I pushed the stirring pangs of buyer's remorse back into their dysfunctional drab corners of my mind... but they did stir. 

I used FFG's Replacement Parts section on their Customer Service pages and told them the deal, sent them a pic. I only asked for another female peg as replacement since I could easily remove the broken one and replace with the new. Interface was easy and a message back landed within a day. They'd replace "it".

A brand new X Wing showed up at my door about a week or so later. They probably had to handle it that way since they probably didn't have access to sending out just a single peg but I was really happy with the service.

Well done FFG and thanks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore: Ember Mage

Just a few fast pics of a fast paintjob on Ember Mage. I finished her (for now) awhile ago, just never posted until now. Since my son and I share a birthday on June 21st and we both love SDE, I have some big buys in store for presents and so, more SDE up on these pages some point soon.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Warhammer 40K: First 7th edition game


Well, my buddy Joe sums it up better than I could, as far as real insightful thoughts go on the first 7th edition 40K game of the year. He is a seasoned 40k player across the last few editions and me, not so much. We share sentiments.

There are some pics of the match too. It was fun but man did it turn into a study group pretty fast... hence some dazed expressions easily and accurately perceived as bewilderment too...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Warhammer 40k: 7th Edition & Star Wars X Wing Pics

I have a 7th edition game tonight, my first 40k in... what must be years. My good ol' Valhallans (above) will muster once again. I bought 7th Psychic cards and IG order cards in preparation which felt wrong somehow...  and somewhere I am sure, several baby dogs fell ill in sweet, soft ways. I am a monster.

Here are a few shots of the weekend Star Wars showdown, where a Lando list I built for Mike S. creamed my Boba Fett list. Mike is a monster. Or I am, not sure.

Hey Turr, we heard you like no Pilot traits and no Action bar from one hit by Flechette Torpedoes! Good luck repairing the damage with the only action you can possibly take... or not, after you shed Stress. FOR 2 POINTS!!!!!!
Oh Wedge Antilles, you had me at whatever the first word you said was...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Printed Star Fields for Star Wars X Wing

Just wanted to share some pics that I printed for Star Wars X Wing. I discovered a large-format printer in the basement at work, seemingly forgotten and certainly unknown to me. It had puppy eyes when I turned the light on in the room, I felt bad and so I gave it some images to spit out… good boy! Who’s a good boy? You are!

The following are 3'x3' or 4'x4'. While the price was right (free), durability may be an issue as the glossy finish will scuff. I am going to look to see what some cheap frames cost and may just make these into play areas under plexi that can hang on my wall when off duty. These are all images I pulled off the web from GIS.

My game group talked about board effects in play, given the setting. Turbo lasers and tractor beams may make sense here. I was slightly disappointed that the image was unavoidably pixelated at this size but it really doesn't diminish the fun of it at all.
This one doesn't photograph great but looks awesome in real life. The wide asteroid field goes well to compliment the close-in feeling of flying around in millions of miles of tumbling boulders. The orange area to the left is lens flare from sheen and not part of the image. The flash makes the ships pop more than what you see in real life too but you get the idea.
This is a Hubble photo... and a beautiful one at that. There is something about the starscape and nebula that is a refreshing change to Lucas blue and black of his backgrounds.

This one is 4'x4' and intended for the large ship expansions. Gonna definitely hang this one up on the wall when not playing on it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Just a fast note to let ya'll know that some guy, despite being nice and good-hearted, decided to hit the gas from a full stop behind me while we were all sitting still at a Red light and so, I received a sincere apology and a nice concussion as a result. So I am off-the-grid for a bit. What that means to anybody still left hanging around here is some more stuff posting up as soon as I am back. I have a few painting bits to put up and a run-down of my storage solution for Star Wars X Wing.

Ok, I'm not supposed to have screen time right now. I was never here. Don't tell my wife.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: Gale Force 9 Space Mats

Beachside dolly zoom, Lucosts and US$80 bucks to burn… here’s the low down on my experience with 2 of Gale Force 9’s excellent space battle mats.

Gale Force 9 has a well-earned reputation for smart game aids. I maintain that their Warmachine tokens are still the best by far. They dabble in terrain production and make other useful products for a ton of games. But these vinyl play mats are the focus here, and are particularly well-suited for the Star Wars X Wing Miniatures Game which I must like a lot because I keep playing the game over almost everything else. And I keep bringing it up. Star Wars X Wing Miniatures Game.

I will look at these mats first in terms of fabrication and then the practical use for the two space-based table top games I play and let the perceptual lenses fall where they may. I guess I should state now that the high/low on my opinion comes down to the tension between outlay of cash for the mat retail vs doing this all yourself (which I have done).

Space Station Game Mat

This one I bought first, around Thanksgiving ’13 and it has seen just under 50 games of Star Wars. The feeling at the time was that I already had a 4’x4’ space board painted for Battle Fleet Gothic by yours truly and so, I wanted a mat that would travel along with Star Wars (which was inherently not a star field) and I was really drawn to the stark graphic of a Death-Star like landscape. By far, this mat draws the most feedback of any of the three space surfaces I own, which I will get to after the next paragraph.

Fabrication: Vinyl, well printed and devoid of noticeable repeating objects. It is very clean, graphically. I was worried that there would be strange print blur, artifacts or noise on this image but there was none. Gale Force 9 claims you can use dry erase markers on it but I wouldn’t dare. I’ve seen red markers stain vinyl in my time so I didn’t test that here; take the claim for what it is. It comes rolled up in a study plastic storage tube with enough space to let the plastic breathe and move in the container.

PRO TIP: Alternate the direction you roll each time to offset “storage curl”, where the outside and innermost edge shapes into a curve around the roll. Roll it East-to-West one time and North-to-South the next and it’ll lay flat every time. Lastly, the cuts were true, very clean 90 degree corners which would’ve driven me nuts had they not been. There was little vinyl smell beyond what had me daydreaming about 70’s and 80’s Halloween costumes. Mmmm… flammable.

Practical Use: So what is it about this mat that elicits so much commentary? It is the print itself. It’s like that thing when you stare at a chain link fence and it does that optical veeEERRRT and the foregrounds  and backgrounds sorta swap back-and-forth? Like the chief’s beachside vertigo in Jaws? It’s called a “Dolly Zoom”. Yeah, it is sorta like that. The printed contrast is so dark and the colors so toned in grey that while I think it actually helps sell the scale of ships upon it, well, for Star Wars anyway, they can really blend in. To me, that is an interesting effect.

This reminds me of when I painted my Mage Hunter (Eiryss proxy) for Khador to blend in with the snow terrain and trees I made. I’d deploy him in the tree line and not move him at all. My opponent usually forgot he was there until Disruptor bolts started slinging on the bid for caster kill. So the effect this mat has on players is the same in how it messes with people’s concentration of a coherent image or maybe, their reliance on short-term memory if visually, things are cluttered… which to me is interesting. The Battlefield Mat is like a terrain-heavy board visually even if it isn’t an actual physical or rules constraint.

Nobody that I play with hates this print for Star Wars but some people do remark that it is challenging. Add to the equation that most Rebel ships really are tonal cousins for the overall print color and you have what I think is a cool visual challenge. Collectively, we liked this print a lot less for Battlefleet Gothic both because the scale of Battlestation-to-Gothic cruiser was 2 townships past Disbeliefield and also because 3’x3’ is REALLY small for most Battlefleet Gothic. While the mat had very little in terms of moment-ruining sheen it is still vinyl and so, models can skate a bit more than they do with your average felt mat. That said, I’ve never once seen a high-stakes game ruined by slickness of the mat. 

My Value Opinion: Medium/High. I think it is interesting for all players to try once while dodging IP-inflated Lucas costs (Lucosts?) of a licensed Star Wars product. You have to answer for yourself if the average US$40 price is worth it but I’d wager it is for most Star Wars games; remember the super-huge Tantive and Rebel Transport are coming out soon and you may find 3’x3’ too small if they are to be contained in that space. For Battle Fleet Gothic I would say the mat is less useful due to size and print and it is an unknown to me for other space games since I do not play much else… though Star Trek Attack Wing could rationalize the background as a stylized Borg Cube background.

All told, I give it an A for myself and a collective B+/A- for the herd, based on responses ranging from “love it!” and “what the hell is going on with my ocular acuity?” I’ve tried to pay attention to which camp the gamer vets and the freshmen fall into, but so far it just comes down to matters of taste and tastes are fairly distributed across both sides.  Lastly, it photographs well, though the ship-blending effect should be pretty apparent by the pics. I just wish they were bigger than 3’x3’. Even Star Wars needs a tad bigger space, in my opinion.

Frozen Planet Game Mat

Of the two Gale Force 9 mats, this is probably more popular by an appreciable margin though I’ve had it the least amount of time (about 2 months at press time). It summons up thoughts of Hoth and the glory days of Rebels running an Imperial blockade; for me, a time paradoxically before and after Deathsticks and James Earl Moans. For Battle Fleet Gothic, it can easily be a primary biosphere or Outer Reaches. For any other game, it is what it is… a beautiful space scene. What else do you need?

Fabrication: Vinyl, graphically very beautiful and clean of artifacts. A great background for space fights. Like the Battlestation mat, it comes rolled up in a study plastic storage tube and has all the same tolerances, material and finishing.  One other thing that I noticed was that since this mat is dark and has a large star field, the material sheen was more apparent compared to the Battlestation, since it was predominantly dark. I did notice what may have been a dried production solution sorta clouding the mat here and there. I was able to wipe some of it off and ignore the rest. No idea if this is just my mat or what. You wouldn’t see this on the lighter print Battlestation mat if it had it.

Practical Use: I would argue this is the more useful mat for most people. The imagery obviously evokes space and is definitely more useful for more games that don’t have Death Star in the lexicon. This background allows ships to take center stage visually, where they pop a lot more than the Battlestation mat. Personally, I prefer something that feels cold, like this mat, instead of some of the other prints based in warmer reds and yellows, though I will probably get one like that soon. We’ve also had fun with gravity rules centered on the planet while playing Star Wars (a free boost towards the planet for any ship in range one). What isn't practical is availability. I heard from my FLGS that this print was sold out but I have not verified that with Gale Force 9.

My Value Opinion: High. I would score this one an A/A-. If it was larger at this price and the mysterious production fluid cloud was missing… it’d be totally perfect. It photographs really well and people relate this more to space battles than the other. I’d struggle to paint something like this on my own with such clear quality, not to mention the time it would take. So again, marks are given for time I save in fabrication which I can instead spend trying to play Battlefield 4 as it crashes and deletes my saved data non-stop.

In conclusion, I would say if you won’t spend the same amount of money or less on felt and spray cans then the value is apparent. 

If you peeps have experience with these mats or something similar, feel free to riff below!