So moving on into the next portion of Maps in your game experience. Battlemats and Poster Mats bring a lot to your table. But are they better then paper maps. For the long term gamer in many ways yes. They are more expensive in comparison but with that money comes a few things. So a few points to consider.
With dry erase mats you get versatility. Far and beyond any of the paper mats I talked about last time with the exception of gaming paper.. but dry erase does just that. Making the vinyl dry erase mat one of the most important tools in your DM belt. Everyone should have a dry erase mat in some form or another.. You just need one. Why you ask ? Because it is the fastest way to lay out an encounter for your players to see short of a printed map of the battle field your players are in. Secondly when you wing it. You wont have to be restrained to the confines of a map your players have seen over and over again.
When it comes to dry erase mats you pretty much your first and easiest choice is to look no further then Chessex. They have every shape and size your ever going to need. I for a time even had my 11 foot dinner table covered from end to end with a Chessex mat tablecloth style.
The Downside with dry erase simply falls into the hands of the users. Unless your an artist or have one at your table. Your maps will do the job but they are not going to be the most amazing part of your gaming experience.
Poster Maps With poster maps you get a reusable high quality printed colored map that you can use for specified encounters. Used them wisely and they will go far for you. Toss the same map on the table every session and your players are going to bore quickly. Lacking in the versatility of the dry erase mat the payoff is the immersion and speed. You just flip the map out drop the players on the board and away you go!
They are often designed so they come in as generic a layout as they can get away with, yet visually awesome. Also often poster maps are of locations that can see a lot of reuse because often they would have the same layout in other locations. Such as Grave Yards, Churches, Road Side Inns & Markets. But every time you place these maps on the table they are the same. On a plus note they are almost always double sided and cheap. So in no time and some spare change you can get a decently map collection put together. Also as a note In recent years many of the new poster maps are being printed laminated so you can dry erase on them as well.