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I'm designing a board game with a board consisting of hexagonal tiles. I plan to design them on a computer, print them off, glue the printout to matboard, and cut the hexagons out with an XACT-O knife.

Before I begin, any obvious pitfalls in my plan?

Is there a kind of glue that would work best for this? I want to be sure the edges of the paper are firmly held down after cutting out the tiles.

Would using thick paper help? (Must be thin enough to run through an inkjet printer.)

  • Go with a simple prototype. You'll need lots of them. Unless it's crucial to your game (e.g., a 3d aspect) or you're going to present it to complete strangers, I wouldn't even bother with anything other than plain old printer paper. – Robert Oct 17 '17 at 1:37
  • How important is it even that the tiles actually be hexagonal? Many hex grids can be simulated with offset square/rectangular tiles instead (e.g. a cheap pack of index cards) which is probably more than sufficient for a prototype. – goldPseudo Oct 17 '17 at 7:16
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When I needed to do this, I printed my hex tiles onto a full page shipping label. Then I stuck the label sheet to foam board and cut the tiles out with a knife. I recommend 1/8" foam board. The foam board is stiff and very easy to cut, but is light and not suitable for use in a strong breeze.

As another answer stated, cutting out hexes is tedious. To make the cutting easier you can add space between your hexes. The downside is that you will have more waste.

Good luck!

  • I have done this using mat board (~2mm), and it worked great! Thanks for the suggestion! I was worried that the edges of the stickers might come loose easily after being cut, but so far they have held tight. – Sam Kauffman Jan 24 '18 at 13:56
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My first published game has a map of seven hexagonal tiles, so I have some experience with this.

If you must have hex tiles (e.g. a case where the board layout is user-generated as in the 4x game E C L I P S E, not fixed as in Catan or as in my game), then I would buy a bunch of blank tiles from The Game Crafter or Amazon. Our earliest prototypes used something similar (though made of a thicker composite material).
With tiles in hand, just print square icons and tape them to the tiles. For that matter, you could just write freehand on the tiles.

If you can get away with a using a pre-determined grid layout, then that will be much less expensive. Just print an appropriate hex grid, and use square or circular tokens to randomly distribute the hexes on the board. We used this in later prototypes, and eventually in the published version of my game.

In any case, I would strongly advise against cutting out a lot of hexagons. It's unwieldy! Make some icons and send the files to The Game Crafter or to Print and Play Productions. They are much better at cutting :)

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    If you have access to a laser cutter, it would also make short work of cutting hexes too. Yes, they can cut paper and paper products. Example. – ikegami Oct 17 '17 at 20:13

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