It wasn’t until college where my role-playing group finally started using dry erase mats. These were blank and it was up to the Game Master to draw out the detail. This was an improvement from graph paper and theater-of-the-mind gaming we were used to, but it still created enough downtime to be annoying—you can hear about another character’s backstory only so many times.
Today, there’s plenty of map and mat resources for tabletop gamers to choose from. That brings us to today’s review of Loke Battle Mats – Little Book of Battle Mats. Does the Little Book of Battle Mats help improve your fantasy roleplaying experience, or does it come up short? Read on!
Map Book Specifications
Little Book of Battle Mats includes small mats measuring 6” x 6” and once opened the actual map’s width doubles to 12”. In total it includes 20 maps longer maps or 40 smaller ones. They are mostly corridors, passages, & rooms.
The binding is wire-roll and can lay flat so minis can be placed directly onto the maps without pushing the edges down. Each map has a dry erase finish and each also includes preprinted 1” grid over most of the map. The maps have some detail but most don’t. However, since they’re smallish, it’s easy to customize as needed.
Map Book Experience
I think the amount of variety with the mats in the Little Book of Battle Mats is pretty good. Some mats will likely get used more than others, but 20 different ones give nice options to choose from. Since these mats are small, there’s not a ton of detail and you’re able to customize with dry erase or static stickers without much downtime.
I also like the fact that all the different mats also lay flat in the Little Book of Battle Mats. Because of the wire-roll binding, you don’t need to play with it to lay flat—gravity does the work for you. The only issue is that the binding does create a speed bump in the middle of the map that large or bigger monsters might get hung up on if they need to straddle both sides. Not the biggest deal but just wanted to point it out.
I’m going to be honest though, my biggest issue with the Little Book of Battle Mats is that most of the mat grids do not have 1” square spaces around the perimeter of the mat. It looks like a production issue where the mats were cut slightly smaller than they should have been and it’s on almost every mat on the top, bottom, or outside edge. It might not seem like a big issue but again, since the mats are small, this issue makes some squares unusable which I just find unacceptable.
Another issue is that the Little Book of Battle Mats seems to be one of those situational map books that you will only use occasionally and not use it every session. If you typically game with a party of 4 or more, then these mats are just not big enough to use every time. This is especially true if you encounter large groups or multiple large monsters. I can see them being used for when the party is split (which you should never do), solo gaming, or a quick room or corridor you add to your session.
The last and final issue is similar to other bound map sets – you cannot interact with multiple maps because of the wire rolled binding. If the binding were an open design, where you could pop them out and lay them out as you wish, then you could interact with multiple maps. I’ve said this before of other bound map sets that an open binding type would give users the most bang for their buck. But having an open binding type does increase the risk of losing materials or damaging them easier.
Overall, the Little Book of Battle Mats includes a nice variety of mats. Because this collection includes small mats these reduce downtime for the Game Master to draw and would give your group more time to game. The wire roll binding does allow the mats to lay flat, but an open binding would give users the ability to interact with different maps instead of having to purchase another set.
There appear to be production issues with the Little Book of Battle Mats where each mat’s grid does not all have 1” square spaces all the way around the perimeter and is honestly too small for average size gaming groups or large encounters. This set feels situational and would seem to only be appropriate for small groups, solo, or small side encounters.
Final Score: 2.0 Stars – a fair collection of various small battle mats but they have production issues and would only be used occasionally–seems more like a nice to have than a must-have.
• Not all spaces are 1” squares
• Mats too small better for occasional use
• Binding does not allow maps to be removed