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Subject: So How Do You Mount Counters? rss

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George Neil
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With all the DTP products out there I'm becoming interested in some of these games. Are there any good tutorials/links/articles on how you mount the counters for these kind of games?
 
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Michael Barlow
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http://www.consimworld.com/newsroom/story/1201/dtp_mounting....
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Trent Garner
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I have had great success using thick 1/16" cardboard and glue sticks. Print the counter sheets on nice laserjet paper, as it is somewhat heavier and is coated, providing very vivid colors compared to standard printer paper. It is well worht the extra cost in paper, and saves ink/toner in the long run because it doesn't absorb as much of either.

I take the time to trim the counter sheets so there are no white borders, then mount the entire counter sheet at once, prefering to cut them out afterwards. Even if you need to mount the back of the counters on the other side, you can do so before you cut them out. If they are designed and printed properly, this works out quite well.

A good pair of scissors and some patience is needed when constructing a print-to-play wargame, cardgame, or whatever. If the game includes cards, I recommend printing directly to some gloss-coat cardstock, you won't be disappointed. I have used non-glossy cardstock, but the ink/toner tends to wear off faster when handled for some reason.

I have made card games and wargames printed from PDF files and so far have been very happy with the results. The wargames are from Mark Walker and Armchair Genereal Magazine, covering Stalingrad in WW2, Island warfare in the Pacific, and a more modern era battle between Arab and Israeli forces in the Middle-East. Other games include Football Frenzy from Dan Verssen, and a user-made football game I got somewhere for free.

As for tutorials or articles, I'm not familiar with anything myself, but I never looked for anything, either. Hopefully the info I provided is enough to get you started. One nice thing about buying a game in PDF format, is that you can print it out as many times as you want/need to to get everything just right. Good luck!
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George Neil
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Thanx fellas, great link, great notes - I actually have a laminator. I was thinking of gluing or printing to cardstock then laminating, but I think if you cut something that's laminated it might separate.
 
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Alan Kaiser
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Check out my GeekList:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/11286

There is some info in there on making counters as well as tips on materials to consider.
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George Neil
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Awesome - thank you
 
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Wendell
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"So How Do You Mount Counter?"

... must ... resist ... temptation ... to make ... very lewd ... smart-assed comment... devil

Actually, I've done a couple. I have printed the counters on a single-sheet printing label, peeled that off and stuck it to a thin bit of cardboard - cereal boxes don't work badly or something slightly heavier like the cardboard you get when you buy some dress shirts. Then cut them out with either an exacto knife or a plain set of scissors. Worked decently enough.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/220541
 
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Michel Boucher
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alkaiser wrote:


Actually, I have come to the realization that shirt cardboard and various paper products are useless when compared to...wait for it...

Coaster board!!!

I bought some Vae Victis games from a friend (who had gotten them from one of his friends) and two of the games were mounted on coasters. I decided to find a way to make this work on a larger scale than just two games and hunted around until I came across a company (Coasters Plus) which agreed to sell me 1000 white square (4"x4") coasters for 34$CDN (plus tax). As it was shipped from an unnamed foreign source immediately to the south of Canada, I also had to pay 25$ shipping (UPS...I was really worried about that, but it worked fine). I have been mounting and cutting counters all Saturnalia holiday.

http://www.coastersplus.com/

I got the medium thickness (60) as opposed to the very thick coasters.

http://www.coastersplus.com/uscoasters.html

http://www.coastersplus.com/cancoasters.html

The plain white coasters are listed at the bottom of the page. They wanted me to set up a business account but I arranged to do a one-time deal.

For a method, I thought at first I could paste a whole square of 6x6 counters and then trim and paste the obverse on then cut apart, but that results in a bit of drift of the exacto blade in the material. Best to create three 2x3 strips, then glue on the obverse, or better still, singles (1x6). The length does not matter, but I have found that the width is important.

For glue, I use rubber cement. This is easily cleaned off and small amounts can be applied between the counter and the board where it didn't quite take using a small tongue of leftover cardstock from the print jobs.

I also use an exacto knife with one of those "self-healing" cutting boards, a metal ruler with a gripping pad on the underside to guide the knife, and a pair of good scissors to trim paper flash. I don't recommend trimming or cutting apart with scissors.

I'm at the point now where I know what I need to do to get a good result.

I have mounted counters for five games, a bit slow admittedly but I am recovering from a serious injury to the tendon of my right index finger so for a while it was quite painful to press on it.

As an aside, I have the counter sheets for DTP games (those than are in non-ISO standard letter and legal size) printed on cardstock overnight at Staples within walking distance by submitting my print jobs online. Saves a lot of time and costs much less than owning and maintaining a printer. So far I have been unable to get them to accept print jobs in ISO standard A4 size (or even convert that to legal), which is the size used by Vae Victis and most, heck...all European DTP designers.
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M King
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gn728 wrote:
Thanx fellas, great link, great notes - I actually have a laminator. I was thinking of gluing or printing to cardstock then laminating, but I think if you cut something that's laminated it might separate.


Last year I made little roster cards for my son's soccer team and printed them on cardstock which I took to staples. Since it was cheaper to laminate first in big sheets and then cut them into individual cards, rather than laminating each individual card, that's naturally what I did. I didn't notice any separation over the course of one soccer season, though the constant handling counters receive might cause your results to vary. It might be worth a test since you have the laminator handy.
 
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Rich
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For material, I've been busily grabbing all of my office mate's 2007 desk calendars for the chipboard for counters. I'm talking the 17x24 sized models with the corner tucks.

Otherwise, I'm a "print on a label sheet" guy.

Just need to find a good spray on sealer that won't make inkjet ink run...

Oh, and if you are going to do a bunch of them, I've found that a rotary cutter, a steel rule, and a self healing mat are the way to go. Other prefer scissors or knives, but I've had much better success with the rotary, personally.
 
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Dan Foster
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I use spray adhesive and magazine backing boards (should be available in comic shops). They are sized to 8.5x11 inches so the paper will match up. These are the same thing that Richard Berg sends with his DTP games to mount the counters on.

I cut the counters using a rotary cutter and a straight edge, following the consimworld.com guide above. If you like thicker counters, use two cardboard sheets.

Once the glue is dry, it is very quick to cut down with the rotary cutter, one sheet will take about 30 min to cut.
 
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Kent Reuber
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I've had problems with glue sticks not being permanent. If the counters are in electronic format, I'll print them on full-page Avery labels and attach them to cardstock.
 
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Dan The Man
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All very good answers.

However, I have done this procedure extensively for a lot of applications over a lot of years, and here is what I have to say about that:

1. Get good thickness backing material. This is important for handling, as too thin and the constant fingernailing/bending to move the pieces causes lots of damage.

If you frequent such, the Wal-Marty stores have most of these tools and materials in one place. Craft stores, office stores, and even some larger grocery stores carry them as well.

*** I have successfully used 3/32" polystyrene, and that is my favorite. It is pricey, and harder to work, but if you do enough of it, or are in a group, you might justify buying a 4' x 8' sheet from a supplier (you will find many uses for it if you are a handy person). You can do some fine finishing with this material, too: beveled edges for larger size pieces, sanded edges, lots of cool coloring possibilities, etc. BIG wow! factor. Nice heft. Very professional.

** The best cardstock I have found is the backing for notepads. They come in letter and legal sizes, and are available as waste (FREE) at most business locations that do any office work. I used to collect them, and had quite a store. There are different grades, so look around for what you want.

** Another good product, readily available at grocery and office stores, is foam core. Easy to work (the easiest), but less durable, and the pieces are very light weight. Nice thickness for handling, but storage may therefore be a problem.

* A good grade of corrugated cardboard is actually not bad, and readily available for free (I like free). Similar to foam core, but not quite as sturdy.

I do not recommend using anything thinner than the cardstock backing, about 1/16".

2. TOOLS:

*** Put your scissors away. Just set them down, nice and easy, walk away, and no one gets hurt. DO NOT RUN, it only enrages them... Speak in soothing tones. Scissors are for school children.

*** Get a good quality hobby knife. Xacto is one brand, others are quite as good. Get one with several choices for blades, as different blade styles do act differently. You will find uses for this for the rest of your life, so don't go all bargain basement on yourself.

** Cutting board. I like Masonite(R) (or equivalent). An actual kitchen cutting board, clipboard, or other smooth, flat, modestly hard but sturdy material is OK (too hard, like steel or stone, and you damage the knife point). YOU WILL CUT THIS BOARD, select accordingly. Kitchen tables are particularly unattractive...

*** Get a good quality stainless steel straightedge (ruler for the younger folks). If you plan on doing this more than a few times, get 6", 12", and 18"; if you are on a budget, 12" is the best all-around size. Size markings are useful, but not absolutely essential.

****** Buy good spray adhesive. 3M makes a good material in a black can. Other are just fine.

** A decent printer.

** Good quality printer paper, preferably semi-glossy or better. This is discussed well elsewhere in this thread.

*** Old newspapers.

3. TECHNIQUE (Drawing/Cutting General):

This technique will give you professional lines and cuts every time, with some practice. It will show! Use this for all cuts - a single stroke should be sufficient on paper and very thin cardstock.

Here is where practice will be very beneficial (you will see the "P" word sprinkled liberally throughout this section and others - disregard at your own expense). The more you do, the better your results. Redo as needed (not really an option when buying chitsheets preprinted, so really practice before attempting those). ALWAYS us as sharp a blade as possible, being cheap will cost you in time, effort, and/or materials.

First, learn how to draw and cut with a straightedge. I hear you snickering out there. I'm serious. Most people actually do not know how, and ass bites are a common problem...

To use a straightedge, you have to have two points to connect. Two points connected with a straight line is even better.

A. Using your dominant hand, place your knife or pencil (instrument) point on the endpoint (where you wish to END your draw or cut). The endpoint is usually closer to you, or to the side of your dominant hand.

B. With your very steady non-dominant hand, place the "bottom" edge of the straightedge up against the instrument point.

C. Rotate the straightedge so that it just almost touches the start point. This is tricky part one. Notice that the straightedge touching the instrument does not actually touch the point itself (usually)! Adjust the straightedge so that its distance from the start point matches its distance from the end point, or so that it lines up parallel to the line you are cutting. PRACTICE.

D. Pick up the instrument and place its point on the starting point, carefully using the same angle as used at the endpoint. If the straightedge is not touching the instrument, repeat steps A. – C. A few extra seconds here will ensure professional results.

E. Without moving the straightedge, spread your fingers out along its length, then press straight down firmly and hold in place. It helps for control to have the heel of your hand on the surface, but maintain steady pressure with your fingers.

F. With one, single, steady, smooth, firm motion, DRAW the instrument along the straightedge to the endpoint. Maintain a slight pressure toward the straightedge, and angle the blade into the straightedge; maintain a steady vertical angle throughout the stroke. It helps for control to have the heel of your drawing hand drag on the surface.

G. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

4. TECHNIQUE (Cutting Materials):

Always use a sharp blade. You will respect yourself in the morning!

>> Paper:

Use a narrow pointed blade (Xacto # 11 or equivalent). Make one smooth cut. If one cut fails, get a sharper blade.

>> Cardstock:

Use a broad blade (Xacto #16 or #19 or equivalent). Make a few to several cutting strokes instead of one hard stroke. Practice on the material.

>> Foam Core or Corrugated Cardboard:

Use a narrow pointed blade (Xacto # 11 or equivalent). Make a few to several cutting strokes instead of one hard stroke. Practice on the material.

>> Polystyrene,Plastic

Use a broad blade (Xacto #16 or #19 or equivalent). You will not be cutting the sheets all the way through, but using the score and snap technique (below). Rough cuts from large sheets can be done with a saw, manual or power (use as high a speed as possible and minimize blade contact time). If the plastic melts, file or scrape the edges, if desired.

A. Place the backing >>face up<< on a square-edged SOLID surface at least 12" above any obstructions - knuckles are at stake here. Line up the score mark with the edge, with the printed or larger side on the flat surface.

B. Place one hand, flat and spread out, on the big piece. Press down firmly with the heel and all finger. With the other hand, place the heel so that as much of the overhanging piece is covered, fingers hanging over the edge. Place near, but not too close to, an end, and press firmly, but feel for the material to give (not too hard - controlled). Slowly increase pressure, if needed. At the moment the material starts to give, let up on the pressure of the hand over the edge. Now again slowly increase the pressure until it snaps. If some material still hangs on, work it back and forth to finish the job, or cut with a knife and straightedge.

There will be a small ridge where the scoring knife pushed up material - you can remove this carefully or leave it, as you wish. Edges can be finished, but just remember the paper has different properties than the plastic!

5. TECHNIQUE (Construction):

Double-sided is way complicated. If you want to try, mount side one, flush-cut two contiguous edges, then flush-mount side two, and finish cutting. Not for the faint of heart.

A. Print out the counter sheet(s) as a whole page.

B. Flush-cut the outside edges of the counter sheet (see above) so there is no margin.

C. If needed, cut the backing material (see above) so that there will be at least a 1/2" border on each edge. You can cut it so that multiple counter sheets can be mounted on one backing if you are clever, but do not get too ambitious as you have to spray all pieces at one time.

D. Take the project outside! Spray adhesive is toxic, and not to be played with in any enclosed space. Wait for a warm, sunny, CALM day. On a flat surface (driveway, sidewalk, etc.) lay out some old newspaper. A couple of 8 1/2 x 11s can fit on a double sheet of newspaper - if in doubt, use more paper than needed - the adhesive is nasty stuff. Read carefully and FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS on the can. Remember, one try is all you get. Don't glue more than two sheets in one effort.

E. Spray both the backing and counter sheet with one continuous motion - cover evenly but completely (PRACTICE!). Be careful that you do not lift the counter sheet with the force of the spray - spray as straight down a you can without losing the glue (you'll know when it happens - readjust and continue).

F. After the appropriate wait period, touch a corner of the counter sheet and lift gently, making sure you do not slide the sheet into the oversprayed glue. Carefully (with CLEAN hands) hold just the edges of the counter sheet and place gently but quickly, in one motion, onto the backing, lining up as carefully as possible. Once contact is made, there is no going back. Line up the short edge away from your hands, set the edge down onto the backing, then gently bend the paper and roll it forward. PRACTICE!

G. Once the drying period is complete (see spray can), you can laminate if desired (repeat this same process if not using self-adhesive laminate). Then cut the counters out, first in strips, then across (see appropriate backing material techniques).

H. Bask in the glow of praise your playmates will heap upon you when they see your professional work (after being regaled that these were NOT merely die-cut counters [appropriate sour face], but the result of exacting, time-consuming, and painstaking effort on your part). Warn them that this is the work of a trained professional, and for them not to attempt at home...

Play with your pieces.
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Mick Weitz
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You, Sir, deserve praise for this article.

Good Gaming~! Mick
 
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Dan The Man
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Quote:
If the counters are in electronic format, I'll print them on full-page Avery labels and attach them to cardstock.


Yeah, much quicker than spray. Decent quality (not available back in the day). Do they come in colors? Sometimes handy...
 
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Dan The Man
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If you are doing Information Sheets (charts), direct printing onto greeting card thickness cardstock is useful. Available in most office stores. In the day, I used to cut down manila folders to do this work.
 
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George Neil
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So much great info - thank you! I actually own one game of this type. It's called Longbow from BSO Games. I didn't downlowd it, I bought it at a game con. So concerning copying the original counters - do you need a professional copier (like Office Max)? I tried a photocopy with my HP1300. It wasn't bad but colors were defintely faded. I tried scanning and printing results were about the same.
 
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Kevin Roach
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I....can't....resist....


Is she a blonde or a redhead or brunette counter?
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