3d printing small board game accessories

Boardgame bits funnel tray - holding Fate and Honour tokens from Legend of the Five Rings (2017).
Boardgame bits fun­nel trays — hold­ing Fate and Hon­our tokens from Legend of the Five Rings (2017).

I’m really happy when I can com­bine two of my hob­bies. This time it’s Boardgam­ing and 3d Print­ing.

Often, many games have tokens or chits that are pooled for play­ers to take at dif­fer­ent times dur­ing play.  Usu­ally, these sit in piles around the main game area.

On Thingi­verse, swholmstead shared this neat design — which I promptly down­loaded and prin­ted.

From: Stack­able Game Bits Fun­nel Tray by swholmstead, pub­lished Oct 3, 2017

Super Effect­ive! Keep­ing the game table neat and tidy.

More progress on painting Alien Frontiers Field Generators


AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_2Wow, when you take pho­tos of painted mini­atures, the pho­tos always catch all the rough paint-work and oth­er issues, mak­ing the minis look like crap 😀

Ah well, since these Ali­en Fron­ti­ers field gen­er­at­ors are meant to be played with and not put on a shelf and admired, I’m not too con­cerned.

One done, one in pro­gress and one primed and ready to go.

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_1The orange one’s inter­est­ing. I bought the Ali­en Fron­ti­ers Upgrade Pack. It included a lot of the new colony com­pon­ents, and these field gen­er­at­or com­pon­ents. It’s meant to upgrade the more gen­er­ic ones from earli­er Ali­en Fron­ti­ers gen­er­at­ors.

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_3So this one came without one of the gen­er­at­or arms attached. After filling out a form and upload­ing a photo of the flawed com­pon­ent, Game Salute, the dis­trib­ut­or sent along a replace­ment (it’s the unpainted one in the back­ground).

In the mean­time, I’d decided to paint this one any­way, and am going to turn that gap where the arm mounts into a dock­ing port. I think I’ll be adding yel­low and black ‘alert’ lines around it. We’ll see how that goes.

Then, finally, I think I’ll likely give them a final spray of Test­ors Dul­coat, just to elim­in­ate the shine. I like the way it helps bring out subtle detail and gives them a more ‘real­ist­ic’ look. Must be a per­son­al taste thing developed back in the day when I painted plastic mod­els.

Team Tracy Mod — A Thunderbirds House Rules Modification

Update: TL:DR — we were using the Dis­aster track wrong.  Details at the end.

Last night was our groups first play­through of Thun­der­birds. We’d played vari­ous co-op games, and spe­cific­ally Matt Lea­cock designed games, before. We knew we were in for a chal­len­ging yet fair co-op gam­ing exper­i­ence in the Thun­der­birds uni­verse. Fun!

Well, maybe.

The first and second games ended rather quickly. We under­stood the rules, but the char­ac­ters we had were unable to coördin­ate quickly enough to avert them.

So, in the interest of sal­va­ging the even­ing and get­ting back to hav­ing fun, we decided on the fol­low­ing modi­fic­a­tions:

  1. All Char­ac­ters are par­ti­cip­at­ing in the game, no mat­ter the num­ber of play­ers. In our case that left two char­ac­ters without human play­ers. Every human play­er con­trols one char­ac­ter, but extra char­ac­ters are con­trolled by the group.
  2. We altered the Turn Over­view. In our game, Turn order var­ies dur­ing a ’round’ depend­ing on the strategy the group decides is going to be executed for that round. As each play­er takes a turn, they flip their char­ac­ter card over so we can remem­ber that play­er has played. The same applies to group-con­trolled char­ac­ters. Once all char­ac­ter cards are face down, the round ends and the char­ac­ter cards are reset, and a new round begins.

We felt that these modi­fic­a­tions allowed the entire Tracy fam­ily to par­ti­cip­ate in the game, as they usu­ally do in the TV show. And by allow­ing the turn order to be flex­ible and respons­ive to the cur­rent situ­ation, we felt it bet­ter reflec­ted the TV show’s theme of team­work — hence the name, the Team Tracy Mod. Also, it made for a much more fun and involving game.


Well. It seems we were doing some­thing wrong.
You know the dis­aster track at the bot­tom of the board? The one where the cur­rent dis­asters all pile up and even­tu­ally over­whelm you? Yeah, that one. Well, it seems that we were using that wrong.

As we drew a new dis­aster card, we placed it NEXT to the exist­ing dis­aster card, in the slot HIGHER than the pre­vi­ous one. We should have been slid­ing all the exist­ing dis­asters down one slot and pla­cing the new card in the FIRST SLOT. The way we were play­ing it, every new dis­aster assumed a high­er pri­or­ity than the pre­vi­ous one as we had to reduce the total num­ber of dis­asters to stay alive.

Played prop­erly, we could take two or three turns to map out a mul­tiple res­cue strategy and elim­in­ate dis­asters more effect­ively.


We’re enjoy­ing the game much more now

New Pandemic scenario covers 2013 events

Cool! The developers of Pan­dem­ic have freely released a slight mod / scen­ario to their amaz­ing coöper­at­ive board game Pan­dem­ic.

Scen­ario 2:

… cov­ers one of the more not­able events in the US this year: the Gov­ern­ment Shut­down. It intro­duces some new ele­ments and changes the way you play Pan­dem­ic.

Will you be able to save human­ity with the Gov­ern­ment Shut­down?

Down­load the PDF of Scen­ario 2 here.

Little Screen:Big Screen

card_200.jpgIf you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, you may be a bit con­cerned about adding an iPad to your hard­ware arsen­al. I know I was. Espe­cially since I was dread­ing pur­chas­ing new HD ver­sions of some of the games I’d already had run­ning on my Touch. But I made the leap and have a few obser­va­tions to share.

Sure, Apple prom­ised you’d be able to ‘upsize’ the visu­als — and yes, this is pos­sible. And actu­ally, the upscaled image in most of my games isn’t really all that bad.

Basic­ally you hit a 2x but­ton in the corner of your iPad and the unit zooms in to fill the screen with what was oth­er­wise a very tiny (iPhone sized) dis­play area in the centre of your iPad screen.

Since the iPad was released, some developers went back and made hybrid ver­sions of the games, able to run on both the smal­ler Touch screen, and also able to recog­nize the lar­ger iPad screen and select high­er-res­ol­u­tion graph­ics when appro­pri­ate.

Now, what’s really cool is that some of those iPhone games actu­ally play bet­ter on a lar­ger iPad screen.

Car­cas­sonne — an awe­some board game and a pretty cool app. Play­ing this on the iPad is much closer to play­ing the board game than on a tiny iPod Touch screen. Hav­ing spent many hours play­ing it on the Touch, and a few more recently on the iPad, I won’t be going back to the smal­ler screen.


Angry Birds & Plants VS Zom­bies — also great games when played on a lar­ger screen. With Angry Birds I find I have much bet­ter con­trol over the sling­shot dir­ec­tion and angle than I did with the smal­ler screen. In PvZ, the advant­age is that the subtlties of the anim­a­tion and ren­der­ing are much more appar­ent. On the smal­ler screen, I’d not seen the Elvis Zombie’s clas­sic moves.



Of course, not all games scale appro­pri­ately. I found that driv­ing or flying/space games that required you to hold and man­euver with the device the most prob­lem­at­ic. The key prob­lem being the weight of the iPad vs the iPhone or iPod Touch. Crank­ing through a bank­ing space shoot­er with a 1.whatever pound steer­ing wheel quickly gets tir­ing. And place­ment of the con­trols, while great for a smal­ler screen, require very large hands to seem nat­ur­al on the iPad.

So, your mileage may vary, depend­ing on the app and how the developers have (or haven’t) anti­cip­ated it appear­ing on dif­fer­ent sized devices. Just be aware, that the games you’ve already bought may just work fine, or even bet­ter, on the lar­ger screen.

Or, you could always just pick up the enhanced HD ver­sion for the lar­ger device, if the upsampling really bugs you.

This post of is one of many I pub­lish weekly at the Future Shop Techb­log. Read more of my stuff here.