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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Making board game boards  (Read 2811 times)
MatrixGamer
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Posts: 582


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« on: June 20, 2007, 05:25:28 AM »

I'm playing around with making boardgame boards. I'd like to share the results of the experiments so far.

First off I'm printing maps on a HP Color laser printer. This makes each sheet cost around 30 cents. I'm printing out 4 sheets which once trimmed down form a 16x21 map. Once out of the printer I trim off the inside margin first. I use a roller paper cutter for this. It's accurate but a slow proceedure. It would only bee good it you were making very small numbers (say print runs of 20).

I have Davies Binders Board (this is double think grey cardboard) from my book binding which I cut down to 8x10.5 pieces. I get 9 boards out of a single sheet of binders board. I have a 1000lb guilotine paper cutter to do this so this is not something more people have. If you don't have such a machine it woule probably be best to saw the boards.

I arrainge the boards into groups of four and attach the two board closest to me with cloth book tape. I do that with the other two boards as well. The map sheets can now be attached.

I use either spray adhesive or yes paste. If it is the spay adhesive I spray the boards and set the map sheet on it. This is not the strongest hold so I'm not sold on that technique. It is said to be permanent if both pieces are sprayed but then you can't reposition. The yes paste works better for small print runs. I use a putty knife to scoop it out of the jar and then spread it thinly on the board. I then carefully place the maps sheet down. If I get it wrong I can pull it up and redo it with the paste. Once dried though paste is VERY strong. I set the boards aside to dry. They can be worked in a hour but just to be safe I give them a day.

I flip the boards over and use a box cutter to trim off the edges of the map. Then I line the boards up and put another strip of book tape on one side to form the last hinge of the board. The board can now be folded up so the map is on the inside (to save it from rubbing.)

The last step I do is to hit the map with some spray varnish. This gives a little bit of a shine and offers some protection.

The board is now ready to be used.

I can ramp up the process by out sourcing map printing to get posters. I can attach these to the boards all at once so there will not be the problems on lines not matching up. That would make it possible to do maybe 100 boards in a week (evenings after work).

I'll be using one of these boards at Origins. I'm running Lone Wolf Samurai Action Theater with a board of a 17th Century Japanese print of a village. Looks pretty. On the flip side I put a copy of my horse racing Matrix Game "Mongolian Goat Rodeo". I might run that as a pick up game. We will see.

I'm open to comments, questions, suggestions and feedback.

Chris Engle

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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
http://HamsterPress.net
guildofblades
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Posts: 297


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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2007, 07:38:21 AM »

We previous experimented on in house board production, trying several different methods, but gave up it because everything we tried either cost too much, didn't turn out as nice as it should, or was simply too time consuming. The time consuming bit was almost always among the offending reasons.

One method we tried was simply to order 80pt grey chipboard sheets in 8 1/2" x 11" sheets. If we had ever ordered in bulk on those sheets we would have got the price down to about $.05 per sheet. We would wrap a linen cloth style tape around the front and back of the boards in two piece (one piece per axis), which wasn't too bad timing wise. We had it measured out on a long table exactly how much length we needed. So that part went quickly enough and it worked out to be about $.04 in tape per board. We would then simply cut the tape along one of the short quarter folds to make it a quad fold.

After that we attempted to apply the artwork a couple of ways. One was to print the artwork onto a 8 1/2" x 11" sticker/label sheets. Printing ran about $.032 per sheet on our copier or printer, but the cheapest we've been able to get the label sheets is $.08. All told a 17" x 22" board would work out to cost about $.79, but we thought that was simply too much for the amount of work involved. And peeling off the stickers and applying them to the boards was too slow when trying to get it done right.

Another method we tried for applying the boards was to use a paint brush and a big old can of rubber cement apoxy. That was a somewhat faster process and it eliminated the sticker sheets. This cost only $.47 per map set, but the labor was just as bad. Worse, the opoxy had a noxious smell and could only be worked with outside or an extremely well ventilated area. That became problematic in the cold Michigan winter. Lol.

Another experiment we tried was simply to use our lamination machine to laminate the artwork to the boards. We then folded under and taped or glued the lamination flash under the boards to keep the lamination sealed. The folded material under just looked unprofessional.

Once we gave up on in house board backing, we returned to simply laminating our game maps.

In the future for select games we'll be outsourcing our game boards to be printed directly onto .28pt chipboard. When gang printing these with other printing to be done at the same time, a 20" x 28" sheet ends up cost us $.80 each on a thousand print run. With bleed, thats about 19.25" x 27.25" or thereabouts. We'll have it cut into two pieces and quad fold fold lines and cut built into it. This seems like a great option for any of our core games, but its more inventory I want on hand for accessory product and expansions.

I keep looking for labor practical methods to do in house board making. And I'll be interested to see what alternatives you can come up with.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
http://www.1483online.com
http://www.thermopylae-online.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
MatrixGamer
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Posts: 582


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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2007, 11:32:06 AM »

Not having to make a living at my game production (thanks to the wealth I gain as a social worker lol) I have a little more leaway in cost. The first goal has to be to make something that looks professional, can be made in small qualitities (20s) can be scaled up (100s) and won't poison me.

Using yes paste works for doing units of 20. Spray adhesive is vile smelling and toxic so it isn't an option unless I have big ventilation (Indiana winters are still too cold as well.) I may try out pasting with home made wheat paste since it is more liquid. Since the item is flat then it might dry adequately.

My concern is how it will look after it's been used. That is where the Origins playtest comes in. If it survives the weekend and still looks decent it might be worth pursuing. I'll come back to this thread after the show and let you know how it worked out.

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
http://HamsterPress.net
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