If you have read here before you will have noticed that I don’t mind urban scenes for my pike & shot games. This is because my major area of interest is in the big skirmish scale where there is every chance that the action concerns attacking villages.
The problem I have found is that when you lay out your buildings on a regular gaming mat it looks as though it is some kind of theme park. All green and clean and pristine. All of the things that 17C European towns were not.
Quite by accident I found an Italian firm (PWork Paperwargame) that produces, amongst other things, base mats that you can download and print at home. You can buy these in various sizes right up to a single piece 6′ x 4′ (120cm x 180cm).
Here is one in the images to the left. I bought this for an incredibly cheap price of 6Euro and sent it to a local printer to be printed on vinyl.
Note the detail in the broken ground (you can see a full version without other terrain on the PWork site). This really conveys the illusion of depth and I can add my bits and pieces and suddenly the table looks full and interesting.
Nit-picking, I might suggest that some of the cobbles and plank floors may be overscale for 28mm (they are certainly wrong for 15mm), but in truth no one is going to quibble once you get the extra terrain and models out on it.
This particular mat, the Dark Burg, is perfect for Medieval or Renaissance skirmish. It is also a perfect fit for Mordheim and Malifaux. I’m sure there are many more that it suit.
The PWork chaps have several more mats available. Some are clearly aimed at the Warhammer scene with their chaos symbols, but most have general application. The alien landscapes are inspiring pieces of art, and the green field with snow drifts is very evocative too.
Conclusion: excellent quality, general applicability, when printed on vinyl they will be more durable than your flocked mats and far more interesting to have as the base for the rest of your set up. Recommended.