What is a Hotz Mat?

"We make custom game mats"

"We produce over 900 different game mat/product styles and designs, and can produce many custom products. Over 50% of our orders are custom orders. Custom orders can take more time to produce"

Hotz Mats are Hand Produced game mats specifically designed as a playing surface for miniatures gaming, but can also be used for virtually any sort of gaming.

• Number of Products: We produce over 900 game mat/product designs, not including custom orders. As a result, we cannot keep a stock pile of pre-made game mats on hand. Its simply impossible to do this because we never know what a customer will order and since gaming trends change weekly, we never know if a good selling mat this week will be a good selling game mat the following week. In most cases, we print customer orders after a customer places an order. All our orders are, in a sense, custom orders.

• Silk Screening: We silkscreen print hex and square grids onto felt. We do not print onto other cloth materials, although this may be possible.

• Ready Made Game Mats: We may have base mats pre-made (example: Deep Space game mat without hexes/squares, or a Wild West game mat with a rock scatter pattern printed onto it), but rarely do we have completed game mats in our studio, ready for customer orders. We simply do not know what a customer will order on a day-to-day basis. It has proven impossible to guess. We are not psychic. In the past we have stocked up on the most popular game mats, only to have them sit around in our studio taking up valuable space for one or more years, waiting to be sold. What proved popular yesterday, is often not popular today. Fads come and go, and so do popular games. Our best selling game mat in 2006, rarely sells today.

• Pre-Made Flocked Felt Fields: We offer pre-made Flocked Felt Field Sets, which are ready to order because this product done not require an addition hex or square grid to be added. This product usually ships within 3 days of placing an order unless it is ordered in combination with another product.

• What We Do Stock Pile: We keep a supply of ink, paints and felt on hand, ready to make whatever the customer wants. As a result, we can get backlogged when swamped with orders because we have to hand make each and every order received. Some of our products take longer to produce than others and these include: Custom Orders, Double-Sided Game Mats, Sea Green Game Mats, Deluxe and Standard River System sets, all Enhanced Game Mats and Deep Space Game Mats. To date, our River System product line takes the most time to produce and has caused us delays with our other product production.

6x4-ft The Sneaky Style Game Mat with Hexes/Squares:
6x4-ft (72x48 inch) game mats can have hex/square grids printed onto them if you don't mind having a 1.5 Inch boarder around the entire game mat. The advantage of this is that your game mat will cover a 6x4-ft surface, but the downside is that if you wanted to use two game mats side-by-side, by overlapping two such game mats, the boarder will interfere. The price of a "Sneaky Game Mat" is slightly more than our regular game mats. If you want to order a "Sneaky" game mat, please send us a request for a Price Quote

• Delivery Times: Delivery times are our "best" estimate, but delays can happen due to many factors in production and including postal delays, etc. In the summer of 2015 our ink supplier fired their entire staff, many of whom had been working for over 15 years with this company (one had 30 years employment history) and then just rehired a new, younger, and cheaper (minimum wage) employees. They also informed us that they no longer make the ink we used to purchase when we went over to their shop to place an order. They sprung it on us when we walked in. So much for us purchasing our supplies from them over 10 years. That caused production delays as we scrambled to find a new supplier. This also happened with our paint supplier last summer when they changed the brand of their store, which meant all their stock changed including all the paint we used to purchase through them. We had our felt supplier "run out" of felt on occasion (in one case, they stopped producing a popular color of felt we use), which caused delays waiting for more felt to arrive to our studio.

Suppliers rarely notify us of problems until we have paid for a restock order -- then they tell us there will be a delay. We have had delays when our supplier has run out of paint, which means we have had to outsource to other suppliers, at a higher than usual cost to us. We have had to order and pay $90 a gallon for ink when normally its $30 because our local supplier ran out. It took our supply three months to get resupplied.

We have had postal strikes and postal delays due to weather conditions -- we have no control over any of these, including volcano eruptions in Iceland causing massive shipping delays worldwide, which we were personally blamed for by a few customers in Europe. One German customer recently berated us online for shipping his game mat late to him, totally ignoring that Germany just had a postal strike. There are literally hundreds of unscheduled, unexpected delays that can occur in any business, but this doubly so when running a silk screen print shop that is so highly specialized as ours. Nothing is simple and relying on five or six suppliers so we can print a single color felt game mat is never as simple as it appears -- its amazing to sit back and realize how many suppliers it actually takes to supply the materials on what people call as a "simple" game mat.

Michael Ysker's Full Thrust game on a Deep Space game mat with alternative colors.

Photos by:  Michael Ysker

Send questions, comments or suggestions to: Eric Hotz