The trend in tabletop gaming is the use of finely-detailed printed mats instead of felt or flocked cloth. They're neater, they lay nice and flat, and if designed properly, the detail on the surface fools the eye into seeing texture. This characteristics of game mats has driven their popularity. And then there is the durability; no more problem with flock rubbing off your groundcloth!
The neoprene-backed printed cloth mats are the most popular of all. This is usually referred-to as "mousepad" material, since it is essentially the material used to make the old-fashioned mousepads we know so well. Using typical gamer ingenuity, somebody discovered several years ago how well this material looks when printed, and how nicely it flattens out on the table and voila, paradigm shift.
Here's a closeup (about 200% magnification--these tufts of yucca will print up about 1/4" wide) of the kind of results you can get with a printed game mat. The artist we're working with made this render so we could evaluate textures, and we were immediately blown-away.
Here's a mockup of the final mat in 3'x4' size. The artist is now working on applying that detail to the entire surface in a similar pattern to the one pictured. Each end has vegetation, and the sides are more clear in case you want to put several mats side-by-side to make a big town.
I'm really excited about this. If you've ever seen our game demo board at a show, you've seen the improvement that a nicely detailed surface can make over a plain tan groundcloth. This game mat gives you the advantages of a textured board with the convenience of rolling it up and putting in a tube for transport. And the material rolls out flat with enough weight to stay put.
If the campaign hits 28k, everybody who is eligible for stretch goals will receive on of these. If they are unlocked, they will also be available in the add-ons in case you want additional mats, or if you pledged below the level that receives stretch goals.
And don't forget, we have an interim stretch goal at 23.5k, which is a mounted version of Honest John the Sheriff!
Any questions can be directed to us through Kickstarter, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org