Interview with the Creators of BattleMat


By Jared Hoy (
Greetings Nerds!
I got to sit down with the creators of BattleMat, a kind of Mashup between fantasy card games, a la Magic The Gathering, Hearthstone, and a personal training program! They just launched their Kickstarter and as fan of fantasy, card/board games, and someone who is hunting for an engaging approach to a fitness workout + regime (I’m a large gentleman), I wanted to share our conversation with you. Point of order, I should point out that I am friends with one of the creators. Let’s jump into it.


First question, tell us a bit about yourselves. (That’s not actually a question, I know)

Michael: I’m Michael Eisenstein a martial artist, NASM certified trainer based in NYC who plays MTG competitively and Brendan is a digital creator from shows like The Legend of Neil, Video Game Reunion, School of Thrones and is the Staples Guy selling office supplies on your TV and radio.

What inspired you to create BattleMat?

Brendan: Last year, I was looking to get in shape and I thought about hiring Michael to train me over Skype, but joked we would probably just end up playing games instead. In the middle of the night, I literally woke up in the middle of the night with the idea that we could do both. I mocked up a “Squats” card with a gorilla and sent it to him.
M: I was immediately on board and we began designing and developing BattleMat using our favorite mechanics from other popular games.
B: Over the last year, we’ve collaborated every Tuesday morning to plan and troubleshoot every aspect of gameplay to serve both the game and fitness components of BattleMat.

How do you describe BattleMat to people who don’t know what it is — Give me your elevator pitch?

M: In under 25 minutes, BattleMat allows a player to draw a hand of fantasy creatures and enhancements to help set and safely achieve their personal fitness goals. Over the last year, Michael and I have put a lot of thought into how each character and mechanic correlates to both the fantasy and fitness worlds.
B: So for example, our black cards are “strength training” which will be our ghouls and zombies with activities like “Relentless Dead” (pushups) and modifications like “Zombify” where you perform the targeted activity at half speed for delivery execution and technique.
M: The essence of the BattleMat workout is consistent change. The variability of activities, weight, time, order and modification keep your body from adapting and plateauing while also keeping the game fresh and fun. Players never know what they’re going to draw, but by maintaining control players are able to push themselves in a safe, healthy way using strategy.

Is BattleMat more of a game or a workout? How did you find the balance to keep it engaging?

M: BattleMat is truly both! You are playing a card game where you literally perform your character’s activities tailored to your fitness goals and experience. By using the familiar mechanics of game play, we can teach and challenge players through a constantly changing workout. BattleMat has two ways to play – Solo Mode (individual) where you aim to maximize your personal score or Battle Mode (competitive) where you can draw modifications to alter your competitor’s workout and score.
B: At the beginning of a game, you choose your Intention card which will define the objective of your workout (Stamina, Agility, Foundation). Your Intention card determines the color cards you will draw from and the value of the variable cost on all cards for the game (weight, repetitions, time, special enhancements for BattleMode). Second, you choose your Rest card which will determine they type and length of your rest between rounds as well as a Resolution enhancement for scoring. Next, you draw 5 activity cards. These will act as your “circuit” to be performed each round in order to unlock points. Between rounds, you draw a Modification cards which you may use to modify any activity’s variable cost (increase or decrease time, weight and points).

What influences did you pull from?

M: Gameplay is a combination of mechanics and strategy from some of our favorite games… Like RPGs, you are literally building your character and stats by executing a series of exercises to increase your own physical ability and score. You’ll recognize our color card grouping, variable costs, and Strength and Resilience from Magic, with fitness themes. And rounds and attacks are similar to Hearthstone with the “slower” pace of one “event” at a time while also enabling a player to directly affect the actual battle field.


Why Kickstarter for BattleMat?

The BattleMat journey began with two friends and we want to make sure we keep the experience personal and directly serve our players. So, instead of mass producing and selling inventory, we thought it’d be more meaningful to grow the BattleMat game and community directly with our players using Kickstarter.

What do you hope users take away from BattleMat?

We want fellow fantasy game lovers to have the opportunity to literally build their own stats and actively play without leaving the familiar lore and mechanics of gaming. From the Starter Deck, we hope to build the game and community with our players through expansions and tutorials geared at our active players specific goals and needs.

Who can use BattleMat? Beginners? Crossfitters? Gym Rats?

I know it sounds like a sales pitch, but we’ve painstakingly built BattleMat to serve players at all levels of their fitness journey. Our first intention card is called Foundation and takes players through balance and core activities first to get them comfortable with basic gameplay and activities like lunges, crunches, planks, etc. However, there are combinations and modifications that Michael even struggles to perform should players choose a more advanced Intention and strategically apply their modifications for maximum fitness challenge. BattleMat offers you the control over how you perform and apply your cards.

You spoke a bit about Dungeons & Dragons in your video, what’s your best D&D story?

The one we always talk about when we start reminiscing about good moments is when I was running a game and some dwarven workers were kidnapped by a cult – the party of course was tasked with going to rescue them and eliminate the danger. After a long and somewhat deadly dungeon crawl the players have the cult leaders pinned down inside of a basement. They negotiate and agree to let them go free if they surrender the hostages. One by one crimson and gold robed and hooded figures climb up the ladder to escape and the party proceeds to headshot/murder each one as they come up. Only after when they climbed down and found piles of dwarven clothes did they realize that the cultists had sent the dwarves up in their robes as a distraction. There was horror in the eyes of my players and a tear of delight in mine!

What were your major hurdles creating BattleMat?

The biggest challenge was keeping in mind the possibility of future expansions and the variability of different types of players. The biggest priority for me was that I didn’t want lifting heavier weight to equal a bigger score. The Intention and Modification cards really opened up the possibility for personal growth and strategy-based scoring.

What is your favorite board game and why?

B: I’m a Dominion and Munchkin nerd. I’ve just always been drawn to the social aspect of card games.
M: It all comes back to Chess for me. The way the strategy of your first move affects your entire game.

Do you have fitness goals for yourselves? How can BattleMat help you achieve them?

B: I haven’t lifted more than 40 pounds in each hand. It’s not about “arm strength” but my technique, balance and core. By playing every day with new modifications and activities, I’m building the foundation to safely push myself to the next level.
M: Increase my cardio endurance…I’m looking at you Red BattleMat deck.

Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Finally, What are you nerdy about?

B: Voiceover, Galavant, Hamilton
M: Magic The Gathering, Lord of the Rings, Grammar

Thanks guys for your time! I wish you the best of luck with BattleMat.

You can support BattleMat and learn more at a

    No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sorry. No data so far.



Read More