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Subject: How I upgraded my copy of Antiquity (and how you can do the same to yours...) rss

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John Shepherd
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A couple of months ago, I decided to pimp-out my copy of Antiquity. I'm really pleased with the results -- both from an aesthetic point of view, as well as in terms of usability -- so I thought I'd post a step-by-step account of what I did, where I got my components from, and how you could do the same thing to your copy, should you feel the urge

This will likely come in several instalments (and potentially appear in fits and starts, since I've been meaning to get started on documenting this process for weeks but always been distracted/held up by one thing or another), so if you're interested in following the full process, it's probably best to subscribe to this thread.

So, with the disclaimer out of the way...

PART 1.. WHY CHANGE ANYTHING?

For me, there were a few reasons for embarking on this project.

1. Opinions are somewhat divided on the general look and feel of Antiquity. Some people love the lo-fi design choice, and think it fits the theme of the game. Other people are... less convinced. I'm afraid I fall into the second camp, and I can easily imagine a lot of other people being drawn that way too.

There's a saying in foodie circles that when you sit down to eat a meal, you take the first bite with your eyes. If Antiquity was a meal, it would TASTE delicious... but LOOK like a mouldy, stale old biscuit, and a lot of people would pass it by to try something else.

To me, that's a problem. These days, I do a lot of my gaming at a busy club where there's a lot of people vying to get their games played. If something is a bit old, looks dull & fiddly, and has a long play time on the box, it's generally harder to get it to the table. Improving the gaming experience -- either in terms of the game's "Table presence", making an older title seem a bit more modern, or simply making it more pleasant to play -- means its more likely to garner interest and get an airing.

2. Did I just mention "making it more pleasant to play"? I defy you to find a single review of Antiquity which doesn't mention the word "fiddly". A lot.

To some extent, Antiquity is always going to be a _bit_ fiddly to play. But there are degrees of fiddliness. I wanted to try to make the components a little bit more tactile, easier to handle... and -- visually -- easier to tell apart. Essentially, I wanted to try to "fix" some of the basic user experience issues that I think the game has.

3. "pimping" a game is a good outlet for doing gaming-hobby-focussed stuff during the times that you can't actually spend _playing_ games. I already own far more games than I can possibly, sensibly play (mostly due to the perpetual gamer dilemma of getting like-minded people in the same place as me at the same time). But once your gaming collection hits critical mass, "Improving" a good game in your collection is perhaps a better way to fritter away your gaming funds than mindlessly adding yet another cult-of-the-new box to the shelf. Or, at least, that's what I managed to tell myself for the month-or-so that I was working on this

and, possibly the elephant in the room...

4. Antiquity is, essentially, $15 of components put into a box with a $150 price tag. If I've paid for a rolls-royce of gaming, I kind of want to feel like it's a little bit special, every time I take it out. Even if I end up stuffing a whole load of extra cash into the box to get it that way...

Anyway... enough of the rational for changing things. What did I do? Stay tuned for part 2...
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tim thorson
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I think it looks great can't wait to see part two
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John Shepherd
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PART 2 - RESOURCE TOKENS



To my mind, the single biggest improvement you can make to your copy of Antiquity is upgrading the resource chits to wooden tokens. At first, I prototyped with Agricola-style shaped wooden pieces, but eventually settled for 15mm wooden disks. They stack better, fit nicely on the hex boards, and work well with the 12mm "mini meeples" that I ended up using for worker pieces (more about those in a future instalment!)

To construct, you will need:

- Lots of wooden disks (surprise!)
- Stickers

I've uploaded my sticker designs to the files area; you'll find them here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/108329

(for those of you who missed the earlier thread... the "dye" token depicts a type of sea snail, which is harvested to make purple dye: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrian_purple - thanks to fnord23 for the education!)

I originally designed these files for use with pre-cut 14mm plain white circular sticker stationary sold by www.spielmaterial.de but -- frustratingly -- spielmaterial seemed to sell out of this product just a couple of days after I got the files online. I've got no idea if they intend to replenish their stock in the near future, so you may need to improvise a little.

If/when the item comes back into stock, I'll add a link here.

One thing I discovered when printing these stickers... my printer was a bit inconsistent when it came to feeding the sheets through accurately. Although the sheets are symmetrical, my printer seemed to be happier if they were inserted one particular way round. If you look very carefully at the short edges of the sheets, one is a bit "rougher" looking than the other; feed the sheets into your printer smooth-end-first, and you'll get more consistent results.

If you're using a Mac and have the recommended sticker paper: make sure your printer knows it's using A4 paper, load the files into Preview, click print, and set the print size to 100% ... they should then line up perfectly with the sticker sheets. If you're on windows/linux ... some experimentation might be necessary, but again, printing at 100% is the key. Either way, I'd recommend a test print onto plain paper first before risking your precious sticker paper!

Whatever safeguards you take, it's wise to buy several more sheets than you expect to need. I've still got a whole stack of rejects sitting on my desk -- either due to registration going wonky mid-print, my colour cartridge running out mid-print, or various other minor disasters... in fact, I ended up having to make a second purchase to get enough stickers to finish the job


(just a few of my less-salvageable mis-prints)

I designed the stickers to work with the following colours of disc:

Sheep: White
Grain: Yellow
Olives: Green
Wine Barrels: Raw
Pearls: Grey
Dye: Purple
Fish: Blue
Stone: Black
Gold: Orange
Wood: Brown

I bought my disks from this product page: http://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components/game-pieces/...

I'm in the UK, and orders from spielmaterial usually arrive within a week. If you're not in Europe, you might want to try sourcing yours elsewhere.

The original game comes with 48 of each resource token. You'll typically need far fewer of these in a real game... but I wanted to cover every eventuality, and spielmaterial have a price break on 50 discs, so I went the whole hog and made 50 of each cool
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Peter Sommer
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Awesome. Now I just wish I could get a copy of the actual game.
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K S
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I will be watching this closely to see the rest. I did a little research and here in the US Print and Play Productions offers the discs for $.08 a piece once you break the 100 total unit threshold so you could get away with only doing 48 of each if you wanna save a buck or two.

They also offer the sticker sheets printed for $1.20 vs $.85 blank and you just upload the image, so that sounds worth the extra $.35 to me. So far if I were to do it 50 of each resource and printed sheets also only weigh in at $6 shipping so, bonus.

I'm super tempted now, but I will wait unitl the end of this and see if I can justify the cost. It may be one of those things I do bit by bit because it looks amazing.

https://www.printplaygames.com/

PS: I'm in no way affiliated with PPG at all, just a fan of Antiquity and approve of doing this project.
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John Shepherd
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PART 3 - YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH WOOD!

While you're shopping at spielmaterial.de, you might also want to buy:



Explorer Tokens: Wooden cylinder, 15x10mm painted silver (you need 16 of these)

http://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components/game-pieces/...

Use the stickers in the previously-mentioned download to turn these into explorer tokens. (If you buy the silver-painted cylinders, the woodgrain on the cylinder is disguised, making them less easy to distinguish visually!)

Fisheries: Grey Factory building, 25x15x10mm (you need 12 of these)

http://www.spielematerial.de/en/factory.html

These might be considered a *tad* too industrial for the game's setting... but I think they're OK, and they fit into a double-hex quite nicely, leaving just enough room for a worker mini-meeple. Spielmaterial have added a few more building designs to the site since I made my purchase; you might want to check out the alternatives before making your decision.

Pollution Markers: Transparent Plastic Chips

http://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components/game-pieces/...

I bought 400 black chips... though I now wish I'd bought one more bag and taken the total up to 500, since supplies seemed to get a little bit tight towards the end of my first 4 player test game. Black works fine for pollution, IMHO, and is very visually distinctive. Or you might want to experiment with green / orange

Famine Marker / Player order Markers: 10x15mm cylinders

http://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components/game-pieces/...

Alternatively, you could just use the cubes that came with the game



Inns: Monopoly Houses. (You need 16 of each player colour)

http://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components/game-pieces/...

These really help the game a lot; it's a lot easier to spot a wooden inn than a 2d inn chit. I think the "monopoly" style house looks the part, but there are other alternatives to be found on the site.

Cathedral Marker: Settler Church (1 in each player colour)

http://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components/game-pieces/...

Overkill? Maybe... but I gave each player one of these to use on the cathedral indicator part of the famine track. They look nicer than cubes, and if you're ordering all the other stuff, it's only a few more pennies added to your order

Alternatively... just use the cubes from the base game.


Workers - Mini Meeples

I replaced my worker cubes with 12mm mini-meeples, available from www.meeplesource.com -- they seem a little pricey when buying the sort of quantity you need for Antiquity, but they look *wonderful* when you've got them in play, and they stack very nicely on top of the resource discs.

If you're in the UK, you essentially have two choices when buying these: www.boardgameextras.com is a UK seller. Unfortunately, he can sometimes take a little while to deliver goods; the set of mini-meeples that I ordered for Antiquity took 2 weeks to arrive, and when they turned up a dozen meeples were missing. Andrew was fine about replacing the missing parts... but the replacements took just over another week to get to me. So, 3 and a bit weeks in all.

Alternatively, you can buy direct from www.meeplesource.com in the USA. I've recently made a purchase direct from meeplesource for a different project, and my meeples got to me in 6 days (and there was actually a couple of spares in the bag too!). Great service!
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Eric Flood
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I'd love to see a picture of the components in action.
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Noel Llopis
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That looks fantastic! I think you've inspired me to start upgrading my copy.

One question that I didn't see you mention anywhere: What is that wooden case you're using? It looks pretty great on that picture! Does it fit everything comfortably? Maybe that should be part 4
 
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John Shepherd
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blueatheart wrote:
I'd love to see a picture of the components in action.






A couple of shots of a 4-player game in progress at my local gaming club (quite late in the game, so more pollution in view than resources, I'm afraid!)
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Lieven De Puysseleir
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This looks really great surprise

It just so happened that I bought an unused (but a little worn none-the-less) copy of this game. Still unpunched.

Now instead of punching, I think I'll have your solution instead.

It really looks awesome!!

cheers!
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Chris toph
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You Sir are completely insane!
And I admire that :-)
At least a few of the pimps should be easy enough to do myself...

Please do post more pics!
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Luc VC
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lievendp wrote:
Now instead of punching, I think I'll have your solution instead.


Well, if you complete that gigantic task, let me know if you are looking for an opponent
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Noel Llopis
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Phew! I priced out an upgrade like this and it will easily come up to $100, and that's going with only 30 of each resource.

If there weren't 10 different resources, I'd be tempted to make each resource into a wooden cube, but keeping track of which color is which resource would get horribly complicated quickly.

Maybe I'll start with the pollution markers, meeples, houses, and inns. That might be the biggest bang for the buck.
 
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that Matt
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llopis wrote:
If there weren't 10 different resources, I'd be tempted to make each resource into a wooden cube, but keeping track of which color is which resource would get horribly complicated quickly.

I love a challenge. If one was able to get particular in color selection (probably by personally selecting and painting the colors), and if one would never be playing with someone with color vision deficiencies...

Grain - matte yellow/tan/buff
Olive - olive green
Sheep - matte woolly white
Fish - goldfish orange
Stones - gray
Wood - dark brown
Wine - dark red
Pearls - opalescent white or silvery
Dye - purple
Gold - shiny gold

Someone's gotta outdo Merkator at some point...
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K S
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llopis wrote:
Phew! I priced out an upgrade like this and it will easily come up to $100, and that's going with only 30 of each resource.

If there weren't 10 different resources, I'd be tempted to make each resource into a wooden cube, but keeping track of which color is which resource would get horribly complicated quickly.

Maybe I'll start with the pollution markers, meeples, houses, and inns. That might be the biggest bang for the buck.


If you look at https://www.printplaygames.com/ I believe my rough price quote after shipping for everything listed here as is (even the sticker pages being pre-printed by them) it was around $100 after shipping, but they don't have all of the "Monopoly" house colors, but I didn't think of just painting them myself
That doesn't include the factories, wooden box or the bins holding the counters. Their shipping is $6 in the US or it was for me in MN. I'm not sold on them yet as I need to see where else I could find the other bits so it may not be that great in the end.

I'm saving my pennies and may just do the leap since shipping multiple little orders may prove a moot point in the end once everything's posted.
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Dave Small
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MrShep wrote:

There's a saying in foodie circles that when you sit down to eat a meal, you take the first bite with your eyes. If Antiquity was a meal, it would TASTE delicious... but LOOK like a mouldy, stale old biscuit, and a lot of people would pass it by to try something else.


A mouldy biscuit!?! That's simply uncalled for. Were you to knock the look of, say, Roads & Boats I would not feel compelled to stand up and be heard. But to so contemptuously dismiss the aesthetics of Antiquity is simply going to far! I, for one, love the art direction, finding both beautiful and thematically consistent. To be perfectly honest, it was a major factor in my decision to purchase!

I shan't argue that the printing resolution couldn't be better (it could), that the bits aren't small and fiddly (they are), nor that it is always easy to distinguish the icons (it isn't). But the game's over-all appearance is, for at least this one person, gorgeous and intriguing. I consider it a masterpiece of design and among the most beautiful games I own.

That said, I quite enjoy seeing the efforts others have made to "pimp" their games. Your post is no less appreciated than any other. While I may personally find your choice of iconography for the resource tokens too modern and out of character for Antiquity (it seems more akin to Klemens Franz's work on Agricola, which is well suited for its happier, more whimsical theme), I commend you for making it available for others to use.
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Jake Smith
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Three months after this topic first convinced me that I needed to play this game, I finally got my own set fully assembled and tried it out.







It was fantastic! Thanks for the detailed instructions on what wooden parts replaced what; they were tremendously helpful.
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John Shepherd
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Good stuff!

(And a timely reminder that I need to update this thread. Oops!) whistle
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J S
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If only someone would sell pre-made/pre-sorted upgrade kits... whistle

I'd be interested in a set if anyone would be so inclined...
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\m/ Stoner Rock \m/ (((Joe)))
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joker9991 wrote:
I will be watching this closely to see the rest. I did a little research and here in the US Print and Play Productions offers the discs for $.08 a piece once you break the 100 total unit threshold so you could get away with only doing 48 of each if you wanna save a buck or two.

They also offer the sticker sheets printed for $1.20 vs $.85 blank and you just upload the image, so that sounds worth the extra $.35 to me. So far if I were to do it 50 of each resource and printed sheets also only weigh in at $6 shipping so, bonus.

I'm super tempted now, but I will wait unitl the end of this and see if I can justify the cost. It may be one of those things I do bit by bit because it looks amazing.

https://www.printplaygames.com/

PS: I'm in no way affiliated with PPG at all, just a fan of Antiquity and approve of doing this project.


Unfortunately, the labels from Print & Play Games, as well as pretty much any label you'll find in the US, are 0.5" instead of 14mm (0.55").. The label images look like they might need to be slightly shrunk to fit on the 0.5" labels. I am on the verge of undertaking this upgrade project myself, having finally gotten my hands on a copy of the game, and I haven't had any luck finding the right sized labels other than from overseas.
 
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\m/ Stoner Rock \m/ (((Joe)))
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I ended up ordering the 14mm labels from Spiele Material, but just in case I or anyone else has a need, I did some tweaking to MrShep's goods/explorer image templates so that they fit on the 0.5" label sheet from Print & Play Games. Will upload if there's any interest (and with MrShep's permission).
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K S
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dedbob wrote:
I ended up ordering the 14mm labels from Spiele Material, but just in case I or anyone else has a need, I did some tweaking to MrShep's goods/explorer image templates so that they fit on the 0.5" label sheet from Print & Play Games. Will upload if there's any interest (and with MrShep's permission).


I was looking to adjust that myself, but if the works done and you get the permission I'm interested

I did find 14MM labels here in the US to order, woulda been far more than needed and a hair pricier than .5" ones.
 
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\m/ Stoner Rock \m/ (((Joe)))
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joker9991 wrote:
dedbob wrote:
I ended up ordering the 14mm labels from Spiele Material, but just in case I or anyone else has a need, I did some tweaking to MrShep's goods/explorer image templates so that they fit on the 0.5" label sheet from Print & Play Games. Will upload if there's any interest (and with MrShep's permission).


I was looking to adjust that myself, but if the works done and you get the permission I'm interested

I did find 14MM labels here in the US to order, woulda been far more than needed and a hair pricier than .5" ones.


The files for 0.5" circle label sheets have been uploaded here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/118020/antiquity-resource...

I haven't actually tried using them yet, I just used the template file from Print & Play Games to get the layout correct. Let me know how they work for you!
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\m/ Stoner Rock \m/ (((Joe)))
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I've played three games with my upgraded components, and in the heat of the moment I keep forgetting to take pictures while there's a bunch of pollution and resources out on the map.

I must say, the different shapes and sizes of the cleared grass hexes, pollution chips, and resource discs makes it much less fiddly when manipulating the stacks. Makes an amazing game even more of a pleasure to play!
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Eric Rampson
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I want this so bad IT HURTS.
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