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Cheap .75 foot cubes? Making them myself?

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kevnburg
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Joined: 05/02/2014

I'm trying to build a prototype of my game from the September GDS, "I'm Waiting!" (http://www.bgdf.com/forum/game-design/game-design-showdown/gds-september...) to playtest in March and am having trouble finding cheap, soft, and aerodynamic ~.75x.75x.75 foot cubes that I can purchase. Ideally I would purchase cheap ~.75x.75.75 foot food-shaped foam, but I get the impression that finding that for cheap online is even less likely.

The best pricing I've come across for large but soft material cubes is a $20 inflatable jumbo dice set of 6. I'm looking to buy 40 or 50 cubes, so $20 per 6 is incredibly expensive. This pricing is making me heavily consider substantially lowering the game's cube count.

Does anyone know of any cheaper sources for large and soft cubes (or, more ideally, food-shapes)? Does anyone know how I would be able to go about making my own soft cubes or food-shapes and roughly how much making them myself would cost? I understand that foam may be an option for making the cubes myself but I do not understand how to go about making cubes or food shapes out of foam and am interested in hearing if there are any other good options. In terms of purchasing cubes: Different colors would be preferred, but the color of purchased cubes is a non-issue (I can use spray paint).

Dagar
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Joined: 01/23/2015
Well, these are pretty

Well, these are pretty specific requirements. I have not read the Showdown entry, so I cannot say how important the material is. I'd say you could try with cardboard pieces for prototyping, maybe you also have games whose wooden cubes you could use for now. I'd not take 'final' components for prototyping, at least not until the mechanics and balance are all fleshed out and I really only want to check the final Look&Feel.

If you insist there is foamy packaging material you might get for small bucks, from which you might cut or grind out manually the shapes you want.

Soulfinger
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Joined: 01/06/2015
If the size is negotiable

If the size is negotiable then foam blocks are extremely cheap and common. Fifty 9" foam blocks makes for a really monster-sized game. 2" multicolor foam blocks are around $18 for 45, and using a material that you can easily find means that those will be cheap and readily available were your game to go into production.

Otherwise, I don't know what craft stores are in your area, but Jo-Anne Fabric offers a 40% or 50% off coupon each month and also accepts competitors coupons from stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby, both of which offer 40%+ coupons. There are also x% off your total purchase coupons, which can often be combined.

Floral cubes are one possibility, although they are easily deformed. Somewhere in the fabric section you will find sheets of green and/or white foam that can be cut to size to meet your needs. There are specialized tools for cutting the foam, but also tutorials online for using an electric knife or other methods. The store can also do some of the cutting, but will not cut individual cubes for you. With a foam cutter you could probably cut out your own food shapes.

As far as just buying foam food online goes, your Google is as good as mine. I found a 19 piece set made from soft polyurethane foam for $62, which is probably too much money. As any parent can tell you, finding good play foods can be quite expensive. There are cheap plastic ones, but most of the nicer sets are made from wood, felt, or stuffed fabric. If any of those can work for you, I like the Hape brand ones. Foam sets are usually sourced for the education market, so you might want to try your local school supply/homeschool educational store. They'll also have foam dice and quite a few other options. Really, everyone on this site should drop by their local educational store, if they have one, for ideas on prototyping and materials. Great stuff there.

kevnburg
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Joined: 05/02/2014
Floral Cubes are Looking Good

Thanks for the advice so far, guys. I hadn't thought of looking into floral cubes, and a quick search found a good size and price for me. http://www.marshallfloralproducts.com/11-03260--OASIS-4-Cube--case-of-36...

With some changes to the game rules, I've been able to set my cube requirements to P^2, where P is the number of players. For starters I'm looking to test with no more than 6 players, so 36 is a perfect number. In terms of size: These cubes need to be big enough to be difficult to balance many of them on a tray and to be easy enough to throw towards an opponents' tray to knock off cubes. 2 inches is not a good size for this, but 4 inches may possibly work (though I would prefer larger). This particular site offers 48 5 inch cubes for ~$40, which is a bit more than I would like to spend and gives me more cubes than I need, so I'm heavily considering trying out the 4 inch cubes because they come in a ~$20 pack of 36. It'd be nice to feel the product before buying a bunch, though, so I'm going to try and see what local educational and art stores I may be able to buy these sorts of cubes at.

tuscansun
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Joined: 02/11/2015
Foam Pit Blocks?

I hope I'm not too too late with this, but your request reminded me of foam blocks used in foam pits at gymnastic centers. I found a link here (it's just the first one from google, to give you an idea)...

http://www.gymnasticspit.com/online-shop/foam-blocks/

They might or might not fall into your criteria of price and size. But from what I remember these blocks are definitely durable and fun / easy to throw and toss around. Plus if you want to pitch your idea to publishers or someone looking to buy in bulk for production, these get cheaper the larger you go. They're meant to fill giant pits so the more you order at once the better for you, price-wise.

Hope this helped!

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