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In Case This Info Is Of Use...

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Greetings all,

I have taken a game idea of my own to what I now consider it's production stage; with a few exceptions, as I will explain. First, I am putting this up in case any of the ideas I used for producing my game helps anyone here with their own efforts. I have seen it brought up on numerous occasions, about what materials to use and whatnot for producing either a prototype or a finished product.

Now, what I have done has its own limits, but again, may give others ideas to help themselves.

Here goes...

My game is an abstract strategy board game, using geometric spaces/grids for the game area, like a chess board, only with a bit more variety. Because of this, the methods I use to produce my game is easier then say using my methods for a board game like risk...though it could be done.

First off, my board is made of cloth, a 30% cotton, 60% polyester blend which has both durability (it isn't too soft or flimsy) and a good appearence. I use two layers of cloth for one board, making it thicker and even less flimsier, and for other reasons related specifically to the game. You may find you like using another material for a second layer (say the board's underside), if you use one at all, to create various effects with your own board.

I adhere the two sheets of cloth together using either a spray adhesive (which doesn't require much), or adhesion strips which become sticky using an iron.

I also use the adhesion strips for sealing the game board's edges with craft ribbon. The ribbon I use is a 3/4" wide. Two reasons for this is 1) the cloth's cut edges fray, and 2) because it does make my board look better and more complete.

For the grid patterns I use for the game, I cover the board with masking tape and draw the grid I need. I then cut out the image from the masking tape, removing only the cut out portions until I finish the next step.

For putting the actual image of the grid on the board, I use a good fabric ink. If anyone is interested, just let me know and I'll tell you the brand and type I found that works really well for this. I spread some ink all over the taped up board, and use a sponge brush to spread the ink thoughout the cut-out image. I do two or three coats, which doesn't take all that long since the ink dries quickly enough to add more coats. I then peel off all the excess tape and viola!, I have a game board!

Now the downside of my method. Using these methods, even for just a simple grid board, takes some time. It takes me about a day to complete one board, though I am using both sides of the board. You can save time by using only one side. Also, if you have friends or family willing to help, with each one working on a specific part of the board's construction, that can save quite a bit of time. Also, the more detailed the imagery you put on the board and its size will certainly effect how long it takes to make.

Now, as far as being at the production stage of my game, I mentioned, "with a few exceptions". While my board looks quality and professional, I will still most likely have to aquire outside packaging to create a professional and marketable look.

Depending on your own efforts, using cloth as I have makes for a good looking prototype, or depending on the kind of game you are making, cloth can make a nice looking board. However, I chose cloth specifically for this game design. I thought it somewhat fitting to my efforts instead of shaping a wood board.

As a side note, don't be afraid to rummage through craft and hobby shops for ideas or even your local hardware store. For example, with another game idea of mine, I decided to use round wood pieces. So, I went and found a 1" diameter wood pole, 3 or so feet in length. I plan on cutting my already round pieces (since the pole is nicely round) and then use a rotory/drimmel tool and sand paper to shape, smooth and perhaps even carve images onto the pieces. Again, the point being, from all the discussion I have seen about what materials to use and whatnot, this is my few cents...

I hope it helps!

So be well and have fun!


In Case This Info Is Of Use...

Have you though about silk screen printing to print the boards. It would speed up the printing the game board.

Another item that might speed up production is using heat adheasive webbing instead of the spray on glue. It can be found in most fabric shops and can be quite strong (it is used in applique and dress making).

Joined: 12/31/1969
In Case This Info Is Of Use...

there's also the iron on transfer thingies you use in your printer.

they now make them for use on dark shirts, even black!
it has a coating of white on it already so white portions of the picture are not just "clear" and the other colors are not washed out by the strength of the color of the cloth.

as for the iron adhesive strips.... i personally find they are not for extended use with heavy fabrics. i used to do a bit of costuming work and i would use it as a quick alternative to stitching. it would hold for a few nights but other than that it would fall apart (don't even think about washing it on a normal cycle).

they worked well with very light delicate fabrics that didn't get a lot of use and had gentle wash cycles.

this is all simply my experience and milage may vary as always.

In Case This Info Is Of Use...

Thank to you both, Nautilis and Nazhert for the info. I thought about using the adhesive webbing, and at the time, cost wise, I already had the spray adhesive so I decided to go with that.

As for the adhesive strips that I use, thanks for the warning, but so far the boards hold up real well. The fabrics aren't really all that heavy, and being game boards, they don't get the same wear and tear as clothing. If I find that the adhesive starts to wear out I'll be sure to look into it. As for the screen printing, that may be the route to go once I get more aquainted with the process.

Something I forgot to mention in my previous message: As I do plan on marketing my game, self publishing, advertising, and sales, I thought perhaps I should mention some of the cost effectiveness of the materials and process.

Due to the size of my boards, a yard of cloth allows me to make 6 to 8 game boards. Breaking down the cost of the yard of cloth per board, it averages out well. Especially considering the game will most likely be priced at $15 to $20, as is the average cost for board games found in many stores. Including the cost of the ribbon used for the borders, the adhesive, ink, cost is relatively cheap, because so many boards can be made with so much of each material.

As of yet, the primary material that lacks a cost effectiveness I would be happier about is the ribbon, but a plan to bulk purchase the ribbon I use from the maker/wholesaler directly should alleivate some or much of the issue. :) Here's hoping. :)

If anyone is interested, I can give more specific numbers on the cost of the materials I use and an approximation of how far they go (number of boards).

Some of you may not feel the same, but as for the cost effectiveness vs the time to make may seem off. I personally consider the priority to produce and publish the game. If and/or when the game reaches a good number, there will probably be more effective ways of producing the game and increase pontential profits. Not sure if this was wortth mentioning, but just in case.

As well, if anyone is interested in further details as to the various plans worked out, such as advertising methods, sales, etc., for the purpose of discussion and insight, I'll be glad to share my own thoughts of yet, limited experience. My efforts have included personal studies of business and hopefully taking full advantage of the internet.

Be well and have fun!


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