Introducing new game: Chromonome

Put on your bioengineer rubber gloves and ignore all what you’ve learned in the biology class, because you and your three colleagues at the division of stem cell research and developement are about to play god with the very bricks of life.

Your task: To create the strongest strain of cells for whatever purposes the ‘customers’ of Chromonome Corporation have in mind.

The method: selection of the fittest. You’ll culture your strain in competition with those of your mates. Only by following this survival protocol Chromonome Corporation can make sure that it is providing the most resilient specimens.

About the game

Chromonome is a competitive light strategy game about matching the edges of colored tiles. It is quite simple to start playing it, but digging a bit deeper, you can find its core of area control, probability management and foresight of the opponents’ possible movements.
I’m planning to make it publicly available and modifiable for anyone who wants to use it or anyone who’s making a similar game. In later posts I will include the resources for print and play.

  • Players: 2-4 (best 4)
  • Playing time: 30-45 mins
  • Age: 5+
  • Complexity: low
  • No text dependance
Scheme for the initial setup of the game. With the board in its initial arrangement and 4 players, each one with its tilesets and score dials.

Some history

The idea for the game emerged after experimenting for a while with a game for kids about sequential thinking that used Truchet Tiles. I found out that the very interaction was sensorially pleasing. Manipulating the tiles, placing and rotating them and discovering how a larger pattern was emerging on the table had something rewarding by itself.

An early mockup of the Truchet Tile based game.

Digging into truchet tilings I found out about the wang tiles and similar aperiodic tilings until eventually I stumbled upon the edge-matching puzzle Eternity II. Then I decided to shift the goal towards an area control game based on a set of 4-color not-rotationally symmetric tiles and I thought than groups of cells would look nice and natural as interlaced tissues.

Some of the tiles, connected.

Half way into the process of creating the game, one reddit user mentioned the game Gurms, by Bananagrams. I checked it and I thought: Well… That’s basically the same game I’m doing, with almost the same setting. The game has a very elegant art that fits very well with the tone and I immediatelly fell in love with their acrylic(?) tiles, because they looked slick and their weight solved a problem that I was having with cardboard tiles, whenever you placed one, you slightly disordered all the rest.

Discovering that my idea was not as uniqueas I originally thought, I tried to change the direction and attempted to turn it into a game in which the team cooperates in order to complete genetical “recipes”.

Some examples of the speciment recipe cards.

But before even finishing the first playable prototype it was clear that the game was getting too stiff, too mechanical, too boring. So paused for a moment and I reconsidered the first approach: was it actually that similar to Gurms or were in fact 2 different games that played with similar pieces? I realized that Gurms was more light-heaerted and more dependant on luck, a bit like Dominoes, while Chromonome was about area control and prediction, more like Go.

I’m not doing this for profit, I just want to experiment with doing games and the main premise is to finish, even if it means failing. So I returned back to the original approach and prepared a new iteration in which I focused in the balance of the selection of tiles and I added the idea of the game-changer symbionts. I also took one thing I loved from Gurms, their gorgeous tiles, and I raised the bet to glass-made tiles that are just gorgeous to hold in your hands.

A sample of the glass tiles. When I was still learning which glue would work the best.


  • Print and play version
  • [Comming soon] Tables+Cardmaker project to generate your own tiles
  • [Comming soon] How to mount juicy glass tiles
  • [Comming soon] Tabletop simulator version

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