Intro: Make Your Own Piecepack! (Modular Boardgaming System)
Everyone loves to play cards. Everyone knows card games, and there are thousands upon thousands of games to play with a deck of cards. An inventive person decided to apply this same principle to boardgames, and thus the idea of the Piecepack was born. The Piecepack is not a game in and of itself - rather, it is a gaming system on which other games can be played. Over 100 games currently exist for the Piecepack, and even more are under development. The only problem is the limited availability of the system - generally, you need to make it yourself or order it through a small company. This Instructable will detail how to make your own.
Step 1: Anatomy of the Piecepack
Before we begin building, it's probably best that you understand what you're building. The piecepack consists of 4 main types of components: Pawns, Tiles, Coins and Dice. Each of these pieces are further divided up into suits and ranks, like decks of cards.
6 tiles in each of the four suits, Arms, Crowns, Moons and Suns, further broken up into ranks of null, Ace and 2-5 (total of 24 tiles)
6 coins in each of the four suits, Arms, Crowns, Moons and Suns, further broken up into ranks of null, Ace and 2-5 (total of 24 coins)
4 dice, one colored to each suit, numbered null, ace and 2-5.
4 pawns, one colored to each suit.
The piecepack is divided up into four suits, like cards are.
Crowns are either yellow or green
Suns are red
Arms are blue
Moons are black.
You can see examples of all four suits below.
Further, the pieces each have a rank. Some are null, meaning that they are usually worth zero. Others have a large symbol on them - these are the aces, which are usually counted as one. Numbered tiles are ranked according to their numbers.
Step 2: Materials and Tools
To build your piecepack, you need the following:
24 tiles of the same size. They must be square, and 2 inches by 2 inches is recommended. For mine, I used wood, but other materials could be used instead. Originally, I tried foamcore board, but I didn't like the results too much - you might have more success with it, though. These must be able to absorb paint or hold a label, depending on the method of marking you use.
24 coins. These must be able to fit within 1/4th of the tiles. Again, I'm using wood, due to the fact that it holds paint well, but you can use any material you wish.
4 dice - I am using 4 store-bought dice in green, blue, red and white, representing each of the suits.
4 pawns - For these, I found wooden dowel rod ends. There are no requirements for these other than that they must be able to stand on their own and that they must fit within 1/4th of the tiles, much like the coins.
From here, you have two choices as to the remaining materials:
Blank label sheets and a printer
Painting option: (My pick)
Paint in red, black, yellow or green and blue.
Step 3: Label Option
If you are using the labels, print the 4 PDFs at this link off to the 4 label sheets:
After that, apply the grids to one side of the tiles and the suit/ranks to the other side, the ranks to one side of the coins and the suits to the other, and the small boxes for the pawns to each of the pawns - you're then done making your peicepack and can skip to the final step to see how to use it.
Step 4: Painting the Pawns and Coins
Personally, I chose to use the painting option, because I felt that it gave it a better, more homemade look.
Before we paint, you'd probably best decide whether you want your crowns to be yellow or green. I've found that the yellow can be hard to see on wood or white, so I use green, but it's entirely your choice. If you do decide to use the yellow, I would recommend metallic gold paint, at least.
To paint it, here's what you need to do:
Step 1 - Paint each of the pawns to the color of their suit - one the color of the crowns, one red, one black and one blue.
Step 2 - paint the numbers on each of the coins. 4 coins will be blank - these will be the nulls. 4 more will contain an A for Ace (alternatively, some sets use a swirl for the ace - if you prefer to do this, you can.) For each of the remaining numbers 2-5, paint that number onto 4 coins.
Step 3 - paint the suits on the coins.
On the other side of the coins, you will be painting the suit symbols. - to see these symbols and what you're aiming for, look at the 4 PDF files at this link: http://www.piecepack.org/Printable.html Obviously, the round pieces would go over the coins in this case. There should be 6 coins in each suit, one for each of the numbers you just painted. Be careful not to make 2 of the same coin!
Step 4 - paint a directional marker
You'll see these in the printable PDFs above - basically, it's a small tick mark that starts at one edge of one face of the coin and goes across to the other to show which direction the coin is facing in. Be sure that it's obvious which direction the coin is facing!
Step 5: Painting the Tiles and the Dice
Step 5 - Simply paint the color of the dice into the holes of the 6 side, thus making 5 sides and a null side. Your dice are now finished.
Step 6 - Paint the suit-side of the tiles. Paint a miniature version of the suit symbol in the top left and bottom right of the tile, and in the center, put the appropriate number or symbol. Below is my set for the crowns.
Step 6: Painting the Tiles (continued)
Step 7 - Once the tiles have dried, flip them over. Using cardboard, cut yourself out a guide and use it to paint straight lines evenly dividing the back of the tiles into four sections. Make sure that these are done in black - you don't want to give away the suit before it's flipped! (For best results, paint one line, let it dry, then do the crossing line.)
Step 7: Play Some Games!
Alright, your piecepack is now finished! Try out some games on it! To find games for it, check out the official piecepack website at www.piecepack.org or the Piecepack Wiki at http://www.ludism.org/ppwiki/
Although I haven't played all of these, a few commonly recommended games to get you started include:
One Man: Thrag!
Colonists of Natick (Very similar to the Settlers of Catan Card Game)
Remember, if you don't like one game, try another! I absolutely hate Go Fish, but I really enjoy the game of Mao....The same applies to the Piecepack! Check back later - I'm working on developing two games for the Piecepack, and once they're finished, I'll post links here. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your games!