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How to Create an Original Board Game Using 3D Printing

Whether you’ve been developing board games for a long time, or you are just getting to new ideas to entertain people staying at home, now is a fantastic time to get started on designing and playing high quality, professional-looking board games. You can make a version of your game with cardboard or other craft materials around the house to start, but if you’re looking to make a polished version for play testers and potential investors, 3D printing is a great tool to bring your unique game to life.

3D printing allows artists and designers access to a higher level of creative control where they might have been limited by traditional manufacturing in the past. Here are just a few ways 3D printing facilitates the process of board game creation:

Fast
and Professional Prototyping

Once you have developed the concept of your game, you can start bringing each part to life by creating prototypes of your ideas. Creating a 3D design for the board, pieces and accessories not only means they can be easily reworked and refined but also reprinted any number of times. Creating prototypes will allow you to communicate your ideas to play testers and investors while you continue to develop and refine your game. And the faster you can produce the prototypes for your ideas, the faster you can improve and perfect your design. You can also test your design in multiple materials, anywhere from plastics to metals, to find which one suits your game the most.

Creating
the Board

The landscape of your game can be as simple or complex as your game needs it to be. 3D modeling easily allows for forming geometric shapes or creating pattern-based boards, and using 3D printing gives you greater freedom to explore more intricate details. The board can be designed with interlocking pieces, structure and scenery models, and can even integrate electronics. Depending on your needs, 3D printing allows for the aesthetic and functional ideas to come together smoothly with a polished appearance.

game pieces

Creating
Original Game Pieces

There are a multitude of custom game pieces available for download on 3D model websites, but an original game idea requires original pieces. 3D printing makes it possible to create completely unique pieces in any printable materials. You can pair your game aesthetic to one or multiple materials for a uniformed design. Or create collector’s versions with game pieces printed in different materials. If you want to learn more about key features of game designs that have withstood the test of time, check out our article on game design here.

Play
Testing & Sharing

Because creating prototypes with 3D printing is much faster than using traditional manufacturing techniques, the process makes it much simpler to create playable versions for play testers. 3D printed parts can make the experience of playing the game smoother and clearer to people who are exploring it for the first time. Your play testers will be able to test your game idea by using real, physical objects, leaving less room for miscommunication during the feedback process. Having the digital files for all of the game’s printable pieces also means you can share your game with anyone anywhere in the world as they can upload the files and print their own through Shapeways.

Lower Start Up Costs with 3D Printing

The start up costs for creating a board game from scratch can be daunting if you’re adding in new equipment and materials. Crafting a board game by hand that looks professional requires a considerable amount of time especially considering the likely need to create several versions before arriving at a final design.

Making use of 3D printing technology and directing your manufacturing needs to Shapeways will allow you to cut down on those costs and put your efforts directly into designing and creating your final product. Ready to start building your own original game? We’d love to help!

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