Making a board game can be a rewarding and informative project. However, creating game pieces that can withstand playtesting can be difficult. Paper pieces alone blow away or become wrinkled. 3D printing and woodworking may take too long or require specialized tools.Papercraft supplies a medium that is easy to work with and can produce viable sturdy components.
To get started, all you will need are:
- A pair of scissors
- A cardboard box
- Sheets of paper
- A roll of tape
- And a writing utensil
- Optionally Paper Glue Stick or Bottle
Step 1: The Template
In order to create game components that look sharp, I suggest using a template. To create one, either draw what you want your component to look like, or use a computer to print an image. For my hex tile, I used a generic drawing application on a computer to create a hexagon. Then I copied the image several times in the same document.
For the hexagon shape, I used MS Paint. The program is easy to work with and can create several basic shapes. I suggest leaving a little room on the top, bottom, and sides of the image to allow for printing. Some parts of the image can be lost if they are too close to the edge.
Use the print preview to see if it looks like it will be the right size for your project. When you have your image the right size, print a page out.
Step 2: Making the Cut
Using tape, I attached the template sheet to a piece of cardboard. Note: It does not have to be attached well. This tape it just to help keep the template in place while cutting it out. Also, instead of tape, you can glue the template sheet to the cardboard.
Being very careful, I use the scissors to cut around the outer edge of the template. To make it easier, I cut the shapes out from the cardboard sheet. Then I cut more precisely around the template.
This step can be a little messy. You may want to have a garage can on hand to catch clippings.
Step 3: Marking the Tiles
With the shapes cut out, I taped the paper to the cardboard. This creates an easy surface to write on. Using markers, pens, pencils, highlighters, and dry erase markers, I labeled the pieces. The game these pieces were made for have locations. To make the more legible, I wrote the name out on each tile and then color-coded them by tile type.
Your tiles can be as simple or complex as you like. I used a different color for each one to help players understand what they are for.
Step 4: Heart Tokens
My game also uses small tokens to track a player's health. To make a simple token to represent that, I made a heart shape template. This time I used double-sided tape to attach them to cardboard before I cut them out. Then I used a marker as before to decorate the tokens.
Step 5: Making Meeple
I also wanted the players to have a pawn to move around the hex tiles I made. To make a durable pawn, I repeated the steps of this tutorial with the twist. I made 16 copies of the template. Instead of just taping them to the cardboard, I glued 4 pieces together. This created a heavier game piece that can stand and resemble a 'meeple' game playing piece.
Step 6: Closing
Thank you for using this tutorial and good luck with your project!