On the last leg of this review of mapping aides and tools I use for my D20 games lets talk about Maps Packs. This little shrink wrapped treasure throve may look unassuming in the gaming store shelve, but once you open them you have a set of tiles you can arrange to create a large combat scene.
According to the Paizo website, the company that publishes the Map Packs under their GameMastery line of products, each pack has 18 5” x 8” tiles. I’ve never counted them! I’m always too excited looking at the possible combinations to tarry on the number of tiles. Depending on the pack the possible arrangements vary. Some can be used to create truly large maps, others can be combined to form different smaller scenes, and they are varied enough that you can get a decent set of combinations from each pack. I’ve used some different packs together to create some nice variations of terrain and interesting combinations.
The cartography on the tiles is excellent, as good as the one in Flip Mats or Dungeon Tiles. They have some great details and the type of sets available offer a great variety of settings. Just look at the list of 29 Map Packs in the Paizo Store (some are available for pre-order) to get an idea. I’ve used the Waterfront set in conjunction with the Waterfront Tavern and Ship Flip Mats to create a large docks map for my campaign.
Be aware that they are printed thick paper, but paper nonetheless, so they are susceptible to spilled soda or moist surfaces. They can also be blown over by a strong breeze or moved accidentally causing the entire map to shift. One solution for this is double sided magnetic tape! Since the back of each tile is blank, I place small pieces of magnetic double stick tape in the tiles and then place them my magnetic erasable board and it worked like a charm. Another option is to laminate them but the ones I did laminate warped a little bit after I stored them.
Like all the other maps I’ve reviewed over the last three posts be prepared for the players to move beyond the edges of the map. I usually lay them down on the battle mat and map details around the tiles, like I did in the picture in this post. That encounter was put together for my old D&D 4th edition campaign using the Caravan set and my magnetic erasable board battlemat.
I think all three mapping aides I’ve reviewed, Flip Mats, Dungeon Tiles and now Map Packs would work well together, in fact writing these posts has given me the idea of designing one big mega adventure using all three. Now let’s see if I manage to pull it together. I’ll keep you posted if I do.
Be sure to send me other tools and ides you use for mapping, I’m always on the look out for new things to try. Thanks for reading!