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Subject: Custom Parts or Alternatives? rss

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Evan Gruntz
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BGG,

I am designing a dungeon crawler that has the players build the board as they explore new rooms, which are hexagonal in shape. To start, up to six players begin on each side of a single hex tile, and as they venture out, they place more tiles. Because players can go in any direction they want, the layout of the overall board is different each game. Each room has seven spaces, and to further add variety, these spaces are randomly assorted upon the tile being placed; for this feature, I am currently using circle chits. Here is an example. The center space is a main objective, such as a monster, treasure chest, etcetera. The side spaces are primarily used for traversing but do come in around fifteen different types, and each type prompts a different action upon being landed on.

After playing around with the prototype, it became clear that having seven chits on a single tile is causing some hassle: stray dice rolls knock them off, placing new tiles shifts them a bit, and moving your pawn bumps them further. This isn't exactly a major issue, but it is one I would like to fix, since human interaction such as this is nearly unavoidable. Ideally, I would like for each side of the hex tile to have a cutout for its spaces. This way, spaces can be snugly fit with each new room discovered, and there's no annoyance for the rest of the game. (The center space is one that gets constantly switched out, so it would be best to not have a cutout there.)

To my dismay, I have been unable to find a prototyping service that offers custom parts like this. Hex tiles and circle chits are o'plenty, but having custom cutouts on tiles isn't something readily available. My first question to you: are you aware of any place that takes custom orders such as this? If not, my next question to you: how would you go about handling this? I've thought to print the hexes with the spaces as part of the tile itself, and then upon receipt I can use an X-Acto precision knife to cut them out for random assortment. If this game is ever picked up by a publisher, they can certainly arrange to have the tiles be printed with the cutouts. For immediate purposes, however—such as for play testers, friends, and family—asking them to cut out each space in this way would simply be too much.

What are your thoughts? I appreciate your help.
 
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Leif Carlsen
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For single prototype or a small run, I'd use my arch hole punch to make the circular holes in the hexes by myself. Each hole takes me on the order of 10 seconds to punch for a custom final product. If you don't care so much about alignment, it goes slightly faster.
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Jeff
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Just my two cents, but it seems like the whole thing is way too fiddly. Maybe you should rethink the circles-being-removable-thing. Perhaps print a greater variety of hexes with circles on them than what will be used in a game. That way you will still have a very random dungeon every time, yet still cut back on the fiddliness of inserting and extracting all the circles from the holes.
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Matt Knaack
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I like the idea quite a bit; that picture certainly piques my interest. But I have to agree with Jeff: It seems like a lot to deal with. Having the smaller chits information printed directly on the tile (and doing it on both sides) will certainly add the randomness you're looking for. You could also keep that main circle chit in the game, allowing the interchangability you are seeking. I think this is a good compromise, but it's your game.
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Evan Gruntz
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maldrak wrote:
For single prototype or a small run, I'd use my arch hole punch to make the circular holes in the hexes by myself. Each hole takes me on the order of 10 seconds to punch for a custom final product. If you don't care so much about alignment, it goes slightly faster.


I'm not too familiar with these sorts of tools. (I can only think of the three-hole punchers I used back in school.) Do you think you can provide me a link? That sounds like a good option. Would it be able to cleanly cut through 60pt chipboard? Would I be able to set my own dimensions?

Maximuss wrote:
Just my two cents, but it seems like the whole thing is way too fiddly. Maybe you should rethink the circles-being-removable-thing. Perhaps print a greater variety of hexes with circles on them than what will be used in a game. That way you will still have a very random dungeon every time, yet still cut back on the fiddliness of inserting and extracting all the circles from the holes.


_mackinac wrote:
I like the idea quite a bit; that picture certainly piques my interest. But I have to agree with Jeff: It seems like a lot to deal with. Having the smaller chits information printed directly on the tile (and doing it on both sides) will certainly add the randomness you're looking for. You could also keep that main circle chit in the game, allowing the interchangability you are seeking. I think this is a good compromise, but it's your game.


Thank you for this. The way the design has taken shape, having extra tiles with differing patterns won't work. There are 20 tiles total, and each tile is numbered 1 - 20. This is for different events that take place throughout the game. For instance: "treasure goblin" is drawn from the event pile. 1d20 is then rolled, and the tile matching the number shown is where the associated event chit would be placed (replacing the center space). First player to reach the treasure goblin gets its massive hoard of loot. Stuff like that.

The "build the board as you go" gimmick is something I wanted to undertake from the beginning of this game's conception. One of my greater concerns is, as you've said, that players might find it too much to fiddle with. In testing with initial prototypes, I do not find it much of a hassle (save for the chits being bumped around, which is what I'm currently trying to resolve). Because the side spaces are never exchanged or moved, players will only have to place them with each new room they discover and never have to mess with them again, until it's time for cleanup.

It takes about ten seconds to set up each room currently, meaning around three minutes is the total time that's being required for setup. Because that time is spread throughout the course of the game, it doesn't really feel that long as you're playing. The perceived amount of time required for setup and the annoyance thereof is something that I'll be watching closely while others test the game. If it's notably an issue, I'll definitely consider changing things, but so far it really hasn't been a problem.

I really appreciate you both taking the time to weigh in on this. If you have other ideas for alternative approaches or any further thoughts in general, please let me know.
 
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me myself
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Have you tried Print and Play games? They have a custom tile option:
http://www.printplaygames.com/product/custom-tile-sheet
 
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Leif Carlsen
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Boy Jordan wrote:
I'm not too familiar with these sorts of tools. (I can only think of the three-hole punchers I used back in school.) Do you think you can provide me a link? That sounds like a good option. Would it be able to cleanly cut through 60pt chipboard? Would I be able to set my own dimensions?

I use a rubber mallet and an arch punch I ordered from Amazon. Some people swear by rawhide mallets. I punch through medium chipboard which is about 2mm. You can get arch punches in a variety of sizes. The one I linked is available from 1/4" to 1". Others come in a wider range of sizes.

There's a nice thread on how to use an arch punch to make circular tokens. In brief, put your medium on a destructible surface, position the arch punch on the medium, and give it a few good whacks with the mallet.

For lighter chipboard, I use our BossKut Gazelle e-cutter to cut any shape. For this tool, I create my arbitrary cutting paths in inkscape and import into the cutting software. The black cat cutters look like they'll do thicker materials and I may pick one up some year.
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Josh Zscheile
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Hey, sounds interesting.

If you want to keep the fiddly way the mechanics work, I'd recommend a smaller, hexagonal center and six trapezial matching tiles, forming one larger hex. Alternatively, I'd make six quadratic holes in each tile. When drawn, draw six coloured cubes from a bag and fill the holes with them. The colours say which action is possible there. (Look at Evolutions species boards for inspiration)

Hope that helps!
 
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John Michael Thomas
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A couple thoughts.

1. If you replace the circle chits with hex chits (so they all bump into each other on each side, and the center circle is a hex the same size as the outer chits), then you'll eliminate alot of the movement since all the chits will support each other. If you were still worried about movement you could potentially create a custom plastic frame to fit all the chits in, but I think that's probably more trouble and expense than it's worth (just having hex chits that support each other is probably enough).

2. Another idea is to have triangular wedges instead of circle chits, so in each hex you have 6 triangles that all come to a point in the center. You could place the larger circle chit in the center on top of that. Or if you wanted to go custom you could make the center chit hexagonal and change those outside pieces to trapezoids that but up against the center chit in the middle, the edge of the hex tile on the outside, and each of the other outer chits/tiles on the sides.

The second setup is better for stability - not only would each chit/tile support each other, but the chits/tiles in each hex would support those in other hexes. But unless you go with 6 triangles (which you can probably find a die for) it will be significantly more expensive to make. The other potential down side to the second setup is that the chits/tiles would totally cover the board, so if there's any information on the board itself it would be covered. But since you're having players build out the board as they go, this sounds like it might not be a problem for you.
 
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Evan Gruntz
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Dagar wrote:
Hey, sounds interesting.

If you want to keep the fiddly way the mechanics work, I'd recommend a smaller, hexagonal center and six trapezial matching tiles, forming one larger hex.

Hope that helps!


You mean like this? Only, of course, each segment would be its own piece. That definitely seems doable. I'm trying to figure out if that would be easier than just having players insert chits in cutouts, though. I immediately think it'd be more prone to shifting around. Not the case, in your experience?

skyhighsmile wrote:
2. Another idea is to have triangular wedges instead of circle chits, so in each hex you have 6 triangles that all come to a point in the center. You could place the larger circle chit in the center on top of that. Or if you wanted to go custom you could make the center chit hexagonal and change those outside pieces to trapezoids that but up against the center chit in the middle, the edge of the hex tile on the outside, and each of the other outer chits/tiles on the sides.

The second setup is better for stability - not only would each chit/tile support each other, but the chits/tiles in each hex would support those in other hexes. But unless you go with 6 triangles (which you can probably find a die for) it will be significantly more expensive to make. The other potential down side to the second setup is that the chits/tiles would totally cover the board, so if there's any information on the board itself it would be covered. But since you're having players build out the board as they go, this sounds like it might not be a problem for you.


I'm having trouble picturing triangles coming to a point to form a circle. I'm probably reading this terribly wrong. Would you mind clarifying for me please? You have it right, though, that the six sides/spaces for each room don't have any information, which is why I'm willing to make cutouts on them, cause it won't be affecting anything. This means the center hex/side trapezoids option is definitely feasible. For either suggestion, I imagine I could use redtiger7's recommended site for the custom printouts:

redtiger7 wrote:
Have you tried Print and Play games? They have a custom tile option:
http://www.printplaygames.com/product/custom-tile-sheet
 
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John Michael Thomas
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Boy Jordan wrote:
I'm having trouble picturing triangles coming to a point to form a circle. I'm probably reading this terribly wrong. Would you mind clarifying for me please?


It's 6 triangles combing together to form a hex, not a circle. The same as the picture you just posted, but remove the hex in the middle and just continue each of the outer pieces to a point in the center.

The second half of my suggested was actually the same as Josh's suggestion (I didn't see Josh's comment originally), and your picture in reply to his suggestion was on target.

The advantage of using triangles to form a hex is that you could use some pre-defined dies (PrintPlayGames.com has 1.25 inch triangle chits, put 6 together and you have a roughly 2.5 inch hexagon).

Boy Jordan wrote:
For either suggestion, I imagine I could use redtiger7's recommended site for the custom printouts


Yeah, PrintPlayGames.com is the only POD manufacturer I know (of 6 I'm aware of) that offers custom cutouts. I also know of another person with a laser cutting machine that's considering doing some POD work for game prototypes, but they're not yet committed to the business and I don't know what the prices would be. PPG is a little pricey (they estimate $1 per piece, though might be less for something this simple). But PPG is just charging you to do the cutting by hand, so you could make it alot cheaper by just having them print on uncut sheets and then doing the cutting yourself (at least for prototypes).
 
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Andreas Pelikan
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I'd print everything directly on the tile except stuff that gets removed/altered during the game. For a monster that eventually gets killed it makes sense to be a separate token, likewise for treasure that can and will get looted or one-time traps that snap.

But I'd hate if I draw and place a tile and then would have to randomly add permanent things like a river or a chasm or a free passage separately.
 
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