The flip-mat series by Paizo for Pathfinder is wonderful. If you regularly play face-to-face, having the option to use a ready-to-use map is very handy and if like me you regularly play online, but also occasionally play in person, all the more reason to have a stash of flip maps ready for convenience to save time designing and drawing a new map.
What You See Is What You Get
In the Castles multi-pack what you get are two double-sided 24” x 30” maps. Each map features a different castle style ranging from a simple moated castle, a bastion, a mountainside keep and a wilderness fort. Each map has a discreet grid with 1” squares making them ideal for using miniatures during roleplay encounters.
The maps are good quality. They have a special coating to allow you to use dry and wet markers and even permanent markers following the directions for use. I have to say I have turned to these maps on several occasions when my gaming group has met up in person. Far better than attempting to draw a fort. It is so much easier and ascetically far more pleasing to the eye and helps you get into the right frame of mind for roleplay.
I would add too that the maps are quite robust. I do look after them, but still there is a risk of accidental damage and yet because of the thickness and coating they are far less prone to rips and holes unlike some of the simpler dungeon maps I’ve used and so to date these are still in very good condition.
Remember, you can use dungeon tiles with these maps and either the tiles to represent specific locations like a market stall or cart or actual models to compliment the miniatures you use. You can even add further terrain and buildings to create a more 3D feel.
Old School Way
I remember the joy I had playing roleplay games in the eighties with theatre of the mind and paper maps and both lead and plastic miniatures. Those were memorable days and using maps helped a lot to bring encounters to life. Now you can recreate a similar feel with these modern, robust castles.
There is not a lot to argue about really with the value. They are quite low cost, highly reusable and convenient. Yes, they portray a specific fixed scene, but sometimes all you need is the context of a simple tactical scene to add flavour. So, these maps have their limits, but more importantly they have their valuable uses.