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Subject: Game piece inquiry... rss

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Shaun Fergus
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Not a lurker anymore and I can say that I am absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of info that flows through here on a daily basis.

I want to thank anyone before hand for any information that is given (or posted already) as this project I have buried myself for over 3 months has opened my eyes to the complexities of this craft.

I also want to apologize if these questions have been posted ad nauseum ... What I have found so far has been very helpful.

I have developed a game that is almost fully designed as far as graphics, board, and mechanics go and am researching information on the next step, having a prototype printed for further testing.

We started using a handdrawn and painted version with pieces and cards printed on regular paper to work out the mechanics a bit while I produced the graphics for all aspects. We then graduated to printing on sturdier paper for the pieces and board to test the graphics and make any changes to further improve the overall appearance.

With many of the graphics finally being completed, I am now searching for printers who can produce:

Round game pieces ( 1 smallish size, 1 medium size) - best material?
I am only familiar with the pieces used in Risk 2010 (engery pieces, counters, etc.)

A game board - roughly 32 inches by 32 inches

Cards of good quality

Box

This is intended to be a prototype so I am not looking for mass quantities yet and I am not sure where I should start. Many here seem to have quite a bit of experience with different printers and any input will be vastly appreciated.

Have a good weekend all...

Peace
 
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Benny Sperling
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You could try these guys: http://www.mjscreations.com/pages/game.htm they make prototypes. It may be costly though.
 
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Steven Metzger
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streams wrote:
I have developed a game that is almost fully designed as far as graphics, board, and mechanics go and am researching information on the next step, having a prototype printed for further testing.

We started using a handdrawn and painted version with pieces and cards printed on regular paper to work out the mechanics a bit while I produced the graphics for all aspects. We then graduated to printing on sturdier paper for the pieces and board to test the graphics and make any changes to further improve the overall appearance.

With many of the graphics finally being completed, I am now searching for printers who can produce:

Round game pieces ( 1 smallish size, 1 mediaum size) - best material?
I am only familiar with the pieces used in Risk 2010 (engery pieces, counters, etc.)
Alright, sidebar:

What really bothered me was the sentence in bold: "I am only familiar with the pieces used in Risk 2010." This makes me think that you looked for more information on the web on Risk 2010 and got to the geek entry, and have held an account and just been reading things ever since you sign up.

It's NOT a BAD thing to start designs with only a limited amount of experience actually playing games, but your designs are far more likely to succeed if you have more plays under your belt. If you're basically just making a complicated variant of Risk (and a lot of people end up doing that), you're probably wasting your time on the concept.

Also, it's not clear that you've done a complete playtest yet. It sounds like you've hypothesized situations where game mechanics need to be refined, but that doesn't help the overall game design if you haven't done a solo playtest, a full-on playtest (either by yourself or in a group), and a blind playtest (without supervising). Designs should be rudimentary and fast until a game can hold up on it's own as a game and not just as a stack of pretty cards or nicely-manufactured bits.

I'm sorry if this sounds brash and assumptive. I just don't want you to get screwed over or get your hopes up and see all the time and money you've spent end up wasted. You shouldn't be worrying about the look of your game...almost at all. Publishers have artists and developers of their own. It almost sounds like you are basically an (admittedly more involved) art director for someone else's game concept and you're not actually involved in the design, just the details. Again...that's just what it sounds like from your post and I'm inferring a LOT from it.

Of course, if you're intending to self-publish, I take all this back www.caseyswood.com has a nice selection of wood bits.

Anyways, if you have more info about the game, let us know.
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Justin Egan
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Steve, your concepts on play testing are intriguing. would you be amenable to expounding on the terms you used regarding play testing?
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Herb Petro
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This BGGer does some nice work on prototypes. Contact him and see what he can do for you:

Andrew Tullsen
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48 hour turnaround time for Prototypes!
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Steven Metzger
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jegan22280 wrote:
Steve, your concepts on play testing are intriguing. would you be amenable to expounding on the terms you used regarding play testing?
WHY CERTAINLY MY DEAR CHUM! sorry...

I forget where I heard it but I've repeated it constantly: don't let anything prevent you from playtesting quickly. Playtesting where the feedback and criticism comes in, which is how you make your best progress on a game design. The visual design of a prototype needs to be functional, not flashy, and even though some splashy art can help sell a game (or sell a playtester on a game), it's a waste of your time and money to add it BEFORE you know that you even HAVE a decent game to work with.

That's about it...functional-not-flashy prototypes often get picked up based on their mechanics, and if your game is good enough then someone else can hire Michael Menzel or someone to spruce it up for you, you really don't have to do that yourself unless you are self-publishing.

Here's Hansa Teutonica, before and after:



Anyways...don't worry about the look of the game until you are satisfied with the feel.

BTW this is not necessarily a guideline that I always follow personally, and it is usually to my own detriment when I don't.
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kSwingrÜber
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metzgerism wrote:
Here's Hansa Teutonica, before and after:

Yikes! What happened!? I'd much rather play on the BEFORE board. Something about the "art" for the AFTER board makes me think a cat was napping in the game box and had a technicolor yawn when she woke up...
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Justin Egan
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metzgerism wrote:
I forget where I heard it but I've repeated it constantly: don't let anything prevent you from playtesting quickly. Playtesting where the feedback and criticism comes in, which is how you make your best progress on a game design. The visual design of a prototype needs to be functional, not flashy, and even though some splashy art can help sell a game (or sell a playtester on a game), it's a waste of your time and money to add it BEFORE you know that you even HAVE a decent game to work with.

That's about it...functional-not-flashy prototypes often get picked up based on their mechanics, and if your game is good enough then someone else can hire Michael Menzel or someone to spruce it up for you, you really don't have to do that yourself unless you are self-publishing.


This is really good stuff. What about the terms "blind play test", "solo play test", and "full play test"? What do you consider a solid definition of those? I ask because I want to hold a game design workshop in my area and I want to include a section on playtesting. Would it be okay if I use some of the information you supply for doing this?
 
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Steven Metzger
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Step 1: Solo Playtest

Try playing the game with yourself. If your game can be described as "multi-player solitaire" and has limited interpersonal conflict (Stone Age and Dominion are good examples of this), you should be able to play your game on your own very easily. Try catching some of the game's major mechanical problems, if any.

Step 2: Full Playtest

After your rules are complete (as best as you can), you should have others help you with playtests. You can supervise, but for the most part you should be letting them play as best they can realize it. You should get a lot of positive and negative feedback here.

I'm part of a game design group, so this is where I take designs and also act as a playtester for others - this is probably the best situation you can ask for as a designer, and we play our prototypes at a large weekly game night as well, so others can see what we are up to.

Step 3: Blind Playtest

This is the same as Step 2, but you are no longer supervising or even directing the play. Send out a prototype and a brief summary of the game, and most importantly your most recent set of rules. They will play the game and whoever your contact is should be able to give you some good feedback.

Sometimes this doesn't work out, the prototype is never played, you never hear back from the person you sent it out to, or people get swamped with other things (my current problem with Royal Pains, which still needs to get printed and playtested here).

I hope this helps a little bit...
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Shaun Fergus
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Thanks for the input and advice... and criticism ...

I have already been play-testing (20+ times... and I know it will take A LOT more to go) with several different groups with varying demographics, as well as different numbers of players. As the game is underway, the mechanics are tested and the rules are refined to work out flow dynamics and any kinks. I mentioned Risk 2010 (and all of the other risk games) as that is what I am familiar with on a first hand basis (several years). I have been researching through BG (both board and card games) to see what already exists, how the different mechanics work, and what board dynamics/graphics already are being used. Admitted, the game is a territorial game using dice and cards to direct activity, but I have been deliberately staying away from any Risk inferences. I like the idea of a blind play-test though, and will check with a local gaming group to set that up once the pieces are in. As far as holding up on its own, I have had incredible feedback from all groups with requests to play it again, even when a month or so passes. Also, the game has consistently had immediate "buy-in" once the players know the scenario and the goal.

The initial game was produced over the course of one night and one day on regular poster board, outlined in sharpie and hand painted. The board was laminated to help preserve it over time and much use. The cards and pieces were printed on regular copy paper and cut out then hand colored. Very crude in terms of quality and design... just the bare essentials. As the game was being tested, I started on the graphic end of the project and refining the card texts. I also produced a graphic prototype of the board and printed it on heavy cardstock, which was also laminated. This was to test color use and overall graphic effect. The pieces were also produced in color during this time using heavy card stock and cut/glued together (these were VERY successful but not heavy enough).

At this point, I am ready to produce a prototype of all the elements : board, cards, and pieces.

I think I will use superiorpod.com for the initial set of cards as I like their pricing and will be testing their quality and turn around.

I still am looking for a board printer/crafter as well as a source for printing the round game pieces (on cardboard ... material?) in two different sizes, small and medium. Eventually, if I can find suitable companies to work with, I will probably be producing small numbers of this and go from there.

Trust me, once I have all this established, I will be posting more about this game for the community, after I have a discussion with a patent attorney (already have one lined up) to start that process as well.
I understand but the initial response btw . I wouldn’t want to be screwed over this either, but if the response hasn’t been what it has been I wouldn’t have gotten past the "slap some paint on a board" stage. but I also view this as a learning experience, succeed or not, I have had so much fun thus far...designing and playing.


I am also glad to see that this thread has initiated some other discussions.

Still looking for:
Game board producer - company?
Game piece (cardboard ... material?) producer - company?
Thanks again
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Joe Mucchiello
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You can do blind playtests without a pretty prototype.

streams wrote:
Trust me, once I have all this established, I will be posting more about this game for the community, after I have a discussion with a patent attorney (already have one lined up) to start that process as well.

Patent Attorney? You have some innovation that has never been done before. Yet you are not familiar with many of the popular games here on BGG? You don't need a patent attorney. There are very few games with patented rules components.
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Shaun Fergus
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That is exactly why I want to talk with one to see what I need to do to protect anything that I produce... I have been reading through some articles on game development/design/etc and that is one thing that is suggested once the game is developed.

edit... The discussion with the atorney was also about copyright issues
 
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Shaun Fergus
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I want to also state that I am totally new at this (game development) and am looking for any helpful input concerning what I am looking for (printing companies). I have been following through the information that I have found as far as articles (here and elsewhere) to the best of my ability, and I know I have a lot to learn... it has already been a very long process with a lot more to go...
 
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Steven Metzger
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You don't need to patent or copyright anything.

I suppose we have a thread for all those questions now, but in all my time reading about it and talking on this forum, I've come to the opinion that rushing into game design with a patent or copyright is a lot like going into a water balloon fight with a kevlar vest and riot shield.
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Shaun Fergus
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I had mentioned the Risk 2010 in reference to the game pieces primarily... I will be posting the pics of the specific pieces which I can only describe as :

1 small - round 7/8 diameter printed in color on gray cardboard - sturdy

1 medium - rougly 1.5 diameter printed in color on gray cardboard

The small one is used as an "energy" chip that allows you to purchase commanders, etc.

The meduim one is used to designate a "radioactive" area where no one can control.

I do not know what these would be called (counters? chits?)

Besides a company that prints/die cuts these, I am also looking for a company that can print a prototype game board and game box (eventually)...

Anyone know any specific companies whose price is right?



edit - here is a pic of the medium piece

 
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Steven Metzger
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streams wrote:

I had mentioned the Risk 2010 in reference to the game pieces primarily... I will be posting the pics of the specific pieces which I can only describe as :

1 small - round 7/8 diameter printed in color on gray cardboard - sturdy

1 medium - rougly 1.5 diameter printed in color on gray cardboard

The small one is used as an "energy" chip that allows you to purchase commanders, etc.

The meduim one is used to designate a "radioactive" area where no one can control.

I do not know what these would be called (counters? chits?)

Besides a company that prints/die cuts these, I am also looking for a company that can print a prototype game board and game box (eventually)...

Anyone know any specific companies whose price is right?



edit - here is a pic of the medium piece



Doesn't really give us a good size comparison, but oh well - they are chits.

Here's some wooden pieces: http://www.caseyswood.com/shoppingcart/zen-cart/index.php?ma...
Caseyswood also has some other stuff, and there are other wood piece suppliers out there. However, for the price I would not suggest a large-scale order for anything more than a prototype meant for presentations and pitches.
 
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Shaun Fergus
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Thanks for the info for proper term and supplier... I don't think I want to use wood though... the pieces from the Risk game are a grayish thick board type of material that can be printed in rows on a sheet of paper and die cut...

I saw that superiorpod carries chits... but am not sure they are custom printed...
 
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Jim Harmon
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This is for a prototype right? I often want circle pieces for prototypes and I've found using the wood disks with color prints placed on them work well and are rather economical. I use a circle punch and mat hodpodge to glue them on. Here's some example:



This is what I used in my game Dragon Jewels.

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Herb Petro
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If you don't want to use wood, then you could circle punch self adhesive stickers (perhaps full page self adhesive sticker sheets) mounted on chipboard or artists board found at any store which carries art supplies.
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Shaun Fergus
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Here is a pic of the pieces with size reference

Any company print and die cut these?


 
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Jim Harmon
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I could be wrong but I don't think you are going to find a company to make a small amount of these, they will require a large amount because of the setup involved.

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Benjamin Maggi
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Does any company still make POGS? You know, the game that lasted about a minute in the early 1990s? Weren't they made out of cardboard?
 
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Shaun Fergus
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From what I have researched, it looks as though I will have to make the pieces myself. The pieces we are currently using are color printed on thick cardstock, hand cut, and then glued together. (All of which takes a VERY long time as there are about 300+ pieces). The pieces are sturdy, but still too light (sneezing or strong air flow cause havoc).

The printing won't be a problem. Does anyone have any info on what kind of hand punch or die punch that would work best for 7/8 inch and 1.5 inch circles. I have googled a number of sites but haven't found anything that would be suitable. The punch/cut would be to cut the pieces from the paper as well as punch/cut from the chipboard (or other thicker material) once the paper is glued on both sides.

Will be checking out some craft stores to see if they have anything, but it would be helpful if there was something specific I was looking for.

Thanks again for any help.

Have a good weekend.

Peace


 
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Steven Metzger
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streams wrote:

From what I have researched, it looks as though I will have to make the pieces myself. The pieces we are currently using are color printed on thick cardstock, hand cut, and then glued together. (All of which takes a VERY long time as there are about 300+ pieces). The pieces are sturdy, but still too light (sneezing or strong air flow cause havoc).

The printing won't be a problem. Does anyone have any info on what kind of hand punch or die punch that would work best for 7/8 inch and 1.5 inch circles. I have googled a number of sites but haven't found anything that would be suitable. The punch/cut would be to cut the pieces from the paper as well as punch/cut from the chipboard (or other thicker material) once the paper is glued on both sides.

Will be checking out some craft stores to see if they have anything, but it would be helpful if there was something specific I was looking for.

Thanks again for any help.

Have a good weekend.

Peace


Why don't you just make square chits in the meantime?
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Jim Harmon
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Do a google search on chipboard circles and you will find them in various sizes on scrapbooking sites. If you can find a circle punch in that matching sizes you can print your chits on paper and punch them out and mount them on the chip board with hodgepodge or spray adhesive. This is basically what I did but I'm using wood circles instead of chipboard. The process is pretty quick since you don't have to hand cut any circles.
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