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THE CREATIVE GAMER - Tzolk'in Gear Pimping - A survey of what others have done

-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Tzolk'in, the game I'm most obsessed with from Essen 2012. I've played twice and now am ready to play some more.

In the weeks since its release I've seen several creative types painting and washing the gears in their copy of the games to help bring out the details to the amazing artwork on it. The central wheel has a tremendous amount of detail that is very hard to see unless you do something to highlight it and make it stand out.

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Now, I have painted oil paintings and done other artwork before, but I've never painted any miniatures, etc, for games, so I'm quite excited by the prospect of pimping out my game by painting the gears! I've started to do some research into what others have done and also started to look up painting techniques that I might want to try.

Being that I'm new at this (although I do partake in other artistic endeavors) I figure I want to go for something relatively simple. My idea (for now) is to go with a simple wash and then maybe apply some detail paints to bring out certain features of the wheel. I don't want this to be a huge/crazy project (although I'm very detail oriented so I will still probably fall into the trap of it being at least a medium sized project). I don't want to take a super long time, but I also don't want it to look like crap either.

Anyhow, this list is a look at all of the cool and interesting ideas other gamers have had in pimping out their gears and my comments on what I like (and maybe a bit of what I don't like)...



Exhibit 1:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Scott Ferrier
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
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I like that the gears blend in and have a similar feel to the board. I also like how the worker spots are a darker color to bring out where they can be placed. The extra bit of color on a couple of elements on the main gear is a nice touch as well.



Exhibit 2:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Mario Markiefka
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


The black gears are definitely striking! I love the overall look and how the details stand out nicely against the dark background.



Exhibit 3:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Manuel Vila Rodríguez
Spain
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This is one of a couple that made all of the smaller gears a matching color to the board area they represent - something I've been considering for mine as well. I really like the detailing on the main gear and the shiny gold highlights are terrific!



Exhibit 4:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Renaut Stephane
United Kingdom
Horsham
West Sussex
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I like the simplicity of this one - a nice solid color, not too dark, but not too light that it completely blends in. The slightly mottled look with certain elements highlighted is great. It looks like something that has been sitting in the jungle for a long while.



Exhibit 5:
This was posted by one of the game designers, but according to the comments I think Paul Grogan actually did the painting...?
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
daniele tascini
Italy
Porto San Giorgio
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Paul Grogan
United Kingdom
Cullompton
Devon
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I love how the details are brought out with the darker background. The gray stone look is very nice and yet simple as well. I wish there were more pictures to see how it looks on the board.



Exhibit 6:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
André Nordstrand
Norway
Jørpeland
Rogaland
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The depth of color on this one is excellent - really brings out the texture. Again, gold highlights here are terrific. Also wish there was there was a pic of this one on the board.



Exhibit 7:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
David Berry
United Kingdom
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The ink wash on the main disk looks nice and you can see the design showing through but is still a bit subtle at the same time. The color is a good choice as it matches parts of the board.



Exhibit 8:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Chris MacLennan
United Kingdom
Reading
Berkshire
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This has an interesting wooden look to the outer gears although I think I'd like to steer more towards either stone look or just something that looks aged/highlighted. The main gear (when viewed at higher resolution) really shows the details with a very simple one-step wash job.



Exhibit 9:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Patrick Draad
Netherlands
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar

1477113

I really like this different take of green and blue giving it a sort of mottled jungle look. This one also takes the colored smaller gears to the extreme which I like although I'd probably want to tone mine down a bit if I go that direction.



Exhibit 10:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Alkis Moraitis
Australia
Sydney Olympic Park
NSW
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This is an interesting take using red on the main gear only and just in the center disc area to highlight the design. I really like how well it shows the design and doesn't go too crazy with color (other than the bright color choice - not complaining though as my favorite color is red!)



Exhibit 11:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Angel
Spain
Madrid
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This is one of my favorites just because of all the detailed painting and colors involved. It is certainly the most complex and it really looks great. Again, I love the gold highlights here - they just seem to go with the look of the art really well. The two different colors of blue is nice although very bold. I'm not sure I would want to go that bold or put in that much work, but I certainly wouldn't complain if mine looked as great as this when done!



Exhibit 12:

(Not sure if Mouseketeer actually painted this, but listing as the person who posted the pic at least)
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This is a good example of the stone look - it is subtle but looks great on the board as it contrasts with it well but also doesn't overwhelm it.



Exhibit 13:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Michael Kröhnert
Germany
Aachen
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This is a really nicely done wash - it really brings out the details but does it very subtly. The white and black highlights on the outer elements look good too. A very nice, simple amount of work but looks great at the same time. This is probably closer to what my ideas aspires to, but ultimately I will probably end up doing a bit more with some of the other elements I've seen elsewhere.



Exhibit 14:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Evan Dunn
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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This is the ultimate minimalist pimping - just highlighting the numbers and nothing else. I think I'll definitely want a bit more than this (I think the arrows should have been done as well), but it does show how even a small amount of work can help enhance certain elements.



Exhibit 15:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Kai Teo
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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I like how different details were brought out on this one than on other ones. Its funny what will catch each person's eye. The stone look again looks great here and the details really pop with the white and yellowish, copper and bronze colors.



Exhibit 16:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Mark O'Reilly
United Kingdom
Chester
Cheshire
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Another one with a gold/bronze look - this one is heavy on the shininess with some red to highlight. Also notice the colored outer gears as well - I really like the shade of blue on the Chichen Itza gear.




Exhibit 17:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Eduardo Cruz
Portugal
Arcozelo - Vila Nova de Gaia
Porto
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


I like the details on this one. The all black (or is that very dark blue?) is a nice contrast to the color.




Exhibit 18:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Brian McCarty
United States
La Crescent
Minnesota
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This one is very gray with a wash but only in the center. The wash looks ok but I think it needed to cover the whole gear.




Exhibit 19:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
N/A


Another all black one with highlighted details. I like the blue arrows and the brown highlighting on the two figures on the wheel. I'm becoming a non-fan though of bright highlighting on the central odd-shaped feature. Bringing it out is interesting to a point, but not too much as there are other more interesting features on the gear I think.



Exhibit 20:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
The Dave
United States
Ogden
Utah
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whattheproblemis describes how he did it in the comments of the photo. Just basic acrylic paint for the colors, then rubbed an antiquing color to give it a darker look.




Exhibit 21:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Just basic gold spray paint does the trick on this one. Looks pretty good just by itself, although I think I still want a bit more color/detail on mine than just a simple solid color.





Well, I will keep adding to this list as more and more designs come forth. However, as more designs are put out by users the harder it is for me to decide what *I* want to do. I think here's what I want to do:

* Brownish or Grayish wash/base to give it a stone or earthen look.
* Gold highlights on the raised design in many areas.
* Some red highlights of certain details.
* White or yellow highlights on the gear teeth details.
* Scan, color on my computer, then print out the central gear sticker to match whatever my design ends up looking like.

The central sticker is something that was only addressed a couple of times: by monolovia on Exhibit 3 (detailed painted or colored) and alkis21 on Exhibit 10 (lightly tinted) and macklau on Exhibit 11 (detailed painted)

I've had in my mind to color it on the computer which will give me some control and flexibility (and opportunity to fix it if I mess up)

Anyhow, that's the plan for now. Hopefully I have some time in the near future to work on this, perhaps on my time over the holidays. I've REALLY been wanting to play my copy but want to get this painting project done first and it as been languishing after everything else I need to do....

EDIT: 31-DEC-2012 - ADDED Exhibit 17 + commentary
EDIT: 02-JAN-2013 - ADDED Exhibits 18 & 19 + commentary
EDIT: 04-JAN-2013 - ADDED Exhibits 20 & 21 + commentary - just about every day there's a new pic!

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