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How to do 'modular-interconnecting' board sections?

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Mortimer
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Joined: 11/13/2015

I am at a very early concept stage of a game in the dungeon crawl vain, but one aspect I'd like to have is a board made of randomly generated tiles as play progresses and players explore. I'm toying with various combinations of card and/or counter systems for the generation itself ... what I'm mainly pondering is a system to have board pieces connect and which is best. My few ideas so far -

Loose: Tiles are simply laid in place and hopefully sturdy enough not to easily get jostled around, obvious flaw is they quite possibly will in play.

Jigsaw: I've seen a few that do this, one of my issues is the appearance/aesthetic of the tiles, Shadow of Brimstone seems to do it really well, but Castle Ravenloft's tiles just look like ... well big jigsaw pieces.

The Loose Jig: Think Advanced Heroquest, some parts of the board interconnect via the jigsaw method while others are laid loose.

'Plastic' Clips: This idea has mostly stuck with me, but I can see issues with it. The idea is mostly to have doors double as clips for two board sections via a small insert in the base (I believe Warhammer Quest did something like this? There variations like set of floor tiles, some rocks, or scattered leaves for different environs ... think the base of the door without the door itself). The issue being the durability of the clip itself (I think by its very nature it tends to be flimsy due to the gap where the board section would clip in) as well as possible wear on the board tiles themselves where the clip is attached.

I'm not sure if it has been done better since than but I do remember many of the boardgames of my youth with interconnecting card and plastic pieces ended up having surface of the card peel away ... making the piece look horrible and tatty.

Any suggestions on the above approaches? Or maybe some approaches I haven't thought about in this area? Good examples of games that do this well?

jrc5639
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Joined: 11/19/2013
thoughts

If you are in the early stages make the pieces loose you can always do more with them latter. I suggest getting a rubber mat as those do a really go job of holding pieces in place.

I think Jigsaw will work the best, however it require precise cutting. If the cutting is less than perfect the entire system does breaks down and starts to fray and damage the pieces get damaged. so I recommend Jigsaw if you have the machinery to do it right.

I do not recommend plastic clips. The are annoying to put together and generally damage the pieces. I also do not feel they work that well.

Mortimer
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Joined: 11/13/2015
Absolutely, at this point

Absolutely, at this point I'll just be going with gridpaper and cereal boxes to make some loose tiles, I was thinking I would need to plan ahead, as the various options can offer two ways of randomly generating and building up the board.

Which I think is where my problem with the jigsaw method lies, in that it takes away from the exploration abit (you know which ways you can go off the bat, which ... sounds like a good thing, I'm not sure how to describe what I'm going for)and makes the sort of 'whats beyond the closed door' gameplay I want to go for trickier?

If there is a secret door, you know it is going to be attached to point A, B or C ... and if A & B are already taken and this tile doesn't have a C exit we know we can skip searching this tile.

I mean yeah, I can see where for certain players this would be good, but it loses something on another playstyle I'd like to aim for.

gilamonster
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Joined: 08/21/2015
Actually, I've played enough

Actually, I've played enough board games where there are tiles of thick card simply placed next to one another without any connection, with game pieces plonked down or slid over them, that I don't think you need to worry too much about this unless you're really moving huge numbers of pieces back and forth.
But here are a few unorthodox ways in which you could make a connected modular board anyway:

As a child, I had toys where you created a scene by pressing thin vinyl cut-outs (eg. with human and animal figures printed on them) onto a smooth plastic backing with some printed artwork on it (eg a zoo or farm). The vinyl stuck pretty well, but could be peeled off and re-used pretty much indefinitely because there was no glue involved. I haven't seen these toys around recently, and I can imagine that printing quality on glossy vinyl might be slightly lower than printing on card (texture would also suffer a bit I think).
Felt-backed tiles on a felt board will also stick relatively well I think.

Alternatively, if you're willing to go to the extra expense in your components, you could use flexible magnetic tiles almost like some fridge magnets (then if you distribute your game in a metal tin, it can stick directly to the base and/or the lid - my son has a toy almost exactly like this at the moment, so they are being manufactured). As a bonus, this would be great for a travel-friendly game, but rather limiting in terms of play-area size. You could also try something exotic like velcro-backed pieces and base, but I'd hate to know what the cost of production will be.

jrc5639
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Joined: 11/19/2013
Loose

I do not know how your game plays, but I always believe that gameplay should determine your components, so go for the loose modulars of the shape which the game demands. They really are not that bad, especially if they are thick and quality.

I Will Never Gr...
I Will Never Grow Up Gaming's picture
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Joined: 04/23/2015
Loose or nothing..

Absolutely go strictly with loose tiles laid out on the tabletop.

There are MANY games out there that use this method and it works without the fiddly bits needed to clip together or the damage caused by the jigsaw puzzle method .. both of which add more work to the gameplay.

Add on to that the cost savings in production and it's the only choice really.

Mortimer
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Joined: 11/13/2015
Okay, well that keeps things

Okay, well that keeps things simple to start with ... despite what I said earlier I do like Advanced Heroquests jigsaw passages and loose rooms deal, but I'll see as I go.

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