Through a friendly contact who works in the sign writing business I managed to get a high resolution image from the European Southern Observatory and he printed this onto non tear banner material. The beauty of this product is the material itself is slightly textured allowing the miniatures on the bases a little bit of ‘stick’ which is nice as opposed to dealing with the slightest knocks and bumps on flat surface tables.
Although this option adds gorgeous flair and character to the gaming experience it does come with some fall backs. Firstly the material is rather thin and therefore has memory. So if I want it flat I really need to unroll it and either put heavy items on it for 15 minutes before I wish to use it or some other similar solution.
As I started getting more and more into X-wing and the competitive nature came out in me I realised I wanted a play mat which could be slapped down immediately without the memory or the distractions of beautiful star fields and nebula. I’m a lucky man and once again my wife came home from shopping at Clark Rubber after hearing my simple explanation and produces two thin neoprene rubber style mats cut to size. She’s a winner that one.
Of course the great part is now I have two of each of the above options allowing for plenty of gaming opportunities with all the family members, now I just need to get some more dice!