Monday, April 10, 2017
My players would never proclaim artistry as my strong-suit when it comes to running games, so I've been happy to gradually build up a small collection of Pathfinder Flip-Mats. Ship is my newest purchase, and on the main side it features four decks of a fairly large (110 feet long) vessel armed with six cannons and featuring plenty of cargo space, while the the flip side is blank but for a watery background.
I'm not sure if the ship should be classified as a light warship or a heavily-armed merchant ship, but the flexibility is an asset for GMs. The lowest deck (the hold) is well-detailed with barrels, crates, bags, oil lamps, and even a straw-filled pen for animals. The next deck (moving from low to high) features the six cannons (with little piles of cannonballs!), sleeping quarters at the bow with six bunks, and an officer's cabin in the stern with a desk, chairs, a bookcase, and more. It's all drawn with great detail, with my favourite touch being the "grid" of light coming from the hatches above. The main deck has a storage room in the bow and another officer's cabin in the stern. I really like the added touch of a rowboat as well. I think it would have been better to have a galley, a brig, or something else instead of two officer's cabins that are essentially the same. I also found it difficult to distinguish the stairs going up from the stairs going down. The fourth and final deck is a bit odd as the center part is actually the same as the center part of the main deck, but the bow and stern are the raised levels above the storage room and officer's quarters, respectively. When I used this flip-mat during a recent session, it was hard to decide on which of the two upper decks to have the tokens on, since they're quite literally showing the same place. Still, despite the minor confusion of the stairs and the same/different decks, having the Ship flip-mat was a major improvement on what I could do on my own with a marker.
The other side, with the water background, seems dull but I actually really like it. It's not just a flat blue, but instead has different lighting and "texture" effects so it looks like the surface of the ocean. I'll definitely use it anytime I have an encounter on a lake, ocean, or even wide river.
So, quibbles aside, this is one of the best of the Pathfinder Flip-Mats I've purchased. Admittedly, I haven't had a lot of water encounters in the games I've run, but when I do, this will come out of storage.