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blank game board co-op

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Anonymous

I'm very glad I found this site. However, when I did find it, I thought FOR SURE my elusive search for a company that makes game boards was near an end. Sadly, many of you are just as troubled as I am by this hard-to-find commodity.

The stumbling block for us trying to make small prototype runs is the board itself-- not the printing or assmebly. So what I am proposing we do is form a blank board co-op and try to find a company that will print x number of blank boards which we can divide among ourselves. From there, we can print adhesives and assemble the boards ourselves.

My game board is quite large: 20 x 30, but I can probably reduce it to 18 x 24. It folds into four panels. I would be interested in taking between 100 and 500... What do you think?

Anonymous
blank game board co-op

I don't have an answer to this, but I may have a lead. I have been trying to find someone in my small town who will do it and all the professional printing companies turned me away, but one of them suggested I try book binding companies, as the boards are manufactured from similar materials to hardcover book covers.

One could use multiple smaller sheets and tape/bind them together to get a single larger board, similar to most board games 50/50 fold or Trivial Pursuit's four way fold.

Oh yeah, and I guess this is my inaugural post so maybe I'll introduce myself. :D

Paul. Been designing games for 25 years. Just found the forum. Expect more from me.

Oh yeah, and go look at my comic strip and tell me if you like it. :D

jwarrend
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Re: blank game board co-op

electionman wrote:
I'm very glad I found this site. However, when I did find it, I thought FOR SURE my elusive search for a company that makes game boards was near an end. Sadly, many of you are just as troubled as I am by this hard-to-find commodity.

One thing I've observed about this community, for better or for worse, is that our expertise (such as it is) is more in the craft of designing games, not so much in the craft of producing or selling games. This is primarily because the large majority of us are unpublished designers who are just in the early to mid stages of designing games, and beginning to think about the next step.

To me, that's what I really like about this community, because I find it's a great group to talk about game mechanics, rules concerns, etc. -- things about actually making a great game system. That's what I'm more concerned with right now; making prototypes, etc, is a secondary concern until I have a great game in the first place.

So, if I was going to offer my opinion, I'd say that the operative word in "Board Game Designer's Forum" is Designer. There are some industry pros here, there are some with good knowledge about how to make great prototypes and how to get your game published and all that stuff. But the real strength of this group, in my experience, is its ability to have sophisticated discussion about games themselves .

What's exciting to me is that I think a few years from now, many of us will have become excellent designers as a result of our participation here, and some will have published their designs. So it's cool to me to feel like I'm in on the early stage of a journey that many of us are taking together. It will be great to see where we end up! At any rate, I digress...

Quote:

My game board is quite large: 20 x 30, but I can probably reduce it to 18 x 24. It folds into four panels. I would be interested in taking between 100 and 500... What do you think?

I'm open to considering something like this, although I'm sure there will be lots of quibbling over the board size. What I might propose is ordering smaller "panels" that can be assembled to make a larger game board, sort of like how Avalon Hill's games used to come. That way, we can all order as many as we need and construct our boards out of as many panels as we need for whatever size we want for that particular game.

To that end, I'd propose we go with 8" square panels. This would let everyone print their board sections onto a standard 8.5" x 11" piece of paper, something that everyone can do. So, for your 20 x 30 board, I guess you'd either have to go to 24 x 32 or 16 x 24, but hopefully either of those are reasonable. In the end, I think an option like this that allows for some level of customization would be better than trying to get everyone to agree on one size and then have to fit all their game boards to that size. (For instance, I think the "standard" size might be something like 17 x 17, but that would be of no use to you...)

I'm very open to this kind of an idea, though...keep me in the loop if you get more takers!

FastLearner
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blank game board co-op

I'm quite pleased with matting board. I buy a full sheet of black matte board (which is black on one side and white on the other).

I print out my board on letter-sized sheets such that there's some overlap on each page (1/4 inch minimum, I prefer 1/2 inch). I trim the white space off of the edges that meet each other.

I then spray the back of one of the corner sheets with spray adhesive (I just tried Elmers craft spray instead of Super 77 and it seems even better as it's a bit more forgiving during the initial placement). I then stick that sheet down to one corner of the matte board and rub it down flat.

I then spray my next sheet (one that's adjacent to the corner sheet already in place) and stick it down. One edge lines up with the edge of the matte board and the other you have to eyeball very carefully so that it matches up. It doesn't have to be 100% perfect but it should be pretty close.

Then I run my fingernail along the place where they overlap... that is there's a spot on the board where there are now two layers of paper and I run my fingernail along the "invisible" edge of it to create a bit of a crease. I then take my cork-backed metal ruler and slide it right up to the fingernailed edge and then use my x-acto knife (with light pressue) to just cut through that layer of paper. Then I just pull the overlap strip off.

Now you've got two pages that are seamed perfectly next to each other with no overlap.

I repeat this with my third sheet (in this example I have 4 sheets) aligning it with the other nearby edge of the matte board and removing the overlap.

Now you've got an L-shape of board with only the last piece to place. This one is the most diffficult but can be made much easier with a little trick.

I set my steel ruler down on the matte board with one edge lined up with one of the sheets (at the ends of the L) and then use a pencil to draw a thin line extending into the empty part of the board. I do the same with the other end of the L and the result is pencilled lines that show you exactly where the 4th sheet should go. I then stick down the 4th sheet as above, trimming away the excess.

Now I've got the full board and it's time to trim. If desired (I sometimes do and sometimes don't) I can use the metal ruler and my x-acto knife and trim the outside edges off the whole thing. This creates a very nice, clean outside edge.

Lastly I cut the board so that it's foldable. This has required the most experimentation because I needed to learn how to cut most of the way through the board (front and back as needed) without quite cutting all of the way through. My first couple of boards where "ok" without being good, but now they're quite good and I'm very pleased. They fold up nicely to fit in the box and unfold well and lay flat.

I'm sure this either was (a) helpful, (b) made you say "duh," or most likely (c) was incomprehensible. If (c) is your choice feel free to ask if anything is unclear. It takes about 30 minutes to create a final board now (though the first couple took about 90 minutes).

-- Matthew

jwarrend
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blank game board co-op

FastLearner wrote:
I'm quite pleased with matting board. I buy a full sheet of black matte board (which is black on one side and white on the other).

Where do you get this? And how much does it cost?

FastLearner
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blank game board co-op

You can get it anywhere picture framing is done or where picture framing supplies are sold. I have bought it at Michaels: just go to their framing counter and tell them you'd like to buy a full sheet of matting board -- they'll point you to a bunch of samples where you can pick the thickness and color and finish you'd like. There it's about $12 but I use a 40% off coupon from the Sunday paper to buy it for about $8. You can ask them to wrap it up for you so it doesn't get dirty and is less likely to get bent on the trip home.

I've found that my local art supply store actually sells it less expensively and I don't need a coupon so I'll be buying it there from now on.

The sheets are about 36" x 48" IIRC.

It's not quite as thick as a good game board but it's plenty thick for prototype boards and, as I noted, folds up and folds flat quite nicely.

Anonymous
blank game board co-op

My point: Instead of spending $12, we could go in together and get something better for maybe $5 or less. This isn't about mass-marketing-- it's about being able to create a few semi-professional replications of your game.

jwarrend
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blank game board co-op

electionman wrote:
My point: Instead of spending $12, we could go in together and get something better for maybe $5 or less. This isn't about mass-marketing-- it's about being able to create a few semi-professional replications of your game.

FWIW, the size of the boards FastLearner mentioned, 36 x 48, could be used to create at least 4 "standard sized" game boards, so the per game board cost would only be $3, which isn't bad. But hey, if we could get the thing for $5 instead of $12, so much the better! As I said, I'd be interested. But I do think finding a size that everyone could agree on would be the sticking point, so maybe getting a huge sheet like Fast mentions would keep everyone happy. Or a small "game board" like the one I mentioned.

Anonymous
blank game board co-op

Why not order large sizes so you could all cut them down to the sizes we need individually?

Incidentally, for those making small prototypes, you can often find a wide selection of "discard" pieces of matte board from framing places, they have all kinds of it that nobody will buy and may even give it to you instead of charging.

Makes good material to make small square game counters with as well, although you need heavy duty scissors and will have hand callouses before you are done.

Brykovian
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blank game board co-op

FL ... Can you get matting board in standard letter sizes (8.5x11" in the US)? Would it be possible to trim it with a standard swing-arm paper cutter? (Guess I have something else to look for in my next trip to Michaels ... ;))

Also, I found a store in town that I will be visiting tomorrow ... they tell me over the phone that they have different thicknesses of cardboard (such as like that on the back of a notepad) in letter-sized sheets. I'm going to do a little experiment with printing on either full-sized label sheets, or on standard or photopaper and using spray adhesive -- and attach the printed page to the cardboard, clearcoat it, then trim it to right size with a paper cutter ... I'll let you know how that turns out. (These, of course, are for smaller boards, or for a larger board broken into pieces.)

-Bryk

FastLearner
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blank game board co-op

You can get illustration board in smaller sizes but it's not quite as thick. I don't know if you can get matte board smaller, though, as it comes large so that large paintings can be framed.

Brykovian
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blank game board co-op

FastLearner wrote:
You can get illustration board in smaller sizes but it's not quite as thick. I don't know if you can get matte board smaller, though, as it comes large so that large paintings can be framed.

That's what I figured ... thanks.

-Bryk

Brykovian
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blank game board co-op

Brykovian wrote:
Also, I found a store in town that I will be visiting tomorrow ... they tell me over the phone that they have different thicknesses of cardboard (such as like that on the back of a notepad) in letter-sized sheets. I'm going to do a little experiment with printing on either full-sized label sheets, or on standard or photopaper and using spray adhesive -- and attach the printed page to the cardboard, clearcoat it, then trim it to right size with a paper cutter ... I'll let you know how that turns out. (These, of course, are for smaller boards, or for a larger board broken into pieces.)

Well, I visited the store and found out that what I was looking for is called "book binding board" or "Davey board" and is significantly more rigid than "chipboard", which is what that cardboard on the back of notepads is called. This store sold pieces a little smaller than 8.5x11" for $2/pair (they're only sold in pairs since they're intended to be used in making both covers of a book). This is still a little more expensive than I want, so I'm on the research trail now for bulk sales of this material.

In any case, I bought a handful of sheets to do some testing on. I printed my Castle Danger board out onto fullsheet label paper, affixed the label to the Davey board, then trimmed the result down on each edge to make a clean cut and have the color on the printed game board "bleed" to the edge. Finally, I sprayed it with clear-coat (Krylon). It feels and handles very nicely, and I think it might be the way to go if I can keep the cost of the Davey board down.

It's not completely waterproofed with a single coat of spray on it, as I test it this morning ... but I've added a second coat and will see how it works tomorrow. Of course, I'm not expecting it to be completely waterproof -- just want it to hand normal wear-and-tear. I'll keep you updated.

-Bryk

FastLearner
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blank game board co-op

Good find!

Note that Davey board is technically a brand name of binder's board, but like "Kleenex" is often used in place of the more generic name. I've read that binder's board includes metal flakes to make it stiffer.

Brykovian
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blank game board co-op

FastLearner wrote:
I've read that binder's board includes metal flakes to make it stiffer.

lol ... you must've hit the same Google destinations as me! :) http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byform/mailing-lists/bookarts/1999/04/msg00277.html ... you'll see in this post that someone mentions the metal flakes, and someone else draws it into question with some pretty good reference info.

From the stuff I bought yesterday, I can't detect anything metal in it -- and it has 2 rough-cut sides to it. The rough cuts just seem like fluffy paper fiber, while the finished parts are a really firm cardboard of uniform color. I see a company name and phone number in that posted link. If I'm unable to find a local or web-based supplier with good enough pricing, maybe I'll give that a try too.

-Bryk

FastLearner
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blank game board co-op

It would seem awfully hard to cut if it had metal fibers in it. I suspect it's just well-compressed and uses a good, strong binding agent. Mostly the former.

Caparica
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blank game board co-op

BrykovianWell wrote:
, I visited the store and found out that what I was looking for is called "book binding board" or "Davey board" and is significantly more rigid than "chipboard", which is what that cardboard on the back of notepads is called. This store sold pieces a little smaller than 8.5x11" for $2/pair (they're only sold in pairs since they're intended to be used in making both covers of a book). This is still a little more expensive than I want, so I'm on the research trail now for bulk sales of this material.

Really?
Here in Brazil what you call "chipboard" is called "papel paranĂ¡" and is very cheap. The havier kind used to make book covers is called "holler", I think it is a brand name. A very thick 3 foot X 3 foot sheet (1X1 meter) costs R$ 10,00 (about US$ 3,00).

Paulo

Anonymous
blank game board co-op

I also enjoy hand book-binding as a hobby (it has a lot of skills in common with making game prototypes) and have quite a lot of binders board laying around. The main difference between binders board is that it is single ply (made in a single layer of board).; That makes it much more resistant to warping than boards made from 2, 3 or more layers laminated together. It is a little better quality, but also a little more expensive. If it's not pre-cut, you can typically find it in 13 x 19 inch sheets. It comes in varying thicknesses: .098 being VERY thick (almost 1/8"), down to .055 which is about the thiskness of single ply chip board.

For the most part, matte board and chip board will work well for tokens, counters, game boards etc.

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