The Waving Flag: Cheap Game Cloth?

Monday 27 May 2013

Cheap Game Cloth?

Last week someone tweeted about a bargain from Wilkinson's (a UK discount retailer) namely an olive green tablecloth for a fiver (£5.00) that would double as a game cloth:

What really picqued my interest was the comment that this was a good colour match for the GW battle mat. Now, I use a GW battle mat regularly, and I am very pleased with it, but I fancied a reserve especially for 5' x 3' games. Ideally, I was looking for something that could be repeatedly folded and stored in my " game trolley".

Before you comment that the GW mat is easily folded I prefer not to fold mine thereby avoiding permanent creases and consequent loss of the flock along the folds. As an aside, the mat is 4-5 years old and I've always used a 4 ft cardboard tube to transport it rolled and so far this has preserved it's good looks. If you are interested, the tube is a cut down central core from a roll of carpet which I scrounged from a local carpet shop.

Anyway, I thought this 100% cotton cloth would be easily folded and worth a punt. So I popped into town today to get one. On returning home my initial observations were:
  • The cloth is not a match for the GW battle mat: it's lighter and much more yellow/olive.
  • As advertised, it is just about 6 ft wide being only an inch and a bit short.
As the cloth is 100% cotton it needed to be washed and ironed to get the creases out. Although washable it says it should not be tumble dried, which is unusual for cotton, and makes drying it a right pain. After washing it I found:
  • The dye used is definitely not colour fast so do wash it separately.
  • After washing and careful drying it shrinks: at least 3" along the long edge.
  • The surface texture roughens after washing.
  • When ironed the cloth surface texture improves somewhat.
In summary, I'm happy with my reserve cloth but then I didn't expect too much from it and it only cost a fiver after all! If you are considering buying one just be aware it has limitations and it doesn't have the look or quality feel of even a simple piece of felt never mind the GW battle mat.

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