I had a chance to play Matt Leacock’s new game Era: Medieval Age at Gen Con and instantly liked it. The quality components and the full “city building” game style was immediately appealing. I didn’t pick it up at the Con as I didn’t want to fight the crowds and haul it home but I finally picked it up and got it to the table.

While I think the publisher did a great job on the art and the other physical components, there was one let down and that is the bland yellow player board.

There is actually some detail on there but the impression is so fine it is really hard to see. For this type of game, this just would not do. The latest versions have a sticker set you can apply to help read things but I won’t be going that route.

While I’m not sure exactly which route I’ll be going, I know it won’t be cheap stickers. My first plan is to make my own board. To start, I turn to Fusion360 and make a simple model up in CAD.

I used my calipers to set the hole diameters for the pieces and then the spacing between. After lamenting to friends about the tedium of create all those holes, they finally set me right by showing me the array possibilities within the program (using the Create Pattern function). This helped tremendously as I soon found I’d need to iterate a few times.

Well, as per my usual, I never hit a walkoff home run. My measurements weren’t quite up to snuff as the longer piece like this farm didn’t fit.

Nor this smaller Keep piece. After doing some measurements on the board, I noticed a few things. One, my CNC machine isn’t the most precise tool in the shed. It dropped the CAD file’s hole diameter from 4.25mm to 3.9mm. Even worse, it was not even consistently off in uniform directions. The X-axis was down to 3.9mm but the Y-axis was down to 3.6mm.

After multiple trials and adjustments not only for the size in general but for my machine’s own quirks, I got it where I wanted it and cut a player board area to mess with.

Now the pieces fit nicely and I gave it a test run in a solo game to see how well it played.

Now that phase one was complete, I’ll work on the next phase to test how I want to ultimately pimp out this game.