Piecepack Matchsticks

Designer Dan Burkey
Version 2.0
Version Date 2018-06-27
License Public Domain


Piecepack matchsticks are a set of short sticks with square cross-sections in piecepack-suited colors. The sticks come in 5 different lengths (plus a null cube), which correspond to 5 relationships between points on the grid side of a piecepack tile. The lengths are defined as follows:

Null: Cube representing one point in space 1: One space length orthogonally 2: One space length diagonally 3: Two space lengths orthogonally 4: The diagonal length of a “Knight’s move”- two spaces up, and one space over 5: Two space lengths diagonally


Note: In practice, each stick should be about one stick width shorter than the distance it represents, which allows space for pathways to intersect, as well as wiggle room for moving pieces.

A complete set of piecepack matchsticks has 6 pieces in each size and color. There are a total of 144 pieces in a set, 36 pieces of each color, and 24 pieces of each size, which is enough to match one piece of each size to every tile (or coin) in a piecepack set, if desired.

Each stick has its rank number printed in the middle of one or two faces to quickly differentiate lengths. Ace may be represented by a spiral or suit symbol. The top end of every stick has a suit symbol, which gives the stick a binary directionality (Ace end/null end, Positive/negative, North/South, 0/1, forward/backward).

The null of the set is not actually a stick but a small colored cube (or square, if using a printed 2D version), twice as wide as one matchstick. Each cube has its suit symbol printed on one face. Spatially, nulls generally represent a single point in space.

Uses of the set and possible mechanics

The set was initially inspired by the little colored sticks that form roads and rails for connection and pathway games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and by maze games like Labyrinth. The integration with the numbering and geometry of the piecepack adds even more possibilities:

Images, Ideas, and instructions for making your own piece pack matchsticks set can be found in this PDF: PiecepackMatchsticksIntroduction.pdf (Google Docs Version)

The SixteenSegments discussion addresses using piecepack matchsticks in word games.

Making Your Own

The templates below are designed based on a 2-inch piecepack tile. Feel free to copy and edit for different tile sizes, expansion colors, your own printer settings, etc.

Templates for printing your own set from cardstock (Note: not yet updated to 2.0 version):

3D models in TinkerCad for 3D printing (updated for 2.0 version):


The definition of piecepack matchsticks is in the public domain.

Games Which Can be Easily Ported Using Piecepack Matchsticks


These unassuming little colored sticks have a huge amount of potential, as described in designer Dan's thoroughly thoughtful, illustrated, introductory document for the expansion. Dan provides an intriguing variety of possible uses, particularly in terms of board modification, but also including uses for functions like scoring. Dan's introduction also showed the geometrical thinking that went into the expansion and explained how to make your own set. Even better, the expansion was accompanied by a proof-of-concept game that required its use, Piecepackman.

Although the Piecepackman game was flawed in actual play, it convincingly illustrated at least two different uses of the expansion (maze walls and turn order markers). In addition, we used the matchsticks instead of poker chips when we were playtesting Dual Piecepacks Poker.

As a requirement of the contest, Dan sent me a complete set of painted wooden sticks that even came in a handmade box. Very nice!

We were impressed by the integrity and versatility of Piecepack Matchsticks. We hope piecepack game designers will start using them in their games, and that some manufacturers will start selling them. If not, they're available as print-and-play with cardstock, and they're also 3D-printable. You have no excuse not to make your own set!

Congratulations, Dan!

--RonHaleEvans, Where No One Has Gamed Before, October 2018

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