Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Tag: 3D

Catacombs: An Experiment In 3D

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.

catacombs box cover from the publisher (on BGG)

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.

Showcase: OGRE

This is one my first fully pimped project and easily one of my favorites.  For a long time I’d been interested in Steve Jackson GamesOGRE.  I like the simplicity and asymmetry but wasn’t a fan of chits and hex grids nor did the theme seem especially original after I found it 30+ years from it’s introduction.

Kwanchai Moriya is probably my favorite board game artist though he didn’t start out as such.  Originally a studio artist (and still is), Kwanchai is an avid board gamer and being an artist, started playing around with retheming out of print games.  One of his first and most popular was taking OGRE and retheming it into an alternate World War II war game.

KOGRE box art copy

Kwanchai’s art and theme really drew me into the game and I had to make a copy for myself.  There was some controversy about the legal rights to Kwanchai’s work so it is no longer available but I was able to get a hold of the files before they were ripped down.  I’m not a fan of chits in games. I recognize that they are extremely efficient but they don’t do anything to immerse me in the game. Being a game-pimper, I really can’t make a project with them so I was thinking about alternative options.

Making the game with 3D elements seemed the best way to go so first was what to do with the OGRE himself. I thought a few things like a paper standee or maybe a wooden token cut out but a friend of mine suggested maybe going full 3D and making a miniature.  I have no talent for that and no time to learn but luckily, he did.  It actually turned into a huge project for him and at times I think he regretted the suggestion but what he finally produced was absolutely amazing.

residentninja’s Kwanchai inspired robot

We had a lot of discussion on size and scale and ultimately decided to help emphasize “Robbie’s” (as we called him) size, we went with 6mm/ Z scale.  I started sourcing 6mm German WWII soldiers and vehicles and found a lot of great options.

I ended up going with CinC miniatures for the figures and the vehicles from Historical Board Gaming.

OGRE infantry

OGRE vehicles

Next we needed the houses to block terrain.  I covered how I made these in my Paper Terrain post but it was easy to make them in scale.

terrain house

terrain command

With all the pieces assembled and ready, I grabbed a couple of cheap Trivial Pursuit games from a thrift shop and remade the main board by printing out the board images in pieces and using spray adhesive to the Trivial Pursuit boards and laminating them.

I made some reference pieces, grabbed dice from Flames of War, and found a tray to put it all in and that was it.

OGRE tray

My fully rethemed and 3D version of OGRE.

This was the first entry I ever submitted to Boardgamegeek’s Pimp Your Boardgame contest.  It placed 4th against some stiff competition but I was still very happy with the results and I think of this game as the catalyst that got me pimping games.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén