The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=23160.
The Ancient Temple battlemap is difficult to classify. It can be used in fantasy, horror, historical, pulp, or even sci-fi settings. It is an extremely simplistic battlemap depicting a temple atop a series of stones labs and surrounded by jungle. A set of stairs leads you to the temple and the textures have a very weathered feel to them (confirming the use of the term “ancient”). And that’s pretty much it.
Representing a structure that rises 3-dimensionally on a 2-dimensional surface is tricky. Representing one that has different levels is even more difficult. While you can visualize what the battlemap is supposed to be, I would like to have seen different shading to represent this changing of levels as the battlemap rises to the temple. With that said, the shading means you can tell where one level ends and the other begins and the overall look and feel looks visually wonderful.
Publication Quality: 7 out of 10
The Ancient Temple battlemap received in this package is laid-out wonderfully and cut perfectly across the grid. The presentation is good but the map is missing overlays for the actual temple. I’d like to see what’s inside of the temple or at least have an overlay that removes the roof. In fact, it would almost be easiest to have a battlemap without the roof and have the roof as an additional overlay. Otherwise the package includes a square-grid, hex-grid, and grid-less versions (the latter is for virtual tabletop use).
Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
I really like the textures as they definitely pop from the battlemap. The entire battlemap has a very ancient look to it with stone overgrown by grass, stone obviously worn and even missing, and the subtle addition of a skeleton no longer intact. What really pops out at you (you may have to look closely) are the carvings around the actual temple. That is paying an extreme attention to detail.
Desire to Use: 7 out of 10
Without the ability to remove the roof of the ancient temple, the battlemap is seemingly limited to an external use of the temple instead of looking at what’s inside. However, it’s generic design allows it to be used in a number of genres. When I look at it, I see a pulp exploration into ancient Mesoamerican jungles where a lonely temple awaits its next victim.
Overall: 8 out of 10
Ancient Temple is a great utility map that has visual appeal to create an exciting encounter. While the interior of the temple itself is not shown on the battlemap, it can still easily be used as a center-piece for something interesting if not something extremely big. (What if ancient horrors were locked inside and simply stepping foot onto the temple’s platform woke the beasts, setting them free of their captivity?) Truly the possibilities for use are quite vast which gives the battlemap its true value.
[4 of 5 Stars!]