3d printing prosthetics 3D printing environment medicine architecture biotechnology prototyping medicine 3D scanning art food sustainability food biomedicine architecture 3d printing modelling animals news toys housing accessibility prosthetics forensics robots 3D scanning biomedicine selfies CGI drones solar cells laser scanning sustainability education robotics bioprinting printed food crime model making fashion stereolithography stereolithography flowers vacuum casting rapid prototyping beauty rapid prototyping miniatures surgery military body parts electronics military renewable energy TCFG MultiFab printer instruments construction home design 3d scanning 4D printing artificial intelligence archaeology restoration lego biomimicry mattel climate change biodiversity drones cosmetics design nanotechnology medical applications conservation CG innovation preservation bioprinting oceans sports transport developing countries prototyping assistive technology tabletop animal prosthetics vehicles creative apps laser scanners smartphone technology smartphones packaging personalisation fishing gaming music september developing world instruments medical supplies october tips starter guide ornaments filament decoration interior design costume cosplay multi-material printing off-grid ProJet MJP 3600 Printer materials archaeology gaming rockets technology home printers spines glass robots dangers firearms guns Skyscrapers Trump cycling surgery Great Barrier Reef building cities cancer lego make up films space full colour desktop jewellery ethics makeup plants travel future cellulose. eco friendly vegetables makeup beauty submarines stem cells bioethics 3Doodler developing world humanitarian aid sweets materials fitness money 3d printing news animal testing ocean exploration hydroponics agriculture bones baldness cure amazon pets printable objects halloween farming trainers animated film space F1 film industry study plastic surgery gun masks history art culinary fashion bridge oven motorbikes castles printed buildings engineering replacement teeth workplace hazards vehicles drugs printers cars automotive electronics musical instruments 3d Printing design software planning Escher printed housing modular architecture short run productions van gogh creative process 3D printing obama 3D printing and heart surgery replica pet models printing plants 3D printed chocolate 3D printed weapons earthquake-proof 3D printed column 3D metal printing decorations christmas 3D metal printers 3D printed dog noses 3D vases quadcopter project 3D printing women's makeup printing lipstick spooky selfies 3D printed jack-o-lantern competition Amazon 3D Printing Store 3D printed furniture 3D skulls and pumpkins houses short-run production tabletop games animal figures bjarki hallgrimsson 3d printer 3d models tabletop wargames 3d printed implants model prototype 3d printed prototypes traditional model making mini-you fabrication labs UAV body on a chip testable models 3d printed jewelry investment casting vacuum casting mars attacks mantic 3d figurines 3d selfies eco-friendly wedding cakes 3d print production prototypes household appliance recycling prototype 3D concept pizza tabletop gaming short run productions astronauts natural machines 3D glasses chefjet gifts PD Models interview live puppeteering terminator 2 star wars Jurassic Park Alien 3 Jar Jar Binks Gollum medical technology 3D computer graphics cinema eyes drill terminator news robotic arm CG modelling 3D models dancing robot creativity dust UV resin Carbon3D CV interviews office politics contact digitising conservation jobs creative business careers CAD digital sculpting metal powder digital migration Rolex 3d printed selfies jewelry 3D printing industry 3D modelling mining in space 3D topography maps 3D printing in mining motion art kinetic art superhero prosthethics 3D printed Batman suit 3D printed sculpture 3D printed dinosaur 3D printed food 3D printed bananas 3D printed urns 3D printed table accessories 3D printed ergonomic keyboard 3D printed laptop 3D printing in space design thinking design 3D printed mansion 3D printed prototyping 3D rendering 3D modelling wood project mosul statue 123D tool suite netfabb Hatra moon dust moon bases reprap recyclebot 3d printed mea SWaCH children medical use 3D print show Voxel8

How 3D printing could revitalise the tabletop board game

How 3D printing could revitalise the tabletop board game

Board games are an enjoyable pastime. However, it can be an expensive hobby, particularly if you have a predilection for the more 'premium' titles. Many of these are shipped with elaborate game boards and pieces that can send costs soaring into the £50+ region. However, there is a burgeoning technology that has the potential change the tabletop board game world.

Print Your Own Game

3D printing has revolutionised the design and engineering sectors in recent years. In the past, creating a prototype was a costly process that involved a great deal of effort. The advent of affordable 3D printing means that designers can now print their own prototypes at home as long as they are willing to make an initial investment on a printer. The implications this has for tabletop gaming should be obvious.

Not only can ambitious hobbyists now potentially design and print their own boards, they can even design and print their own game pieces. The level of detail possible with modern 3D printers also means that professional models, which would traditionally only be possible via industrial machinery, can be printed with relative ease at home.

3D printing works by feeding a CAD (computer-aided design) file into the printer, which then replicates the file on a layer-by-layer basis. Most basic home 3D printers use a filament that is melted into molten plastic. This plastic is passed through the printer nozzle before it hardens into layers. These layers are then fused together to create the finished object. This process allows for very precise details to be included on your models, giving you the flexibility to create comparable game pieces to those produced by Games Workshop.

Open Board Game

Whilst it is perfectly feasible to print your own games at home as long as you have a 3D printer with filament on hand, you'll still need a certain level of design expertise in order to bring your models to life. 3D printing software is generally free and simple to get to grips with, but mastering it can take time and effort, not to mention a keen eye for detail and art design. One company, however, has circumvented much of the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into designing and 3D printing a board game.

Open Board Game is an Indiegogo project that sadly didn't reach its backing. The potential behind the idea, however, still remains. The concept would allow gamers at home to 3D print professional-standard games tailored to their exact specifications. The ThinkerThing company would provide the requisite files for a number of games that users could tinker with to create the game of their dreams, without much of the initial groundwork that goes into designing such a game.

This open-source board game platform might have been a little ahead of its time. If it were to launch again today, with the expanded audience board games now have, it could broaden the appeal of the hobby even further and would give even those of us not blessed with artistic genes the ability to print our own games at home.

Ahead of the Curve

Whilst Open Board Game might have failed with their crowdsourced concept, the CAD files for many 3D printed board games are already readily available online. Simple concepts such as Megalopolis and Balancing Boulders provide templates that won't require much filament and can be printed, assembled, and played in the space of an afternoon. There are also a number of more complicated designs, such as the tower defence game Hallway Seej and the Doctor Who-themed Tardis Run, which offer a more involved gameplay experience.

The concept of 3D printing your own board games even impressed Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin so much that he decided to throw his own hat in the ring with the wildly ambitious Cyvasse.

This is just the tip of the iceberg though. As 3D printing technology continues to get more affordable and presses further into mainstream culture, there's no telling the kind of strange wonders this growing community will come up with.


Tagged with: