Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
108 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Why do Counters have Backsides? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Rob
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
Why is it, in this day and age and with all the printer advances and such that have been made, that counters still have a backside? Specifically, why is it different from the aesthetically much nicer front side?
You know, like when you have that 8-6 armored division, with the nice, smooth front side of the counter, and it takes a step loss to its 5-6 brigade side and you turn it over to discover ugliness in the form of funny ridges along all four sides.
Why must it be this way?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Niko
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
[This space intentionally left blank]
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
ThreeTimer wrote:
Why is it, in this day and age and with all the printer advances and such that have been made, that counters still have a backside? Specifically, why is it different from the aesthetically much nicer front side?
You know, like when you have that 8-6 armored division, with the nice, smooth front side of the counter, and it takes a step loss to its 5-6 brigade side and you turn it over to discover ugliness in the form of funny ridges along all four sides.
Why must it be this way?
I assume that it has to do with the way the counters are cut rather than printed. My understanding is that a set of knives (pretty sure there's a proper professional term for that...) cuts the sheet from one side, while the other side is being held by a plate with ridges so the knives can go fully through the sheet without hitting the back plate. The ridges would be created by the sheet being pressed against the raised areas, which obviously need to be in the middle of the counters since that's where the knives aren't.
Anybody have a game with lasercut counters handy to check if they have similar dents on the backside?
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
flag msg tools
Slowed - BGG's moderation policies have driven me partially from here
badge
http://thegamebox.byethost15.com/smf/
Avatar
mb
Could you make a counter without one?

Wouldn't the frontside be missing too? :o
40 
 Thumb up
1.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob Collinge
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
I've just checked my copy of Wings for the Baron which has laser cut counters and the back is pretty much the same as the front.

So there's your answer op, only buy games with laser cut counters.
18 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Zapped by the Wall-o-Text spell.
badge
"Drizzle, drazzle, drozzle, drome; time for this one to come home."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ThreeTimer wrote:
Why is it ... that counters ... have a backside? ... Why is it different from the aesthetically much nicer front side? ...
Why must it be this way?

Do you ask the same questions about people?
devil
24 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
Bobario wrote:
I've just checked my copy of Wings for the Baron which has laser cut counters and the back is pretty much the same as the front.

So there's your answer op, only buy games with laser cut counters.

Ah, OK, I've never seen those.
Are most game counters laser cut nowadays?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Ellsworth
United States
Morris
Illinois
flag msg tools
To my knowledge, very few companies use laser cutting and most games are still being released using die-cut counters. Victory Point games is really the only one I know of that uses laser cutting. I have no idea what the relative costs are between the two systems. I did notice that the laser cut pieces I saw had a sort of dust or something on them that needed to be wiped off before use, but this was easily done and does not appear to be a permanent effect.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dice sometimes have backsides too:

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
flag msg tools
Slowed - BGG's moderation policies have driven me partially from here
badge
http://thegamebox.byethost15.com/smf/
Avatar
mb
msjells wrote:
To my knowledge, very few companies use laser cutting and most games are still being released using die-cut counters. Victory Point games is really the only one I know of that uses laser cutting.


Hollandspiel does as well.

I love the smell of laser cut counters. But, the back and front
are different (concave vs convex).

I haven't had badly wrinkled counters in quite some time. Not sure
what the issue is.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan The Man
United States
Unspecified
Nevada
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
calandale wrote:
I love the smell of laser cut counters. But, the back and front are different (concave vs convex).

I haven't had badly wrinkled counters in quite some time. Not sure
what the issue is.

I know with die cut counters, the blade is not PERFECTLY sharp, even when new, and gets duller with time and use. When the blade edge hits the cardstock, some amount of bending of the front surface happens until the edge causes separation of the two sides, causing an indentation (the "nice, smooth" rounding on the front side). when the blade finally penetrates to the last surface layer of the laminated cardstock, there is more friction and bending, but in the opposite direction (away from the flat surface). When the blade exits, it drags that back surface with it, causing the "funny ridges" seen on the back side.

Similar, if not quite as dramatic, effects happen with laser cutting that has to do with how long the beam is in contact with the material (longer on the front, shorter time on the back) that would lead to some rounding of the front as well.

A reduced armored division, in the real world, is uglier than a nice newly-minted division direct from the armored factory.
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's like cutting your PB&J sandwich in half using a dull knife.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Hoyt

Butte
Montana
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the convex front side, concave back side...it helps in setting up counters to determine which is the fresh side and which is the reduced side.

I had a Panzer Grenadier game where the printer cut from the back, it was hard to adjust. The counters looked and felt like they were upside down.
36 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Abe Delnore
United States
Pittsburgh
PA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Some games, mostly solitaire ones (e.g., Silent War, rely on the ability to distinguish the front and back of the counter by feel. This is important when you must draw a counter and then only look at a particular side of it (which is basically all you do in Silent War, punctuated by rolling a d10 and consulting some table or another).

The visual ugliness of the counter on its back can help you tell if a given unit has suffered a step loss. It would be better if this information were incorporated into the graphic design of the counter, but it's not always there.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree. A difference in shape is something I've gotten used to.

Not that severely misshapen counters don't bug me a little.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Hoyt

Butte
Montana
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Abe Delnore wrote:
Silent War, rely on the ability to distinguish the front and back of the counter by feel. This is important when you must draw a counter and then only look at a particular side of it (which is basically all you do in Silent War, punctuated by rolling a d10 and consulting some table or another)


Snort! I keep being tempted by that one, and I keep not buying it based on too many comments just like yours. Thanks for saving me again!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Lind
United States
North Chesterfield
Virginia
flag msg tools
My favorite response to anyone's question about how something happened.
badge
Really, Mom, I was just sittin' here mindin' my own business!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Actually I like the fact that you can distinguish the front from the back easily. I just got a copy of The Last Stand and it has laser cut counters and now I have to look closely to know that a counter isn't flipped.

Yes, the numbers are different but until you know a game it's a heck of a lot easier to be able to visually distinguish front from back without having to flip it over and back to make sure.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Blank
United States
Unspecified
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You would think you could tell the fronts from the backs. Until someone running the die cutter runs sheets the wrong way so you get counters cut from the back instead of from the front. That's just wrong.

Even worse, I have one game with some counters from probably the '90s, where some sheets (of the same counters) were cut from the front and some cut from the back, in the same game. The horror... gulp
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Cawley
United States
Anthem
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

It's just you. Step loss by flipping a counter is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Get Over It.
24 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Jones
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
mb
As the printer for The Last Stand, I can tell you that laser cut counters will have a slightly larger gutter between pieces on the side facing the laser, and a slightly smaller gutter between pieces on the side facing away from the laser. This is because as the laser cuts down into the piece less energy is reaching the bottom than the top so a smaller amount of material is cut.

The more powerful the laser, the less pronounced the effect is.

For any laser cut piece, there will be a very slightly smaller front than back side. However, if you print after you cut, then the "front" could be printed on the "back" too. Typically, we print the countersheet "fronts" on the same side the laser cuts.

Countersheets that are die-cut will always show a "bias" in the same direction as the cutting blade on the die moves. That's because die-cutting slices material so at the leading edge of the slice, that material will have to go somewhere so it goes down a little in the direction of the die cut. Some materials are stiff enough so that die cutting has little or no noticeable effect on them, but chipboard is not one of these materials.

SJ

9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Preiser
United States
Federal Way
Washington
flag msg tools
SFMF
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How else would they sit?
9 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
ThreeTimer wrote:
Why is it, in this day and age and with all the printer advances and such that have been made, that counters still have a backside? Specifically, why is it different from the aesthetically much nicer front side?
You know, like when you have that 8-6 armored division, with the nice, smooth front side of the counter, and it takes a step loss to its 5-6 brigade side and you turn it over to discover ugliness in the form of funny ridges along all four sides.
Why must it be this way?


Don't flip out, man!


"Why do counters have backsides?"

--for spankings
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dances With Militias
United States
Ft Sedgewick
The Frontier
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JasonC wrote:

It's just you. Step loss by flipping a counter is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Get Over It.


That's what I dig about Jason; every post is a balls-out, on-the-minute, in-your-face, star-spangled fire mission of Truth.
9 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
Germany
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Don't know if this is still relevant here, but someone asked why laser cut counters aren't the norm, and the reason is cost-related.

Simply put, die-cutting costs a lot more to set up but a lot less per unit, while laser-cutting is essentially free to set up but costs a lot more per unit.

So, if you want laser-cut counters, only buy games with small (below 1000 or so, which is roughly the break-even point of die-cutting AFAIR) print runs.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wayne Melnick
United States
Enola
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
CountDeMoney wrote:
JasonC wrote:

It's just you. Step loss by flipping a counter is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Get Over It.


That's what I dig about Jason; every post is a balls-out, on-the-minute, in-your-face, star-spangled fire mission of Truth.


Heck yeah, even if he did miss the point of the original post.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Juan Valdez
msg tools
blockhead wrote:
I like the convex front side, concave back side...it helps in setting up counters to determine which is the fresh side and which is the reduced side.


I like it as well.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.