Board Building / Tile Laying
[under construction, not very structured...]
Many games allow the player to build a board. Other games such as Monopoly, where the game board is fixed, in board building / tile laying games, the board changes every time is played and some cases even while it's played.
Typical examples can be found within Dragons and Dungeons' games such as Dungeon Quest and Warhammer Quest but also in more recent games such as Tikal and Conquestador. Although tile-laying is part of the game, it's not a very prominent part of it, the major part is about decision making and option evaluation. Games such Aquire really depend on tile laying, where as it is one of the main components of the mechanics.
In addition there are several dynamic tile boards, where the board changes during the game (not just by tile-laying). A typical example are the Labyrinth games. These games are discussed on the end of this page.
Note: some games use tiles to change the game at setup, but stay same for the rest of the game. I do not consider these games as 'real' tile laying games, as the tiles are just being laying as part of the set up of the game (typical example 'targui'), where you randomly set up the board by laying the tiles. Setlers of Catan is another typical example.
Many (roleplaying) fantasy games such as the Warhammer games (DungeonQuest, WHQuest, HeroQuest, etc.) use tile tile laying for building up dungeons and area's to explore. Many economic games however do the same, especially evolution games like Conquistador, Euprhaat & Tigres. Building the game board is part of the game. Whereas roleplaying games usually build up dungeons, economic simulation often build up countries/worlds. The principle is however the same.
DQ vs Conquistador
You can actually state that there are two main differences: Tile laying as road mapping (moving accros the explored tiles) and Tile laying as board build (and exploiting the explored tiles).
Tile Laying as board building
Typical examples are Tikal and Targui. In these game the board is set with the help of tiles. The tiles itself are not a major part of the game, they just vary the options you have.
In some cases the tiles are laid by players (as they have draw a number of tiles wich they can play (e.g. aquire), in other cases the tiles are laid randomly (e.g. dungeon quest).
In tile laying by players, in general you can identify two types of games:
In most cases there is no strict line between both. Looking at aquire, tile laying is crucial, but your strategy to start companies and invest in those companies and your opponents' companies is nearly as important.
For tikal, settlers or simular games, tile laying is 'merely' opening options. Another game in this last catagory is 'mississipi queen game' [rio grande games]. In this game the players operate boats and have a race down the mississipi. The river is build up by laying pieces of the river. As such the river changes not just every game, but you never know what tiles / obstacles you will encounter next turn. However there are many more of these 'discovery' games. A cheap (but fun game in this catagory is 'the great brain robbery' where you move forward in a train that build on the front, but looses cars in the back.
Some boards evolve or change during the game. A typical example is 'the amazying labarinth". First you randomly set up the board by tiles, creating some kind of dungeon. On each turn a player pushes a row or column by with one extra tile and as such the complete dungeon changes. A player can as move as far as he wants in the dungeon, assuming the road is not blocked [object of the game is to collect several items in the dungeon, who first collects them all wins].
One could argue that reversi is everchanging board as well. As in you 'capture' enemy stones, they change to your color. In this catagory there are however many more examples. How about go? Or abalone? One could argue though that board itself doesn't change, but that wouldn't be valid, since most of these games have a 'fixed' board. I don't want to start a discussion here, but it's merely a thought.
Here is cool link http://perso.easynet.fr/~philimar/graphpapeng.htm for a PC programme that enables you to make boards.