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Rotating Tiles

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Radio Prime
Radio Prime's picture
Joined: 04/22/2014


I'm having trouble deciding on a way to incorporate a rotating tile mechanic into a board game I've attempted to create.

The idea started as a game where players move across tiles that have directional arrows pointing in directions they can move to. As the game progresses these tiles and turn clockwise or counter-clockwise and form new paths.

I've done many things with it from hexagon tiles for robust movement and square tiles for cleaner, easier to understand movement, to arrows needing to be connected in order to cross between tiles and players being able to switch, move, and flip tiles in all manner of ways.

Now I can think of several ways this can work as a competitive game, but my question is how to make this mechanic work within a co-operative game that ensures players work together. My previous endeavors tend to lead players out doing their own thing.

Any ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated.

My influences include:

Forbidden Island/ Desert
Betrayal on the House on the Hill
Castle Panic

Current iteration is similar to "Don't Starve Together"

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011

Here are a few things to try, if you've not already. Mix and match the effects with those of your own making to devise different challenges for your players.

- Have different-coloured (or terrain) tiles, and player tokens can only step on certain specific colours. They must avoid certain tiles as they travel.
- Players need to connect a contiguous path across several tiles, like if they're constructing a road, shooting a laser that bounces off mirrors, etc.
- Different tiles hold parts of a multi-part trigger, and all parts need to be activated simultaneously to activate this trigger. In other words, an example would be that players need to stand on a spot in tiles A, B, and C at the same time to open up/unlock tile D for movement, collection, etc.
- There are "shelters" of some kind scattered across the tiles on the game board, and they can house only one player at a time. If the player is not standing in a shelter when a certain phase of the game occurs, the player is injured, destroyed, fined, or they (or the group) are otherwise negatively affected.
- Much like in the "Forbidden" or Pandemic games, each player has a special ability that affects certain tiles - or triggers on certain tiles - differently than the other players.
- Only certain player(s) can move at certain phases of the game. Meanwhile the game state changes every phase.
- Players all have secret agendas they need to fulfill in order to win or gain special abilities/benefits/powers.
- Players serve as a "power amplifier" or "power extender" for the team, and when executing a special move or ability it affects each of the tiles where player tokens are standing. To maximize effectiveness, players may want to spread the player tokens across the game board.
- Players are all affected by a different lethal disease or malady, or hold a chemical compound that when combined with another results in a lethal concoction. Players MUST stay apart or they risk suffering grievous injuries to all involved.

So there are a few. Hopefully they're helpful! :D

MarkD1733's picture
Joined: 07/05/2014
Great inspirations

I own all those games and they are great inspirations.

-Not knowing exactly how this works, but what if the premise was you need another person to help you "across" to the other tile when you move?

-Or is there any trading or "handing objects" mechanic that could only occur if they are in the same space?

-What if the tile only rotates if it is "unbalanced? if you use a hex...two or three people can balance it to do something, but anything else makes it continue to rotate. If a square...only 2 people can balance it.

-There are barriers between tiles that the teams must work together in some way to clear.

Also, do the tiles have to be immediately adjacent? What about circular tiles that rotate within a don't have to pick them up and reposition simply turn/rotate them to their new position.

Radio Prime
Radio Prime's picture
Joined: 04/22/2014
@ let-off studios those are

@ let-off studios

those are all great mechanics to mix in to the game. I've tried a few of the first ones in fact. I supposed my greater problem is finding a goal or win condition that fits both a theme and the rotating mechanic.

My original theme involved players assuming the roles of astronauts who were stranded on an planet with a changing terrain so the players had to go around and collect pieces of a ship before the planet fell on itself. And it was alright for the most part but part of me felt it was really nailing down the rotating mechanic.

The board was 64 hexes laid out to form a giant circle with players starting in the center and moving outwards.

The 2nd iteration involved players assuming the roles of lost campers in a woods with changing paths and moving trees. They would have to complete a series of random tasks that upon completion of a predetermined number would have them get to a end game tile to win the game. This time it ended up focusing too much on quests and I switched to 25 squares with players starting in the middle as well.

Both iterations had classes, items, enemies, and different terrain variables.

I also have a version that uses 18 honeycomb like hex tiles (3 hexes attach to each other) and it forms a similar shape as the first large hex board.

My newest theme has players attempting to survive in a forest for as long as a predetermined number or turns and it would include a never ending challenge for players to see how long they can last before all of them dying out and the tiles shifting around so each turn/ day is never the same.

@ markd117

that sounds like only 1 person would be able to move freely while others would have to rely on that strategy? or maybe im not thinking about it the way you are.

I tried something similar with your 2nd idea where players can receive an item that they can place on a tile to prevent it from moving.

That last one haven't been able to try yet because i'm still working on the the layout of the paths on each tile first.

Lastly, holy crap that has never occurred to me before to have a rotating circle in a square/hex .o. literally blew my mind when i read that hahaha
my concern would be how to build a proper one. i can imagine a paper prototype with 2 sheets and a pin but I don't know where to start with a proper tile.

Thanks for the input from the both of you btw!

MarkD1733's picture
Joined: 07/05/2014
explanation and a prototype idea for circular rotating tile...

On my first idea, I was thinking you needed folks to work/stay together somewhat, so the thought was that someone cannot always move around by themselves...they can only crossover to another tile if there is someone on it ready to "catch" them or "help them across." May it's not every tile, but some tiles that it will be clear that if someone gets there, getting across from a different direction is much faster is someone else is already on it. I guess if you know Pandemic...something like...the Operations Expert can fly anywhere from a base and then plop another base down...leap frogging around the world for others to follow. maybe there is an "anchor" or "grappling" mechanism.

Also, not knowing the full combinations of geometry, but if you could get square, triangular and hexagonal tiles working somehow (even if the circular tile idea works out) then you could exploit the 2, 3 and 2/3 balance combinations if you went that path.

For the circular tile idea...What if the tiles had holes in them, and the minis/pawns/etc somehow fit/mated with the holes so they could act as the handle for turning them? If it is just a single pawn on a tile, put the hole in the middle and make it "snug" so the pawn acts like a grip for rotating. As far as a proper tile goes, maybe foamcore or thick craft foam...both are really easy to work with, have good thicknesses, and not too expensive.

Good luck!!!

Joined: 01/23/2015
So, I feel I don't really

So, I feel I don't really understand this, but I'll describe what I understand so far and what I would do with it:

The rotating tiles are not really hexagons or squares but circular ones arranged in a hex or square fashion. This way you could fix them in a fashion like Sid Meier's Civilization does with the wheels on their character sheets (see here for comparison). This way you could rotate the tiles smoothly without having to pick them up and to put them down again - which will likely destroy the arrangement. Furthermore, you could try a second layer. On the top layer, every single tile just rotates around itself. On the second layer, nine (if arranged in square fashion) or 7 (hexagon fashion) tiles rotate as one. This could greatly improve the way in which the board could be altered. I hope you understand what I mean.

As for cooperative gaming, I'd take the 'Pandemic' of 'Forbidden island' approach and give every player a role with which he can do something special. The main obstacle would be the journey across the board to fetch the spacecraft pieces. I could imagine every player having a certain amount of actions. Moving along arbitrarily many connected tiles of one colour would cost one action, but some part of the board will turn after each move action. This could be managed via rolling dice or drawing cards. Another possible action would be turning a certain part of the map to a certain extent or fixing a part of the map for a certain time. Certain characters could do certain actions better or less costly.

MarkD1733's picture
Joined: 07/05/2014
I see said the blind man...

Yeah that rotating tile design looks feasible and effective. I hadn't played Civ so seeing this is a great visual!!!

Radio Prime
Radio Prime's picture
Joined: 04/22/2014
New Ideas

So I did have the idea of connecting them together as gears so to speak but I haven't had the time to sit down and make feasible gears to test them out with. And the original game had those exact implementations. Roles, actions, and the like as well as a rotating system based on die rolls and turn order.

So my newest iteration will be based on square tiles with arrows indicating paths from which players may move to from the tile they are on. Tile arrows do not need to be connected to move between them but each tile will have on arrow that is color indicated that represents a timer.

Around each tile will be a number indicating the progression of time that the tiles will rotate. To elaborate, lets say 1 tile has just one arrow pointing north, on each side going clockwise are the number 0, 1, 2, and 3. After each turn or after each player moves, the tiles will rotate to the next numerical number 1 - 2 or 3 - 0. The colored arrow will always point to the next number and whenever that arrow points to 0, the Tile is removed from the board. The game board starts off with each tile face down with the timers only starting once they have been flipped/ move onto.

Players will be able to rotate the tile as they please for an action and only the tile they are on. They may also receive new tiles to replace empty spaces on the board. Certain tiles will rotate in different directions, some rotate more than once, and other things. Players may get abilities and maybe items to prevent rotating tiles or to switch out tiles.

The goal of the game is still being worked out, testing goal will be to collect a certain amount of objects, and player may lose if too many tiles are removed (tracked by a meter), another meter reaches a limit (this one is moved by a card deck that has events similar to Forbidden Islands sea level), or if a special single tile is removed from the game.

Any thoughts or suggestions to this iteration will be greatly appreciated and if further elaboration on the rules and play of the game are needed I will explain further.

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