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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

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Anonymous

At first I wanted to make my games a little more pricewise and thus perhaps cheaper in the components. Now I'm finding that playing a large variety of less expensive games with cheap/er components is starting to show me the way to go. Now instead of a thicker cardboard chit for the play pieces I think I'd like to do them in a think wood disc instead. Now what would you suppose the pros and cons to be for this change of idea.

A game using oval wood pieces is the Hive. It uses the wooden pieces with a sticker overlay to provide the game bits. I've heard player complaints that state that the stickers fray and peel after play and that the wood discs have on occasion splintered during use. I've also read that the stickers (which I believe are done in a colored/clear set-up are hard to tell apart for player to player. So you may use the silver or light blue pieces without any knowledge of the change.

I've also read that players love the wood just because it is wood and it feels nice and has a great finish. They are more durable than cardboard bits and they are easier to use then the bits as well. The stickers that are applied allow a greater detail for printing and also better color for the pictures.

That is one game example, I've also read about the various block games done by companies. The two I'm most familiar with are Columbia Games and Worthington Games. The blocks are done I suppose in a like manner and have stickers as well. They are lent more towards wargames right now but I assume that you could do other type games as well with careful thought.

Please tell me your opinion on using wooden bits for a game. Please also if you've heard of a company that provides blocks or discs for use... where would I find them. I've noted teachers supply shops offer them but only in a limited number. I think I'd need about 30 or so disks per game. Your opinions would be welcomed.

Dralius
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

I use wood in my game Cannon and it is cheaper than having cardboard chits printed for you unless you get into large quantities to offset the set up fees. The pieces are silk screened and then sealed for a lifetime of play. I personally like the look and feel of wood better than plastic or cardboard. I get my discs from Wood works Ltd., they are listed on the web resources under game bits. If you make orders of 1000 or more the price is not that bad the number of unusable pieces do to production effort is less than 1%.

Anonymous
Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

Thanks Dralius. I hadn't considered silk screening as I thought that was just for fabrics. Could you have had your work done in multi colors or just black? I'd like some of the pieces to have multi colors (not a necessity but just what I'd like). I'll look up the place you suggested and see if they fit into my cash reserve.

Does anyone know anything about the idea for stickers though... has anyone tried it?

Brykovian
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

I use clear labels on the wooden cubes from Woodworks for my home production of "Castle Danger" (link) ... I used small (1/2" tall) address labels for laser printers and did simple black icons.

So far, it seems to work quite well. Something I personally haven't done, but might help insure that the label wears better is to spray the cube and label with a clear-coat varnish or finishing spray.

The colored bits (pawns and "fire" pieces) are simply spray-painted -- that seems to work fine as well.

-Bryk

Anonymous
Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

Thanks guys. Since you're both working with wood in different aspects I'd ask you these questions.

For the wood pieces in both cases... how have they faired in use? Are they sturdy enough to hold up to repetative play? (no splinters, gouges or such) And in both cases of lables and silkscreening does the artwork (such as it is) stay relatively fresh and mark free? For that matter do the lables lie flat on the blocks or after some play do they bunch or begin to shred?

I think that's it. Thanks alot for the replies.

Brykovian
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

mikeb wrote:
how have they faired in use? Are they sturdy enough to hold up to repetative play? (no splinters, gouges or such) And in both cases of lables and silkscreening does the artwork (such as it is) stay relatively fresh and mark free? For that matter do the lables lie flat on the blocks or after some play do they bunch or begin to shred?

So far I've been happy with the quality of the wooden bits from Woodworks ... pretty smooth and, as Dralius stated, a rather small percentage of "throw aways". While my test set for "Castle Danger" has only been through a couple dozen plays, it doesn't look much different than a new one. The labels have stayed flat and have only dog-eared up when I've put the thing so that it over-lapped an edge.

I will say that the prototype labels I printed with an inkjet printer definitely smudge more easily than those I printed with a laser printer. As I mentioned before, I don't clear-coat them, which I would guess might cut down on any smudging and any movement by the label.

If I had the patience and skill, I would think that silk screening would result in a higher-quality look and feel. From what I remember from my early college job at a T-Shirt silk-screening company, you *can* do multiple colors -- one at a time with baking/drying in between. This become extremely difficult with detailed screens however.

-Bryk

Dralius
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

Quote:
For the wood pieces in both cases... how have they faired in use? Are they sturdy enough to hold up to repetative play?

I seal my pieces with a water-based polymer so the artwork will hold as long as the polymer will. I suspect that will be a long time.

Quote:
I hadn't considered silk screening as I thought that was just for fabrics. Could you have had your work done in multi colors or just black? I'd like some of the pieces to have multi colors (not a necessity but just what I'd like).

I only silk screen in one color per piece. Each color is a separate screening that would add to the time/cost of producing them. You also will need to contend with aligning the two colors if you are doing a composite picture.

boardgamegeezer
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

Major retailers now are extremely hard on where the wood comes from.
I mean all the forests being torn down the retailers are asking for proof of where the wood came from with certificate and have to be backed up with phone numbers and more hasstle. For the good of the planet of course but a right hassle for board game manufacture.
Things like Jenga even are checked out.
Regards

phpbbadmin
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

boardgamegeezer wrote:
Major retailers now are extremely hard on where the wood comes from.
I mean all the forests being torn down the retailers are asking for proof of where the wood came from with certificate and have to be backed up with phone numbers and more hasstle. For the good of the planet of course but a right hassle for board game manufacture.
Things like Jenga even are checked out.
Regards

Very, very good point. Thanks for that alternate perspective.

-D

jwarrend
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

Don't cardboard and wood both come from trees? Why do they crack down on one but not the other, I wonder?

-J

Anonymous
Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

Perhaps cardboard is perceived to be recycled thus ok to be used. Whereas wood being wood and using it for a boardgame being seen as the senseless rape of yet another living, oxygen regenerating, biosphere protecting entity. Very few people have ever thrived on the slogan have you hugged a cardboard box today?

jwarrend
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

Mike,

Are you serious, or are you just trying to get across the viewpoint of someone who might feel that way?

Cogust
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

I don't see the problem with using wood or cardboard for games, not from an environmental point of view in any case as both materials are excellent carbondioxide sinks and will go a long way to reduce the levels of cardondioxide in the atmosphere. If everyone on the planet could buy, and safely store, a couple of hundred really big boardgames each then global warming wouldn't be much of a problem anymore.

Both wood and cardboard are renewable resources, it doesn't get much better than that.

phpbbadmin
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

Cogust wrote:
I don't see the problem with using wood or cardboard for games, not from an environmental point of view in any case as both materials are excellent carbondioxide sinks and will go a long way to reduce the levels of cardondioxide in the atmosphere. If everyone on the planet could buy, and safely store, a couple of hundred really big boardgames each then global warming wouldn't be much of a problem anymore.

Both wood and cardboard are renewable resources, it doesn't get much better than that.

Cogust,

I think the point here is not what we believe, it is what the retailers/publishers/players (read:stakeholders) believe. If they percieve that wood or cardboard bits are not environmentally friendly, then that is bad, whether it's true or not is irrelevant.

-Darke

Cogust
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Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

Yes, the unwashed masses. I guess they will always make decisions with their guts. =P

Anonymous
Changing the idea of the bits in the box.

For jwarrend, I was not serious in the least. If someone felt that strongly they'd be boycotting toyshops for the reason and I think you'd have to be a pretty big nutter to do that and get away with it.

I do believe though that more people would protest the use of wood if it was done in a way that showed little art or style. Using pieces that are rough and shoddily produced would probably have a more negative result then using wood that is polished and screams class. I may never buy a game that comes in a tidy little wooden box but part of me just glances longingly back at the box wondering what's inside, what else could I do with the box if the game isn't worth playing. You want to be around well produced items... shoddy ones have their own aura of distaste. I think that is why I'm considering going to wooden bits and buying them from a producer. Not because I now think that carboard bits are trash... but rather that I have no skill whatsoever in producing class items and I'd rather spend a bit more and catch the approving eye.

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