As I mentioned in my last post, I recently purchased a Chessex Battlemat from Amazon. First impressions are excellent… this a high-quality product made of a nice think vinyl. We used one of these during our recent 4e weekend and I was impressed with the wet-erase performance at the time. I’m looking forward to using it in my game.
Now, I’m a big fan of Amazon and have always been very happy with the service, shipping, etc.. In this case, Amazon shipped in a nice elongated box within which I expected to find a nicely rolled mat. Unfortunately, the manufacturer’s packaging within the box was less than perfect. The mat was rolled, yes, but then flattened within a slender shrink-wrap sleeve. The net effect was that when the mat was laid out there was definite series of rolled folds in the mat that made it undulate on the table rather than lay flat.
If it had simply been “memory curl” from being rolled up, I’m pretty sure that a few reverse rolls would have flattened it out, but these folds just wouldn’t go away. I found advice online that suggested that I:
- lay it out in the sun for a few hours – which was not really an option as it is November in CT and only 40 degrees F in the sun
- hit it with a hair dryer – I tried this, but after 20 minutes I saw almost no difference and lost patience
- rub it down with warm water (as suggested on the slip of paper packed with the mat) – also tried with no success, how do you keep a warm cloth warm for more than 30 seconds?
In the end I used painting tape to pull it flat on a table, covered it with a large cutting mat, and piled it high with heavy books for a few days. After two days the mat laid flat, but still had a slight wave to it. A week later the mat is almost perfectly flat… success. I’m going to keep it stored under that cutting mat as a general rule, rolling it up only for travel to and/from games. Come summer, I might try laying it out in the sun to melt away the last vestiges of wave, but it’s probably not necessary.
So, fear not and go ahead and buy one of these mats from Amazon (or elsewhere), just don’t plan on using it for a few days after it arrives… a week’s rest under weight will do wonders.