Catacombs, the dexterity disc-flicking dungeon crawl game, is easily my favorite dexterity game out there. I’m a big fan of dexterity games anyway but Catacombs has always struck me as the perfect balance between dexterity game and narrative story.
I’ve had my 3rd edition copy for awhile now and I got it in my head to take the game layout, which is in a 2D layout with obstacles, to 3D. This concept is one I’ve explored before but never with Catacombs proper. With the CNC machine up and running, this gave me the best opportunity to try out some experiments.
One map in particular stood out in particular as the perfect starting point. The Altar Chamber map (as I call it) looked like a great fit so I took some photos (the board is bigger than my scanner) and uploaded it to Illustrator. In Illustrator, I traced the central altar piece and converted it to an .svg to import into my CAD program. From there, I tweaked the measurements and created the file for a test milling.
The test print came out very near perfect for the measurements. The ramp was only roughed in (that’s why it has that stair-stepped look to it) and I plan on smoothing it out on a sander.
I then added the other side to the layout to complete the rough first step. I sanded the ramps smooth to a sharp point then primed the two pieces dark grey and sealed them. Finally, I went back to my initial photo image and printed, cut, and mounted it to the two pieces.
The effect came out very well. The pieces still fit well after the layers of primer and sealant and even though my printer is inferior to the professional board image printers, it still came out well enough to not be distracting.
So the big question is, did it work? Well, no. Mechanically it doesn’t quite do it. The ramps are about as smooth as I can make them but still catch the discs sometimes and rebounds them backwards. A big issue is that the Catacombs discs are flat walled cylinders with pretty sharp corners. This means they catch even the slighted unevenness and bounce back. Crokinole and Pitch Car discs have bevel or rounded edges to them so it takes a lot of gap in the tiles or ramps to have them bounce bad.
I could bevel the bottom edges of my Catacombs pieces but I think that is overkill. At the end of the day, I may just ditch the ramp concept altogether and variant a “jump” ability where you use a card as your ramp and flick up that to get to the higher levels of the terrain. I was already going to introduce that concept for the ranged attacks so it might be easier to add a movement/melee shot option for it is as well. In any case, I like the look and the feel of the piece and I’m glad to see my CNC performed within the necessary tolerances to produce this piece.