“What’s the story with that playmat?”


I’m not sure which question I’ve heard more in the past month – “Where can I get one of your playmats?” or “What’s the story with that playmat?” The answer to the first question is easy – right here! The answer to the second is a bit longer, and I figured I might as well share it here rather than tell everyone who asks individually.

It's like a prom picture with a fake cruise ship in the background *taken on a cruise ship*. Cruiseshipception. We can go deeper...

It’s like a prom picture with a fake cruise ship in the background *taken on a cruise ship*. Cruiseshipception. We can go deeper…

Back in January, I went on the Magic Cruise with my girlfriend Natalie. For those of you who have not heard of it, the Magic Cruise is organized by Steve Port’s Legion Events. Basically, it’s a series of Magic tournaments on a cruise ship. Steve has been organizing the cruise for something like seven years now, and there’s a whole crew of regulars who attend every year. This year was my first, as well as my first time on a cruise period, and it was an absolute blast. I highly recommend looking into attending in the future if you’re a fan of both Magic and other fun things.

Something that I learned very quickly on my first cruise is that they’re always trying to sell you things. Food is included, even room service, and you can get pizza and ice cream twenty-four hours a day. (My penchant for midnight pizza on the cruise may have been a contributing factor in my need for a fitness and nutrition regimen) Beyond that, though, they’re constantly looking to take your money with drinks, souvenirs, and the like.

One of the omnipresent souvenir opportunities is pictures. There are photographers all over the ship, from the top decks to the dining room to the walkways off the ship at every port of call. Before dinner every night, there are a cluster of them set up in the hallway to the dining room, encouraging people to come get their picture taken with various backdrops.


On second thought, maybe re-enacting Titanic while on a huge ship out in the ocean isn’t the best idea…

A few nights during the cruise are formal nights, which are prime picture-taking time, since people are dressed their best. On one of those nights, Natalie and I went around from station to station having our pictures taken. We’d had a few drinks, so we were being pretty silly. At one of the stations, they had us pose together, and then had Natalie lay down on a lounge chair by herself for her solo shot. When it was my turn, I insisted on posing the exact same way. When we went to look at the pictures the next day, we knew we had to buy that one because it was just too funny.

When we got home, Natalie posted the picture on Facebook and encouraged all of my fans to print it out and have me sign it. People did exactly that, and someone even had it made into a playmat, which I thought was hilarious. I posted a picture of it on Twitter and Instagram and got dozens of replies from people asking where they could get one. I decided to make it possible for them to do so, and got in touch with Alan Hochman, who runs both Pastimes and Gamermats and sent him the image. He had samples of the mat ready for me at GP Phoenix a week later, and the rest, as they say, is history.


The first batch of mats at GP Phoenix

So there you have it. A playmat of me lounging in a suit exists literally due to popular demand. I had no idea this would be so popular when I first made it, and it’s still hilarious and awesome to me every time someone asks me to sign their playmat at an event and pulls out one with me on it.

Thanks to everyone who has purchased a mat and helped support BMKGaming. If you’re on the fence about whether you want one yourself, be sure to check out this catalog of uses for the mat created by the hilarious Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half (who lost a bet to me, but I believe is sincere anyway). A better question is – how can you live without one? Get yours today! 

If you want to support the site but seeing my smiling face every time you play a game of Magic isn’t your thing, don’t despair. I’m working on making more sweet stuff that I can shamelessly shill to you. Is the world ready for Shiro sleeves? Because they’re coming. And they will be glorious.


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