Recommend me games that involve mapping

I’m not a widely-played IF author and I’m looking to dissect some games that have interesting mapping challenges/puzzles/structures. Any other resources would be helpful too (Em Short’s blog post on Geography was excellent).

Feel free to share any stories (I’m spoiler-immune to design discussions) of games that you enjoyed getting out pencil and paper to draw a map of, or any horror stories of games that ruined your pencil and paper mapping experience as you played. Player-made maps are my focus, and I would love to find what makes this experience as enjoyable and engaging as possible.


Arthur DiBianca’s Inside the Facility is a puzzle game entirely about mapping - it even comes with a template grid for you to start mapping from.


You could also create a poll on IFDB. Polls there are generally intended for getting recommendations.

Browsing the existing polls didn’t bring up any that is perfectly suited your request, but there is one for games that include a map.

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I loved mapping World - Details (
A very big and open map with just the right puzzle-locked bottlenecks.

Return to Ditch Day - Details ( has a complicated, almost maze-like map that was a lot of fun to draw and get to scale.

The map of The Abbey of Montglane - Details ( fits into the basic rectangular structure of a medieval abbey with surrounding grounds, and contrasts this with a more complicated subterranean section.

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You could do a lot worse than start with Adventure (by Crowther and Woods), the game that started it all. Mapping is a challenge, because if you go west in room A, you might not be entering room B from the east (many of the passages, like real caves, twist and turn). But it’s doable; there’s the archetypical maze; you can explore most of the cave without solving puzzles; and the cave is just fun to explore. I enjoyed this much more than I thought.

(The first maze is nice. The second maze is terrible and you should look up spoilers for it.)


I like the map of Ryan Veeder’s Nautilisia. Drawing the map probably isn’t necessary, but if you do, it makes a nice shape.


I second this recommendation, and was coming here to say the same thing.

If mapping itself is what brings you pleasure, I recommend 1893: A World’s Fair Mystery for its enormous map based off of the real world fair and its high-quality mystery that is really hard to solve unless you’ve mapped everything exhaustively.


Delightful Wallpaper


Thank you for the suggestion! I haven’t created a poll before, but here is my IFDB poll for this very question in case anyone wants to add their answers there:

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For a long time after playing Adventure, I would always double back after entering a new room, just to make sure that the map connection worked in the other direction too. It took years to accept that most games don’t require you to do that.


I’m a mapper from way back. I always enjoy drawing my own maps with pencil and paper, then drawing up a nice map with Trizbort once the game is finished. I’ve played hundreds of adventures and drawn hundreds of maps, yet there are very few that stand out where the map itself was part of the puzzle. Here are a few examples of adventures with interesting maps from the SoftSide ‘Adventure of the Month’ series, as these are games that most people are unfamiliar with:

‘Alaskan Adventure’ by Peter Kirsch. This starts in snowy Alaska. You have to collect huskies to form a dog team, then use them to go to the next area. The game continues in this way until you return to the start area. There are eight areas in the cycle. Each area is a mini-maze liberally sprinkled with puzzles.

‘Around the World’ by Peter Kirsch. Follow the travels of Fineas Fogg as you travel around the world by ship, train, elephant, balloon and so on to eventually return to your original location. There were some interesting challenges when drawing the map, particularly the train and the elephant.

‘Arrow One’ by Peter Kirsch. A science fiction theme with lots of transporters, conditional one-way exits, a mini-maze with some random exits and an interesting weightless room.

‘Atlantis’ by Peter Kirsch. The game starts in a challenging maze benath the ocean, but you soon find your way into the lost city of Atlantis. Once it’s mapped, you find that it has a central hub with self-contained areas to the north, south, east and west. Each area has diagonal exits so that the rooms are arranged like a hexagon with another room at the centre of the hexagon. This one was quite a challenge to draw it up nicely.

‘The Dalton Gang’ by Peter Kirsch. This is quite a large game set in the old west with a fairly straight forward town, a very challenging (yet logical) desert maze and another smaller maze in a dimly-lit mine with lots of diagonals and one-way exits.

‘Danger Is My Business’ by Peter Kirsch. This has quite a large map with lots of diagonal exits, but most notable for the jungles of India all through the game. These are fairly easy to map, but hard to draw. For every one of these rooms, you can climb a tree. Most of the trees are actually the same room, but just a couple of them are unique, so you have to make sure to climb every tree in every jungle location and a couple of these are crucial for escaping from protagonists.

‘Deathworld’ by Peter Kirsch. A science fiction theme with more diagonal exits, but most memorable for rooms joined by concentric hexagons. This is one of the few where the map is important to a puzzle where you have to run a wire around the perimeter of a lake in order to electrocute a monster. Very cleverly executed.

‘It’s About Time’ by Peter Kirsch. This is a wonderful game oriented around time travel. You travel through eight time periods and the map is essentially the same in each time period, but rooms are added, deleted or changed depending on the events that have happened in the intervening time periods. Very cleverly executed once again.

This is just a small sample. All games available for Apple II, Atari 8-bit (that’s what I played them on) and TRS-80. My maps are available on CASA.