This combat pad is extremely useful. Before the GMs of our gaming group had a printed spreadsheet we had laminated and used that for tracking. It was wet erase and worked well.
This is a whole new ballgame. The magnets are very useful in keeping order straight. You can move them around with ease if needed.
The section that is open for notes, again very useful.
I really like the size "about the size of a piece of paper" - it fits nicely in a binder or whatever. Plus, having something the size of your books makes it easier to carry.
This is not a "must have" - all you really need is books and people. However, it does make life as a GM easier.
Afterthought: Issues about being sturdy.. I've never had a problem with it. My fellow gamers that have them have never had a problem with it.
We have one that gets weekly rotation and it gets put through the wringer (game with 10 players plus dm) - lots of magnet and writing there. Not any real sign of wear and tear on the pad or magnets.
I'm writing this based on my hardcover of this product. So, while I can't comment on the PDF - The book in itself is awesome.
Put together from submissions from the other side of the pond from way back in the day... some of the monsters are amazing and memorable. The crazy evil bunny (begins with an A.. ) is one of my favorites. I'd suggest to anyone that has played or plays 1st edition to get this book.
I didn't like this product. So much that I returned it for store credit. That said.. there were some good things to it.
Lots of old school shout outs. The items are described to work just as they did in the games. Yes, if you use a fire flower your characters clothes turn red and white.
The only reason to get this product is if you plan on using an old school game item and can't convert it on your own. There isn't anything in this book that is original. No new take on an old school item.. and some of the "effects" are just laughable.
I only give it two stars because the *idea* is really cool. This product just fall shorts of doing it well.