Hi again fellow board game developers :)
In this post I'm going to talk about how to create a board for your board game prototype.
Many people struggle with creating something that looks "final" - something people will be convinced by.
First off - I don't think you should concentrate on doing this before you're in the mid-to-late prototype phase. Because you'll often find yourself reworking the board to your likings as you develop on your prototype.
I believe I've build at least 2 full boards in vain because I only a few days later had made some significant changes to the layout.
So be aware.. when you go down this path you better be ready for it ;)
I imagine that you already have the layout and graphics in mind - and you'll start working on them one way or another.
There's really not that much to it - either you can do it yourself if you're skilled in Photoshop or the likes, or you can get someone else to do it.
Don't worry about using a few copyrighted materials if you're only going to show the prototype to your friends. If you choose to do any public display then you'll of course need your own original material!
When you want to print it, you can do it in several ways. You can print it yourself by cutting the print into smaller A4 pieces (I'm assuming you have an A4 printer like most of us ;)
Or you can do what I prefer to do... find a local printing department of some sort, they can usually help you out. Choose to print "poster quality". It's a bit more expensive but also a lot more durable - specially if the board is going to see a lot of token/miniature action.
Furthermore the poster print already has a glue/sticker back you can use when attaching the print to a board of some sort.
This will probably not be the kind of print you'll be using in the final print - since it also has a very reflecting surface, making it troublesome to look at in direct light when playing (but it sure does look nice - and ready for sale :)
The board material
There are several different materials you can use for your board, each with different strengths and weaknesses.
I usually go with 2mm for boards bigger than A3, and 1,2-1,5mm for smaller boards.
Look at some of the examples below.
Cutting, gluing... and so on...
When you have the components you need - it's time to put them together. This can be a tricky affair due to the "one chance"-aspect of putting it on. But if you follow the principles of this video you won't be doing it wrong (how to put on a car sticker).
Making the board more durable
If you want your board to be even more durable or stand out even prettier - it's time to introduce the transparent book wrap plastic (in Danish called "angel skin" or something). This will keep your board still going strong when you get to the production of any expansion packs ;)
Corners are usually the vulnerable part of a board. But it doesn't have to be. If you look at the following examples - you'll see how you can wrap around the edges and corners - making them fairly strong.
Edges and the finishing touch
Edges can also be a pain in the neck if not properly wrapped - and letting the print continue on the other side doesn't always look that good... But here's a money trick :)
Well... that will be all for now - I hope this article will help you in your board production.
Happy holidays and gaming to you all :)
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