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Custom publication-quality tiles

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/03/2008

I was punching out tiles from a published game the other day and came to the realization that my prototypes would be significantly snazzier with publication-quality tiles. My typical process -- gluing two sheets of cardstock together, laminating, and cutting, is tedious to make and produces tiles of lukewarm quality. What would be really nice would be to have a process for achieving something approaching the quality of thick, chunky tiles that punch out from a sheet.

It occurred to me that a possible way to do this could be to invest in a die cutter and a couple of custom dies that could cut out tiles in a few standard shapes, eg 0.75" squares, 0.75" circles, 2" squares, 2" hexes, etc. You could just print the output onto a full-page adhesive, glue it onto a sheet of chip board, and then run it through the die cutter.

However, there is an upfront investment required to achieve this. So I got to thinking -- what if one person invested in this capability and then provided it as a service to other members of the design community? So, I'll toss it out there -- is this a service you would use? If you could get an 8.5 x 11 sheet of tiles that were fairly good quality and that you didn't have to cut by hand, how much would that be worth to you? Imagine a sheet contains, say, 12 2" square tiles, or 30 0.75" square tiles, or 8 2" hex tiles (these are wild guesses, I haven't done the math) -- how much would you be willing to pay for a sheet?

If there's interest, maybe I'll run the numbers and see how much it would cost for the consumables (toner, printout, chipboard) and factoring in amortization of the cutter and die, and see if this is feasible given the costs folks seem willing to pay for such a service.

Joined: 04/10/2009
I for one would be interested

I for one would be interested in it but it all depends on $$$. I was acctually thinking about something like that myself acctually.

bluepantherllc's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Tiles and such

Warning - shameless self promotion alert!

Or you could find someone with a laser cutter that can do any shape, any volume, offering a prototyping / small production run service for color chipboard tiles or wood pieces, like we do.

Joined: 08/03/2008
bluepantherllc wrote: Or you

bluepantherllc wrote:

Or you could find someone with a laser cutter that can do any shape, any volume, offering a prototyping / small production run service for color chipboard tiles or wood pieces, like we do.

That sounds great, and almost exactly what I'm looking for -- except, unfortunately, for the $50 up-front outlay. My idea was that if a couple of standard tile shapes were available, then the costs of a couple of standard dies (or in your case, patterns?) could be amortized over the cost of many jobs, bringing the cost per sheet or per tile down to a reasonable and realistic level to where a designer could use them in a prototype. Have you considered offering tiles in a couple of standard sizes and selling those at a fixed price per tile (or per sheet, or whatever makes sense)? That would be very interesting.

bluepantherllc's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008

I understand why someone would not want to spend $50 up front.

If you are referring to blank tiles, we used to sell 1" squares, circles and hexagons cut out of wood or MDF (both 3mm thick) for 10 cents each. So 100 would be $10, plus $5 postage (US ). Just about any shape is possible since we laser cut them. You could mark them up, put labels on them, color them, etc. The wood ones are light birch plywood and the MDF is a very light uniform tan color.

If there's a need, we can put them back on the website - I have a few bags of them around here somewhere.


Sarge's picture
Joined: 03/03/2010
My Thoughts....

I really think that going with laser cut MDF tiles is the way to go, however, that being said, I would like to take Blue Panther to task on this. Yes, SJ, please put a spot on the site, detailing what you would offer, a good search tag might include the word “economy”. I found one of your competitors doing a search in this fashion, and even though I am very loyal to the friends I have made here on BGDF, I found 1” MDF hexes at around $.06 each very hard to resist. (they do custom sizes in square/rectangular and hexes, and sell them in pint and quart containers) I was also put off by the $50 charge. So, can you compete with this?

If I was going to go into production, then I would have most likely contacted you, but to just order some generic pieces and parts, I had ruled you out.

I post this here for two reasons.

First, because I would rather do business with people I know and respect.

Second, now I would like to move the magnifying glass over to BGDF.
I in no way consider SJ’s post a “shameless self promotion“, his information here is very valuable to us that just don’t know what is out there. To illustrate what I mean, I need to say that I have many varied interests and hobbies. The bulk of my information comes from Forums, from there I find sites, info, and businesses. I am a member at several, and all of them except this one have a place for business to post, from what I see, this works very well, whenever there is a new product, or a great sale, they post it there. It could look something like this:


Design Theory
Game Design
New Game Ideas
Playtesting Publication

It really limits the spamming of the boards, because if I make something that I think this group might purchase, and I see a spot I can spam the product, website, service, ect.. Then I will post it there because that would be proper board etiquette, and I know people would look there.

It took me awhile to see that many of our board members offer various services that all of us might be interested in, especially us noobs, and I had to look hard.

I will post a link to the other site if you guys want it.

One last thing here, a friend first, then a customer = good customer service.

bluepantherllc's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Blank pieces

The $50 charge is for what you might call "complete" prototypes - board, dice, pieces, box, rules, etc. It usually includes setup fees for custom work, custom cuts, machine time, etc. I wouldn't and I wouldn't expect you to pay that when you simply want blank hexes or circles.

Although we work mostly in wood, we can also cut MDF. MDF is generally cheaper, so prices would be lower.

We've added a "Stock Components" feature to the website - offering circles, squares, hexes, wood cubes, boxes, disks and custom components.

Prices are for smaller quantities, for larger quantities (over 1000) ask for a custom quote.


truekid games
truekid games's picture
Joined: 10/29/2008
Excellent! (though all the

(though all the stock components names link to dice towers for some reason)

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