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Subject: Making Counters for Wargames rss

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Glenn Laurent
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OK -- this is my first post, so be gentle...

I'm interested in making counters for homemade wargames (and other boardgames), but want to avoing the hassle of mounting cardstock to thicker boards and then cutting them.

Instead, I'd like to print counters out on Avery label sheets, and affix them to some solid surface (plastic or wood chits). So I ask -- does anyone know of a good (read: cheap) resource for obtaining square tiles of plastic or wood that I can simply stick a label onto? I'd like to find these pieces in bulk and precut, rather than cutting a square dowell, etc...
 
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Steve Hope
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Cardboard wouldn't suffice? I got a nice selection of 1" counters from Amarillo Design Bureau.
 
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Brad Miller
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Go buy scrabble sets from thrift stores
 
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Glenn Laurent
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I've thought of this as well, but the scrabble sets in the thrift stores are rather rare. The thickness of the tiles are a bit thick, but definitely usable.
 
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Alan Kaiser
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This topic just came up about a week ago. Here's a link to that thread:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/833946#833946
 
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Glenn Laurent
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But this thread doesn't discuss precut counters! I'd rather cut and peel individual counter from Avery labels than mount and cut through thick material. The scrabble tiles post is more along the lines of what I was asking for.
 
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Glenn Laurent
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stephenhope wrote:
Cardboard wouldn't suffice? I got a nice selection of 1" counters from Amarillo Design Bureau.


Cardboard counter would be fine as long as they were reasonably thick and precut. I did a search on Amarillo Design Bureau, but couldn't find the product you mentioned.
 
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Alan Kaiser
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Sorry for not reading a bit more carefully. So how many counters are you looking at making? I've done something very similar with my Magic Realm set but I used round wooden disks since many of the counters are round. The Avery labels stick nicely to them and the results are nice but I have to tell you this is a ton of work to cut the labels out individually and then mount them all. I think the Magic Realm set I did was about 400 counters of different sizes, most double sided. It took me weeks of work to finish this. I then repeated the process with Avery full page labels mounted onto matte board (double sided) and then cut these with a Fiskars mounted rotary cutter. This cuts matte board very easily. Much, much faster and the results are still really nice. I looked around quite a bit to find something square to mount the square counters on but couldn't find anything that I liked so I just went ahead and put the square labels on round counters. Check out my GeekList that is linked in that thread above. There are lots of links in their to sources for material like this. Look around and you might find something that suits you.
 
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Alan Kaiser
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glaurent wrote:

Cardboard counter would be fine as long as they were reasonably thick and precut. I did a search on Amarillo Design Bureau, but couldn't find the product you mentioned.


How thick do you need them? Would two layers of matte board work? If so then just glue two layers together with a good spray adhesive and then mount your Avery full page labels and then cut these out with a mounted rotary cutter as I mentioned above. These will cut through two layers of matte board if you do a couple passes back and forth. This is by far the easiest way to do something like this.
 
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Glenn Laurent
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alkaiser wrote:
Sorry for not reading a bit more carefully. So how many counters are you looking at making? I've done something very similar with my Magic Realm set but I used round wooden disks since many of the counters are round. The Avery labels stick nicely to them and the results are nice but I have to tell you this is a ton of work to cut the labels out individually and then mount them all. I think the Magic Realm set I did was about 400 counters of different sizes, most double sided. It took me weeks of work to finish this. I then repeated the process with Avery full page labels mounted onto matte board (double sided) and then cut these with a Fiskars mounted rotary cutter. This cuts matte board very easily. Much, much faster and the results are still really nice. I looked around quite a bit to find something square to mount the square counters on but couldn't find anything that I liked so I just went ahead and put the square labels on round counters. Check out my GeekList that is linked in that thread above. There are lots of links in their to sources for material like this. Look around and you might find something that suits you.


Hmmmm...I knew they would take a bit longer, but a week for 400! I estimated perhaps an hour cutting the labels, and 10 seconds each for peeling and sticking to the blocks. This would be a little over 2 hours for 400 counters. Plus -- I think the feel of actual wood squares would be nice.
 
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Glenn Laurent
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alkaiser wrote:
glaurent wrote:

Cardboard counter would be fine as long as they were reasonably thick and precut. I did a search on Amarillo Design Bureau, but couldn't find the product you mentioned.


How thick do you need them? Would two layers of matte board work? If so then just glue two layers together with a good spray adhesive and then mount your Avery full page labels and then cut these out with a mounted rotary cutter as I mentioned above. These will cut through two layers of matte board if you do a couple passes back and forth. This is by far the easiest way to do something like this.


I guess I just don't look forward to glueing and cutting. I've never used a rotary cutter, but I'll look into it.

I figure that precut counters would ensure that each one would be uniform in size.
 
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Matt Riley
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You might also try searching this forum at The Board Game Design Forum web site:

http://www.bgdf.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewforum&f...

 
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Joe L.
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You could try mini poker chips with your Avery stickers. They are surprisingly hare to find, but I did locate a pack of 100 chips in a local gaming store (15 red, 85 white). There was also several other colors available in smaller packs. Xeno Games is the maker and you can order them from thier website here: http://xenoserver.no-ip.info/scripts/web.dll/ExtraParts

 
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Alan Kaiser
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glaurent wrote:

Hmmmm...I knew they would take a bit longer, but a week for 400! I estimated perhaps an hour cutting the labels, and 10 seconds each for peeling and sticking to the blocks. This would be a little over 2 hours for 400 counters. Plus -- I think the feel of actual wood squares would be nice.


Again, depends on how many you're doing. If you have 40 counters then it doesn't really matter, either way it's a fairly easy task. If you're doing hundreds and plan to do this more than once then it's a different story. A couple of hours isn't even close. Cutting out the labels isn't much of a problem as you mentioned but there are a couple factors to consider:

• If the counters are double sided then organizing all this so you don't get counters mounted the wrong way or on the wrong back or some such thing will take longer than you imagine.

• Peeling the backs and mounting them on individual counters is a pain in the butt!! Avery lables (the full page ones) don't have the crack and peel backs and even if they did the cracks would rarely cross the back of a small counter. So you have to peel the back off each label with an xacto knife. This requires a steady hand so be sure and lay off the coffee for a while before you attempt it. Actually, don't do this with anything other than Avery labels since if you do use a brand with crack and peel backs you will end up peeling the back off the label more than once for a label.

• Mounting everything nice and square so you get the uniform look you mentioned will take some effort as well. Especially if you have the lebels cut the same size as the counters. I was mounting square labels on round counters so I had some wiggle room. If you go this route I'd recommend at least a 1/16" larger counter than the label you plan to use. Otherwise you'll drive yourself insane quickly!

I forget an exact time for doing my project with the wooden disks but it was easily more than twice as long as doing the matte board approach. Working an hour or two a night it took me something like four or five days! But I didn't work on it every night and hense the weeks of work. It was just too tedious to do for long periods every night! Using the matte board/rotary cutter method was about 4 hours maybe a little less for about 250 double sided counters. It goes much quicker since you're cutting stripes of counters at a time and the front and back are already mounted.
 
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Alan Kaiser
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Poker type chips are generally not a good idea as they usually have some type of ridges to assist with stacking. This means the label won't stick well to the surface. Chips along the lines of tiddly winks are much better and there are several sources where you can get them in different sizes. See my GeekList at the link above for the links to these pages.

Darkfate wrote:
You could try mini poker chips with your Avery stickers. They are surprisingly hare to find, but I did locate a pack of 100 chips in a local gaming store (15 red, 85 white). There was also several other colors available in smaller packs. Xeno Games is the maker and you can order them from thier website here: http://xenoserver.no-ip.info/scripts/web.dll/ExtraParts

 
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Glenn Laurent
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But you don't really need to cut out each counter before peeling the backing. Can't you just cut out a strip (say 1 x 20), peel off the backing, cut and stick, cut and stick, etc...?
 
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Steve Hope
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Here's the prototype kit I bought and a few other options:

http://www.starfleetstore.com/MERCHANT2/merchant.mv?Screen=C...
 
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Alan Kaiser
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glaurent wrote:
But you don't really need to cut out each counter before peeling the backing. Can't you just cut out a strip (say 1 x 20), peel off the backing, cut and stick, cut and stick, etc...?


I guess this wouldn't be too hard . . . . if you had 3 or 4 arms.

But now you get into another problem. Take a piece of label and take off the backing. Now cut it with a pair of scissors. What happens to the part of the label you are not holding onto?? It sticks to the scissors! Even without the backing peeled off, the labels will start to stick to the scissors after a while since each time you make a cut some of the adhesive will get on your blades. I got around this problem by picking up a special pair of teflon coated scissors which worked great. Anyway, I just can't see peeling off the back of a stripe of counters and then cutting each one after that. Once you cut one piece off your stripe of 20 what do you do with the other 19 while you're mounting that one counter?
 
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Tony Nardo
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Depends on how low a cost you define as "cheap". Noble Knight games & supplies carries blank counter sheets (1/2" and 5/8" counters). Cut your Avery stickers up and put them on these. If you want 1" counters, stick a label on a square of four counters before punching them out.

Personally, though, I think a table cutter, an Avery sheet, and the back piece of cardboard from a pad of paper (writing pad, graph paper, etc.) is the way to go. Cutting and pasting labels for individual counters sounds tedious.
 
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Rob Buchler
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If you are near a Michael's Crafts store you should be able to find a bag of 50 or so wood tiles that are unfinished and around 5/8 inches in size. I bought a bag last year for just over a dollar. Using an Avery sticker sheet, I made counters for a Napoleonic game called "Battle for Vimeiro." The counter images and rules are available for free on the Web at Paperworlds.com.

I just played the game last week and none of the stickers have started peeling off the unfinished wood. And they do look quite nice and distinctive. So for the price of the tiles, a piece of posterboard and the sticker sheet, I got a nice little game for about two bucks.
 
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