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Subject: Print n' Play Wargaming - What Do I Need? rss

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K G
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I'm interested too! (I assume I'll have all my printing done at Kinko's though. I still need to visit them to see about costs.)
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Marc Guenette
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Peter,

I should invite you home, and I could show how to, and we could build some. I have a few stuff I could show you.

Marc
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Bill Lawson
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Can I come to Marc? whistle I'll bring some sheets of label paper.
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I'll bring the beers if someone will pay my air fare.
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I've done about 20 pnp or similar games and have learned a thing or two. Less what to do than what not to do, mind.

I don't even own a printer; I typically use Staples online service to send the files to the local Staples print shop. There I can add instructions, choose what material to use, all that.

My current method is nothing flashy. I glue the counters to some cardboard using 3M 77 or similar spray adhesive. Right now I use the stuff they put in comic book bags to keep the magazine flat; anything thicker causes me problems when I cut them out.
For cutting I just use some sturdy Fiskars brand scissors, and I work as slowly & patiently as I can. I had fooled around with a rotary cutter but the cardboard I was using at that time was too thick and deranged the cutter. A rotary cutter is fast, when it works, but not as precise as using scissors, so I never bothered to replace it. You can also find some gruesome rotary cutter-related injury photos here on BGG.

I rarely mount maps. Why? The truth is, most of the pnp games I've assembled get played a few times and then archived. Only a few have had the lasting appeal to get a permanent treatment.

I am considering getting a printer, however, because Staples does not offer adhesive paper as a print option. I really, really like the adhesive paper because the counters DO NOT separate, which does sometimes occur with the ones I spray-glue, presumably because I occasionally miss a spot when applying the glue. It's diabolically hard to tell what you've hit with the glue, until you touch it, anyway.
The only problem with the adhesive sheets, so far, is that the material is rather flat, so colours don't pop they way they do when you print on glossy or semi-gloss materials.

I've probably overlooked some really important stuff, here, but I was just served a big plate of shumai and I don't want them to get cold. If you have any specific questions just ask.
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Steven Johnson
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The best thing would be for PnP designers to stop using two sided counters!
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mochara
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Maps: I just ask Staples to print on the heaviest colour material they have which, I think, is 92 lb or similar. More than adequate for most map applications.

I use the same material for cards, as well.

As suggested in Marc's post, above, it's easier to show than to tell, I find.

So we'll meet at Marc's.
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K G
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Mo, scissors? Really? (I no longer have that kind of motor control.) I assume I'll use a metal straight edge and a hobby knife, with many razor sharp blades available.
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Laura Creighton
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http://www.trollandtoad.com/p238467.html

(This is available from other sources, including GMT direct.

Lots more fun than making your own chits. You just need stickers with the info on them.
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Absolutely. I had trouble with the straight edge + hobby knife routine. Probably fear of slicing myself, again, my knife would veer off across the counters...disaster.

That's one reason why I use the relatively thin material, too - I'm able to cut them out with scissors without causing the edge of the counter to curl. With thicker material this curling was a small concern, plus it's just so much more effort to hack through thick stuff.

But you need good scissors. Not crazy expensive ones, but not children's or dollar store ones, either.
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Kyle Seely
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moly19 wrote:



I am considering getting a printer, however, because Staples does not offer adhesive paper as a print option. I really, really like the adhesive paper because the counters DO NOT separate, which does sometimes occur with the ones I spray-glue, presumably because I occasionally miss a spot when applying the glue. It's diabolically hard to tell what you've hit with the glue, until you touch it, anyway.
The only problem with the adhesive sheets, so far, is that the material is rather flat, so colours don't pop they way they do when you print on glossy or semi-gloss materials.




I know some people who use bookbinder's glue, which you mix, kind of like wallpaper paste, and brush on. That might help with missing spots. The tradeoff, though, seems to be that you have to keep it pressed flat for longer, or else your paper will shrink and curl up your chipboard, or whatever you've mounted it to, and that's no good. The spray adhesives don't have as much moisture that causes the shrinkage, apparently.
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Quote:
Lots more fun than making your own chits. You just need stickers with the info on them.


Have you tried these, Laura? I would think that lining everything up would be difficult.

Also, a press might be required to get the adhesive stuff to conform to the valley created by the die-cutter.

Interesting, though...
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Laura Creighton
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We use them all the time. Somebody wrote a neat program that takes an image, feeds it to the GIMP, (the linux free alternative to photoshop) and converts it into a page of stickers-ready art based on commonly available sticker-paper here (in Sweden). It only took him about 4 hours, to make it, but then he is good at this sort of thing. We've been happily stickering away for nearly a decade now.
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Outstanding, but far beyond my capabilities.
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K G
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"Stickering" is now my favorite word.
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Sam H
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-Printer: I use the photocopier/printer at work ninja because I can print maps in the 11x17 format. For larger ones like the one for Up Against The Wall, Motherf*****!, I divided the map into parts using photoshop and printed the sections.

-For Vae Victis games, I just cut out the counters printed in the magazine. None of that scanning and printing techno stuff.

-Cardstock from "Omer deSerres"

-Elmer's glue

A whole lotta patience for those double-sided counters... I find it easier to do one side. Cut it into smaller sections and do the reverse little bits at a time. Less chance of a complete mess-up.

Marc's method is quicker and probably smarter. So I would definitely go over to his place.
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ROGER DEAL
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Hi. I have been doing this awhile and here's what I use: HP C7180 Inkjet printer (not very expensive). For maps and cards I use Georgia-Pacfic 110 lb. White Card Stock (Wal-Mart 150 sheets about $5.00). The HP printer is able to handle this thickness with no trouble. I also order 100 sheets of white label paper from ONLINE LABELS.com for $10.95 plus shipping. I print my counters on the label paper and I stick them on good quality thin cardboard. I cut the counters out with a good, heavy boxcutter and a good quality metal ruler from Staples. If you keep a sharp blade in the boxcutter and hold the ruler tight then it is easy to cut the counters out.

Cards can be printed on the cardstock and inserted in card sleeves with an opaque back. I use regular playing cards behind the printed game card to give the card an overall firmness that makes shuffleing easy.

For the maps - print on the label paper and stick right on a good piece of cardboard/foamcore that is thick enough not to warp. For big maps, I use a piece of foamcore that I cut to size using the boxcutter. Foamcore can be bought at Wal-mart for $2.50 a sheet - far cheaper than Stapes.

I have tried the spray glue, Elmers paper glue and glue sticks. None of these work well. The Elmers has too much water and makes the cardboard warp. The spray glue seems to lose it's adhesiveness over time. And the glue sticks also lose their adhesiveness in just a few days. What I use is a good RUBBER CEMENT. It comes in a small jar and has a brush applicator in the lid. It sticks great, has low moisture content and lasts a long, long time. You can get it at Wal-mart at a reasonable price.

I really enjoy making print and play games. I like the feel of well made maps and counters and the whole process if far cheaper than big box games. For example - VICTORY AND VALOR is a great, FREE, wargame that has brough me hours of pleasure. I even use GIMP and create my own counters and there are some very good MAP CREATING software programs on the market that allow one to create many different scale maps for do-it-yourself game designers.
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I print the counters on colored construction paper. I then glue the sheets to posterboard with gluesticks and cut them out. I print out the map on a black and white printer, and I often hand-color it.
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Pelle Nilsson
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rsjrev wrote:
The best thing would be for PnP designers to stop using two sided counters!


Yes, I tend to avoid printing games with double-sided counters, but I understand for some game mechanics it would be too slow to play with only single-sided.

I would be happy though if pnp designers could stop doing thick (black) borders around/between counters. The slightest off-centre cut is obvious, and it is difficult to even find the centre where to cut.

Ideally, don't separate counters with any lines at all. Just add registration marks along the borders of sheets. I just line up a steel ruler and make long strips of counters (still attached on one side), then cut the other way to separate all counters, one row at a time. With a bit of practice I can cut out counters faster than I can punch a die-cut sheet. But it fails completely when I need to struggle to find the mid-point of thick borders before every cut.

Besides, it doesn't even look nice to have borders on the counters, and makes the game stand out as non-professional, just like too heavy use of saturated primary colors everywhere do. So easy to avoid.

In general, staying away from borders/lines, and not having any artwork too close to the edges of counters, and not having artwork that is symmetric too close to the edges (like a big square), it becomes very difficult to notice if a counter was not perfectly cut, which means we can cut the game much faster/sloppier.

If nothing else, at least if you do double-sided counters, make sure there is a lot of empty space around content on each counter on the back, and nothing like borders or artwork that makes it obvious when a cut is a few mm off. Thank you!
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Pelle Nilsson
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For printing I have a Canon inkjet printer. Counters go on self-adhesive medium-glossy (A4) photo paper. For maps I print to plain office paper in A3 size (for Americans: that's the size of two A4, or about the size of a small magazine wargame map).
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Wulf Corbett
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Glossy finish full-sheet label paper has been the big discovery for my PnP production. Before that my counters (on standard label paper) were never as sharp or detailed. Another big change is now (I've done it for 3 maps & will be doing so every time in future) to get maps bigger than A3 printed at an online printer store. Possibly more expensive than printing in A3 sections & taping together (although, with the cost of ink, that's debatable...) but far better quality, and no taped seams....

Getting the hang of double-sided counters is the real trick... My technique is to print one side, stick to the card, and trim to size. Then print the other side, trim the label sheet to size, peel off the backing paper, line it up & stick... edge first, then, once you're happy, stick the sheet down. If you don't press down, you should get one - probably only one - retry peeling off the sheet & repositioning. The secret is how big to make the section of labels for each section. Too big & it's too easy to misalign - even a tiny problem at one end of the sheet puts the other end way off. But too small a sheet, and you'll be driven insane lining up all the little fragments! I find 1/2 sheet sections are best. To help lining up the second side, mark the counter edge on a few counter edge lines before lining up the second side.
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Wulf - who makes the glossy label paper you refer to? All I can find around here is flat stuff.
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Wulf Corbett
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Here's the ones I buy:
http://www.labelplanet.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=Gloss_Inkje...

Depends where you are, of course - I did a search & found some in the US last time this subject came up.
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Thanks!
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Jason Doyle
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moly19 wrote:
Wulf - who makes the glossy label paper you refer to? All I can find around here is flat stuff.


Another that might be an option is Polaroid Sticker Paper. I've just grabbed a pack from a local shop, it's bright, glossy vinyl type material. Unfortunately I don't have an inkjet to test out if it will provide that vibrant glossy look, but I will see how it works anyway for making counters.

My experiences are much the same as others above.

Maps - I very rarely mount them, though I have done some nice little folding boards for Valor & Victory which worked out quite nicely. Everything else is just A4 paper taped together, and then used under a poster frame. For some smaller, one page stuff, I might print onto a thin card.

Counters - I tend to go for either the one sheet sticker approach, or spray glue. I prefer the finish I can get with spray glue, as I print onto lightweight card, and then attach this to a thicker (2mm) greyboard, which gives lovely thick sturdy counters. Hard work cutting, but I go for the metal ruler and a variety of cutting tools approach.

I use a variety of card, but mostly it's greyboard in 2mm and about 1.2mm I think. Though the stuff my cat's dry food comes in is pretty good too. I find myself just saving decent card and board whenever I see it, so I've a little stock to work with.

The other option I'm toying with for maps is cheap foamboard. You can get massive sheets of this in a local craft shop for a few quid, and then print maps to labels and attach. I've yet to try it though, the foambaord is cheap and tends to be a little warped so I might have to try weighing it down to flatten.

Oh and buy lots of small bags, and storage containers. The big document style bags are handy too for storing complete games without having to get into making boxes.
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