Creating Game Tiles

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Over the last 2 weeks I have been making the reviewer copies of No Escape and getting them mailed out. I've received many questions about how I personally make game tiles, so instead of answering everyone individually I have written my method down here today.

For reviewer copies, I have the front's and backs of the tiles printed at a local print shop, as well as the rule books. The Boxes I had printed at another local print shop that specialized in unique orders. Check out your local print shops and see who has the best deal for what you need.

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Collapsible sawhorses make a great portable workstation for gluing. As the temperature was on the cool side, I was able to do 6 sheets at a time without the glue setting to much. When it's warmer less sheets need to be done at a time, or the adhesive won't bind the two sides together as well. Spray a generous amount of adhesive onto both your core material and the back of your first side, then attach them together.

Flip over what you just attached, and lay out the back of your tiles. Make sure the fronts and backs are aligned properly (double check by flipping one of each over)! Use your adhesive again, and very carefully attach the back. Try to line them up as close to how the front of the tiles are, aligning the back to any overlap from the front.

Put your completed tile sheets into a box, and place a weight on them to ensure a good bond while the adhesive dries. This will help ensure part of your tile does not peel off when you cut them out.

On the original print files, I set up both a bleed and cut lines. Now I line up my metal ruler with the cut lines on the back of the tiles. Always cut out form the back, as this will create uniformity. The easiest way to do this is to cut one direction (horizontal or vertical) first, but do not cut all the way to both edges. Then turn your sheet and cut all the cut lines in the other direction.

The Box Insert is cut out from Poster Board, easily available from most stationary stores. The production box insert will have 3 slots for tiles to make room for expansions, but the one I made for reviewers only has 2, as the 3rd is not needed at this time.

The finished game, nicely packed into the box, and ready to be shipped.

A few points of note:

  • The tiles made using this method will be a little thicker than what is made by a manufacturer, so if you have a lot of tiles (like No Escape does), make sure to account for that extra space when cutting out your insert.
  • Make sure you change your blade often. I find a Rotary cutter makes cleaner cuts than a straight blade. If your edges begin to look a little ragged, change your blade immediately.
  • When you are gluing the tiles, make sure to do so in an open area. You don't want to be breathing in the adhesive!
  • You're going to create a lot of waste. Make sure to recycle it all.

A completed copy of No Escape has 132 tiles, 1 starting mat, 12 small tiles, and 24 tokens for a total of 169 pieces to cut out per game. For the 10 reviewer copies that is 1690 component pieces glued and cut out over the last 2 weeks. This method is time consuming, but can potentially save you a lot of money when having a small number of games manufactured.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite method of creating game tiles? Let us know!

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