Trading card games have quickly risen to popularity in the past decade. If you ask anyone, they will probably tell you they have seen or played some version of it. The reason being that these card games are often based on popular titles from either books, manga or shows. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a casual, age is no issue when playing these games when playing on custom playmats.
The diversity of the fanbase is evident when new cards or gear are released. People from around the globe flock to game stores to grab their own copies of popular card games. These cards are often paired with custom card sleeves, custom playmats, and even their own customized storage!
With something as popular as trading card games, you can be sure that there are players who play with intense passion. They dedicate their lives to studying the strategies behind trading card games. They take care of their cards more than the ordinary person and it’s safe to say they have invested more.
Those who go the extra mile to protect them and make use of tools to ensure their longevity. But protecting cards and customizing accessories are not exclusive to pro players and veterans! You can also take care of your precious cards.
When talking about custom playmats, the first thing that comes to mind is the design. Players want their mats to look their absolute best when playing against others. The design usually ranges from amazing artwork to simple lettering or pro player sponsors. Secondly, people also think about the material of the mat. What it is made of is important so as not to damage the sleeves of your card. But people seldom take the time to think about the size of their mats.
We have listed a couple of tips to help you determine what size mat you should get:
Consider Where You Usually Play
Just like in any other competitive game, location is very important when playing trading card games. There are also other factors when choosing playmats, but the location is one of the things you should think about first. Think about how much space you have in your play area, so you can think about what size playmat you can get. Remember, a play area should be able to accommodate at least 2 playmats. Ideally one for you and another one for your enemy. These mats face each other as the game requires you to play head-to-head against an opponent.
Before you choose what size you want for your playmat, ask yourself where you usually play. Do you play at a desk at school with friends? Do you usually play at home in front of your computer desk? These might seem like irrelevant things to think about. But in reality, they determine whether your custom playmat will even fit in your play area! Imagine impulsively buying a custom playmat and getting the biggest size possible. It arrives at your doorstep; you’re excited only to find out that the playmat doesn’t even fit on your desk. It might seem like a silly thing to overlook but countless players have admitted to making this rookie mistake.
Save yourself the trouble of having to order another one and just take the time to factor in the location. If you play on a surface like a living room table, or on the floor then you have a lot of room to work with. You can basically pick any size mat you want without the spatial restriction. However, if you play on a computer table or a small desk, then you might want to consider getting a smaller sized mat. Standard mats are usually at around 24 inches by 14 inches. This is roughly the same size as an extended gaming mousepad, which can fit a standard keyboard and mouse.
Should you require more space, there is an option to customize a playmat to suit whatever size your gaming table is. There are manufacturers that allow players to create their own mat as small as 16 inches by 10 inches. This should allow you to play in certain areas that would not allow standard size playmats. Once you got the location of where you usually play down, you can head on to the playmat manufacturer and select the mat size you want.
Choose The Right Image
Choosing the right image doesn’t get talked about enough when choosing the right size playmat. When getting your accessories customized all you think about is how good they will look on them. You might be disappointed when you see the final product and see the image blown out of proportion. In some instances, the image cuts through the edges of the playmat or the sleeve. Furthermore, images may look like an entirely different picture from what you uploaded. This can be a nightmare for someone who waited so long for their custom playmat or sleeve to arrive. Thankfully this can be easily avoided if you take these simple but necessary steps.
Remember that images are not always the same size when it is printed on the accessory. We are talking about playmats here so try to imagine what it looks like. Normally they are rectangular in shape. So naturally, the image you choose should resemble something rectangular like wallpaper or a cover photo. If you have a photo that doesn’t quite fit the size of the playmat, distorting the image via height/width is not advisable. Because you lose a lot of quality doing this and the final product just looks downright weird. The best option would be to scale the image and just crop the edges that you don’t need. The image will look much better and it will now be compatible with your playmat.
Secondly, you have to save your image as requested by the manufacturers. The most common file type manufacturers request will be in jpeg. This is due to the fact that this file type is flexible and easier in compression. As a result, it becomes perfect for web images and it is easy to download. Most images on the internet are already in jpg format because of how easy it is to upload high-quality images with forgiving file sizes. Following this step will make it easy for the manufacturer of the playmat to process your request.
Lastly, your image mode needs to be RGB. The image mode should be under RGB for colored pictures. RGB stands for red, green and blue. This model allows these three colors to create a bunch of other different colors. This is used to display images in different systems such as your computer or your television. So it only makes sense to put the image mode in RGB for it to successfully replicate the desired color of your design.
Two-Player Mats Exist!
Yes, you read that right. These two-player custom playmats exist. If you have a partner whom you play with on a regular basis, then this is a great choice. Just multiply standard-sized playmats by two to get the size of a two-player custom playmat. From a storage aspect, it will be easier for you to put this away after playing. Moreover, it’s easier to set up because there are already two play areas. To those who have limited time to play, this allows for a quick and easy setup.
In terms of sizing, these are just two standard playmats stitched together. Imagine two standard sized custom playmats next to each other. So you still need to consider the area you are playing in before buying this. They have different card zone areas on each side for even more efficient gameplay. One more advantage two-player mats have over regular ones is that you can put a full image on them. Pictures that otherwise just won't fit on a standard-sized playmat.
In tournament settings, most officials provide their own playmats. But there have been statements from other players where they still see some people bring their own extra-long playmats. Just to flex whatever design they have on it. This is obviously bothersome for other people because in tournaments there are many players on a single table. Some even go as far as to say it is disrespectful, maybe because it is. Using two-player mats provided by the organizers not only helps save space, but it creates equality among the players joining the tournament.
What Games Do You Usually Play?
The size of your playmats also varies depending on what type of trading card game you play. Most of the card games abide by the same standard size. One of the most popular titles Magic: The Gathering also makes use of this format for their playmats. The idea is to be able to layout your cards in a fashion where it is visible for you and your enemy. Card zones are also a great addition to custom playmats, as they show you where your cards should be placed. Take note of this when thinking of what size playmat you should get.
Ideally, you should have enough playroom for your main battlefield and all the other different zones in your game. Most if not all trading card games make use of decks or libraries, where you put all the cards where you draw from. You put these cards face down and set them on the far side of your playmat. They also have zones for dead cards or cards that have been killed or knocked. These cards are either out of play until resurrected or brought back to life, so they remain on the mat.
It All Boils Down To Personal Preference
Once you have taken all these things into consideration, the most important factor would be your personal preference. There is no specific set of rules that prevent you from using a certain size of the playmat. You can get the largest size playmat available and no one will call you out on it (though you might get some funny looks from your friends). In fact, to play a full game doesn’t even require a playmat to begin with. These custom playmats are just accessories to an already amazing game. They protect your cards from damage and add a little bit of extra flair to the game.
Some players have invested in custom tables made specifically for trading card games. These tables can accommodate multiple players at a time, made from high-quality material. This makes it durable since multiple people are going to be using it to play. Now with custom gaming tables like this, they found it hard to find custom playmats that fit their table exactly the way they want it to. Your best bet would be to find a custom playmat that fits your table just the right way. Obviously, the mat can’t be bigger than the table. It can’t be too small for the table as well as that could cause damage to your card or card sleeves.
In the grand scheme of things in the world of customized accessories, personal preference will always be on top. If a player wants to use a giant playmat to play casually, then no one should force him to use a smaller mat. If a player wants to use a micro mat or no mat at all, then he/she should not be demonized for it. Just make sure you take other players into consideration when you use accessories. After all, the game becomes more fun when all the players are having fun!
Is The Size Important?
Size does matter. At least in the trading card game industry. It matters mainly because there are physical restrictions that don’t allow you to use just any size mat that you want. You can if you want to, it’s just that you will lose efficiency that way. And if you want to get the best card game experience possible, then it wouldn’t hurt to take some of these tips into account.
Can I put any image on the playmat?
Not really, if you choose a picture that is too small or too big, it might not look quite as you expect.
How to choose the right image for custom playmat?
Think about the size of your playmat in advance and choose the appropriate picture. If the picture is bigger, trim the excess edges. If the picture is smaller - do not enlarge it, because the quality will be much worse, it's better to find another image.
Is it better to have 2 separate playmats or 1 big playmat for 2 players?
It depends on your desires, if you often play with your friend and your buddy does not mind buying 1 playmat for 2 people - discuss the design and buy it. In this case, it will be more convenient to store it and put it away after the game, and you can put a large size image on it.
Do I need a special playmat for playing TCG?
Not really, but it is an optional accessory that will be made with your design and will also protect your cards from damage and scratches.