Singularity Piecepack

The Piecepack (https://piecepack.net/piecepack) is an open source game system that was invented by James Kyle in 2001. It is often described as being “to boardgames what a standard deck of playing cards is to card games.” 

I’ve written on a handful of occasions that I think the ultimate gaming system trifecta is the Singularity Deck, Looney Pyramids, and the Piecepack.  The three systems complement each other very well and provide a good deal of versatility.

Check out the Piecepack family on BGG for a list of games designed for the system: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamefamily/136/components-piecepack/linkeditems/boardgamefamily?pageid=1&sort=rank

And this geeklist for a bunch of adapted games: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/15415/games-can-be-played-or-have-been-adapted-piecepack/page/1

The Piecepack got the closest to seeing mainstream success (well…at least in board game circles) with the release of “The Infinite Boardgame” in 2015, a version of the piecepack, with a curated games list by W. Eric Martin of Board Game Geek. Compared to playing cards and Looney Pyramids the Piecepack is fairly young and doesn’t have nearly as robust of a games library as those systems. The most well-regarded game for the system is Alien City (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/20623/alien-city), which is a pretty interesting game, but requires Looney Pyramids and doesn’t actually use many features of the Piecepack. That doesn’t offer the best impression of the system, but like I said it’s comparatively young.  Overall, I feel like the Piecepack represents some amazing potential and I’m excited to new games and ideas based around it.

In the background of working on other projects I’ve been designing my own version of the Piecepack. It includes 6 suits (the Singularity Earth Icons) with tiles and tokens ranked 0-6 and Ace. The print and Play Files have been added to the drive and I have posted it to the Game Crafter if you want to pick up a professionally printed copy. The dice and pawns can be picked up separately from the tiles and tokens (the rational for this is explained below). 

Game Crafter Link:

Tiles & Tokens:  https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/singularity-piecepack-earth-tiles-tokens 

Dice & Pawns:  https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/singularity-piecepack-earth-dice-pawns 

PnP Files: can be found through the Singularity Games Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/singularity_games

I wanted to design my own version of the Piecepack for a couple reasons: 1. I wanted a version that overlapped with the Singularity Deck both in terms of iconography and design aesthetic 2. The standard Piecepack has some quirky design aspects that I wanted to streamline.

The standard Piecepack has 4 suits: red suns, black moons, yellow crowns, blue arms (represented by the fleur-de-lis). Swapping these out for "standard french suits" really opens up the design space allowing for games that use both sets of components. I'm hardly the first person to think of this. There are a good number of piecepacks available that use french suits, and there are even some decks of cards designed to use the piecepack suits. The Singularity Piecepack has 6 suits: the 4 french suits and 2 additional suits, triangles and ovals (same suits as the Singularity Deck Earth Set).

Each suit in the standard piecepack includes 6 tiles ranked 0, Ace, 2-5. This is where the standard Piecepack starts to get a little strange. On the tiles there is an ace and on the tokens there is a spiral. This does add some flexibility for game designers because there are occasionally see games that reference these icons as having special abilities, however for the vast majority of what I've seen they just represent the number 1. This just adds to the cognitive load of having to remember multiple symbols that represent something other than what they say.  

The standard Piecepack also contains dice. Having such unusual ranks requires the need for custom dice. 

In my opinion, the ideal design would have just used ranks 1-6, which would have allowed for the use of a normal D6 and not required messing around with nulls, aces and spirals. 

The Singularity Piecepack contains the best of both worlds in this regard. The tiles include 8 ranks for each suit: 0-6 and Ace. 


 Likewise the tokens include ranks 0-6, and spiral. 

Given the pricing structure of the Game Crafter, it actually cost about the same to include the extra ranks. This means that the set includes a standard Piecepack with additional suits and tiles for ranks 1 and 6.  This syncs the ranks up with the dice on the Singularity Deck and allows the use of standard dice. This is the reason why I made the dice and the pawns separate from the tiles on the Game Crafter. The custom dice add to the cost considerably and many Piecepack games don't even use them. The pawns are separate because it's very easy to grab pawns from other games or use Looney Pyramids. That said the dice do look pretty cool.


Each tile has a grid on the back, which makes the Piecepack a nice modular board for many abstract games. One of the design features that sets this version apart from other Piecepacks is that the grid is on both the back and the front of the tiles. The standard Piecepack tiles have fronts that take up the whole tile as can be seen in the picture of The Infinite Boardgame up top. The highlighted corner of each tile is for games, such as Alien City, that use the orientation of the tiles as a gameplay element. 


Another unique feature of this set is that each piece of information on a tile can be independently covered with a token.


While no games exist that use this feature it does open up some cool game design space where the rank of a tile can change during the game.