The Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) role-playing game (RPG) may have started off as a pencil & paper and 'theatre of the mind' game but RPGs have come a long way in the last 50 years. Role-playing adventurers in the 1970s might typically have used graph paper to plot their exploration of a fantasy world but Dungeon/Games Masters and players now demand more colourful terrain.
A Games Master (GM) can spend a not-so-small fortune equipping themselves with three-dimensional terrain. There are examples around that look fantastic but, aside from the expense, their bulk make them impractical for many: they take up a lot of space and are awkward to lug about. That's where the Loke Battle Mats range comes in. They offer colourful modular wipe-clean heavy-duty card mats in a wide range of designs that can be used to represent various locations on an RPG campaign. We've previously featured some of the Battle Mats on Board's Eye View but the Wilderness Book of Battle Mats is a new addition to the range - ideal for parties of adventurers whose campaign takes them out from the subterranean depths into the open air. The Wilderness Battle Mats comprise two giant 360º ringbound books of mats designed so that the two books can be opened to a double-page spread that lies flat, and the two books can be laid side by side to create a 24 inch by 24 inch playing surface. The Wilderness books provide 20 different sets of mats covering a variety of different outdoor terrains, including forest, deserts, icy tundra, coastal areas and grasslands. They all incorporate a 1 inch grid to assist in movement/distance calculations and they are designed to fold back as well as laying flat - so if space is tight you can play on just a single page (a little over 12 inch square).
The shiny surface can be written on with wipeable felt-tip pens but you can also use Loke Battle Mats' Add-On Scenery: reusable static cling decals that be added or removed from any laminated surface, and specifically the Loke Battle Mats.
The Box of Adventure offers a similar experience of wipeable modular maps but in a magnetically sealed box rather than book form. Inside the Box of Adventure Valley of Peril you'll find sets of mats depicting a Forest Road, Dungeon Halls, Lost Caves, Forest Ruins, Old Homestead and Barren Hills. There are four modular 'maps' for each of these, and each 'map' measures 11 inches by 17 inches so have the potential to create an even larger playing area than a pair of Battle Mat books. The Box of Adventure even comes with a sheet of tokens that can be used to represent the player characters and the creatures they encounter, tho' these need to be cut out for use. We suspect most people will prefer to play with miniatures (or, as here on Board's Eye View, with Lego minis) but it's great that the box has almost everything you need for an fantasy adventure, except the dice.
And in a departure from their Battle Mat range, Loke have also published a book (an actual hardback book with text; tho' there's a digital version available too). Untold Encounters of the Random Kind is designed as a tool for Games Masters to generate random encounters for their campaigns. Untold Encounters is not a self-contained role-playing game, but it's designed to be compatible with '5E' RPGs (that's the current iteration of Dungeons & Dragons). The book includes more than 1000 encounters covering town, wilderness and dungeon themes, and there's full guidance for making best use of its contents, either for generating genuinely random events or for incorporation into a deliberately planned campaign. The various encounters can also be used for solitaire play. Untold Encounters is written by Tamzin & Matt Henderson with illustrations by Matt Henderson, Andreas Roche and James Gray. The book's format makes it an ideal companion for the various D&D handbooks and manuals published by Wizards of the Coast.
If you venture out to your friendly local game store, you should be able to find the Wilderness Book of Battle Mats, the Box of Adventure and Untold Encounters of the Random Kind, but if not then you can order direct from Loke Battle Mats at https://lokebattlemats.store
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