It is 2009, and people are still using graph paper and magic markers to draw their maps, most of the time in game. Where most of us have passed the days where every new combat involved a 20 minute DM draw the map break, there are many still trapped in the dark ages.
It is not too late to jump on the bandwagon, and so long as publishers like Fat Dragon Games puts out fantastic art packages like their Copper Dragon: Basic Dungeons series, the more archaic those rolls of graph paper will appear.
Deviating from the usual one product per review format, this review covers both Copper Dragon: Basic Dungeons 1 and Copper Dragon Basic Dungeons 2. Both products contain a series of gorgeous tiles to be used with battlemaps in a dungeon. Both weight in around the 40-page mark.
With battlemap products, there are two kinds: the smaller products that display a lot of detail and often a stronger level of cartography and the larger products with many maps but far less details. With the Copper Dragon series, Fat Dragon provides a hybrid product; one that uses big, bold colors that feel quite realistic and yet devoid of any detail so they can be used anywhere. The art style feels very traditional fantasy, however, the grays of the walls and the browns of the floor are so deep, your players will feel like they are traversing through a game. The result is a series of battlemaps that can be cut and fit together to build any dungeon you wish.
There are roughly nearly 40 pages of maps in each product, each product presenting 24 map tiles. Dungeon 1 features more basic designs, squares, straight hallways. Dungeon 2 is slightly more advances, offering curbs and several different room configurations. There are no graphs, but thick lines mark off squares to provide a clean distinction between squares without taking away from the maps.
For the Digital DM
If you are a digital dm like myself, this product is a great source to either extract or save images to be used with mapping programs like maptools. The pages have little “fat” so when using a mass image extraction program it is easier to distinguish the images you want.
For the Regular DM
Buy a projector. Seriously, if you’re still printing and cutting, you’ll find this product uses a fair amount of yellow and magenta. However, total ink loss is no more than any typical product.
The Iron Word
The Copper Dragon series is a must buy for anyone using tile maps. There are no basic maps with the caliber artwork in these products. There is an elegance to how plain they are. The lack of any additional objects on the floors brings out the true dungeon feel of the battle maps.