Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BGTG 107 - Handcrafted Games (with Lincoln Damerst and Greg Wilzbach)

I grabbed two of my artistically talented friends (Greg did my podcast logo!) and put them on the microphone to talk about their hobby-within-a-hobby: handcrafted games. These guys have both taken a known, existing boardgame or two and hand made their own copies. It might have been to create something that's hard to get, or it might have been to make a personalized, deluxe version of a favorite game. In any case, it's a labor of love, takes time & money, and takes some real craftmanship & technique. I found their stories fascinating, as much because they're so beyond anything I could accomplish myself.

Lincoln Damerst (heccubus on BGG) starts by talking about his copy of the old Parker Brothers proto-eurogame, Survive! In fact, he posted a good description and photos of the process. Greg Wilzbach (gawilz on BGG) talks about his copy of Spekulation, which Lincoln also did! Though he didn't finish the goal (and never posted images of his efforts), Greg also talks about making his own deluxe versions of Wiz-War and Up Front.

The game I tried to pimp out was Kings & Castles, but I'm not finished. It won't end up looking like the fancy games Greg & Lincoln are doing. I'm just trying to replace the boring cardboard counters with colored wooden discs, hand-inked with simple icons.

Want to see that metal version of Big Boss that Lincoln mentioned? Here it is. Whoa...

I talked about in my previous podcast, and here it was mentioned again. That's for images printed on things (cards, throw pillows, watch faces, you name it). For 3D objects made to custom designs, Lincoln mentioned Custom dice are just the tip of the iceberg. You could make custom icebergs!

Merchants of Venus is a handcrafted title these guys haven't done--but admire someone else's work. And someone else's. Maybe there's more of this stuff going on than I realized!

Lincoln's wife Nikki Pontius made a very clever graphic overhaul of W├╝rfel Bingo into something that's improved for its theme: Waffle Bingo! I couldn't find any photos online yet, but I'm bugging Lincoln & Nikki to post some, because you really need to see it. Update: now posted!

Be sure to check out Harbor Freight for your laminator and lamination needs!

Thanks to Lincoln & Greg for joining me on this show. It was like I was a member of an audience, just hearing these guys tell great stories.


P.S. Sorry about the occasional nose-whistle going on. Not sure who that was, but I'm afraid it was me. :-/


Anonymous Chris said...

Thanks for the show Mark! It was especially interesting for me as my wife and I regularly make game and toy prototypes in our business. The lamination of two unused Avery label sheets together and then separating is a great idea. :)

3:58 PM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

Glad you liked it. Note that Nikki's cool version of "Waffle Bingo" now has its photo posted on BGG.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Mike DeSanto said...

I have two suggestions for making your own games:

1) 1 hour photos. Every corner drugstore and department store now prints digital prints for about $0.20 each. These are great for counters and such because the color is great, they are very durable and they are basically laminated. They also work well with dry-erase markers. I have a compact photo printer that also works very well. Not so good for boards, since you are limited to 4"x6".

2) Comic book backing boards. These are cheap, strong and acid free. They are too thick to print on, but thin enough to cut easily with scissors or a hobby punch. They take adhesives well, and are very stiff for their thickness.

I generally use these for prototyping or building print-and-play games. I hope they are useful.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Mastermind Boardgame said...

That's what I miss about classic board games...that high-quality design knowing it would last you forever. I loved the pictures of Survive! Great post =)

8:23 AM  

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