Tinwë
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PnP games often need euro cubes and coins, and they're not always easy to acquire, so I make my own with thick cardboard. They're double sided for ease of use. Since I'm very happy with the result, I decided to share the procedure I follow. It can be easily adapted to any kind of token or counter that you need to produce. I'm not claiming that this is the best method, and you probably won't learn anything revolutionary, but hopefully this tutorial will help people just starting with PnP games by providing a few hints.

First, you need to prepare a file with the images of the tokens. I needed cubes of four different colors and some gold coins to complete my Aether Captains: Pirates and Traders copy. I decided to make coins of values 1, 2 and 5. This can be easily done with any vector graphics application, and the resulting image is:

As you can see, there are both the front and back sides of the tokens, carefully put in such a way that they match correctly if you fold along the dashed lines. Note that there is a 1mm wide color bleed area around the tokens (one for each color block). That way, even if you don't match precisely the front with the back, and the cuts are not perfect, it will not be noticeable on the completed tokens. Also, for the same reason, there is no guide for the cuts on the tokens (just a light one on the coins, but it is not needed actually). To guide the matching/cutting, there is a 1cm wide frame around the sets of tokens, with regularly spaced lines along which the final cuts will be performed.

If you don't need thick tokens, just print out the page on card stock, separate the two sets of tokens, fold them along the dashed lines and glue carefully the back to the front. Put it on press (I use piles of heavy books). If you want thin but rigid tokens, print on regular paper, glue it on card stock (180g/m^2 or more), press, then fold and glue again. Then cut the token as explained below.

In the rest of the post I will show how I did thicker tokens, with 2mm cardboard.

1. Print the file with the tokens on regular paper.



2. Cut out along the external frames of the two sets of tokens.



if you're not using cardboard, just fold and glue as explained previously. Otherwise cut also along the dashed lines, to separate the front from the back:



3. Take some thick cardboard (I use 2mm thick with nice results) and draw with a pencil areas of the size of the frames on which you will glue the front parts of the tokens



4. Glue the front sides of the tokens on the cardboard. There are different ways to do it; the way it works better for me is to use a large glue stick of good quality (it turns out that with cheaper ones it is more difficult to distribute the glue evenly and the result is not as good). I first put glue on the marked area of cardboard, then another layer of glue on the paper, finally I carefully lay the paper on the cardboard, pressing from the center to the borders for a smooth result. Then I put the result under a big pile of heavy books to press it. The longer the better, I usually just do something else for a few hours or simply leave it on press over night.



5. Cut the cardboard along the edges of the frames.




6. Flip the cardboard and glue the back side of the tokens. Be careful to have it oriented the correct way or you will end up with mismatched fronts and backs on your tokens. Seems obvious, but it's a mistake I managed to do :) Put it again on press.



7. Once everything is firmly glued, you need to cut the tokens. You need a metal ruler and a cutter or an X-acto knife. Use the black lines drawn on the frame to align the ruler and do first the cuts in the shorter direction. I find it easier if I don't cut along the first and last lines to begin with. Be very careful not to go too far with your cuts into the frame, since you need the frame to guide your cuts! If 1cm is too small for you, make wider frames.



8. Now cut in the long direction. Again I prefer not to cut the first and last lines immediately.



9. the central tokens should now separate easily from the frame:



10. Do four more cuts to free the last tokens and enjoy your brand new markers and coin tokens!



As a last touch, you might want to paint the sides of the tokens with a marker, with matching color. Also, you can laminate the cardboard before cutting out the tokens.

If you want to see more pictures of the resulting tokens, you can find them in this comment. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and it will help you craft your own tokens. Feel free to suggest improvements or explain how you craft your own!




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kerli
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Thanks for that! I saw your counters and coins in the images of some other game recently - Milky Way Trader or sth similar? Anyways, I nicked the picture file, as it's a good thing to have for PnP games, as you said. blush

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tuskel,
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Tinwë
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Donkeys!! ^^
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Thanks tuskel, glad that you liked it! Indeed I used similar counters for Milky Way Express (another great PnP!). You can download the pdf files with the counters for both games from the following links if you want:

Aether Captains: Pirates and Traders:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21900298/ACPT_tokens.pdf

Milky Way Express:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21900298/MWE%20tokens.pdf

But really, it's very easy to create your own files with the token sizes and colors you need!
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kerli
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I know, I usually use Photoshop, but why spend hours if someone has already done the work?

(I guess I'm not that good at vectors, and I don't have vector program anyway - I did learn Corel at the same time I learnt Photoshop in Uni, but liked PS better.)
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Ghislain LEVEQUE
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One nice tip if you want a nice finish is to :

1 - add a black border on the image around each token
2 - after cutting each token, with a black marker, color the side of the token

Anyway, nice tutorial !
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Frank Clarke
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I like the "thinking outside the box" frames, I'll do that for my next counter set. Thanks for sharing!
 
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