Like so many creators AJ Pickett has funded the initial production run of battlemaps through a 2021 Kickstarter raising approximately $29,000 USD from backers.
What makes these battlemaps and a few additional products funded is that they are made from silicone – yes the same material used breast implants – instead of with a plastic polymer.
With the first wave of products released to backers and a probably on their way to many gaming shops, its time to see if it is a great product, or if AJ Pickett cleaved into his idea factory and released a boob product (pun intended)?
But first, what is silicone? Silicone is an elastomer which means the molecules are made up of chains of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms. Silicone has several favorable properties including flexibility, good chemical resistance, and stability at both high and low temperatures. For most of use our exposure to silicone products is in the kitchen with silicon being used to make over mitts and baking trays.
The properties work very well and the battlemaps AJ Pickett has produced are flexible enough to be folded and placed in a backpack (no cardboard tube required) and they much easier to transport which is handy if you play somewhere else like a convention.
This is fantastic! But silicone does have a weakness that does need to be raised for those hobbyist that would like to use one of these maps as a miniature painting protection layer on their desktop which is that silicone is susceptible to irreparable damage from cyanoacrylate which is found in superglue which is often used to put models together. AJ Pickett also warns that red pigment permanent marker pens should be avoided as these may stain.
In use the battlemap is flawless with the added benefit being that it can bend and flex over the edge of a table if the playing surface is not large enough. Even better it doesn’t feel fragile like traditional plastic sheets and you can even use it for mock pizza throwing practice.
Creases quickly smooth out, and the mats texture makes it less likely that tokens will slide all over the place if the table accidentally bumped. This is a godsend and you can use the mat for playing cards.
Its quick and clean to wipe and reuse. I tried damp paper towel to soaking cloth and works like a treat. Zero issues
In addition to the standard battlemap with a 1″ grid and 1″hex on the opposite side they offer a semi-translucent model. In practice it works but its like deep frosted glass. You get the idea but its not highly detailed. They also make initiative trackers and player sheets. The initiative tracker is very useful.
This is a product that does what it is intended do very well – highly recommended.