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Prototyping

HI,

for prototyping I use some normal tools and some extra stuff, here is a short list:

- cricut maker
- dahle A3 cutting machine
- canon pixma printer (cheap and new)

for material I have bought a lot of small stuff from ebay or aliexpress:

- 6 sided dice 12mm in several colors
- 6 sided blanc dice 12m in several colors
- sets of dice with 4 up to 8 sides
- sticker
- wooden cubes 10mm in several colors

EDIT (30.01.2021)
- also bought a 1000 chip poker case (secound hand) and still not used
- pearls in cube shapes (other shape) are quite cheap
- shiny crystals, stars and stuff like that which is used for decoration (I buy it when I see something useful in sale, the ideas come later :) )

and for prototyping I use mostly these materials:

- A4 pritebale label
- the cardstock of frozen pizza
- 2mm grey cardstock A4
- printing paper 80g with card sleves and old playing cards for fast prototyp cards
- 1mm transparent pvc from the tooling store (usual used for windows?)

EDIT (01.01.2021) (materials found in the comments)
shokunin
wooden hexagon tiles blanks at Dollarama 100 for $2

FrankM
at a pet store you could get 50x as many by buying aquarium beads

pelle
common Magic cards, A4 label paper, tile spacers, star-shaped beads (from hobby store), big Ziplo (to keep prototypes together), random bits from spielmaterial

questccg
self designed 3D printed miniatures (me -> for sale for a low price)

Comments

Good list!

I need to buy a new cutting machine and a laserjet printer ...:(

Definitely a good list to share for all new Designers!
I just can´t live without sleeves and "old" magic cards anymore!

For me, my 3D printer ist doing half the work for prototyping!

Useful Stuff

I like your "ingredients list" quite a bit. I see a lot of things I use on your list as well.

I have a personal laminator machine, because I like using dry-erase and wet-erase markers fairly often. Or if I've made a small game for my friends or relatives, I like using it to make a longer-lasting version of the game (and sometimes other pieces) for them.

I picked up the laminator and various colours of paper and card stock from a typical office supply store.

I have a manual paper-cutter (the kind with a flat surface for layout and measurement, and a cutting arm that you lift and lower, cutting paper along its edge) and scissors for most cutting jobs.

And oh yes...! Any cardboard I find, I find a way use. Not really a fan of frozen pizzas, but I will consider anything that comes along. :)

3M spray glue is good for

3M spray glue is good for sticking printouts onto cardboard.

Good list

Overall pretty good.

I don't use a lot of wooden cubes since they're a bit more expensive.
Everyone I know uses the assorted centimeter plastic cubes that come in a pack of 500 for $20. (Just Google "assorted centimeter plastic cubes")
$0.04 each is a lot cheaper than the $0.10 - $0.15 each for wooden cubes.

Also, poker chips!
I buy any game at goodwill that has chips in it. I can always use currency

I'd add Bingo Winks too!

You get get like 200 Bingo Winks at "Toys 'R Us" for $5.00. That's like 2.5 Cents each Wink...! Can't beat that price point especially for tracking stats. SpellMasters uses Winks in a LIMITED form:

questccg wrote:
In order to compute EXPERIENCE, each successful attack results in that player earning ONE (1) Wink (Damage Token). When you collect TEN (10) Winks, you can choose to spend your EXPERIENCE on one of the tracks in your personal Player Board. So no values between 1 and 10. EXPERIENCE is tracked 10 points at-a-time.

This was a bit of a simplification, since I didn't want a TON of Winks and secondly, I didn't want to have tracks for 1 XP each. So 10 it is...

Laminator, Pizza, Glue

HI,
Laminator machine:
I also have a laminator machine but to be honest, I have not used it more than 2-3 times in the last years, at least not for laminating.
I have used the machine to get transparent plastic mats flat, which in needed for my Chaos Mage Arena game design.
Pizza cardboard supply:
Even if you do not like frozen pizza so much at our grocery stores (in Germany) much people leave the paper packaging direct in the store and this is a viable free resource for "pizza cardboard" ;)
Glue
I am using glued sticker or A4 printable sticker. When I need thicker cardboard, I use glue stiffs, but the result is not so permanent, I often have loose parts after some weeks/month. Maybe spray glue is better in this regard

Cubes

HI,

I have found wooden cubes in 10mm for round about 8-9$ for 1000 + shipping. To germany the shipping nearly doubles the price and its all together round abour 25$ for 1000 pieces (0,025$/cube) (mixed 10 colours or selected by color) cubes.

I have also bought quit cheap pearls (cube shape), if you do not mint small holes you get like any kind of shape quiet cheap.

Cutter, Printer, 3D printing

Printer
I have searched for a good printer for weeks, better to say a good and cheap printer. To be honest I have not found it but I think that a inkjet printer is the better solution than a laser printer (at least for prototyping). Laser printer are kind of smelly and cost intensive. If you are realy printing much and don`t want to use cheap no name ink you should go for a ink printer with a tank like:

- Epson Ecotank
- or a tank printer from canon, HP or brother will do it

Cutter
I have tested and used some rotary cutting machines but these just don`t work for me, they are only good with thin paper.
With the A3 Dahle lever cutter I can cut really everything precise and fast. A simple trick is to make marks with duc tape direct on the cutter to perform the same cuts repetitive.

3D printer
I like the idea of a 3D printer but that often sounds like a hobby on its own, this and the needed space is the reason why I don`t have a 3D printer by now :)

Wooden Hexagon Tiles

I found a consistent supply of thin wooden hexagon tiles blanks at Dollarama of all places. They come in a mixed bag of three sizes, 100 for $2 and take to paint, glue, ink, or pencil fairly well. Great for when you want a slightly better prototype than just paper hexes, or good for gluing your print-outs onto.

Sadly, I don't think they're available on the online store, but you can find them in the craft section if you happen to have a Dollarama near you.

I just refilled my Ecotank

I just refilled my Ecotank for the first time since I bought it a few years ago. Only the black ink needed refill, the other colors are still around 50% full. Have printed 2195 pages. Of course probably 1500 pages were just test pages to see if the heads needed cleaning. But still, I printed countless print'n'play games and prototypes on this printer. The ink is cheap too, even buying original brand bottles, so no need to mess with random ebay ink that might or might not be good, like I used to do with my old Canon printer.

Only bad thing is the Ecotank that supported A3 was too big (and possibly too expensive) so I can only print A4. Canon make some very space-efficient A3 printers. I miss being able to print A3 game boards.

Other prototyping stuff, I have a box full of stuff, mostly random bits from spielmaterial. They often have offers for big bags full of "components for game X" (where X is typically some euro). I bought several of those, a few each, to get a nice collection of meeples and cubes and discs etc. Plus various cubes and sticks and discs and pawns in addition to that. I typically buy when I am printing some print'n'play game and need some specific bits, and then I buy extras, so my hoard of useful bits keep growing.

Then I have a smaller component box (but still quite big) where I keep more than enough of most of the useful things that can be good to have at hand, like meeples and dice and cubes in a few different colors. Also some old prototype cardboard tiles, for instance some with just numbers 1 to 6 printed on them, in red and blue and with a few different symbols, and leftover printed random robots and soldiers. Just good to have to quickly get something on the table to try something (plus my 5yo loves to play with that box that has so many toys!).

Also bought 100+ blank indented plastic dice several years ago, and have dozens remaining. And of course basic stuff like a pile of large sheets of very thick cardboard, 100s of sheets of A4 label paper, other printer paper, regular playing cards, lots of dice. 1000+ (I think around 2500?) common Magic cards and sleeves (I never played Magic and do not know how to play, but Magic cards are great as backing when printing cards).

For every print'n'play game or prototype I like to put it in a box or big ziploc together with everything needed to play, so many dice and cubes (and card sleeves etc) end up with various printed games, and typically never go back to my pool of prototype stuff (although sometimes I raid old prototypes to recycle parts).

Oh, and tile spacers! Those are great as random markers for everything, and extremely cheap. Go to any hardware store and chances are they have different sizes and colors too if you are lucky. Beads are nice too. I bought a bag of 1000 star-shaped beads from some hobby store, in 6 or 7 different colors. And cheap plastic poker chips. And 100s of plastic bases to put paper in to make standees. And... I think I need to take a proper inventory some day and sort all that stuff.

Bits and pieces

Eons ago I was prototyping a board game (that I may someday return to) that required territory markers and some indication that a player had failed to defeat a monster.

At the time, colored glass beads were popular as random tokens in CCGs, but the tiny tubes of beads were really expensive. At a pet store you could get 50x as many by buying aquarium beads. Even tossing the slightly-big and slightly-small ones, it was still a steal.

The tile spacers made for awesome little "X" (failure) markers. I could only find white ones, but they took red paint very well.

I went overboard on the board, player boards, and the character tokens. The board was a 24"x36" foam-backed poster trimmed to a hexagon, the player boards were cut from a second foam-backed poster, and the tokens were painted wooden shapes. I filed down a 1" dowel to the correct cross-section (hexagon or triangle, left the circle alone, and I was lucky enough to find a pre-made square) cut those into 3" lengths, and painted them.

Don't go overboard on an early prototype :)

EPSON Ecotank

I'm currently wondering about the EPSON Ecotank series of printers. I've been reading up on them... And it seems there are a LOT of positive reviews like over 700+ but like about 50+ are "1" ratings. People complaining about having difficulties with the device not working after a year as designed. Others say the next generation of EPSON printers are poorly made and not as solid as previous generation printers.

Just curious. Because I have a LASER printer and I might want to BUY a NEW inkjet/color printer... And these seem really cool with the Scanner/Copier built-in features for $399.00 CAD it seems like a really good price point.

I don't need a FAX because I only have a mobile phone... But the combo printer/scanner/copier is sufficient for me.

I was wondering HOW does this Inkjet compare to Color Laser Printers which are also moderately priced these days (under $500).

Sorry to hi-jack the thread. I just figured some of you who have actual experience with the EPSON Printers would be able to explain the poor ratings by some people and what overall is their impression of the Ecotank printer series...

Note #1: I don't print hundreds of pages a month... I may print 100 pages in a YEAR. So the in terms of usage... I don't think that I benefit much from the Ink Bottles versus expensive Toner Cartridges.

That being said, I realize that the cost of Toner Cartridges is MORE expensive than the price of some of the printers themselves... So I guess price is to be factored in ... Especially when there is only a little bit of use (moderate) TBH.

Note #2: Doing more research, a Laser Printer might be the better choice because the toner doesn't dry up or cause the nozzle to become clogged. Anyone care to comment?! Would like to know your thoughts on the matter... Especially the Designers with Ecotanks...

postworld wrote:Printer 3D

postworld wrote:
Printer
3D printer
I like the idea of a 3D printer but that often sounds like a hobby on its own, this and the needed space is the reason why I don`t have a 3D printer by now :)

100% a 3D Printer is a hobby of it's own.

I have 3 of them that I run nearly 24/7 and it's a lot to deal with even when you have everything running at it's best. Constant maintenance and adjusting.

Now, that said, it's been a great bit of fun and I have managed to monetize it (which is why I have 3) but it takes a lot of time to get there.

For prototypes, it can be quite valuable, though honestly I tend to use spare components that I have from other games instead unless I'm trying out something that I absolutely need to see how it may look in manufactured "final" form (which is pretty rare tbh).

Laser vs. Inkjet

Laser printers are faster, but they aren't as good at color consistency and can't use any kind of paper even slightly sensitive to heat. Laser prints are indelible to water.

Inkjet printers do a better job of blending colors, keeping colors consistent, and printing on a variety of media. Unless specifically told otherwise, assume the ink will run if it gets wet.

Hmm... Glad you have your OWN economy!

Wow ... I saw what you are selling: $0.50 a miniature is pretty good value.

I saw some of the regular minis and at $0.50 if you keep making and selling out of... Man that's some steady and regular income. The dream of any Game Designer! When you can knock off ... (not copy but make) those ships and units (Tanks, Trucks and stuff) ... Well congratulations to you!

Imagine needing three (3) 3D Printers to do make those minis!

Pretty cool... And if it worthwhile... Why not?!

FrankM wrote:Laser printers

FrankM wrote:
Laser printers are faster, but they aren't as good at color consistency and can't use any kind of paper even slightly sensitive to heat. Laser prints are indelible to water.

Inkjet printers do a better job of blending colors, keeping colors consistent, and printing on a variety of media. Unless specifically told otherwise, assume the ink will run if it gets wet.

Agreed. I would suggest inkjet over laser for most purposes myself, *if* you are using them fairly regularly so that your ink doesn't dry out before you get to it. Ecotanks are fantastic (I wish I had got one).

QuestCCG wrote:

Wow ... I saw what you are selling: $0.50 a miniature is pretty good value.

I saw some of the regular minis and at $0.50 if you keep making and selling out of... Man that's some steady and regular income. The dream of any Game Designer! When you can knock off ... (not copy but make) those ships and units (Tanks, Trucks and stuff) ... Well congratulations to you!

Imagine needing three (3) 3D Printers to do make those minis!

Pretty cool... And if it worthwhile... Why not?!

Yeah, I've been selling accessories for about 8 years now with some success. It's not enough to make a full time living off of it (though I am working towards that, especially with being unemployed for the past few months) but it certainly helps. I pump almost all of the profit back into the business to build and improve it. At 50 cents a piece (Canadian at that!) I'm probably way underselling my product as well considering the time and effort, but I'm happy with it selling and being profitable.

And yeah, 3 printers .. and I could easily run another 3 and still just keep up. I get a small backlog of orders and I have a dozen other 3D printed projects I'd love to offer but don't have the capacity at the moment. Each of those pieces I print takes me about 2-3 days to model (I absolutely will not sell someone else's work, it has to be my own unless I have a full commercial license for it) and the printers can pump out about 1 every 20 minutes per printer at the quality I'm doing them at. I even have them available in a brick and mortar retail shop in the US (Noble Knight Games)!

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