Squaretown by Kevan Davis and Viviane Schwarz

 

Welcome to Squaretown!

Squaretown is a roll-and-move game played across a patchwork of boards designed by virtual Now Play This visitors. Download a collection of buildings and spaces you like the look of, and connect them together to form a playable town, with players dashing from square to square collecting tokens and completing tasks. If you want to add your own plot to the Squaretown archive, download one of the blank boards, doodle whatever infrastructure you think the town needs, and submit it to our gallery.

 

Browse the gallery of boards made so far

 

 

Playing Squaretown

You Will Need

  • Some boards. Choose some boards from the gallery of boards made so far – whatever you like the look of (at least three, but as many as you want). Print them out.
  • six-sided die
  • One pawn for each player. These pawns can be anything you like: raid an old boardgame for pieces, or use small toys or household objects.
  • A pile of tokens to represent the different types of items you’ll find in Squaretown. You need four types of token: animalsplantstools and money. You can use whatever coins, buttons and things you have around your house, or print out some paper tokens. You’ll need a lot of tokens: probably three of each type per board. So a town with four boards will need 12 animal tokens, 12 plants, 12 tools and 12 money.
  • For a longer game, a scrap of paper to use as a score sheet.
  • These rules. (If you want to print them out they’re repeated on the token sheet.)

How to Play

To get set up:-

  • First, arrange the boards you printed so that they all join up in some way. Jigsaw them together any way you like.
  • For each board, take two of each type of token and place those eight tokens in squares on that board, anywhere you like. Put all the leftover tokens off to one side.
  • Decide how many points you’re playing the game to: 1 point for a quick game, 3 points for a longer one, or as many as you like if you’re making a massive city.
  • Choose one of the crown squares as a starting point, and put everyone’s pawns there.
  • Choose a starting player by any means you like.

To play the game, you take turns to roll the die and move your pawn that many squares. You can start your move heading in any direction, and when you hit a junction you can choose which way to go. You can’t double back on yourself during a move, and if you hit a dead end, you stop there (even if you had some of your move left).

When you land on stuff at the end of your move, things happen:-

  • If you land on a square with text, you must do what it says.
  • If you land on a token, pick it up and keep it in front of you. (If a square ever tells you to “gain” a token, take one from the spare tokens set aside.)
  • If you land on another player, you can either steal a token (of your choice) from them, or push them. If you push them, roll the die and move them that many squares in any direction. (If you push them onto a square that says something, they have to do what it says. If you push them onto a token, they can pick it up.)
  • If you land on several things at the same time (maybe you’ve landed on a miss a turn square, and another player is there, and there’s also a token there!), you can process the effects in whatever order you like.

Each board has a crown square. If you end your turn on one and are carrying the tokens it asks you to bring, then you score a point! Drop those tokens into the spares at the side, and score yourself a point on the score sheet. (Note that the crown square is a dead end on all boards, so you won’t always need to painstakingly roll the exact number to land on one.)

As soon as somebody has scored whatever target score you agreed to play to, they win the game.

Making a Board

Help expand Squaretown by drawing a board for our gallery. The first thing is to choose one of the four blank board designs – click on it to get a full-size printable version:-

Then:-

  • Print your chosen board out and put it in the middle of the table.
  • Give everyone a pen or pencil. Any colours are fine: have some spares if you want to make the board more colourful.
  • Take a look at the board and decide what part of Squaretown it could be; it can be anything any town could possibly contain. If there’s a building, what sort of building is it? A factory? A shop? A house? If there’s some open space, what sort of landscape is it – a municipal park, a forest, or something else?
  • (Although a topical board about viruses or stockpiling might be tempting, we’re looking to avoid that in the shared gallery boards. You can make them, but they won’t be published on the Now Play This site.)
  • The square with the crown is the goal of the board: players will be bringing tokens here. Write in a name for that square (like Antique Shop or Bakery) and complete the “bring” sentence to say what tokens need to be brought there (eg. “Bring 4 animals”, “Bring 2 plants and 2 tools” or “Bring 1 of each token”.) It can be as mundane as a town hall, where you bring money to pay your tax (money tokens), or as strange as a haunted house where you need to break the spell with four branches from a tree (plant tokens). (Except we already have those two, so don’t make those.) You can write whatever you like here, but asking players to bring four tokens in total is about right. The four types of token in Squaretown are animalsplantstools and money.
  • Write some squares. You want to fill in about twelve squares in total – if making a board as a group, everyone writes these at the same time and without worrying about what other people are doing. It’s okay to write over the edges of the squares. When a player lands on a square, something happens. Like the “bring” square, these should have a title, and an effect that goes with the title. Some example things you could do with squares:-
    • Standard roll-and-move board game stuff. “Massive Puddle: Miss a turn”“Coffee Stall: Roll again”
    • Moving players around. “Bus Stop: Move to any outdoor square”“Police Station: Move any other player here”“Steep Hill: Double your next roll”
    • Swapping tokens or getting extra ones. “Squirrel Tree: Gain 1 animal”“Pigeon Loft: Put 3 animal tokens on different squares”“Charity Shop: Swap 1 money for 1 tool or plant” – make sure to have some of these, so that players can still find what they need once the tokens on the board have run out.
    • Moving tokens around. “Pothole: Drop a token here”“Bike Courier: Swap a token with an opponent”“Street Sweeper: Move all tokens on the board one space”
    • Ongoing effects. “Roller Skates: +1 to your moves from now on”“Money Belt: Your Money can’t be stolen any more”
    • Anything! “Building Site: Move a board into a new position”“High Noon: Last player to slap the table loses 1 token”“Roadworks: Cross out a square, it can never be used again”“Parachute: Drop your piece back onto the board from a height, moving onto the nearest square”

    (Note that the way movement works means that dead ends – like the crown squares – are easier to get to than other squares, because you don’t have to roll the exact number to land on them. If you’ve got a useful trading square that you think players might be very keen to visit – like the Charity Shop above – consider putting it at a dead end.)

  • The four types of token are animalsplantstools and money. You don’t have to mention them all on your board, and it’s also fine if you have a square that generates plants when your board’s goal is all about animals. When Squaretown is built, those plants will be useful on another board!
  • Add some doodles. Put some doodles on the board along with the squares: you can either illustrate the text of a square, or doodle something townlike in empty space – if you’re making a board as a group, someone else might write a square for it.

When you’ve filled in the crown goal, written twelve squares and it’s all looking sufficiently doodly, your board is done! Combine it with some other people’s boards and see how it plays.

Sending us your game

—-submission has stopped for now! Thank you for your boards! Hope you enjoyed Squaretown! —-

Frequently Asked Questions

I only have a black-and-white printer. Is that okay?
Absolutely fine. You can colour the boards in when you’ve printed them.

I don’t have a printer at all. Can I still make a board?
Sure, you’re welcome to draw something freehand and send it in to us: the squares need to be about 2.5 centimetres to a side, and run to the centres of the four sides of the page to join up. Or you can edit a blank board digitally and send it back to us.

How do I print these boards at the right size?
The boards are designed to fill a sheet of A4 paper, you can also print them on letter size paper. You may have to change your printer setting to “fit to page”, “fill page” or “shrink oversized pages”.

One of the squares is confusing. What do we do?
If someone’s written a square that doesn’t quite make sense, discuss it with the other players – when you’ve agreed on an interpretation that you’re all happy with, play it like that. (Make a note on the board if you like.)

We’ve run out of tokens! What now?
Some boards might end up generating lots of tokens. If a square tells you to take a token but there aren’t any left to take, you can either find (or cut out) some more, or just agree that once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Can I change someone else’s board?
Go ahead. Edit the image digitally before printing it, or add squares or doodle on it afterwards, you change anything you like. If you start playing it and find that one is the squares is making things too easy or too silly, pause the game and agree how to change it – when everyone’s happy, resume the game.

What if a game is impossible?
If the game reaches a point where you can see it’s impossible to score any more points – perhaps all the crown squares want plants and animals, but all of the plants and animals have been spent, with no squares producing new ones – then end the game there, with the highest score (if any) winning. Maybe write in a square or two that would stop that from happening again, and start a new game.

Is this game suitable for children?
We’re checking submissions to keep this game child-friendly, but you might want to read the boards first before playing.

I sent you a board, why isn’t it in the gallery?
We might not have processed it yet. We also don’t guarantee that we will upload all boards, for whatever reason.

My board turned up in the gallery with slightly different colours! What happened?
When we process the boards, we may darken a few of the colours to make sure they print well for people who don’t have a colour printer, and may tint some of the grey boards to add some variation.

What else can I make with these boards?
The system being used here is a variant of the snaddering system from Kevan Davis and Viviane Schwarz’s interactive book Board Games To Create And Play, published by Pavilion in 2019. It’s full of blank boards and different rules you can try out on them, from barricades and secret identities to card-based movement and worker placement.