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Board Size

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/31/1969

Let me start by saying that this is my first post on bgdf. I've been reading through the forums for the last few weeks and found that many basic questions that I had during the development of my game were answered by the very well-written and insightful posts in the archives, and I just wanted to say a general "thanks" for the help.

I have a specific question that I haven't seen addressed, though. I am working on my board design and because I'm laying full-sized (2.5" x 3.5") playing cards on it, I can't seem to get it any smaller than 42" in the larger dimension. With up to 6 players at the table, each with additional cards and tokens in front of them, I'd say you'd need a table at least 68" square to play comfortably.

This seems like it might really interfere my game's playability - after all, if you don't have enough space, it's not really playable. I'd like some opinions: What is the largest "playable" size for a game board? Does anyone have a guess as to the "average" size of a gamer's table?

Rick-Holzgrafe's picture
Joined: 07/22/2008
Re: Board Size

cedrick wrote:
I'd like some opinions: What is the largest "playable" size for a game board? Does anyone have a guess as to the "average" size of a gamer's table?

Boards 24x36 inches in size are certainly tolerable. Larger boards can be found: War of the Ring is a hugely popular game with a huge board, perhaps 28x40 or so, maybe larger. (That's an estimate, I don't want to get it out to measure it right now.) The board for Railroad Tycoon is even bigger, from the looks of it.

The size of the board, as you noted, is not the only consideration. How much stuff do players need to keep off the board? Cards, tokens, money, figurines not currently in play... these also add to the size of the table you need to support a game. Twilight Imperium III has a large board layout (it's actually composed of large hex tiles) but an immense amount of extra space is taken up by off-board components. We have a decent-size table, but we have to use TV trays or pull leaves out of the table to hold some of our larger games, including WotR and TI3.

While a determined gamer will buy almost anything if it's good enough, and find a way to make room for it (even the floor may do in a pinch), I think some buyers may be deterred by an oversize board. If by '68 inches square' you mean a table nearly six feet on a side, I expect you'll lose sales--I wouldn't buy it, it won't fit any table I own.

You can reduce the size of your board by reducing the size of your cards, if that won't hurt their readability. Or you might reduce the number of players, if that would reduce the number of cards; or shorten the game -- these suggestions may be unworkable or unacceptable, I'm just throwing out ideas without knowing anything about your game.

If you really can't reduce the number or size of your cards, then you can't. At least if your game has a board that big, you might generate some novelty attention, which wouldn't be a bad thing!

Good luck, your game sounds interesting!

Joined: 12/31/1969
Board Size

I did a bit of research on War of the Ring and found that its board is 70 cm x 100 cm, which is about 27.5" x 39.5". And from the looks of this picture, a comparable amount of stuff is going to be in front of the player.

After redesigning the board again, I think I can bring the measurements down to something just about this size: my new dimensions are 28.5" x 39.5". I think the 68" figure was off, because I wanted to allow each player lots of room to play, but since there's a game out there that's succeeding with a board of comparable size, I guess I'm not too far outside the range.

Thanks for your help!

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