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The Puzzle Board

posted Sep 25, 2010, 2:14 AM by Christophe Boelinger   [ updated Oct 2, 2010, 3:32 AM by Jean-Charles Mourey ]
At the beginning of the designing process one of the constraints I set to myself was to have a board as modular as possible, more than everything I have ever seen thus allowing to create endless map designs to simulate so many different types of story. All these games with puzzle tiles that can be clipped together provide some modularity but still the attachment system comes with constraints. Plus I needed thin on square corridors to create small areas easy to block, but I also needed wide two squares corridors for the 4 squares miniatures to be able to move through.

That’s when I had the idea of a puzzle frame with squares, sizable to different rectangular shapes and the players will fit tetris shaped pieces in this frame. I think it was one of the first original idea I had for the game and it also became the start of the SAGS construction.

I also wanted to be able to design outside areas and inside areas, as well as mixing those two types however I wanted to design a scenario fully outside with almost no buildings or houses, or a small town with 5 or more separate houses, with alleys or deserted roads running in between. To achieve this I decided that all tiles should be printed both sides and show some inside floor on one side and some outside floor on the other side.
At the beginning the frame puzzle was even bigger than the one in the produced box, but playtests showed me that we didn’t need such a big frame for the moment. But we kept the option of adding frame sections to enlarge the board size, and the frame provided in the box is already studied to be enlarged by receiving frame sections from future expansions for example.
Then, during the creation process for the tutorial scenarios, I started to design scenario in which I didn’t need the frame. I was afraid the pieces would move and that it would be very disturbing, but on all the tables and napkins I’ve played on this appeared to be an invented problem that never came up or bothered anybody.


A little anecdote about the frame :
I don’t know why but originally the frame was printed on one side only, with an external decorum. To my mind, it seemed that all scenarios using the frame would have an outside ground all around. There are no scenario in the tutorial using the inside side of the frame, and the SAGS modes use the outside frame no matter the number of players. It is only during the final layout of the game and when everything was ready to go into print that I had the idea of printing an inside decorum on the other side of the frame. That is the reason why no scenario is using this side in the scenario book. But I knew there will be cool scenario to design using this other side of the frame.
Plus this other side has squares all along to each border, which means that if you design two rectangular frames, you could put them aside anyway you want and pass from one to another, or place some corridors in between two smaller frames to provide access.... So many more possibilities once again.
And I have started to exploit this internal side of the frame in some of the tutorial scenarios I’m currently designing for 3 and 4 players.