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Subject: Blocks for block-game rss

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Pelle Nilsson
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One of my projects for 2014 will be a DIY block-game version of Clash of Empires: The Battle for France 1914 (as others have done; the game really much IS a block-game, but shipped with cardboard counters).

The obvious choice of course would be to order some 20x20x10 mm blocks from Columbia Games but they are not cheap, only sold in bags of 25 (I need only a few of some colors) and shipping to Europe (plus not unlikely customs added to that) is even more expensive. So I'm looking for alternatives.

Spielmaterial has at least two options:
Block, Cuboid 20x20x10mm looks like a good choice, but cost even more than from Columbia Games (although there will be no customs added so perhaps best-case they will be cheaper).

"Wooden wall, from the expansion "cities and knights", dimensions 21x21x5 mm". These are about half price. One of the photos shows one standing on the edge. Do anyone know if the balance in those are good enough to work as blocks for a block-game? Or are they designed to lie flat on the board?

Any better suggestions? I don't really care if they are wood or not, so if there are cheaper plastic blocks (as long as they are square and can stand up on any of its four edges without falling over all the time) that is also interesting. Don't mind if they are a bit smaller than 20x20. Less than about 15x15 is probably difficult to make readable stickers for though. I saw some block-games that use tiny blocks, but not sure what that size is.
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Russ Williams
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Square Lego (or Lego clone) blocks? The label wouldn't be fully attached to a flat surface, but it would probably good enough for prototyping, I suppose...
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Pelle Nilsson
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russ wrote:
Square Lego (or Lego clone) blocks? The label wouldn't be fully attached to a flat surface, but it would probably good enough for prototyping, I suppose...


It is not obvious to me what Lego block or combination of blocks you have in mind. Lego usually isn't exactly cheap anyway, but perhaps some clone is.

I want it to be good enough for playing with, not just as a prototype. So it can't be obvious what way a block is rotated just by looking at its back, and it can't look too weird.
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Captain Yellowbeard
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pelni wrote:
russ wrote:
Square Lego (or Lego clone) blocks? The label wouldn't be fully attached to a flat surface, but it would probably good enough for prototyping, I suppose...


It is not obvious to me what Lego block or combination of blocks you have in mind. Lego usually isn't exactly cheap anyway, but perhaps some clone is.

Lego has a Flat Tile 2X2, design ID 3068, which is used as a cap on the standard 2X2 block and they are available in thirteen (13) colors.

Lego Pick-A Brick
There is a Lego Store nearby:
Lego Store in Copenhagen Denmark
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Russ Williams
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pelni wrote:
russ wrote:
Square Lego (or Lego clone) blocks? The label wouldn't be fully attached to a flat surface, but it would probably good enough for prototyping, I suppose...


It is not obvious to me what Lego block or combination of blocks you have in mind.

A single square with 2x2 or 4x4 little plugs/stubs/whatever they're called sticking out of its square surface. Stand it on an edge just like you'd do with a wooden square.

Quote:
I want it to be good enough for playing with, not just as a prototype.


Ah, then indeed not appropriate anyway, since the unit's label would just be touching the tops of the little stubs/cylinders/whatever they're called, so not stuck on very reliably or aesthetically pleasingly...

Or are there some 2x2 or 4x4 Lego blocks which are flat, e.g. for roofs of buildings?

But then the side facing the opponent would still show the "underneath" holes. So still weird looking...


Realistically, I would just go for the usual familiar wooden blocks. They feel more nice and solid and hefty and pleasing in any case.
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Captain Yellowbeard
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russ wrote:
... are there some 2x2 or 4x4 Lego blocks which are flat, e.g. for roofs of buildings?
See post above.
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Pelle Nilsson
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CapnYB wrote:

There is a Lego Store nearby:
Lego Store in Copenhagen Denmark


I never thought of Copenhagen as nearby, but perhaps that depends on your frame of reference. I think I can get there by train in 4 hours. Anyway it would not make economic sense just to avoid paying for real Columbia Games wooden blocks.

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Pelle Nilsson
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Legos with a flat side (showing towards the opponent) and thick enough to stand up, will still end up more expensive than at least those 21x21x5 wooden blocks. It was an interesting idea otherwise, especially if they could be made to not look so obviously Lego.

Was hoping there would be some kind of colored blocks in about 20x20x10mm (or slightly smaller), produced for whatever use, that could be bought in big bags from somewhere.
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Justin Case
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Can the blocks be a little bit larger?

Here in the US, Jenga sets can be easily found in thrift stores, and provide a cheap and ready source of wooden bricks, blocks, or tiles.

An uncut Jenga brick is about 75 mm long, 25 mm wide, and 14 mm thick. Cut into thirds, and allowing for saw blade thickness and a bit of sanding, that would give square blocks about 23-24 mm across, and easily thick enough to stand on the sides with fine stability. The wood could then be easily stained or painted to give whatever colors are desired.

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Luke Denby
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You could head to a Home Depot type store and get a length of simple square wooden trim. Have them cut it into segments. Then paint/stain it as needed. Should be really cheap.
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Captain Yellowbeard
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pelni wrote:
CapnYB wrote:

There is a Lego Store nearby:
Lego Store in Copenhagen Denmark


I never thought of Copenhagen as nearby, but perhaps that depends on your frame of reference. I think I can get there by train in 4 hours. Anyway it would not make economic sense just to avoid paying for real Columbia Games wooden blocks.


Well it is the closest Lego store to your location so nearby is relative.

Have you considered Domino tiles?
 
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Gary Selkirk
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What colours do you need and how many? I have a large number of blocks and will send you what you need and the colours for a reasonable price + shipping.
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Russ Williams
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I believe a risk with the various do-it-yourself approaches to making one's own wooden blocks is successfully achieving the desired effect that individual blocks and orientations of blocks are not distinguishable (due to minor cutting and painting/dyeing imperfections).
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Confusion Under Fire
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How about buying a second hand block game and stealing the pieces, not sure if this is any cheaper though?
 
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Luke Denby
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whatambush wrote:
How about buying a second hand block game and stealing the pieces, not sure if this is any cheaper though?

I actually picked up Shogun a while back for this same reason. Got a interesting game out of it and plenty of wooden cubes in multiple colors.
I've actually cannibalized several games in the past for making prototypes.
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Pelle Nilsson
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LINCSANDWINKS wrote:
What colours do you need and how many? I have a large number of blocks and will send you what you need and the colours for a reasonable price + shipping.


Sorry to not answer much quicker, and seemingly ignore this generous offer, but holidays and all that and I completely forgot about blocks and blockgames for a few weeks.

Recalled this thread because I almost bought some blocks from a guy in Canada and shipping was prohibitive. I don't think it is a good idea to buy large amounts of blocks from overseas. Heavy packages also tends to attract the attention of our friendly customs officers.

It would be great to find some cheap supplier in Europe. China might also be a good option. There is the customs risk when ordering from there, but usually the products (and shipping) is so low that it is on average worth it anyway.
 
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Pelle Nilsson
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Learned that there are producers of 1x1x1 cm and 2x2x2 cm foam blocks that are extremely cheap (I think $8 for 200 or 300 blocks in the US; but there are also some even cheaper suppliers in Asia), but I have no idea if something like that would be stable enough to use for playing block games. I know I would miss that nice tapping sound that the wooden blocks make when you put them down on the plexi sheet. Guess shipping costs (even from US/Canada) would at least not be an issue with foam.

Hollow plastic blocks, similar to the indented blank dice I have a bag of, would probably work very well, but I can't find anyone making them in a size close to 1x1x2 cm. I don't like the idea of playing block-games with cubes.
 
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Pelle Nilsson
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For this time spielmaterial will probably do. If I order 100 each in two colors (I think that will work) will not be too much, and it has the added benefit that I can take the opportunity to order some other useful suff (not that I NEED many more game pieces).
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