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I've got these little (3 cm corner to corner, 2.4 cm side to side, about 2–3 mm thick) hexagonal wooden tiles I'm planning to use in my D&D campaigns. I plan to paint them on both sides, with one side nature-ish (grass, rivers, etc.) and one side indoors (cavern, wooden floorboard, carpet, etc.).

However, the biggest issue I'm facing is their movement. Unless the miniatures are picked up very carefully, the tiles will start to move, which can pretty quickly mess up the whole board. Of course, once painted, the drag will increase and they will be harder to move, but I figured I could still post the problem here and see if I can get a solution to this problem.

Minis on wooden hex tiles. Each hex is its own tile, and gaps can be seen between
Tiles with various Reaper Bones minis

Solutions I've thought of

These are some possible fixes I've come up with. However, none of them have been tried in practice yet! If you have experience with any of these, and think it's the solution to my problem, please feel free to answer!

  • Get a large silicone plate / tray or piece of heavy cloth to place them on.

    This would hopefully decrease possible movement enough. However, it can be somewhat impractical to store.

  • Get a large "sticky" surface to place them on.

    Would work fine, except the paint would wear off fairly quickly, which means I can't double paint the tiles. Increases cost a lot

  • Metal sheet with magnets on the bottom of the tiles.

    Same as above, increases cost a lot and tiles can't be double faced.

  • Get a plate with enough size to hold exactly X tiles, so they can all be clicked in place restricting movement

    Best solution IMO, but also takes up a lot of space and forces map to be of size X.

Does anyone have experience with restricting movement of custom terrain? If so, what did you do to solve it, and does it work as planned?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour! It may be useful to mention again in the question's body that the tiles are wood. Thank you for participating and have fun! (By the way, I think some users may be tempted to put this question on hold this as too broad or primarily opinion-based because it's asking for suggestions like one would in a messageboard-style discussion prompt. I disagree in that answers here are supposed to be backed up by experience in dealing with a similar problem rather than merely suggestions. We'll see what happens!) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 30, 2019 at 13:07

3 Answers 3

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Neoprene table cover or mousepad(s).

My game table is fitted with a neoprene cover (specifically, Poker Hoody brand). Although smooth components like cards, chips, and vinyl or plastic battle mats tend to slide easily across a neoprene surface, rough wooden components tend to stick in place with friction and resist accidental movement. Even smoother wooden components like balsawood are rough enough to stick in place. There are incidental benefits, too, including quiet and scratch-free dice rolling and elbow comfort.

Full fitted covers can be expensive and might not suit your storage and travel needs, but mouse pads behave similarly and are both cheap and portable. You can find everyday black mousepads at discount retailers for very low prices and arrange as many as you need to make an underlay for the tiles, or you can splurge on a jumbo mousepad (the full desk surface style used by computer gaming enthusiasts) to accommodate your usual tiled map size. In either case, they store and travel very easily, and they are easy to clean or replace. I use both when I travel to create slip-proof surfaces for wooden and cardboard game components at other people's places: one everyday mousepad per player for personal use, plus a jumbo mousepad in the center for tiled maps or game boards.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I got a similar recommendation from my local gamestore today. I'm gonna try this one out, thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – JasperMW
    Apr 1, 2019 at 12:24
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Magnetize your tiles

I learned this from miniature wargaming, but magnets are awesome. You can drill a small (1mm) hole in each side of your tiles, and glue a small magnet (1mm) inside that hole, and when touched, the tiles won't move unless you apply a significant force on them. Depending on the width of the magnet and the weight of each tile, you could even pull them up without them disconnecting from each other.

While magnetizing them to a metal sheet is a nice solution, the problem will still happen as the magnets slide on the metal sheet, and you will need to bring a metal sheet with you all the time. So, I would go with magnetizing the tiles themselves. It takes some work to get it working, but once it does, the problem is completely gone.

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If you increase the weight of the pieces they are less likely to move or stick to the bottoms of the miniatures. If you were to join three tiles together into a unit you would increase the overall weight without having to add magnets or special coatings. It would limit your arrangement and layout options a bit but you could decide on a few shapes and color combinations to create a Tetris like range of options.

I really like the idea. It looks like a classic boardgame layout. I'd be tempted to leave them natural. Good luck with your project.

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