Thursday, July 3, 2014

Map time! A review of the Chessex Game Mat.

Yesterday the Chessex Role Playing Mat played a valuable role in helping me run two epic adventures back to back. My friend +Toby Watts brought the mat for the first game and let me borrow it for the second game. It was the easiest thing in the world to ask players where their characters were from and then just draw a quick sketch on a random part of the mat.

Dungeon World encourages, nay demands, that we draw maps and leave blanks! But, for the duration of my DW experience this element of the game has been highly neglected, partly due to my lack of artistic capability, but also because drawing a tiny map on a piece of paper didn't seem all that helpful. The Chessex Mat was a big help because I'd just grab a couple of colors of Crayola Washable Markers, scribble some big ol' lines and I was good to go! Toby also mentioned that their was an environmental benefit to using the Chessex Mat, which has merit when compared to large graph paper thrown away at the end of every session.

In game one +Toby Watts , +Jordan Jones , and a non-G+er James Hall, played monsters on a mission to colonize a new territory and then we just wiped the mat and got ready for the next game! In game two +Jordan Jones returned, +Darrell Palley and another non-G+er named Seth arrived while +Toby Watts and James left for other obligations. Unfortunately I forgot to get pictures of the second map, but the players really got in to naming the territories, and writing out the crazy names made for good fun.

All in all I really enjoyed using the mat and will probably do so in the future. The only caution I will give to anyone considering buying the Chessex Mat or the Crayola Markers is that you must wipe the mat down directly after the game. If left on there for to long, the makers become less washable.

One last pic. My artistic prowess may never be amazing, but the only way it will get any better is if I try. Here's my work of art with a burnt tree in "Beachwood".

Other resources/possible future reviews:
The first game used two monster classes created by +Jordan Prokosch: The Ogre and The Horde and a playbook from Grim World called "The Channeler" that wasn't meant to be played as a monster per se, but worked just fine as a dark elf.

The second game consisted of all core classes using the excellent Minimalist Dungeon World Playbooks. I will definitely be using these in the future and the $3 seems like a drop in the ocean when I think about how much play I'll be able to get out of these things.