I recently got a chance to play Twilight Imperium for the first time, and had tons of fun playing The Emirates of Hacan (AKA Space Cats). Leading up to the game I chatted with some of the veterans about gameplay mechanics and a common pain point that came up was the clumsiness of fleet movement especially in combat. One player mentioned seeing acrylic stands that allow players to move entire fleets at once, as well as have multiple fleets occupy the same hex tile. This sounded like a fun laser cutting project so I set to work.
We took measurements of the game pieces and got dimensions for different machine screws.
TI4 Hexes are larger than previous editions clocking in at just under 4” across from edge to edge (3 and 15/16th")
Machine Screws were the easiest thing to use for legs especially under time constraints, plus we really like the æsthetic. We used 1.5” #8 but it cut it a little too close with the War Sun’s clearance. I recommend going to 2” to ensure there is enough space. Also remember to pick up corresponding nuts.
The acrylic came in 1/8” thick and 18×24” which happened to be the exact dimensions of our cutting area. I drew up the hexes in Illustrator with a height of 3.5” to allow space between stands for fingers to pickup and cut out little circles from the corners to assist with grabbing. We took everything to the laser cutter and it printed without a hitch! Here they are in all their glory.
What I would do differently next time
The stands are very good during gameplay but don’t store very efficiently. One change I’ve made to the template before uploading is to increase the size of the circular indentations to allow two tables to next together. Another possible solution for long term storage would be to replace the threaded nuts with rubber o-rings that can be easily removed and replaced.
This was a super fun project, and made ship movement and combat go so smoothly. If you want to make your own, you can download the files in AI and SVG for free. Please let me know what you think, especially if you have any feedback for how they could be improved.