It is an experience anyone who plays a lot of board games knows all too well - some player slips, drops a piece, or bumps the table and the whole board suffers an Earthquake!. Pieces shift, tiles move, everyone curses and then people try to reassemble the board from the ashes. Some games are worse for this than others of course, and the games where the board itself is constructed of many pieces are the worst. Settlers is by far the best known of this group and recently I found a Kickstarter project where a guy designed and built laser cut wooden boards for Settlers to prevent exactly the Earthquake! events I am talking about. His design certainly works to keep the Settlers board intact (and his video with his friends acting out Earthquake! events in Settlers is worth a laugh or two) but that sort of design wouldn't work for my situation unfortunately because an FMB board takes up a huge amount of space and wouldn't be especially practical to carry around as a single piece. FMB is particularly bad for this because there are so many pieces to move that are in contact with the board and people have a really serious habit of counting unit movement by touching the board and causing constant Earthquake!s. This week I found a solution to me having to constantly fix the board during games - making the board pieces all interlocking.
Here is a picture of the old board after a normal Earthquake!.
Here is the new design of the side pieces alongside the old design:
The new board as a whole:
And here are some pictures of the new board vertically up against a wall and still holding together:
Now that I have an Earthquake! proof board I just need to figure out why it took me a year and a half to come up with this design... though I suppose it does give me a real appreciation for why it takes Blizzard so damn long to put out really polished, complete games.