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Help With Custom Game Pieces

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jess.smart.smiley
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Hi everyone--this is my first post here, so go easy on me ;)

I'm building my first board game, "Stump the Rumpus", and will be launching it as a project on Kickstarter in the coming weeks. While I've been able to work out the details for making a quality board, I'm having a devil of a time finding inexpensive, quality custom game pieces.

Does anyone know where I can find inexpensive, quality custom plastic game pieces? I'm looking to make 3 separate 4" characters with a round base.

There are a few DIY blank pawns out there (http://www.escapadedirect.com/blankpawn1.html), as well as generic wooden pawns, but any custom plastic miniatures start at $8 apiece, and even then the quality isn't so great. I need something where I can add character, but keep costs down. Any and all help would be great! Thank you in advance :)

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jess.smart.smiley
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Re: Help With Custom Game Pieces

I just came across this amazing post on various methods to casting your own molds and making your own figures and pieces. Check it out: http://www.hirstarts.com/moldmake/moldmaking.html

Willi B
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I would not worry about it.

Honestly, while such pieces are nice, the game play is way more important. Molded plastic for your first game is nice, but it is like trying to run before you walk.

Established companies frequently avoid them due to cost. Unless you have something that cannot be done without the mold, my advice is to save that money for publishing your next game and worry about molded plastic for the 10th anniversary edition of the game if it gets to be that successful.

jess.smart.smiley
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Re: I Would Not Worry About It

Hi Willi, thanks so much for your thoughts. My number one priority is gameplay for sure, and I'll be taking my prototype around to local gaming shops and conventions to get feedback from other players. If the game doesn't play well, then there's no sense in putting any money into pieces.

I am, however, starting to find a few affordable options for custom pieces and am getting excited about the possibilities. I've spent the last month researching packaging and board manufacturing and I think I'm finally onto something good here. It seems as though a quality game is just around the corner, and it won't cost any more than the other games :)

Team Gambit
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Miniatures

I also need to make pieces for my game Zodiak. I understand the frustration of trying to find the things that you need like materials to make miniatures and other people telling you to give up instead of helping you find your answer. What I decided to do is go to my local art store and purchase clay, copper wire, crazy glue, paint, and molding tools. I have been molding my individuals miniatures for a week now and its coming along nicely. It does take about an hour to do each miniature but the result and the money you save is worth it.

How To:
Build a skeleton- You need copper wire, wire cutters, and pliers
Shape the copper wire into a skeleton for your clay to go around. Shape the skeleton the way you would want your unit posed

Molding- piled the mold all around the skeleton and begin carving it to create the miniature's body than start adding details than bake, re-carve and you finished

I know my explanation is over simplified but I'm no sculptor andt I found this method to work fine.

Let me know if this helps.

Willi B
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jess.smart.smiley wrote: If

jess.smart.smiley wrote:
If the game doesn't play well, then there's no sense in putting any money into pieces.

If the game doesn't play well, keep at it until it does. Otherwise, I would suggest not trying to put it out at all. Stay realistic and try not to get overwhelmed with how good it CAN be and make a game that people REQUEST TO PLAY. Then you are on to something.

jess.smart.smiley
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Willi B

Willi B wrote:
jess.smart.smiley wrote:
If the game doesn't play well, then there's no sense in putting any money into pieces.

If the game doesn't play well, keep at it until it does. Otherwise, I would suggest not trying to put it out at all. Stay realistic and try not to get overwhelmed with how good it CAN be and make a game that people REQUEST TO PLAY. Then you are on to something.

The game play is solid. I was just saying that making sure it plays well has been my priority. Now I can get down to production, but it'll still be fun to play, regardless of how the pieces turn out. I just wrote a summary blog post of creating my own pieces on the "Stump the Rumpus" blog, if you're interested: http://stumptherumpus.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/game-pieces/

jess.smart.smiley
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Team Gambit wrote:I also need

Team Gambit wrote:
I also need to make pieces for my game Zodiak. I understand the frustration of trying to find the things that you need like materials to make miniatures and other people telling you to give up instead of helping you find your answer. What I decided to do is go to my local art store and purchase clay, copper wire, crazy glue, paint, and molding tools. I have been molding my individuals miniatures for a week now and its coming along nicely. It does take about an hour to do each miniature but the result and the money you save is worth it.

How To:
Build a skeleton- You need copper wire, wire cutters, and pliers
Shape the copper wire into a skeleton for your clay to go around. Shape the skeleton the way you would want your unit posed

Molding- piled the mold all around the skeleton and begin carving it to create the miniature's body than start adding details than bake, re-carve and you finished

I know my explanation is over simplified but I'm no sculptor andt I found this method to work fine.

Let me know if this helps.

Hi, Team Gambit! Thanks for the reply, and congratulations on "Zodiak" - that's really exciting. I'm a professional artist and have considered making my own pieces. The difficulty is that there are 12 pieces for both players, and I'd like to make 50 games by the end of next month. That's on top of all of my freelance illustration and design work, and it just isn't feasible.

I wrote a summary post about custom game pieces on my blog, if you're interested: http://stumptherumpus.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/game-pieces/. Where can I find more info on Zodiak?

InvisibleJon
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Plastic that's moldable at low temperatures.

Howdy,

I've forgotten the name of the stuff you can find at hobby shops to make the mold (the "negative") that you'd pour your "plastic" into, but I do have a recommendation for a modeling material to make your "masters".

Consider trying Shapelock:
* https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ix=hea&ie=UTF-8&ion...
* http://blog.makezine.com/2006/03/22/plastic-you-can-mold-in-y/
* http://www.micsaund.com/2006/03/13/plastic-you-can-mold-in-your-home-for...

An alternate option: Laser-cut pieces? If you have access to a laser cutter (look for local hackerspaces), this may be a good compromise?

Best of luck on your project!

jess.smart.smiley
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InvisibleJon

InvisibleJon wrote:
Howdy,

I've forgotten the name of the stuff you can find at hobby shops to make the mold (the "negative") that you'd pour your "plastic" into, but I do have a recommendation for a modeling material to make your "masters".

Consider trying Shapelock:
* https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ix=hea&ie=UTF-8&ion...
* http://blog.makezine.com/2006/03/22/plastic-you-can-mold-in-y/
* http://www.micsaund.com/2006/03/13/plastic-you-can-mold-in-your-home-for...

An alternate option: Laser-cut pieces? If you have access to a laser cutter (look for local hackerspaces), this may be a good compromise?

Best of luck on your project!

Hey InvisibleJon--I didn't even see you come in here! :P Shapelock looks pretty cool, and the dappled effect from the pellets is interesting. Is there a way to color the plastic? It doesn't seem to be the end-all substitute for polymer clay, but it's worth checking out for sure! Thanks :D

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