Pandemic Rising Tide - a new board design

As I wrote previously (link added here):
[personal profile] ceb gave me the board game Pandemic Rising Tide for Christmas. I like it a lot. However, the board layout, while very pretty and historically accurate, is awkward for play. I decided to produce a replacement board design, with a schematic layout.

This project is now complete at last! Not only do I have PDFs ready for printing on a suitable printer, but I have made a pretty good properly folding actual board.

Why a new board design

The supplied board is truly a work of art. Every wrinkle in the coastline and lots of details of boundaries of various parts of the Netherlands are faithfully reproduced.

To play the game, though, it is necessary to see quickly which "squares" (faces of the boundary graph; the rules call them regions) are connected to which others, and what the fastest walking route is, and so on. Also one places dyke tokens - small brown sticks - along some of the edges; it is often necessary to quickly see whether a face has any dykes on any of its edges, or whether there is a dyke between two adjacent faces.

This is hard to do on the original board. This has been at least one forum thread and one player shared their modifications involving pipe cleaners and glue!

Results - software, and PDFs

Much of the work in this project was producing the image to go on the board - in particular, laying out the graph was quite hard and involved shaving a number of yaks. (I'll be posting properly about my planar graph layout tool too.)

In case you like my layout, I have published a complete set of PDFs suitable for printing out yourself. There's a variety depending on what printer you are going to use. See the README.txt in that directory for details.

Of course the source code is available too. (Building it is not so easy - see the same README for details.)

Results - physical board

I consulted with [personal profile] ceb who had very useful bookbinding expertise and gave copious and useful advice, and also very kindly let me use some of their supplies. I had a local print shop print out a suitable PDF on their excellent A1 colour laserprinter, with very good results. (The photos below don't do justice to the colour rendering.)

The whole board is backed with bookcloth (the cloth which is used for the spines of hardback books), and that backing forms one of the two hinges. The other hinge is a separate piece of bookcloth on the top face. Then on top of that is the actual board image sheet, all put on in one go (so it all aligns correctly) and then cut along the "convex" hinge after the glue was dry.

I did some experiments to get the hang of the techniques and materials, and to try out a couple of approaches. Then I wrote myself a set of detailed instruction notes, recalculated the exact sizes, and did a complete practice run at 1/sqrt(8) scale. That served me well.

The actual construction took most of a Saturday afternoon and evening, and then the completed board had to be pressed for about 48h while it dried, to stop it warping.

There was one part that it wasn't really practical to practice: actually pasting a 624 x 205mm sheet of 120gsm paper, covered in a mixture of PVA and paste, onto a slightly larger arrangement of boards, is really quite tricky to do perfectly - even if you have a bookbinder on hand to help with another pair of hands. So if you look closely at my finished article you can see some blemishes. But, overall, I am pleased.


If you just want to admire my board design, you can look at this conveniently sized PDF. I also took some photographs. But, for here, a taster: