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Subject: 3D printing and board games rss

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Joseph Larson
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I feel so alone in this. I love board and family games. I love 3D printing. So I've done a couple of 3D printed board game projects, including reviving an out of print game better than the original and making a popular PnP game 3D PnP. I find 3D printing simplifies the making process, reduces work, and makes much more consistent results. Obviously it'd not perfect for card games, but there are many games that it does work on.

But when I show my work to my 3D printing buddies the response is a resounding "meh". And when I show it to my board game buddies the response is "That'd be cool if I had a 3D printer and meh." Now talk about minis/RPGs/Wargames and there's a number of 3D printer owners who get excited. But that's not what excites me.

The thing is if you don't have a 3D printer you can still get it 3D printed for relatively cheap, and locally, by going to sites like MakeXYZ and 3DHubs.

So what do you think? How do I get people excited about the possibility of 3D printing board games? What would make you go "that's cool, I'll buy in"?
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Domenic
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Okay -- I'm asking.

I agree: I think this is a neat possibility. Printing custom pieces or minis on the fly is the main reason I've considered buying a 3D printer. Unfortunately, even though it would be cool, it's purely for fun, and still too pricey to justify.

I just realized you were distinguishing between minis and board games -- so are you printing the boards in plastic? I'd like to know more.
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Jarrett Dunn
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Meh, it'd be cool if I had one .

Personally for the cost I would rather have a CNC router as then I can do things like make custom storage, make boards out of hardwood for display or play, etc.

ala

https://www.buildyourcnc.com/
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It's very easy to get excited until you do the research and then find out that you can't get what you want at a price you're prepared to pay in an acceptable material in an acceptable quality & finish.

I once thought this would be an ideal method to produce Ships and containers for Container but the results - although they looked nice - would have cost more than even the ridiculous prices currently being asked for this OOP game.

There were some wonderful 'cubes' actually made for a (rich!) owner of Indonesia and they are things of beauty, but too expensive.

Home printers seem to produce poor quality items (banding, lack of detail) in unsuitable (soft) materials, and commercial printing is too expensive for anything other than maquettes and prototypes or high-end one-offs.

That's what I think. Sorry, terribly negative. I don't think the technology is yet mature enough for any excitement to last into a product that can be afforded by a regular board-gamer.

Now, show me a laser cutter for cutting and engraving chits & tokens. and cutting custom inserts etc and that's a different thing
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Chuck Henry
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Oh I'm excited... I just have no idea where to start! I'd never heard of MakeXYZ or 3DHubs. I'm in Canton, NY so the closest place "locally" is in Ottawa Canada.

If you could point me/us to some resources on how to design or get started it would be appreciated!
 
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Thomas Hoiland
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I would love to 3D print board game pieces!
I've got lots of board game customization ideas such as printing your own fleet in Eclipse, printing out my wife's favorite color for trains in TtR, printing 3D Catan pieces that won't warp over time, my list goes on. I've got a couple of really rough ideas for my game that would need either LEGOs or 3D printed parts (definitely LEGOs for prototyping).


And that's just for gaming. I also do some hobby electronics, and it would be great to print adapters from servo motors to other linkages as well as packaging for the electronics. In the woodworking I do I'd be able to print angle jigs and drill guides in addition to prototypes of projects.
On the other hand, I really can't quite justify the cost of the printer.

A co-worker of mine is thinking about getting a 3D printer. If he does, I'll be giving modelling lessons for the low, low cost of some time with the printer!

Long story short, I think 3D printing is a fantastic and exciting technology, but cost in both the printer and the materials are major turn offs. The other big turn off, I think, comes to the creativity and desire to create that many people seem to lack. If you can inspire someone to want to make something of their own design, especially identical multiples of that design; you could inspire someone to be excited about 3D printing.
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Christian Link
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Considered it, think that it would make me a bigger boardgame geek by 1000%, and would make more poor for more than one reason.

Its really still too ahead of its time for modern consumers.

I last mentioned this topic in a post about game storage or the lack thereof:
1. Scan boardgame for 3d printing
2. 3D print boardgame
3. Play boardgame
4. Burn boardgame
5. Laugh meniacally and repeat 2-4 as needed

Also, doesn't it feel only one step away from Star Trek's replicator? Manufacturless Industry? Intellectual Tokenism? Utopian Technocracy? (I wag my pinky.)
 
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Joseph Larson
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dommer2029 wrote:
Okay -- I'm asking.

I agree: I think this is a neat possibility. Printing custom pieces or minis on the fly is the main reason I've considered buying a 3D printer. Unfortunately, even though it would be cool, it's purely for fun, and still too pricey to justify.

I just realized you were distinguishing between minis and board games -- so are you printing the boards in plastic? I'd like to know more.


Again, the expense can be somewhat differed by using MakeXYZ and 3DHubs. It's still a little pricy, but it's cheaper than buying a $2000 3D printer.

I updated the post with pictures of my projects and took out the begging for attention. But since you asked here's my list of projects so far:

http://cymonsdesigns.blogspot.com/2014/05/coin-age-3d-printe...

http://cymonsdesigns.blogspot.com/2014/04/squirrel-squabble-...

http://cymonsdesigns.blogspot.com/2014/03/tardis-run-board-g...

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:149656

http://cymonsdesigns.blogspot.com/2014/04/cute-lovecraft-ins...

On my list is a 3D printed version of Quoridor with cute versions of the Minotaur, Cyclops, Hydra and a Centaurus to play with and a 3D printed LED light version of Waldschattenspiel, as well as an original game inspired by Fireball Island.

I'm distinguishing between minis and board games because mini games don'e excite me, generally. I'll play them socially, but I'm really excited by the strategy and thought process of a board game.

With TARDIS Run and Squirrel Squabble the boards were easily 3D printed. In the case of TARDIS Run the board doubles as a case. In the case of Squirrel Squabble the board is tiny. With Troke I made a 3D printed board, and it was cool, but it was big and needed to be modularized, and I never did find a box for it. So I also provided a 2D printed file that you could play on. The board barely fit.
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Joseph Larson
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So what I'm getting so far is there's a lot of negativity thinking home 3D printing isn't appropriate for this sort of project. That's true... in some cases. And not in others.

enoon wrote:
I once thought this would be an ideal method to produce Ships and containers for Container but the results - although they looked nice - would have cost more than even the ridiculous prices currently being asked for this OOP game.

Container was on my list, too, but I dug a bit deeper and decided it wasn't the sort of game that I'd be into. Maybe I'm wrong. I'll have to revisit it and maybe put it back on my future projects list.

enoon wrote:
Home printers seem to produce poor quality items (banding, lack of detail) in unsuitable (soft) materials


It's time to update your mind here. I've stepped on 3D printed parts and felt it for a week because it's the same plastic LEGOs are made of. At least mine is. And the quality is great. Not perfect, but great. At 150 micron layer resolution you can barely see the layers. Take a look at the pictures I've posted. They're all printed on a Makerbot Replicator (1) by me at home for the cost of a couple dollars. I'd probably charge you a little bit more for my time, but I guarantee it'd be way cheaper than shapeways. Is it perfect? No, there are little imperfections. But is it as bad as you think? I don't think so.

Windrant wrote:
Oh I'm excited... I just have no idea where to start! I'd never heard of MakeXYZ or 3DHubs. I'm in Canton, NY so the closest place "locally" is in Ottawa Canada.

If you could point me/us to some resources on how to design or get started it would be appreciated!


In NY the closest resource is Canada? No way. NY is the home of Makerbot and 1000 other 3D printing startups. Seriously that's the closest MakeXYZ or 3DHubs is reporting? That's crazy. Here in Utah there are 7 within a few miles. And that's just the "registered to print for you" folks. I know for a fact there are a ton more. New York has got to have resources closer than Canada. I'm scratching my head here. I've heard the Makerbot store will 3D print your designs, but I don't know what they charge.

As far as how to design, I've written a book (3D printing blueprints) and I do occasionally do posts on it on my blog http://joes3Dworkbench.blogspot.com.
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If you're printing lego-like materials, then you are right: definitely time to update my thinking. Maybe in 3 years' time we'll have the same facilities over here My nearest 'makerspace' is 60 miles away, but they do have a laser cutter!
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Sterling Babcock
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I have been messing around with it this month. It turns out that there is a tinkermill Makerspace club (http://www.tinkermill.org/) in my area that has a bunch of the printers. Check out similar groups in your area.

I have been playing around with the 3D temples by genki (genki) for Tikal. They seem pretty great!

http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/101932/tikal-temple-pieces...

I have also been messing around with 3D models for Assault on Hoth: The Empire Strikes Back. Mostly I used the micromachines pieces.

For storage, I found the 3D printing too slow and takes up too much plastic. I made a fantastic tile tower for Drakon (third edition), but decided in the end to just make a tray. My attempts at the 3D tray were abismal. I found using a laser wood cutter worked much better (Also at the Tinkermill)

I think over time these will become more common.
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T. Dauphin
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Squad leader terrain.
Not too interested in plastic bits for games unless they're giving me a 3D effect. Some buildings, bridges, maybe walls and hedges and I'm in.
But I've never seen any kind of price for a 3D product, and would need to see some kind of valuation.

 
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Custom "engraved" dice would be a great use of a 3D printer. Plenty of games would benefit from that.
 
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Joseph Larson
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cornixt wrote:
Custom "engraved" dice would be a great use of a 3D printer. Plenty of games would benefit from that.

The question is if 3D printed dice are fair enough. I did some chi-squared testing, nothing extensive, but the results were surprising. I hope one day to do some more extensive testing.

http://joesmakerbot.blogspot.com/2013/10/testing-3d-printed-...
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Holger Doessing
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cymon wrote:
cornixt wrote:
Custom "engraved" dice would be a great use of a 3D printer. Plenty of games would benefit from that.

The question is if 3D printed dice are fair enough. I did some chi-squared testing, nothing extensive, but the results were surprising. I hope one day to do some more extensive testing.

http://joesmakerbot.blogspot.com/2013/10/testing-3d-printed-...

I once rolled a d6 over 200 times just to see how fair it was. I found that, even after 200 rolls, the distribution of rolls fluctuated quite a lot. My gut feeling is that 30 rolls just won't be enough to satisfy a statistical analysis.

However, that said, unless you intent to use your dice more than "many" times (probably >30) per game any un-fairness probably just won't have any real effect.
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Brian
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cymon wrote:
... I did some chi-squared testing, nothing extensive, but the results were surprising. I hope one day to do some more extensive testing....

http://joesmakerbot.blogspot.com/2013/10/testing-3d-printed-...

holgerd wrote:

I once rolled a d6 over 200 times just to see how fair it was. I found that, even after 200 rolls, the distribution of rolls fluctuated quite a lot. My gut feeling is that 30 rolls just won't be enough to satisfy a statistical analysis.

I agree wholeheartedly.

I laser engraved some custom dice. The blank dice stock I ordered are a little short in one dimension (i.e. approximately 15.9mm x 15.9mm x 15.7mm). I set it up so that the 1-6 axis was always along the short dimension to see if it would result in a higher than expected amount of "1"s. After 1224 rolls, the effect (an increased number of "1"s) was not statistically significant.

I observed 218 "1"s from 1224 rolls. This is 6.9% more than I should have. If you compare this to something like Craps 6.9% is very large compared to the house edge.

However, a 6.9% difference isn't noticeable with a chi-square (p = 0.05) unless I go to around four thousand rolls.

While I fully appreciate and am grateful that you tried to statistical testing, I'd like to further illustrate how inadequate 30 rolls is. Here is data from a hypothetical d5 showing that it could pass as a d6.


So, like I've said elsewhere, people worry about dice fairness too much. Board games are designed with imperfect dice. They can be played with imperfect dice, and the imperfect dice are good enough.
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Bill Paterno
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Subscribing just for the fact that I have a Rigidbot coming in a couple of months and I want to see what sort of game creations people come up with.

I am pretty excited to print out a few ideas for my own games as well as some custom pieces for games in my collection.
 
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Joseph Larson
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billpa wrote:
Subscribing just for the fact that I have a Rigidbot coming in a couple of months and I want to see what sort of game creations people come up with.

I am pretty excited to print out a few ideas for my own games as well as some custom pieces for games in my collection.


Go on. Tell me more about these ideas.
 
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ville Vainio
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Designed and printed new fleet for Eclipse Planta race!
Grey ones are prototypes.
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Jon Mendenhall
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I'm a sucker for upgraded components. I've been toying around with the idea of getting a monoprice mini 3d Printer https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=15365 for $200 just to create custom pieces for whatever I needed.

Right now, I'm thinking mainly terrain for miniatures games and possibly creating molds for casting coins.
 
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Kai Bettzieche
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cymon wrote:
So what do you think? How do I get people excited about the possibility of 3D printing board games? What would make you go "that's cool, I'll buy in"?


If you create a remake of Fireball Island ...



Kind regards,
Kai
 
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I am particularly interested in 3d printing some custom markers/pawns/tokens for the special gamers in my life. I am just learning about 3d printing and we have a makerspace in town w a 3d printer. Filament is about $.60/oz and no use fees at present.
We have one young friend who is also into Pokemon and I was thinking about making a player pawn w a great ball on it as well as a disc type token that matches.
Any ideas on where to look and what I would need. I am a bit of a geek where this is concerned but am totally new to these concepts.

Like someone else mentioned, I would love to find a makerspace w a CNC machine. I would get in trouble then!!!
 
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Joseph Larson
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I love my MP select mini.
 
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Daniel Schulz
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cymon wrote:
I love my MP select mini.


That's what I've got, too. At $170 it is well worth it. My first project was to make deck holders to keep all the cards stacked neatly when playing card games.
 
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Marty Lund
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I like the idea of being able to print your own minis...
 
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