Making your own Tact Tiles

Tact-Tiles are modular game boards that can be changed as the situation demands. Your players want to go left? Just tack on a couple of tiles to the left. Want to go right? Same rules apply. The tiles have been out of print for almost a decade. Those who have them guard them jealously.

But have no fear, they are back on kickstarter.

I don’t have the gaming funds for it, so I decided I could make some myself. I followed this guide. I made 9 tact-tile wannabes for under $10 and 3 hours of time. For reference, the Kickstarter price is $92. The sense of satisfaction of making a useful product is priceless, even if they do not have the plastic machine-made quality.

 

Supplies
Two foam core boards. These are generally found at any superstore next to the poster board and other child school craft items. Cost $2-$4

Package of self laminating sheets, generally there are 10 per pack. You want the single sided sheets, not the "pouches". I found them right next to the foam board. Cost $4-$6

 

Tools

  • T-square
  • Xacto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Scissors
  • Thin tipped Sharpie

 

Skill required:
Minimal. I have basically no crafting skill and these turned out great.

 

Step one: Mark off the foam core into one inch squares

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Mark one inch ticks on each side of the board. Connect the dots with straight lines. T-Squares are way better for this than a ruler. If your T-square is too short, make a guide line and ticks the T-square can reach, and use that as your “edge”. Then flip the board around and do the same thing on the opposite side.

Tip: The form core top is going to be laminated finished product. Make sure it stays clean. 

Tip: As my wife told me, T-squares found in households are not square. They are close but not perfect. Be wary.

 

 

 

 

 

Step Two: Laminate the foam board

This is the real frustrating part of the process. First separate the laminate sheets (or just the anchor strip) from the backing. Then say a silent prayer to St. Cuthbert and carefully place them on the foam board. Small bubbles will form while your laminating, and you can generally push them out. Make sure you line up the sheets as you tile the board. Any gap will be stained by the dry erase markers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step three: Mark your cuts and carve out tiles

This is the tile design I used. Plan your cuts… before you cut. If you really nestle the tiles, you can get five tiles out of a single foam board. Four is a reasonable number though, and it allows you to make some interesting shapes to add to your standard tiles.

While cutting, make sure your xacto knife is sharp and that you cut at a shallow angle. Go slow. Cut large pieces away before making smaller cuts. A smaller piece is easier to handle than the whole board.

Make sure the foam pieces fit snugly and trim only if necessary.

 

Step 4: Play hard

Unleash the modular play set on your players and watch them flounder. No longer are you confined to just a play mat.

Drilly Drills, a dwarven fighter, fights off 3 Orcs after choosing to go left instead of taking the poorly drawn door to the right

Drilly Drills, a dwarven fighter, fights off 3 Orcs after choosing to go left instead of taking the poorly drawn door to the right