Choosing Components – Board vs Tiles

Categories:Brewin' USA, Design Blog
Adam Rehberg

Choosing Components

I have been working on my board game Brewin’ USA for about 4 months now and have gone through 17 play tests with 60+ different people. The game has undergone a pretty rapid development cycle with a lot of changes to improve user experience, information tracking, and the look, feel, and flow of the game. I am very happy with the way the game plays and the components / design yield positive reactions. There is one potential change that I am still pondering and wanted to do some physical testing before committing: Traditional Game Board versus Game Tiles

My hypothesis is that both a Game Board and Game Tiles will prove to be strong candidates for this game. The game is based on area control and does not have any area movement mechanics so splitting a board up into tiles will not be a risk to game mechanics.

For the Board

Brewin USA board

Approachable:A game board is a traditional component that is extremely approachable for new gamers and becomes the centerpiece for a game. Almost all of my memories growing up with games revolve around games with boards. A game board has a large face and becomes a secondary layer of marketing that gets ingrained into the players minds. This piece is typically large enough for a thoughtful illustration which helps make it approachable for new players.

Tells a story:With a game board, a lot of information can be included on one component. According to Guinness, the largest board is The War Game: World War II which has some 6.5 x 3.25 ft board and the box weights 15 lbs. That might actually swing the argument for a game board being approachable, but it definitely will make the experience memorable. Any new player would surely have a great story to tell of the ridiculousness of this game board and probably have some phone pics to boot.

Against the Board, For the Tile

Coaster Game Board-01-03

Theme:Brewin’ USA is a game about beer. People drink beer on coasters. How great would it be to receive your copy of Brewin’ USA with game components that resembled coasters. You will surely feel like you’re in a bar ready to have a Brewfest!

Flexibility:Although I have never run a Kickstarter, I can imagine that flexibility with game components is a real asset. A game tile allows for much more flexibility than a game board as new tiles can be created or added if there is a real community push for this. Imagine backing a Kickstarter and then having that KS add your city or a city near you to the component list as a game tile. That would probably feel pretty special. I think besides flexibility on size of the game, there could be some interesting ways to expand upon the game with tiles as the medium for the content expansion.

Pricing:I have not quoted the pricing for tiles versus a game board but I suspect that tiles will be a more affordable option, which is great to rally more backers on a Kickstarter. The key here is that Tiles don’t include as much labor as a folded game board. I know this for a fact as I prototyped a game board on my way to Gen Con to participate in the Cards Against Humanity Tabletop Deathmatch 2014. This was no easy feat and even the prototype ran me at least $20. My feedback on pricing from The Game Crafter have also been along these same trends.


The results here are to be determined. I am going to target a subset of players that have played Brewin’ USA with the game board and give them an experience with the tiles. I am excited to see their responses and also will be looking for any hidden pluses or minuses I didn’t think of.

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