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Subject: Getting Started with PnP rss

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suPUR DUEper
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Hi All,

I am attempting to channel my voracious appetite for games into a positive developmental experience for my kids. I have been considering all the projects that are done here on the geek where folks create their own maps, pimp their copies of games, and/or print and play some of the offerings on the market.

So here is my thinking. I would like to commission my kids to do some project work for me. This might include:
- printing and assembling a PnP game
- laminating some player aides
- making larger maps
- making custom maps
- mounting maps
- etc.

The hope is that they learn some publishing skills in the process plus I will compensate them for their labor which will be something akin to a summer job.

Both kids are in high school.

So my question is: what kind of stuff (equipment and software) would I need to outfit them with? Is there some kind of PnP tool kit that I could assemble for them? How about a "how to guide"? I am afraid that my expertise lies outside the area of desktop publishing so part of the learning experience will be for them to figure out how to do it. I would like to supply them with some introductory resources though.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Nicholas Vitek
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No real PnP Starter kit, however, if you check on this forum, you'll see a lot of reviews on different equipment and methods.

Printer - You'll want a printer that has good ink life (some printers needlessly waste ink). Decide between a Laser and an Ink Jet. If just starting out, Ink Jets are cheap to get into but the ink is expensive over the life of the printer.

Laminators - You can get good special deals on small laminators by keeping an eye out. Alternately, if you have a Hobby Lobby, wait for a 50% off coupon on their website and pick one up cheap.

Making Maps - Howitzer_120mm is an expert on large maps, he has a guide somewhere on this forum that is a great read.

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Edoras
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I've done a lot of the printing at Staples. Then it's just a matter of having a good straight edge and cutting tools. I have a utility knife on a cutting mat (my wife's for her scrapbooking) and one that slides (not sure what you call it, but it's at Staples and craft stores and it lets me cut things square, because with scissors it'd look awful). I like to mount things on matteboard (like what you use to make picture frames) and then it's glue time. I still haven't figured out a great glue for all purposes. Mod Podge is nice for mounting things, but makes a lousy card (when gluing front to back they just end up separating). Elmer's spray glue gets everywhere and I almost ruined one build. I actually used elmer's roll on glue for some other, bigger cards (110 lb cardstock back to back), which worked ok, but it got all wavy, though it's doing better with sitting under a heavy game for months.
So, those are my successes and failures. Over all it's turned out quite nice and I'm happy with my builds. They could probably be better though, and there is more advice on this forum, that I myself need to mine.
Have fun!
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Robert Beachler
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davekuhns wrote:
I've done a lot of the printing at Staples. Then it's just a matter of having a good straight edge and cutting tools. I have a utility knife on a cutting mat (my wife's for her scrapbooking) and one that slides (not sure what you call it, but it's at Staples and craft stores and it lets me cut things square, because with scissors it'd look awful). I like to mount things on matteboard (like what you use to make picture frames) and then it's glue time. I still haven't figured out a great glue for all purposes. Mod Podge is nice for mounting things, but makes a lousy card (when gluing front to back they just end up separating). Elmer's spray glue gets everywhere and I almost ruined one build. I actually used elmer's roll on glue for some other, bigger cards (110 lb cardstock back to back), which worked ok, but it got all wavy, though it's doing better with sitting under a heavy game for months.
So, those are my successes and failures. Over all it's turned out quite nice and I'm happy with my builds. They could probably be better though, and there is more advice on this forum, that I myself need to mine.
Have fun!


I prefer spray glue for pretty much any build I do. 77 multipurpose spray adhesive seems perfect for what I need it for. Making boards, cards and almost anything else I need. Having proper cardstock is also important though because regular paper will just not hold up to spray adhesive as well. Really though for what personal preference is it takes just trying a few things. I use a straight steel ruler and an Exacto knife for most cuts. It's the best way I get straight lines, again though your mileage may vary. Just jump into the DIY forums and look at a lot of the threads there and you'll get a lot more ideas of where to start.
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Edoras
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robbdaman wrote:
davekuhns wrote:
I've done a lot of the printing at Staples. Then it's just a matter of having a good straight edge and cutting tools. I have a utility knife on a cutting mat (my wife's for her scrapbooking) and one that slides (not sure what you call it, but it's at Staples and craft stores and it lets me cut things square, because with scissors it'd look awful). I like to mount things on matteboard (like what you use to make picture frames) and then it's glue time. I still haven't figured out a great glue for all purposes. Mod Podge is nice for mounting things, but makes a lousy card (when gluing front to back they just end up separating). Elmer's spray glue gets everywhere and I almost ruined one build. I actually used elmer's roll on glue for some other, bigger cards (110 lb cardstock back to back), which worked ok, but it got all wavy, though it's doing better with sitting under a heavy game for months.
So, those are my successes and failures. Over all it's turned out quite nice and I'm happy with my builds. They could probably be better though, and there is more advice on this forum, that I myself need to mine.
Have fun!



I prefer spray glue for pretty much any build I do. 77 multipurpose spray adhesive seems perfect for what I need it for. Making boards, cards and almost anything else I need. Having proper cardstock is also important though because regular paper will just not hold up to spray adhesive as well. Really though for what personal preference is it takes just trying a few things. I use a straight steel ruler and an Exacto knife for most cuts. It's the best way I get straight lines, again though your mileage may vary. Just jump into the DIY forums and look at a lot of the threads there and you'll get a lot more ideas of where to start.

Thanks!
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SnipedintheHead
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I'd recommend starting here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/848512/all-the-diy-links...
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Edoras
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weirdboy_1 wrote:

Thanks!
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suPUR DUEper
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weirdboy_1 wrote:


Wow! Just wow!

Thanks for the link!
 
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Andrew Finke
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I have a few things posted on my profile page you can check out.
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K H
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Before you start, load up on information. Learn as much as you can about tips, tricks, methods, and materials. Find out what worked well for others, and what did not work so well. Read threads in this forum with titles like "Dos and Don'ts of DIY Games".

Understand that game crafting involves many diverse skills which may take time and effort to develop. Projects do not always go as originally intended. Leave room for failure to pave the way to eventual success.

Now, let us put together a beginner's DIY kit, aiming for low cost and minimal initial skill.

BEGINNER

craft scissors
Be careful to select the right tool. Thick, heavy, all-metal construction is a must. Examine the bevel on the cutting edges. A wide angle bevel is better because it is stronger and less likely to nick. The bevel on my pair is about 70 or 75 degrees. Also check the action. The blades should stay pressed firmly against each other throughout the cut.
(click on image to enlarge)


straight edge
Because a straight edge with bits missing is no longer straight, you need the hardness of steel, not aluminum or brass. Plastic and wood are right out. A non-slip rubber or cork backing ensures best results.

razor knife
Get the box cutter type utility knife with replaceable blades. This is easier to control than an Xacto hobby knife, and less strain on the hand. Plan to replace the blade frequently, like every third or fourth cut. Use a cutting mat or other semi-soft surface beneath your material to avoid dulling the blade too fast.

color printer
Buy your own or use the fancy machines at your local office supply store. If you make a habit of using the color printer where you work, you will be tracked, and may be in trouble.

full sheet adhesive paper
This is worth every penny. Print, cut, peel, and stick to cardboard, cardstock, dice, or whatever. It is much faster and easier than gluing regular paper, plus it is less prone to warping and puckering. However, some brands use weak adhesive so the edges may peel easily.

cardboard
It comes in different densities and thicknesses, and is called by various (sometimes conflicting) names. Chipboard, greyboard, and backer board are about right. You want material about the thickness of the backing on a tablet of ledger paper. You could cut it with scissors with some effort. Matte board (for picture framing) is thicker and heavier and more difficult to cut.

cardstock
110 lb (199 gsm) cardstock is what you want. It is available in white and a limited selection of colors. 65 lb (118 gsm) cardstock is available in more colors, but it is rather flimsy.

dice, pawns, and other random bits
Raid a thrift store for cheap games. Keep what you can reuse and toss out the rest. Sticker over the board with your new game.

glue
Avoid spray glues until you have more experience. Get a non-water-based liquid glue instead (water swells and puckers the paper too much). Use a brush or the edge of a card to spread it thinly and evenly on the work piece. Or use a glue stick designed for serious crafters, such as the UHU stick. Avoid the "school" type glue sticks.

Then after you gain some experience, you can try new tools and techniques.

INTERMEDIATE

graphics software
Before you print, you can make some adjustments to suit your particular needs: scale, color changes, splitting large images across multiple pages, whatever. There are many good programs available. I would suggest GIMP, Paint.net, or Photoshop Elements (or whatever the cheap, basic edition is called these days). All three of these programs provide similar tool sets, but the first two are free while the third costs money. The learning curve can be a little intimidating for novices, so look for tutorials online to get you started.

plywood
Put the board in boardgaming. Use as a substrate for game boards, or just to hold your paper flat while the glue dries. It comes in a range of thicknesses and quality grades. You need smooth sanded faces free of knot holes, but cabinet grade plywood is overkill unless you plan to keep the wood fully visible. For use as a clamp, you need two pieces of half inch thickness and sufficient width and length to cover whatever needs clamping. You can get a limited selection of precut 2 x 2 foot and 2 x 4 foot plywood at big box home improvement stores.

vinyl floor tile
Use as a substrate for tokens and board tiles. Factory applied adhesive backing makes mounting printouts one step simpler. Cut with a razor knife in multiple passes, or score and bend to snap (if the temperature is not too warm).

wood burning tool
Available in hobby shops, this tool vaguely resembles an electric soldering pen. Use it to burn line art into wood. Start by freehand drawing in pencil lightly on the wood, then trace with the tool to make it permanent. Or print an image on paper, affix it to the wood, and burn through it. For efficient burning, the tool should feature a 25 to 35 watt heating element.

rotary cutter
When used with a self-healing cutting mat and a guide, this tool makes very clean, fast cuts. It resembles a small diameter, razor sharp, pizza cutting wheel. Some people swear by this tool. Others swear at it. Good results require significant skill, and it has limitations on the types of cuts it can make.

paint and brushes
Stains, varnishes, enamels, and acrylic art paints can be used to add base, spot color, detail, and/or finish to various game components. Apply with small and medium size, art quality brushes. Remember to use appropriate solvents for thinning and cleaning. Avoid latex paints, as they can remain soft and tacky for years.

clear coat spray
Protect your printed and painted artwork from dirt, water, and abrasive damage while giving the surface a uniform luster. Choose either satin or gloss finish.

adhesive shelf paper
Actually this product is made of vinyl, and it comes in a variety of textures, prints, and colors. Cover the back of your board with an opaque print, or use two layers of the transparent version as a poor man's cold lamination.

foamcore board
This is two layers of poster stock with a layer of foam glued between them. If you measure, cut, and notch it just right then you can build interlocking walls to form dividers in your storage box. It also works for making 3 dimensional structures, interlocking jigsaw map tiles, standees, and other useful items.
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suPUR DUEper
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Wow! Thanks for the replies guys! Looks like I, uh, my little subcontractors have some reading to do.... This is a tremendous help and is much appreciated. Thanks again!

Ted
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A few thoughts...

3M Super 77 is great adhesive but make certain you have maximum ventilation when using it. The vapors will make you very sick otherwise.

I use Scotch Wrinkle-Free Glue sticks. They do not clump, wrinkle or fall apart and are made to spec for mounting photos (so acid free). I use these guys for a lot of projects.

Find B&W material that can be printed onto colored paper whenever possible (like counters for games that have solid color backgrounds)...saves a ton in ink costs.

Also I would rec picking up an Epson Photo Stylus R280 printer. Made for photo quality printing I'm buying carts from Amazon for about $5-$6 dollars and that is for all 6 carts that it needs (1 black and 5 color carts) for that price. I just ordered the other day because the company I buy from had a dual pack (12 carts) for like $9.80. You can make a lot of components with prices like those

And a small paper trimmer for starters and then a rotary for the heavier jobs is highly rec'd.

Paper-20lb is ok for rulebooks on laser printers but 24lb is always the best for 'wetter' projects. Always make certain that whatever stock you buy-20lb, 65, 110,etc - that it says 'acid-free'.

Also, you probably have a ton of stuff around the house that can be recycled. Any dry food product, like granola bars, that come in a box that the inside is white makes some of the best laminated component materials I have found. I use a sanding sponge to rough the inked sides and glue them together. I was shocked at the stiffness of the counters I made and have been hooked ever since.

Full sheet labels can be found in bulk on eBay for very cheap. These are great for large counter/marker runs and components that aren't full size. If you do want to mount a full sheet consider picking up a pad of Strathmore 300 series watercolor cold press 140lb paper (9"x12" pad). It makes life so much easier (you have a lot of wiggle room putting an 8.5 x 11 label sheet on a sheet of it).

And have fun. For me the crafting side of gaming is as important as the playing side.
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