Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Gray Matter Gaming Mats and Magnet Trays Review

I'm a big fan of local businesses, so when Gray Matter Gaming, based out of Metro Detroit in Michigan, asked me if I would like to take a look at their battle mats and movement trays I couldn't pass up the opportunity. This company took two staples of modern gaming and put their own spin on them to introduce elements to increase the ease of use by the average gamer. So how do they stack up against the competition?

Battle Mats

The crown jewel of Gray Matter Gaming's catalog are their new battle mats. It's great to see how much gaming mats have exploded over the last half a decade. They're a great solution to the gaming table problem. In the past you either had elaborate handmade/Realm of Battle tables, or basic green boards or mats. Now with the modern battle mats, you can get great looking and varied battlefields that are cost effective, can be rolled up and stored, and take zero time yourself besides purchasing it.

Gray Matter Gaming has entered the market with their own take on this new classic. They currently have five designs, ash wastes, barren landscape, green field, ice river, and desert, with plans to expand to even more. Like most gaming mats, this is printed on neoprene, similar to a mouse pad material.

What makes these unique from the rest then? Well, for starters they're much thinner than most other mats. I only have one other gaming mat currently, and as you can see, the one from Gray Matter Gaming (on the bottom) is about half the thickness. This makes it much lighter, but still with enough cushion that you don't have to worry about your models having a hard time on it.

The other added benefit is the inclusion of a rolling core. It's essentially a very sturdy cardboard tube that is cut to match the length of the mat. This really helps you with rolling up the mat to store it. If you've tried to roll up other mats to fit them back in their bags, then you know how much of a pain this can be. With the mat itself being made from a thinner material, you have both the space and weight allowance for this sturdy tube within the bag.

All of this then rolls up to fit comfortably within the canvas carrying case it comes with. The Gray Matter Gaming mats are comparably priced to industry leaders at $73 per mat as well. The only downside to these mats compared to others right now is the limited choices in designs, though, as said previously, this is actively being expanded. 

The design on my Ashen Wastes mat was crisp and clear, so I'm definitely interested to see what designs come out in the future. They're also currently only offered in one size, 44" x 60", but that is the standard for both Age of Sigmar and 40k. I definitely like the ease at which it can be rolled up and stored compared to the normal mats, so if the designs on offer appeal to you I can definitely recommend giving it a try. If you're local to the area you can check these mats out in person at Highground Gaming, Upkeep Games, Gatekeeper Games, and Michigan Toy Soldier.

Magnetic Movement Trays

A popular addition to the game ever since Age of Sigmar launched, many players use magnetic movement trays to speed up their game. Do you have a veritable horde of minis to move? Well, moving them in clumps of 5 will definitely speed things up. Since they first started hitting the scene, there have been plenty of different companies making them, so what makes these ones different?

The magnetic movement trays from Gray Matter Gaming come in 3 different forms, 32mm staggered, 25mm staggered, and 25mm straight line. The tray itself is similar to a fridge magnet, the kind that are a little floppy. These are similar in that they are a little floppy, but not ridiculously so. Think of it like a sheet of magnetic material that would go on the back of something, with the movement tray shape punched out of it. They don't have a ridge around the edge or anything, just a flat shape.

So, what's the benefit of these of others? While they may not be rigid, and they may not be super high end or anything, but they only cost either $2.25 to $2.75 a tray. If you're looking for magnetic movement trays but don't want to break the bank, then these are the ones for you. I tested them out at a club game night with a friend's models (I haven't magnetized any of mine), and they definitely worked. They even held the models upside down, though I wouldn't fling them around or anything. It does what it says on the tin, and costs less than most competitors out there!

If you want to check out either of these products, you can find them over on the Gray Matter Gaming website. The battle mat is great, with a crisp image and an ease of transportation and storage not yet achieved by competitors, and the magnetic movement trays offer an affordable alternative to others out there.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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