Dropzone Commander Mat Review - Deep Cut Studios VS Table War
2022-03-12 review /
Deep Cut Studios Wins - Buy Their Mat
Not going to beat around the bush here, buy the "Deep Cut Studio Cityscape mats in Mousepad", DO NOT buy from Table War. Deep Cut Studios (hereafter DCS) has a crisper print with more detail and better colors both in intensity and accuracy. I was hoping to write a nuanced comparison, but there's such a clear winner in both print quality, design, and customer service that it seems pointless.
I arrayed the mats on the concrete porch out back of my house on a somewhat overcast day. On the left is the "Deep Cut Studio Cityscape #2, 4x4, Mousepad". In the middle is an original print run of the 'Table War 4x4 Urban Zone (10mm) F.A.T. Mat'. And peaking in from the right is the current print run Table War (hereafter TW) is selling. Lets ignore that far right side for now; we'll come back to it.
Under the 'warmest' lighting in my house, and not at all what you'd call good lighting for wargaming, the original TW mat looks better, I'd be happy to use it. I'm probably going to trade it to a friend because I really don't need two mats, I prefer the DCS one quite a bit, and they have a Cityscape #1 I could get and then the colors would match for a mega-sized 8x4 table.
Both mats cost me $60 USD + ~$15 in shipping and handling, so there's not even any points for being 'the discount option' for TW to pick up.
So, about that really blue mat...
Why You Should Not Order a DZC Mat From Table War At All
This is the picture TW uses in their product page for their "4x4 Urban Zone (10mm) F.A.T. Mat Gaming Mat".
Looks perfectly fine right? They even have some pictures from a blogger on their product page, showing the mat IRL with the DZC cityscape paper buildings. Faeit 212 (the one they used) and View From the Turret have pictures of their TW mats that look perfectly fine dating back to its initial print run in 2015.
But that's not what TW sent me when I placed an order in 2022.
They sent me a blue mat. It could work as a night time mat if the grass and dirt were correctly recolored, but that's not what happened. One of two things went wrong here. Either A) the printer botched the job or had a malfunction or B) the artist/designer tried to adjust the coloration for some purpose but screwed up their layers or in some other way mangled the master file.
But here's the kicker. Table War insisted over and over that the blue mat they sent me was correctly colored, that it was supposed to be that color, that it 100% matched the advertised product AND that every mat they have in stock looks exactly like the one they sent me.
I receive my mat, open the package, and my first reaction is "did they send me a sea mat by mistake?"
Me: Somethings really wrong with the colors of my mat, see attached picture. What's the process like for getting a replacement?
Todd@TW: I need to talk to my artist. I believe those are all that color. I will let you know what I find out. If it is the case, I won’t be able to do a replacement but can work with you on a return. I am sorry the colors are not meeting your expectations.
Todd@TW: Just got word back from the artist that that is the intended color. If you are not happy with that color, we can work an exchange. Please let me know how you would best like to handle this.
Me: That can't be right. I was trying to order this. [link to product] It's really clearly not the same mat I received. It's a completely different color than the images on that page. Other people posting pictures with links back to the mat look nothing like what I received either. [links to other pictures of the mat from different people]
Me: Now maybe the artist did a second version in 'night mode', (but I still find that hard to believe considering the neon green of the plants.) and it got mixed in with the day-mode products or something.
Me: I just want to receive a copy of the mat in the images on the product page. 4x4, normal colors, scaled for 10mm. Do you have any of those left? Note, the picture on the end of the cardboard box the mat and case came in matches the pictures above, not what I received.
Todd@TW: The mats look very different under different lighting. All I can tell you is that the mats in our warehouse are the color you received and the designer confirmed that they are correct. I do not have a mat to send you that matches the box label (which always prints out differently than the mats due to CMYK coloring and the way they print on mats vs. paper). I am very sorry. I understand what you would like. I just don’t have any mats in my warehouse to meet your needs.
Me: I'll take a full refund.
Todd@TW: You bet. Please send me a picture of the mat with an approximately 4” section cut out including the logo. After I receive the pictures, I will process the refund. Again, I am very sorry the product did not meet expectations.
I cut a chunk out of the mat and get my refund. Weeks pass while waiting for the other mats to arrive.
Me: I found one of your original print run of these mats and purchased it. Attached picture is a side by side comparison under natural light with the mat I received.
Me: Whether the change is intentional or not, you really need to update your product page with accurate pictures representing the product you're selling. But it's most definitely not the same, nor simply my lighting.
Todd@TW: Thank you for sending. That is a dramatic difference. I will send the picture on to both the designer and the factory to see what changed. I am glad you found what you were looking for and apologize for the trouble ordering directly with us.
Until such a time as they change the product listing to accurately represent the very blue mat they can actually sell you, or I get word they replaced their stock with a new print run ...