Need a really cool looking urban setup? Well, you'll need to start from a solid foundation. Any game companies out there make any urban table mats? No. Well, make your own then! I've used two of these, side-by-side for my Zombietown Massacre game for years, and they're still going strong. Here's a look at the finished product I'll be outlining:
STREETS OF FIRE !!!.... or at least Vinyl
You start off with a yard of vinyl. Most fabric stores carry the stuff, many have scraps available that would suit the need. Be sure to get the type with the smooth back, not with the fuzzy back. The stuff with the fuzz in the back is trash that won't last very long. Also, get vinyl that would look like a road bed in scale. This means don't get purely flat glossy vinyl, get something with a bit of texture to it. In this example, the vinyl is almost black.
Next, cut some newspapers into strips the width of your roadway. I used a 6-inch strip on mine. Lay out your roadways as you please, then get a roll of blue carpenter's tape and tape ALL the edges of ALL the roadways to the vinyl. It is very important that you do this, because when you spray paint the next step, you don't want a breeze lifting off your roadways. This will cause the paint to over-spray onto your roadway. You want a clean seperation between roadway and city block.
An alternative way of laying out your project is to start your project with a piece of vinyl that is the color of your "blocks" and spraying on your "roads" with black spray paint. Pre-cut your "blocks" in cardboard. Then, just lay the cardboard pieces onto the vinyl, weighing them down with a rock, old psychology/sociology book, or other useless object.
Next, take it outside on a day with little or no wind. DO NOT put it on your lawn or other surface that you care about. Wear a respirator if possible. Spraypaint the "blocks" with gray auto primer. Use red-brown or black to give the blocks a few spritzes of over-spray to achieve a cement-like color variation. See below for sample city block.
When you're done with that, remove all of your masking. You should have clearly defined roadways and city blocks. If you'd like to add subtlety at this point, feel free to VERY LIGHTLY over-spray the roadways with gray auto primer just to add texture. You may even use texturing sprays such as Fleck-Stone, but you'll have to use these very very sparingly. I'd recommend using them only on the city blocks anyway.
The last step is the toughest and most tedious. Get a white paint pen (or use a brush if you're skilled) and paint the road separation lines onto the roadways. You can add embellishments at this point such as crosswalks, etc.
...and there you have it! A quickie urban solution for your gaming tabletop. If you decide to make two that go side-by-side, you'll need to lay out your roads on both at the same time.
As a final note, while you were haunting the fabric store, you probably noticed that they had an awful lot of cardboard rolls laying around. Be sure to procure a couple of these for yourself. The vinyl mat is rolled up with one of these, and secured with rubber bands. It stores easily in the corner of a room or closet, and should fit nicely into the back of a car or secured onto a luggage rack. Keep water off of your gaming mat, however. The picture to the left shows the gaming mat all rolled up by the door and ready for deployment to a game.
As always, have fun and good gaming!