Having a beautiful gaming table is the dream of many board gamers. These are beautiful pieces of furniture that make playing games an even better experience. However, you don’t have to have thousands of dollars to drop on a game table to enjoy the experience of playing on one! Board game mats are an excellent way to turn your home table into a game table in a snap!
But not all game mats are created equal! Many come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. And a bad mat can pull your game night down fast! So how do you know which board game mat is the best for your table?
I collected the top rated game mats and put them all to the test!
Wondering why you might like a game mat? Check out this post with 5 reasons why!
The biggest things I was looking for were overall design, durability, ease of play, plushness, and of course how great games looked on them!
My goal is for this to be a helpful resource for you and take the risk out of guessing which mat is best for your needs before buying. If you’re ready to upgrade your family game table, I’m confident there’s a mat for you here!
All mats are shown on a standard card table or our dining table which measures: 44″ x 72″
Here’s how they all shook out:
Size: 2’x3’ + 3’x4’
Price: $34 – $50
Features: Carrying bag
Our Mat: 2’x3′
We purchased this mat thinking that it would be a great fit for smaller card games. Overall we thought the size of the mat worked well for this purpose. Small games fit well on the mat, but the mat itself was too small to accommodate much of anything else.
Despite many attempts, we couldn’t get the mat to lose the wave from being rolled. This was quite annoying visually and impacts the games while laying on top.
Due to this and it’s small size, we wouldn’t recommend this mat.
Size Options: 32.6in x 32.6in
Features: Three colors, carrying bag
The Mahjong mat has a lot going for it from the outside. It comes in a carrying bag so it can be protected during storage. It’s a really nice blue color and also comes in both green and black with no branding on the mat itself. It fits well on a card table if this is your primary playing surface. It felt the most like an oversized mouse pad of all the mats we sampled.
Unfortunately it began to show a lot of wave over time due to being rolled for storage. Because of this, we wouldn’t recommend this mat.
Of all the budget options, this one rose to the top! There are no frills here but what it lacks in wow factor it makes up in practicality. The Gameland mat is a square card table size, perfect for most small and medium size footprint games. It feels like a large mouse pad and has not shown signs of waving after repeated rolling for storage. It lays flat and has crisp edges without stitching.
For storage it has two velcro straps to keep it wrapped up and is compact enough to store on the floor or in the over the door vinyl storage turned game mat organizer we recently picked up.(this will only hold mats this size and smaller.)
Size Options: 61” x 37” (only size option)
Features: 5 Prints
Our Mat: Ashwood
We love the design of this mat. As a photographer I love the cool grey/black tones of the Ashwood print. Games pop off the mat and shine in photos while the wood grain provides some understated interest in the background. For these reasons, I fully expect this mat to hit the table often for photos alone. It is also a nice size for our table and will fit most any game you wish to play.
It’s not all rainbows though. This mat came to us in the saddest shipping state of perhaps any product we have ever received. The entire top half of the flimsy shipping box was ripped off with the mat taped and exposed for who knows how long. This, understandably, led to the mat being damaged, though not as bad as you’d expect. The entire long edge of the exposed edge is wavy. No amount of being laid flat on the table, or in the sun as was suggested by the manufacturing company changed its condition.
The Game Theory Tables board game mat is also by far the thinnest mat we received. We find that slightly plusher board game mats make for a better play experience. The thinness of the mat is also what we think lends it to waving more easily. I worry that over time this mat would show wear and tear quicker than some of our higher rated options. In fact, ours already has a rip in the bottom. This mat also came with no storage protection options such as a tube to roll it around or store inside, velcro straps, or a zip up case.
At $119, it is our most expensive, single size option mat, compounding the negatives.
Full disclosure: if I would have ordered this mat as our family’s sole game mat, I would have returned it.
Size Options: 2 sizes
Price Range: $55 + $95
Features: Storage Tube
Our Mat Size: 36” x 48”
The most unique mat we tried, the Tabletop Companion board game mat is made of felt with a rubber backing. I did not expect to love this mat as much as I did. The felt makes for an excellent playing surface perfect for anyone who dislikes the mousepad feel.
The red color has a certain luxurious quality about it. The felt texture was different at first, but I now love playing games on this mat. A downside to the felt is that it does collect dust and crumbs. Luckily, a quick lint roll is all it needs to be back in top shape. The rubber backing kept this mat stuck to the table! You can also flip the mat over and play on the rubber backing. While this is a good option for tile games, I found that the rubber provided too much friction and much preferred playing on the felt.
The Tabletop Companion board game mats come in a sturdy tube when shipped to you which also doubles as its storage case.
Size Options: Multiple and custom shape options
Price Range: $59 – $157
Features: geometric shape options. 5mm thick neoprene
Our Mat Size: 73.5” x 38.5” + Custom
We bought a Big Viking Mat for our table years ago and it’s still a top choice today! Big Viking Mats are extra thick and very plush. We find them to be incredibly comfortable to play on. You can really notice the difference when it comes to picking components up. Cards and tiles lift off easily without issue.
There is no rubber backing on a Big Viking Mat. This makes the mat lighter, but also opens it up to damage. Ours has sustained a few scrapes and scratches over the years. You need to carefully store these mats. The neoprene can become crimped and pinched if something with a hard edge puts pressure on it for a period of time. A few areas of our mat have crinkling from it being against things over the years. When we leave the mat to lay flat, the majority of all bruises pop out.
All Big Viking Mats come with a D-ring strap to keep it rolled when not in use. However, you need to be careful. If it is too tight around the mat, it will leave indentations. The straps are great for traveling short distance, but not for extended storage between games. We leave ours off the mat and store it rolled on the floor.
Custom Board Game Mat sizes
The best part about Big Viking Mats is the ability to have them custom cut to fit your table. If custom board game mats are what you’re looking for, Big Viking Mats is our top choice! We had the green mat custom cut to fit our table! When sending in our measurements, we left the mat short in length by a few inches so that we would have a section of table to sit our water tumblers on when playing! We couldn’t be happier with the results.
If you have a circle or other geometric shaped table, Big Viking Mats is the only game mat provider we reviewed able to create a mat for your table.
2. Game Toppers
Size Options: Multiple size options
Price Range: $89 – $189
Features: multiple colors + designs. premium storage case included.
Our Mat Size: both are 36” x 48” (Adler size)
If you’re looking for a mat with personality, the board game mats from Game Toppers are our top choice! We sampled the Pirate mat and the gorgeous Ryan Laukat mat. The thematic backgrounds were so fun and made the games look great!
The mats are 3.6mm thick with non-skid neoprene. Though barely thicker than the budget mat options, the thickness was discernible by everyone we asked and the mat felt much smoother to the touch. The Game Topper game mats have edge stitching and roll incredibly easy.
We LOVED the zip up case they come with. Each mat gets its own storage and travel case with a little window so you can see which mat design you’re grabbing. The combination of their more compact size, excellent storage case, and plethora of design styles puts this mat comfortably in the number two slot.
Of the two mat designs we played, I would recommend the Ryan Laukat mat first. Nearly every game looks amazing on this mat. The pirate mat is great for ocean themed games, but we find that some games clash with the ocean design making it not a great choice for general use unless you’re really into pirates. (see image of Cascadia below) Game Toppers also has multiple soliddesign options as well.
Size Options: Three size options
Price Range: $59 – $79*
Features: 5mm thick neoprene, 5 color options, carrying bag included
Our Mat Size: 3.5’ x 5.5’
The Board Game Tables game mat combines the best of all game mat features making it our TOP overall board game mat choice.
We love the 5mm thick neoprene playing surface combined with the stitched edging that provides extra protection and a nice finished look. With a rubber backing to eliminate slips, this mat is a beast! It is large and heavy. Considerably bigger than other mats of the same size.
This mat has so far proven durable and sturdy, showing no wear from being stored either on the floor or standing up.These mats come 5 different solid colors which make it a great option for your all around mat.
It was shipped the most securely out of all the mats we received. The mat itself was sealed in plastic, rolled into its storage bag that comes included, and then shipped in a sturdy cardboard box.
We have no complaints of this product. It is exceptional. The color and size options, thick neoprene surface, rubber backing, edge stitching, and storage bag combined with it’s insanely low price of $79 for a large mat pushed the Board Game Tables game mat into our number one spot!
*Price on Amazon is $97 for a large mat to include taxes and shipping. All sizes and colors currently available as of posting.
Things to Consider When Selecting Your Board Game Mat:
Color and Design
When it comes to color and design, personal preference plays the biggest role in what you should choose.
That said, we intentionally ordered all different colors and designs to see which worked best visually with the most games.
Solid colors by far were the best overall in showcasing the game. Specifically the blue color which most games looked excellent on. Black was my least favorite option. Though not horrible, it shows the most dust of all the solids.
Mats with busy art on them can make it more difficult to see the components of your game. When choosing a mat with art for general use, we recommend that you select one with a relatively neutral scene that can go with most any themed game. The Ryan Laukat mat from Game Toppers is a great example of this.
Three Things are going to be the main factors in finding the right game mat size:
- Your main gaming table
- Average size game you play
- Storage Preference
In my opinion, if you are looking between two sizes, wondering if you should get a smaller or larger mat, I think a bigger mat is better over a smaller mat. A bigger, rectangular mat that is at least 3’x5’ has been our favorite to play on.
If however you rarely or never play large games that take up your entire table, opting for more medium or small box games, a smaller game mat would be a great fit!
It’s not an either or thing between a small or large mat. You can take board game mats with no edge stitching like the budget friendly Gameland mat or the plush Big Viking Mat, purchase two smaller sizes, use one mat when playing a small game and lay them both side by side for larger games.
This gives you the benefits of both small and large board game mats!
What board game mat are you most interested in for your home? Come share with us on Instagram and let us know what board game product we should compare and contrast next!
A special thank you to the teams at Board Game Tables, Game Toppers, Big Viking Mats, Tabletop Companion, and Game Theory Tables for providing mat samples for review and making this guide possible. As always, our thoughts and opinions are our own.
The most popular board game is Monopoly, which holds the Guinness World Record for being played by the most people: 500 million people worldwide. This record was set in 1999, so we imagine that many millions of people in the world have been introduced to the popular game of Monopoly since then.What are the top 10 board games of all time? ›
- Backgammon. > Year introduced: 3000 B.C. ...
- Trivial Pursuit. > Year introduced: 1981. ...
- Battleship. > Year introduced: 1931. ...
- Clue. > Year introduced: 1949. ...
- Scrabble. > Year introduced: 1938. ...
- Monopoly. > Year introduced: 1935. ...
- Checkers. > Year introduced: 3000 B.C. ...
- Chess. > Year introduced: 1200.
Everything is easier to pick up when on a game mat. No more frustratingly trying to pick up a card, damaging the edge with your fingernails, only to have to slide it off the edge of the table to get it. The plusher surface lets you gently pick up and turn over cards and components with ease.What are the most popular board games? ›
Following chess, checkers, backgammon, Monopoly, and Scrabble are among the top five most popular board games. Whether you like to play the best card games or prefer to think ten steps ahead in one of your favorite strategy board games, one of these classic board games will suit your taste.What is the oldest popular board game? ›
The Royal Game of Ur
The Royal Game of Ur is the oldest playable boardgame in the world, originating around 4,600 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. The game's rules were written on a cuneiform tablet by a Babylonian astronomer in 177 BC.
- Chess. Played since: 7th & 15th centuries. ...
- Nine Men's Morris. Played since: 1400 BCE (possibly) ...
- Go. Played since: 2000 BCE. ...
- Backgammon. Played since: 3000 BCE. ...
- Checkers. Played since: 3000 BCE. ...
- Senet. Played since: 3500 BCE.
The oldest game on the list – Monopoly (1935) – is also the best-selling board game of all time, with over 275 million units bought since its inception.What is the best board game this year? ›
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Become an accomplice to Sherlock Holmes, travel across the stars and fight terrifying monsters to save humanity in the best board games you can play in 2023.
- Apex Legends.
- Fortnite Battle Royale.
- League of Legends.
- Call of Duty Mobile.
Neoprene (mouse mat style)
These are the superior gaming surface recommended by many players around the world. Neoprene battle mats feature high quality printed surfaces and a sturdy rubber backing that grips to your table without making lumps or creases.
Size: Make sure the mat is large enough for your child to play on. You don't want something that's too small, as your child will quickly outgrow it. Thickness: Choose a mat that's thick enough to provide a comfortable surface for your child to play on. Style: There are a lot of different styles of playmats out there.When should I buy a playmat? ›
Babies will start to need a playmat from around 3 months. Or as soon as they're spending any time on their tummies. But don't be worried that your little one will soon outgrow their playmat. Most play mats can be used in children's playrooms for years.What is the most popular board game company? ›
Hasbro. Hasbro is a global play and entertainment company that has its corporate headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.Does anyone still play board games? ›
Board games have unequivocally made a comeback. And they're just in time for the holiday rush. “It is undeniable — they are gaining in popularity fast,” said Elan Lee, the creator of popular card game Exploding Kittens.Are board games still popular? ›
The board game market size was $13.33 billion in 2021 and it's expected to grow with a CAGR of 12.29% from 2021 to 2030.What is the golden age of board games? ›
Margaret Hofer described the period of the 1880s–1920s as "The Golden Age" of board gaming in America. Board game popularity was boosted, like that of many items, through mass production, which made them cheaper and more easily available.What was the first board game in the United States? ›
Lockwood publishes the first-known American board game titled The Travellers' Tour Through the United States. Based on a map of the early nation, the game teaches geography. William and Stephen B. Ives of Salem, Massachusetts, publish a near-exact copy of an earlier English game that teaches morality through play.What board game was invented in 1957? ›
In 1957 French filmmaker, Albert Lamorisse, designed a game titled "La Conquete Du Monde" (The Conquest of the World.)What was the 4000 year old board game called? ›
Known today as the Royal Game of Ur, the two-player strategy game was similar to backgammon. Board games have been played across the world for thousands of years.What was Bill Gates favorite board game? ›
Gates plays the card game Bridge and the board game Settlers of Catan. “My parents first taught me bridge, but I really started to enjoy it after playing with Warren Buffett,” Gates writes in Time of his billionaire bestie. “It takes a mix of strategy and teamwork to do well.
The most popular team sports in the United States are American football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer.What was the most popular board game during the Great Depression? ›
Having Fun – Family Time
With little money to spend on entertainment, families enjoyed new board games such as "Monopoly" and "Scrabble" which were first sold during the 1930s. Neighbors got together to play card games such as whist, pinochle, canasta and bridge.
Gaia Project is one of the most complicated board games for adults who love complex space and sci-fi tabletop games.What was the best board game of the last decade? ›
The top spot on the list of the best board games of the decade 2010 – 2020 goes to the amazing and intense engine builder Terraforming Mars. Released in 2016, it is the 2400s and mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, initiate huge projects to make the environment is habitable.What are the best board games of 2023? ›
- Gloomhaven. Until recently, Gloomhaven was quite literally ranked the best board game ever by online board game fans. ...
- Betrayal at House on the Hill. This is a co-op exploration game with a twist. ...
- The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine. ...
- Ark Nova. ...
- The Quacks of Quedlinburg. ...
- Root. ...
- Monikers. ...
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf.
|4.||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||Valve|
|3||Apex Legends||50 Million|
|4||Fortnite Battle Royale||45 Million|
- 3.1 Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (2000)
- 3.2 The Simpsons Wrestling (2001)
- 3.3 Mortal Kombat Advance (2001)
- 3.4 Batman: Dark Tomorrow (2003)
- 3.5 Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)
- 3.6 Drake of the 99 Dragons (2003)
- 3.7 Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (2003)
- 3.8 Lula 3D (2005)
One of the most common insert types you can find on online board game stores is made of good old wood (e.g. birch). Thin plywood sheets host elements necessary for assembling the inserts. You use them like a punch board – take out all the elements and assemble them together with a special wood friendly glue.How thick are board game mats? ›
The mats are 3.6mm thick with non-skid neoprene.
The types of foam materials used to make play mats are Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polyurethane material (PU), or Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA).Which side up for play mats? ›
Which way up do I lay the tiles? Our EVA foam tiles should be laid 'textured' side up, this allows the unfinished underside to create a better anti-slip bond on hard surfaces.What is the difference between PE and PVC playmats? ›
PVC vs PE mat - what are the differences? PVC mat is made of soft PVC which is formulated with specially refined plasticizer that is highly flexible and resilient. It absorbs impact when babies or kids play and fall. These PVC mat are heavier than PE but they are much more durable and keeps the color bright and clear.What should I look for when buying an anti fatigue mat? ›
- Know the purpose of the mat. Anti-slip or other mats are not the same as anti-fatigue mats. ...
- The thickness of the mat. Softer and thicker may not always be better. ...
- Know the environment the mat will be used in. Mats should not slip, or create a trip hazard.
Our recommendation is anything around 10mm for soft mat should be good enough in general. Some parents might prefer 15mm thickness for soft mat. As for space folder mat, the standard thickness is 40mm. The size and material of the play mat will determine its weight.How important are playmats? ›
Baby play mats are highly recommended. They offer a wide range of developmental and cognitive benefits, benefits in visual perception, gross motor benefits, sensory stimulation, awareness, reaching, and grasping skills, and self-awareness.Why use a foam playmat? ›
Foam play mats protect your floors, and your child with a soft, wipe-clean surface. But they are also a perfect insulator for a space that may need warmth, and noise management from echoes or toys being dropped on your hard floors.What are the top 3 game companies? ›
Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo estimates represent all Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo non-hardware platform revenues (including Xbox Live, PSN, and Nintendo eShop revenues respectively). Revenues are in USD Millions. Exchange rates are at year end, unless companies report in US$.Who is the richest board game? ›
When one of the players run out of money, the game is over. The winner will be the one with the most money and property. Players choose a coloured plane to represent themselves, and start out with a specific sum of money.What is the biggest board game store in the world? ›
The Sentry Box is a shop specializing in board games and related items, but it's certainly no ordinary store. “As far as I know, we are the world's largest game store,” Sentry Box owner Gordon Johansen said.
The most popular board game is Monopoly, which holds the Guinness World Record for being played by the most people: 500 million people worldwide. This record was set in 1999, so we imagine that many millions of people in the world have been introduced to the popular game of Monopoly since then.What is the hardest board game in the world to play? ›
Chess. One of the most famously difficult games in the world to master is chess. There's much debate about how old chess is and where it came from, but one thing's for sure: The objective is to checkmate the opposition king, while keeping your own monarch safe.Are board games good for your brain? ›
Many table gamers say they play to unwind and relax. Of course, many board games lead to bouts of laughter that stimulate endorphins. The simple act of having fun can help boost serotonin, relieve symptoms of anxiety, and increase enthusiasm in other areas of your life.What are the Top 10 board games of all time? ›
- Pandemic. ...
- Monopoly. ...
- Twister. ...
- UNO. ...
- Apples to Apples. ...
- Codenames. ...
- Scrabble. Wordsmith or not, Scrabble is a game to appreciate because it makes a vocabulary lesson fun. ...
- Pictionary. The beauty of this game is that the worse you are at drawing, the more fun it is.
Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent. The game was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago and is believed to be the oldest board game continuously played to the present day.Why are board games so expensive now? ›
Why are boardgames so expensive? They are often made by small publishers, in small print runs, with custom components which means the production costs are high. Each game also has costs for assembly, storage, and distribution. Of course, the price of board games varies hugely.What is the 1 game? ›
An abstract strategy game for two players involving a triangular (equilateral) board that has positions for 36 balls, or marbles.What is the famous word board game? ›
Scrabble has been the essential word game for almost a century. A competitive crossword that rewards players' extensive vocabularies and tactical tile placement, the family board game has remained the go-to board game about spelling words for most players.What is world's first game? ›
The earliest known publicly demonstrated electronic game was created in 1950. Bertie the Brain was an arcade game of tic-tac-toe, built by Josef Kates for the 1950 Canadian National Exhibition.What is the board game most or least? ›
Most Or Least is a relaxed style party game for 4-8 players ages 13 and up. In the game you and your friends go through a selection of interesting playful question which ask if you are most/least likely to do something or make a selection between three unpredictable & hilarious choices.
- Fall Guys.
- League of Legends.
- PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
- Lost Ark.
|3||Apex Legends||Respawn Entertainment|
|4||Fortnite Battle Royale||Epic Games|
Codenames is a top-rated spy game for multiple players that you won't stop playing! The two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES given on the cards. The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first.Which word game is everyone playing? ›
It's all thanks to people playing a word guessing game called Wordle. So, what is Wordle and why is everyone suddenly obsessed with it?What is first letter word board game? ›
Description. Players are given a category and one or more letters. They must come up with one or more words (or phrases) starting with that first letter for all the first letters they are given. Specifics for how many categories and how many words vary by game.Who is the first popular game? ›
Atari's Pong was released in late 1972 and is considered the first successful arcade video game.Who invented Pong? ›
Atari released the original Pong as an arcade game. Fifty years ago this week, to mark the anniversary, we've called up Allan Alcorn, co-founder of Atari and computer scientist who designed Pong.What is the oldest console? ›
In 1972 Magnavox released the world's first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey. It came packaged with board game paraphernalia such as cards, paper money and dice to enhance the games.
Mage Knight Board Game is one of the most complex board games for adults who love fantasy RPGs. It's one of the most difficult board games that gamers can not only play in teams but solo as well and go on an unforgettable adventure while exploring and conquering the cities of this dark fantasy world.