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Looking for square tiles

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Anonymous

I'm looking for blank square tiles similar to those found in Carcassonne to test out an idea I have. They should be between 2 and 3 inches on a side, and all the same on the back.
I'm also looking for label paper of the same size, so I can stick it directly on the tiles after printing, without having to laboriously cut the sticker paper.
If anyone knows where I can buy these things that would be a great help to me.

Deviant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

For the tiles: any art supply store (ie Dick Blicks) will sell matboard. This can be measured and cut into squares of any size with a knife or (with great difficulty) scissors.

For the labels: I use Avery full-sheet label paper (item #5265), available at any office supply store (OfficeMaxx, Staples).

Suggestion: Stick the labels on one or both sides of the matboard and cut through them to save time.

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

Agreed, matboard is the way to go. I just adhere my printout to the matboard (I use spray adhesive, but you full-sheet stickers work well, too) and then cut them apart with a rotary trimmer. It's really quick.

Now hexagonal tiles are another matter: I use an xacto and metal straight edge because unless you want to waste a lot of matboard you don't have any long, straight lines to cut.

Still, both are pretty easy and quick.

Anonymous
Looking for square tiles

"Now hexagonal tiles are another matter: I use an xacto and metal straight edge because unless you want to waste a lot of matboard you don't have any long, straight lines to cut."

This is exactly what I need to do for quite a few hex tiles. Do you have any recommendations on brands and models for the rotary cutter? And would it be a big advantage to use a mat cutter over the xacto knife?

Also, where do you get your matboard? I checked out Dick Blicks and it looks pretty good. Any other online recommendations?

Thanks,
Jay

Anonymous
Looking for square tiles

FastLearner wrote:
Now hexagonal tiles are another matter: I use an xacto and metal straight edge because unless you want to waste a lot of matboard you don't have any long, straight lines to cut.

Couldn't you do long, straight, intermittant cuts to get your hexes out?

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

Jay wrote:
This is exactly what I need to do for quite a few hex tiles. Do you have any recommendations on brands and models for the rotary cutter?

The best rotary cutter for the money -- strictly in my experience, but I do own 3 -- is the Fiskars 12" Home/Office Rotary Paper Trimmer, as seen here:

http://www.fiskars.com/en_US/office/lookupItem.do?cat=3&itemNumber=45577

It is important not to confuse this with any of Fiskars' "Personal Paper Trimmers," which is code for "can't cut anything."

Quote:
And would it be a big advantage to use a mat cutter over the xacto knife?

It depends on what you mean. Actual mat cutters (as in the tool called that) usually only cut at a 45 degree angle -- looks great for matted pictures and lousy for most game bits. There may be certain models that can rotate up to 90 degrees, though, in which case they'd probably be fine. One advantage of the X-acto knife is that the blades are cheap.

You can also use a handheld rotary trimmer and a steel rule, but it's a personal matter -- I don't like them as much, myself. Always feels like less control.

Quote:
Also, where do you get your matboard? I checked out Dick Blicks and it looks pretty good. Any other online recommendations?

Nothing online. I buy mine at the local art supply store as it's cheaper than the chains (Michaels, etc.), strangely.

-- Matthew

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

MikeDew wrote:
FastLearner wrote:
Now hexagonal tiles are another matter: I use an xacto and metal straight edge because unless you want to waste a lot of matboard you don't have any long, straight lines to cut.

Couldn't you do long, straight, intermittant cuts to get your hexes out?

Absolutely, and I do that sometimes with the x-acto knife. A rotary trimmer though, can't start in the middle of the sheet of paper, at least not with any accuracy. It works best if the cut starts off the paper and then rolls onto it. Plus the rotary shape of the blade means it's kinda "long," and so it would place partial slices in the corners of the other hexes.

So... hexes just take a lot longer than squares.

-- Matthew

DarkDream
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

Can you explain more what a mat board is. I searched on the Internet and it appears the type of cardboard used in frames?

Generally how thick is it? How flexible?

Also what is a rotary paper trimmer? I looked at the picture of one on the web and it appears a lot different than my paper trimmer I have at home. How does the rotary exactly fit in the picture?

Is it possible to go ahead and use a regular paper trimmer on mat board.

Thanks,

DarkDream

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Looking for square tiles

DarkDream wrote:
Can you explain more what a mat board is. I searched on the Internet and it appears the type of cardboard used in frames?

Generally how thick is it? How flexible?

It is the type of cardboard used it picture frames to give a border around the picture. It's similar in thickness to carcassonne tiles, probably a little thinner.

It seems to be a lot more flexible than carc tiles, but I've never made small tiles out of it, it would be a lot more rigid in small pieces.

DarkDream wrote:
Also what is a rotary paper trimmer? I looked at the picture of one on the web and it appears a lot different than my paper trimmer I have at home. How does the rotary exactly fit in the picture?

A rotary trimmer is one with a round blade that rotates across the material being cut instead of being dragged across. It gives a much cleaner cut because it puts less stress on the material as it is cutting; There is no kinetic friction against the material.

DarkDream wrote:
Is it possible to go ahead and use a regular paper trimmer on mat board.

I don't know what kind of trimmer you're calling a regular one. A guillotine style cutter presses the blade into the material and that usually causes fold lines near your cut with something as heavy as matboard.

Jason

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

Note, too, that matte board comes in different thickness, and can very quite a bit. Some is as thin as "poster board" while some is nearly as thick as two Carcassonne tiles.

As Oracle mentioned, the rotary part is essentially a sharp wheel that you roll across the paper with some force. The trimmer I mentioned above has a great rubbery surface on the bottom of the bar that holds the paper firmly in place while you drag the wheel across it.

It cuts thick things just as well as thin, and because of the way the bar holds the paper in place, if for some reason the first pass doesn't completely cut through, the second pass will be in precisely the same place so the result will still be incredibly clean.

The only downsides of the rotary trimmer to speak of are:

1. The cut is a half-millimeter or so from the bar, so it will take a few cuts before you figure out precisely where it cuts.

2. There is a very small amount of "give" in the roller, such that if you press hard one way while dragging the cutter across it will cut in a slightly different place than if you press hard the other way. Again, this is something that takes a few cuts (maybe a couple of dozen) to learn how to completely accomodate for.

Overall, though, it's just amazing. Third best thing I ever purchased for prototyping (behind my Xyron cold laminator, which is in turn behind the number 1 item, my HP Color LaserJet 4500).

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Looking for square tiles

For those interested in the above-mentioned cutter, here's the best price I found on it:

http://www.officemax.com/max/solutions/product/prodBlock.jsp?prodBlockOI...

Hopefully that ridiculously massive link come through....you may have to copy and paste it into your browser.

Cheers,
Jay

[Link edited slightly to remove session info, now it works --FL]

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

Note, however, that this isn't the same trimmer.

It looks close, but there are some definite visible differences: no blade storage, different cutting area, different bar to hold the trimmer blade, smaller handle to grab while trimming. There may be other differences that I can't see, whether in construction or what have you.

I'd guess that's why they have the best price -- different product. :)

-- Matthew

SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008
Looking for square tiles

I don't know if what I used was matte board, but i used foam boards from walmart, and using a ruler to measure the size I wanted (.75' by .75' is my preferred size) and then I hand cut them with scissors. They're probably as thick as a Carcassonne tile. Wal-mart ran out of green, so my wife painted a white one, and I had to point out to my playtester's that she did it. It looked that good (Having an artist for a spouse is a great thing!)

I just made word and .pdf versions of my tiles. I wouldn't prefer to use them myself for this game, or probably any game, as it takes probably just as long to cut out the foam board (and probably just as expensive to print) as these, but it's another option.

http://home.cfl.rr.com/invisiongames/Materials.pdf

-Steve

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

The best price I found for the one I mentioned (after a quick search, so I'm sure there are other spots) was $49.75 at Office Depot:

http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=654806

The best prices I've seen was at Costco. This was just a couple of months ago, and IIRC it was $37-$39 and came with a bunch of extra blades.

-- Matthew

DarkDream
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Thanks for the Reply

Oracle and others,

Thanks for spending the time explaining to me what matboard is and what the rotary paper trimmer is. I recently bought a guillotine paper trimmer with a wood board from Staples for $40.00.

It appears to be ok. From your experience, within the context of making a board game, do you guys prefer a guillotine paper trimmer or a rotary one. What are the disadvantages or advantages of each?

Thanks FastLearner and others for showing some links.

I think it was mentioned that there are differing thicknesses to the matboards. Is there some numerical thing like 80lbs or something like the cardstock?

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks,

DarkDream

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

Guillotine-style paper trimmers (of the non-professional variety) are usually hinged on one end or the other. When you cut thick materials or multiple sheets at the same time, the friction from the type of cut tends to pull on the papers. Because the hinge is on one end it tends to slowly twist the paper as you pull. The thicker the item (or the more sheets) the more the twist.

Professional guillotine trimmers/cutters slide along while they press down, such that they can cut a ton of sheets at once while providing almost no distortion. Digital versions of these are even more precise.

Rotary trimmers don't distort the paper position to speak of, especially with the nice rubbery material on the bottom of the bar of the Fiskars cutter I mentioned.

The distortion I mentioned can range from "no big deal" to "these cards are all different sizes and are nearly impossible to shuffle." That's why I* recommend a rotary trimmer.

-- Matthew

hpox
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

I bought a guillotine and returned it. Then I bought a rotary trimmer and it was better. Not that great though...

I get the distortion from the rotary trimmer too but it's more precise because you know exactly where it's going to cut (along the ruler)

Anonymous
Looking for square tiles

Fastlearner,

At the risk of beating a dead horse...

The Fiskars link you posted goes to "Item #: 95807797". The OfficeMax link I posted goes to what they call "Style # 95807797". The picture sure looks identical too.

The Office Depot link you later posted shows something that looks rather different. I'm guessing that you (and Office Depot) have an older model? I'm not trying to be a wiseass - just wondering if I'm completely missing something here....

Anyway, I had another question. I think I know what matboard is and I have found a decent place to get it, but I haven't actually felt it in my hands. Do games like Settlers of Catan and Twilight Imperium use matboard?

If not, what is the stuff they use? Both games use identical material, the TI2 hexes are just ever-so-slightly smaller than Settlers.

Whatever it is, I like that material. A bit on the thin side, but nice and stiff and mine have never warped at all.

Cheers,
Jay

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Looking for square tiles

Hmm, the OfficeMax and Fiskars links do indeed have the same model number. They don't look the same, though -- look in the far corners away from the trimmer edge: the Fiskars picture has the blade holders I mentioned. In addition the Fiskars picture has the silver rail (like mine), while the OfficeMax picture has a black rail.

The Office Depot one has the blade holders but seems to have a blue rail and some weird white surface.

Very confusing.

Mine, anyway, looks exactly like the one on the Fiskars site, and like the one at Costco.

The picture of it at Michaels:

http://www.michaels.com/art/online/displayProductPage?productNum=sb0031&...

is also the same as mine.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Fiskars rotary

I have this one also.

Very handy. Very handy indeed.

It doesn't work for everything, but the things it does work on, it works well on :)

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Looking for square tiles

FastLearner wrote:
The Office Depot one has the blade holders but seems to have a blue rail and some weird white surface.

The one from Office Depot looks exactly like the one I just bought at Costco. The surface is aluminum. It has one blade holder and a magnetic paperclip holder on the other side.

Jason

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