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0 hr: Sailing Ships $4.95
Publisher: 0-hr
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/04/2010 19:18:17

As a DM running a campaign based on a sailing ship, I was very excited to receive a review copy of these printable miniatures-scale sailing ship maps. I already have a miniatures-scale map for the PCs' ship, and I use ship tiles from other manufacturers (SkeletonKey Games and Wizards of the Coast), but this product adds depth and variety to my collection of ship maps and gives me quite a few more options than I had before.

The artwork on these maps is quite attractive. To be sure, the various stock element objects get reused quite a bit, but it doesn't really hamper the battlemap if all the coiled ropes are just iterations of a single rope object. I appreciated the attention given to lighting on these maps; the gradual darkening as stairs descend, for example, is a very nice touch. The maps do, however, have a very noticeable case of "the jaggies," especially evident on long curving lines like the ships' outer hulls. Other DMs might consider that a relatively minor thing, but I found the "jaggies" quite noticeable. More importantly, I do wish that publishers of ship tiles, including but by no means limited to Ki Ryn, would stop illustrating small launches right on the main decks or even suspended beside the main decks of ships, and would instead draw that space empty and provide a small boat map elsewhere that could be cut out and used separately. (I further wish that Ki Ryn had spelled "dinghy" correctly in this product.) It gets a bit annoying during a game to have to remind players, "No, that dinghy isn't really there; you pitched it overboard in round 2 of the fighting." I'd much rather be able to remove a dedicated tile stacked on top of the main tiles. A little launch map separate from the main map would also be useful when PCs themselves use such a vessel.

One great strength of this product, and its advantage over similar offerings from other publishers (as far as I know), is its versatility. SkeletonKey Games's High Seas Dragon Ship and High Seas Warship look great on the gaming table, for example, but it's hard to "shrink" those ships without compromising the layout. With the Zero Hour Sailing Ships, you can choose between a 100-foot ship, a 50-foot ship, and a 30-foot sailboat, with varying numbers of decks. I personally won't use the cannon variants in this product (at least, not in my current D&D campaign), but GMs running games where such weapons are appropriate will appreciate having that option. This variety sets Sailing Ships apart from any other product that I know about at this time. I also benefited from the writeups about each ship layout as well as the side view diagrams.

Finally, I should add that in addition to being system-neutral (as most maps are), this particular set is largely genre-neutral as well. There's nothing in the maps that requires a fantasy setting.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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0 hr: Sailing Ships
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