There comes a time in every bloggers life when simply taking photographs just won’t due, especially when you’ve spent hours meticulously perfecting a particular craft only to have it blurred out in photographs. This revelation came in January for me. Stefan had just received the Star Wars Imperial Assault board game and would soon receive Cthulhu Wars, which came with amazingly detailed figurines all just waiting to be painted. He spent hours setting up layers, working on toning, highlighting, and shadows, and was simply just doing some amazing work with some impromptu paints and spare time. Continue reading Lighting Solutions: DIY Lightbox/ Ikea Hack→
I enjoy the occasional game of Magic The Gather. I’ll even get into playing at game store when I can afford it. I can rarely afford it as the cost for MTG seems to easily enter the realm of meth habit money. One thing that most game stores have in common. Tables. It’s hard to play magic without a table and those tables get sticky with little kid fingers and beverage residue. No thank you. What I need is a play mat. I know of a internet based company called Inkedplaymats.com. You can buy play mats they have in stock, which I’ve done or you could design your own, which as you might have guessed I have also done. As you may or may not know I’m a mechanical engineer when I’m not protecting the world from board game disorganization. I do drafting drawings all the time. Seems like a good opportunity to combine the two.
I’ve been painting miniatures for a few years now. It started with RPG characters and villains then moved to painting the minis for my board games as more and more board games are now including minis with their games. When starting out I used artist acrylic paints I had a who bowling ball bag filled with paints from my college art classes. This was fine up until last month. I was curious and purchased some Vallejo paints, just eight, enough to paint my Han Solo and Rebel Saboteurs minis for Star Wars Imperial Assault. I’ve been converted. The quality of the paint, ease of application and the minimal waste due to the dropper bottles was all steps above my artist paint. Let me also focus on that, artist paints, I just wanted to note that I did not use craft paints, I painted with the more expensive artist grade paints for years. Even those higher end paints would still have colors within the same brand that had course grit pigments that would leave an undesirably thick layer that would quickly cover up all the fine details of the miniature. Continue reading Laser-Cut: A Miniatures Paint Storage Solution→
I Have An Organization Monkey On My Back. He Is Not To Be Ignored
I’ve recently come across a board game called Suburbia. I must own it! So now I do and there goes my board game budget for the month. I always loved the Sim City games while I was growing up, physically not mentally, that’s still an ongoing thing. I purchased Machi Koro a short while ago. It’s a great game, simple to teach, great art work and a generally bright and cheerful game. Unless you bought the Harbor Expansion and you’re not the one who owns two Tuna Boat cards. Then you hate the game, that horrible evil game in a cute little bow. If you like Machi Koro but want something a bit more advanced in a similar theme them Suburbia is the way to go. I compare it to being Pandemic compared to forbidden Island. Continue reading Laser-Cut: Suburbia Insert→
After ditching the standard cardboard card holders and upgrading to a wood box from Hobby Lobby for my EDH Magic the Gathering cards I realized I was using a lot of box real estate on my basic mana cards.
I had just purchased some Danish Oil and I wanted to see what a more natural raw looked like since up to this point I had just been staining or spray painting all the wood projects like my Cards Against Humanity box.
I dimensioned the box to hold cards in sleeves and I figured about 150 of each mana type plus about 150 non basic lands should be the length I need. I got a design I liked and let the laser cutter do its work. To prep the box for assembly I pre-sanded the surfaces with a 220 grit paper being sure to sand with the grain. I wanted keep the laser cut burnt ends look so I didn’t sand the edges but instead just wiped them down with a damp rag to get the soot off to assure the glue would make a solid bond. Continue reading Laser-Cut: MTG Mana Station Box→
I thought I’d give my endless Magic the Gathering habit a break and see what Dice Masters had to offer. I like the simple nature of it. Not having 1,000+ cards released each year can really make deck building a quick and enjoyable process. The biggest problem I ran into quickly is storage. I tried using little plastic storage bins bit those were a real pain to try to pick my dice out of. I wanted something that would fit on my game shelf in a clean manner that would hold a multiple sets in one container. My cousin got the official dice masters Avengers Vs. X-men storage box which looks great but that means I need one for each set which means I need to have 2,3,4+ boxes spread over my tables as I go through them trying to build my deck of epic-ness. “Well that solution to game organization are we going to try tonight Brain?” “The same game organization solution I try every time, TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!, wait, no… a box, I’m going to make a box”. This would be no simple box. It needs trays to hold dice which need to hold dice in a manner I can easily remove and organize. The box needs to be small enough to fit on my game shelf. I typically use one of my larger game boxes that fit cleanly on my game shelf as a upper size limit, Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game. It will also need to fit enough cards to hold 4 full sets of cards, a dice mat, instructions, handmade dice bag, and a doughnut. I say that because I could really go for a doughnut right now. Continue reading Laser-Cut: DiceMasters Dice & Card Storage Box→
Designing an insert requires 3 design challenges to be overcome; fit, form, and functionality.
Ideally the game should fit within the box after an insert has been made for it as Zip-Lock bags duct taped to the sides of the box lid may not have best appeal to it. When starting my design process I layout all the components in stacks next to my trusty ruler and calipers and start measuring everything. Typically I start to sketch out some concept layouts just to get an idea of the possible ways I can orient components, do I want playing cards to lay on their side to save height or set them vertically? Next its time to move to doing some rough sketches in my modeling program so I can see what interferences may pop up and to better account for all the different dimensions of game components as well as the space that is used by the inserts themselves. Here’s an Isometric view of a basic test layout I’ll run through to see how the different component boxes will layout and to see where I can steal a few millimeters here and there to make better fits elsewhere. This process can be a lengthy and frustrating one if you have lofty goals. I had those. My main goal for this insert was to fit the core game of Star Wars Imperial Assault and all the currently released and announced miniature and base game expansions for 2015. As of May 13t, 2015 there was a possible 55 small miniatures (miniatures with bases with a 1 inch Continue reading Laser-Cut: Star Wars Imperial Assault Insert→
I made a dice bag for my DiceMasters game. Now I can make dice bags because why not? I thought it was time to play with fabric for a while. Is there a medium I wont try? Molten Lead, I have to draw the line somewhere and that seems like a good one.
They’re reversible too so I can play around with that too. Best of all for DiceMasters the bag stands on its own even when empty.
If you have the hardware needed to make a dice bag and want to make a dice bag but have limited sewing skills the check Tiffany Teaches. Her step-by-step guide was all I needed for making these. Thank you Tiffany! You rock. The fabric is Chibi kawaii Super Hero.
I like hex tiles. They’re like squares but with so much more gaming potential. One would think that with such a elegant simple strategy game there would be an equally elegant and simple storage solution that came with said game. Not so much. While I do think the little portable plastic zip bag that the game box could be a neat thing to bring on trips or whatnot I’m just bothered by the fact that the box which contains such well fitting components contains 60% air. Its like a Yahtzee game box. A game that contains 5 Continue reading Laser-Cut: Hive Box Improvement→
One of the first boxes I thought I’d try was to make a Cards Against Humanity box that would fit all the cards of the core game and all the current and a few future expansions. I recently got access to a laser-cutter and combines with SolidWorks I started to experiment with a design that would meet my requirements of storage needs and have dimensions that wouldmesh well with existing board games so I could reduce clutter while still fitting in cleanly with my current collection.
Laser Cutting: The Learning Curve
Laser cutting can be tricky at first. You really need to play with the machine for a while trying to future out what small variations in settings can do. A bit too slow and you’ll end up making edges that are closer to a charcoal pencil then a clean Continue reading Laser-cut: Cards Against Humanity Box→