Probably the biggest problem in designing modular boards is making them so that features that run off the edges meet up. It's tricky enough with roads and rivers but can be a real nightmare with hills, especially on hexagonal boards. Rather than shying away from the problem however, 'dlmos' has tackled it head on and solved it in spectacular style.
The arrangement shown is approximately 44 inches square and uses 39 hexagonal tiles. At a first glance it would appear that the number of possible arrangements is very limited because of all the different heights, however this is not the case. Dlmos has made additional tiles and currently has 51 different tiles however there are only 6 different 'types' as show in the photo below.
Working clockwise from the bottom left of the picture we have:
F - A flat piece i.e. all six edges are flat. This tile is half an inch thick.|
1 - A piece with one high corner. Note that this means that 4 of the edges are level and that the other two slope up from half an inch at one corner to the 1.5 inch apex.
2 - Two high corners that are next to each other such that they are connected by a high edge.
3 - Three high corners.
4 - Four high corners.
S - A one inch thick spacer (for use underneath other pieces to raise them up).
There are other possible types. For example it would be possible to make a tile with five high corners, or a tiles with two high corners that are not next to each other, but these would have limited play value. If we take another look at the original picture, we can see that the arrangement has been constructed using only the six types listed. We've labelled them in the picture below.
In addition to making sure that the tiles are precisely hexagonal (see this article by Maciej Marciniak), the crucial thing with these tiles is that the edges need to be straight. You can have all kinds of lumps, bumps and hollows in the middle of the tiles but the edges need to be straight in order to achieve the maximum flexibility when arranging them on the gaming table.
To finish off, here's another view of the same arrangement, a different arrangement (see if you can work out which tiles have been used), and a low angle shot (for you to drool over).
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TerraGenesis was created in 1997 by Gary James and is currently owned, edited and maintained by Andy Slater, however the ideas and opinions expressed are those of the individual contributors. TerraGenesis and its content are © Andy Slater, unless otherwise stated, and should not be reproduced without permission.
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