Skip to Content

Having trouble scaling down board size

13 replies [Last post]
Deletable
Offline
Joined: 08/14/2009

I am designing a board game that has a lot of different ideas from other games worked in to make a really cool game. But the problem I am having is that the board is way to big. Right now it is 80"x60". The game has pieces that move around the board, and right now the piece would be a great size. I tried changing the size of the board to about 45% of the original size but then the piece would be almost microscopic. I need help here with some ideas on how to make a board smaller with-out losing the piece playability. Originally the piece sizes are a little smaller then a dime. With the size down they are barely bige enough to see let alone put a piece of any size on them.

Thank you
Peace,

Tom

bluesea
bluesea's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Deletable wrote: Right now it

Deletable wrote:
Right now it is 80"x60"...

Ok my first reaction: SWEET!!
Second reaction: $$$ (but still SWEET!) Have you thought of production costs?

How many dime-size pieces do you have? Is the whole board used at once or can the game be played in evolutions so boards can be overlaid or overlapped?

In the end maybe you need to simply scale the game down somehow. It's really hard to give specific advice on your game without seeing the actual board or knowing how the game is played.

Please post some details and we will be happy to help!

InvisibleJon
InvisibleJon's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/27/2008
Separate mini-boards / abstraction / transformation

A few thoughts:

* Separate mini-boards:
Would splitting the grand board into separate mini-boards be possible? This depends on the kind of information that you're using the board to represent.

If the board is strictly literal - meaning that it's used to indicate locations of things and their relative positions - you may initially think that this is impossible. If so, take a moment. One possibility: You could have one board that represents macro scale locations and several micro-scale locations. There are other options, but... It would take a long time to get into all of it, and I don't know enough about the project to know that it'd be productive to get into it all here. At any rate, it'll be better if you figure out your own answers. I'm just trying to "prime the pump" as it were...

If the board is a tracker or other abstraction you have many alternate options – so many that I will not go in to detail here. Okay, actually I may, since that leads in to my next thought...

* Abstract / transform the information on the board:
Every prop (dice, cards, the board) in any game you design is a tangible means for you to model and represent the metaphysical structure of your game's universe. Dice aren't just dice; they're a powerful statement about the way chance and fate work in your game-world. Similarly, the board isn't just a board. It's making a powerful statement about the nature of the universe you're creating. I'd take some time to deconstruct the game and figure out what its metaphysical underpinnings are:

-- What does the board represent?
-- Are you overloading the board? Is it responsible for too many metaphysical modeling tasks in the game?
-- Is the board carrying responsibilities that other components (cards, a table of effects, the rules, dice, etc...) could handle better?
-- Can you transform information on the board into something different (cards, etc...) while maintaining or improving the metaphysical integrity of that part of your world-model?
-- Is there superfluous information (or modeling) on the board? Can you remove aspects of the board and still play the game? Can you remove aspects of the board and still model your game-world accurately?

Time to leave for work. I hope your game turns out the way you want it to.

Best regards,

Jonathan L.

schmanthony
Offline
Joined: 12/18/2008
confused

So does this board have thousands of spaces the the pieces can occupy? I'm not sure why this would be necessary - unless this is some sort of epic RPG campaign or something. If that's the case, I'd advise using one "zoomed-out" master board and pawns to indicated the position of squads/parties/bands, which are inseparable. Then you'd have a dozen or so "zoomed-in" boards for your individual character pieces that you would bring out whenever your squad/party/band enters a new region on the master board.

If your design is a collection of minigames, such as Shadows over Camelot, consider doing what is done there and having double-sided boards with the requirement that certain quests must be complete first (after which the mini board is flipped over).

Deletable
Offline
Joined: 08/14/2009
Details

Ok, the basics of the game are the London underground. I took a large map of the underground and put it in illustrator and put put segments along the lines to connect the different stations. Between different stations they may be 1 segment or 15 segments. It all depends on how far away one station is from the next. For example on the underground Holborn station is close to Covent Garden station so there is two segments between them. And Wembley Park station is a nice distance away from Finchley road station so there is 16 segments between those two stations.

The pieces and movement: There are two types of pieces that get placed on the board. The first are train pieces. A couple to represent each line. So each line IE- Central, District, Piccadilly, have two trains one going in each direction. Then there is the passenger piece, one for each player that is playing. Now movement is like this, at the start of a players turn he/she has to move each train piece on the board one space. Then he/she has 10 or so movement points( the number of movements is still up in the air, because I was busy making the map and I need to get past that part before I can make the offical rules.) So a player can split their 10 movement points between any trains on any lines they want or use them all on the one line. The biggest rule is that once a train has arrived at a station it can not move any more on that players turn. So a player may move the train from Holburn to Covent Gardens on the piccadilly line which is three movements but can't move past Covent gardens. that means he/she would have 7 movement points left. A player could move the other piece on the same piccadilly line but not the one he moved already. Now movement for the passenger piece. The piece can get off and on at any station they want and it doesn't cost a movement point. Players can get on and off trains on other peoples turns if a train comes into a station they are waiting at. And that is movement.

So I have every station on the london underground map on my board except the train lines and the east london line. So there is about 300 stations. I want to stay as close to real as possible because it is an amazing system.

Thank you
Peace,

Tom

scifiantihero
Offline
Joined: 07/08/2009
Wow.

That's a lot of stations.

So, what's the point of the game? (I bet you can get some good answers, if you explain the game more!)

Also, can you upload the board?

Rick-Holzgrafe
Rick-Holzgrafe's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/22/2008
Map reduction techniques

Deletable wrote:
I took a large map of the underground and put it in illustrator and put put segments along the lines to connect the different stations. Between different stations they may be 1 segment or 15 segments. It all depends on how far away one station is from the next. For example on the underground Holborn station is close to Covent Garden station so there is two segments between them. And Wembley Park station is a nice distance away from Finchley road station so there is 16 segments between those two stations.

It sounds like there's a lot of wasted space on your board. You have a big network of stations and lines which connect the stations. Your map of the London Underground is large because you are trying to keep it properly scaled, and you need long distances between some stations. But the spaces on the board where there is neither a line nor a station are (I presume) empty. (If not -- if there are shops or other useful things there, then I'm just wrong about this.)

To make your map smaller, you change the layout to minimize the wasted space. For example, suppose two stations are connected by a 15-segment line: instead of a straight (or fairly straight) path, push the stations closer together and make the connecting line a zig-zag. The zig-zag allows the line to keep its 15 segments, but makes it physically shorter and wider. This lets you compress your map into a smaller area by making better use of the currently-empty spaces.

Alternatively, just make the whole thing smaller, preserving the proportions as best you can. Instead of a long line with 15 segments, use a shorter line labeled "15". Now come up with a way to show how far a train on that line has progressed. Possibilities include stacking tokens (or unstacking them) to show distance traveled or remaining; using dice simply as number displays; making a little cardboard dial that can be rotated to show a number; and so on.

Your immediate objection will probably be that these methods reduce the fun by making the map less realistic; and that it makes it harder to see how far a train has really gone, and fiddlier to move the trains. And you're right, but you may be forced to choose between that and your ginormous board. (People complained bitterly about Railroad Tycoon's board, and that was only 45x36"!)

A third possibility, less effective in reducing space but preserving some of the desirable features of your current board, is to move the stations in ways that preserve their distance but distort their locations. If a line in real life extends for miles in a straight line from London out to the suburbs, have it zig-zag from station to station on your map (or curl in a spiral, or whatever works best). Think of the lines as sticks and the stations as flexible joints.

A fourth possibility (and the one that sounds best to me) is to scale down the number of segments. If lines currently range from one segment to fifteen or so, consider dividing every line's length by three. The longest line is now only five segments, and your map can be greatly reduced in size. You lose a little detail, but you keep the realistic layout and proportions of the map.

Deletable
Offline
Joined: 08/14/2009
The Board

If you look at the underground map its that.

InvisibleJon
InvisibleJon's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/27/2008
Is this just for you, or do you want to sell it?

I just realized that the answer to this question may be academic.

If you're just making this for yourself, then you can make the board any darn size you like.

If you're making it with the hope of selling it, you've gotta reduce the size of the map/board. In that case, I agree strongly with everything that Rick-Holzgrafe said.

truekid games
truekid games's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/29/2008
could you make the playing

could you make the playing piece be an arrow? that way the spaces could be small, and only the point of the arrow would have to be in the space (with the rest of it hanging off into the unused boardspace), and the playing piece as a whole would still be a manageable size.

scifiantihero
Offline
Joined: 07/08/2009
I guess . . .

. . . I'm just wondering what kind of game this is? It would influence my answer, and probably some other people's. If the object is to just ride around on trains, a larger board would be okay, you probably don't have a big problem on your hands, and you just have to take some of the previous suggestions to scale it down a little.

If the object is to spend half the time on trains, the other half doing something else off the trains, I'd say you have a bigger problem. If the trains are just a small part of the game, then there's definitely a problem.

You can say your ideas. We aren't going to steal them.

Unless they're awesome.

Kidding.

:)

Deletable
Offline
Joined: 08/14/2009
My idea

My idea is player has a passenger piece and at the beginning of the game and when they want to they can draw root ticket. And like in ticket to ride they need to go from one place to the next. But unlike ticket to ride, once you get the the first place on your ticket you turn it over to show people that you have started the ticket, and then have to get there by changing at stations to get there and riding different lines. You would get points for the tickets. Thats the basics of the game there are some other things but not important to the game it self.

bluesea
bluesea's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
My suggestions are: 1.

My suggestions are:
1. EASIEST SOLUTION: Limit your map to only Zone 1 and key parts of Zone 2. This will cover most points of interests and the areas people think of when they think, "London". If you want to add outer places like Wembley, Canary Wharf, Wimbledon, or Kew gardens abstract the distance and forget about the stops in between. Think in terms of points of destination rather than actual tube stops.

2. One of the tricks to using the tube system is to know when to use the tube and when NOT to use it! Best explained by this quote:
"As Bill Bryson pointed out in his book, Notes From a Small Island, an out-of-town visitor using Mr Beck's map to get from, say, Bank Station to Mansion House, would quite understandably board a Central Line train to Liverpool Street, transfer to the Circle Line and continue for another five stops to Mansion House. At which point they would emerge 200 yards down the street from the location they'd started at." (By the by Mr. Beck is considered the father of the London Tube Map. Very interesting history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tube_map and his original map here: http://britton.disted.camosun.bc.ca/beck_map.jpg Why not make the game using Beck's original map! It already looks like a game board!)

To conclude this point, maybe scale down the game in terms of area and add back some complexity in terms of having passengers decide when it is best to ride the tube, jump on a bus, or even walk! For this though you may need to use a geographic map of the tube rather than the diagrammatic one. (like this but only use it for central London: http://www.thoughtsonthings.com/images/tube_massive.gif)

3. Incorporate specific "missions" for players to help control the size of the board. So I could see that one player is a tourist and has an 8hr layover at Heathrow (and no you don't need to show the Piccadilly line going all the way out--just abstract it so that one move from Heathrow to zone 2 is X amount of time or action points.)

So a gent can travel around the city picking up tourist tokens at the British Museum, Camden Town, Tower Bridge, etc. and must return in time to make his flight. Another person might be a salesman who must make a certain number of appointments around the city in an 8hr period as well. Another is a messenger, etc, etc.

Well that's all I got for now. Hope some of this can help or at least get you thinking towards a solution.

Cheers

gabrielcohn
Offline
Joined: 11/25/2010
London Underground! Sign me up!

(a) I love the Underground, so I'd love to see this game some day!

(b) Would your game work if you just used the stations inside the circle line? that way you cut out a bunch of the further away stations and cut down on the scale needed.

(c) also, can you just cut all the distances between stations in half? so, instead of 2 spaces away, a station would be one space, or instead of 16 away, a station would be 8 away. (The game I'm working on, "Leaving Earth," had to go through a similar evolution of cutting the scale of number of resources gathered and spent for various things down to a reasonable size.)

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut