Boda Games

History of 3 Boda Games Meeples – Part I

Meeples: as part of our artwork guidelines, this time we will explain the process behind making wooden meeples. Without a doubt the most iconic piece for board games, meeples are a staple of the board game industry. So how to best explain making wooden meeples? This time we are changing it up a bit. Instead of just describing every step in a boring way, we will show it! For our latest version of the sample box, we also had a number of meeples made just for us. So we will take 3 of the meeples that we created for our sample box, and explain the entire process we went through when designing these meeples. The things to pay attention to design wise, the different ways we can produce meeples and how it changes the way they look when finished: we’ll tell you everything.

The Painter meeple – a laser engraved meeple.

The first meeple we will introduce is our Painter meeple. Keeping with our ancient China theme, we planned for this meeple to look like a traditional Chinese Painter. We took the classic meeple shape that everyone knows and loves, and started to modify it to make it look more traditional Chinese as well as show the painter nature of the character. For the head, we modified the traditional soft pointed shape and instead created a small dome on top to create a hair bun. We then added a brush to the left hand of the meeple, to show his artistic craftsmanship.

Shape

To understand the shapes you can give to meeple, you need to understand how the wood gets processed. For a machine cut meeple, first we begin with a long piece of wood that is larger than the meeple we are planning to make. This piece of wood goes through an extrusion machine that has a shaping tool inside it. You can see this in figure one. Once it passes through the machine, the outline of the meeple shape can be seen. After this, we take the long meeple stick and cut them to a desired thickness. It’s quite similar to cutting a loaf of bread! You can see this in figure 2. After all of that is said and done, the meeples have a shape according to your design. And cut individually to the thickness you specified.

Shape of the meeple

There are a few things to keep in mind when designing the overall shape of a meeple. The first one is that due to the cutting process, it’s better to avoid very thin elements. The force behind the cutting machine might not be able to cut super thin 1mm elements, especially if they stick out and are relatively far from the main body. This is also why you will normally see meeples with more rounded features than sharp, pointy ones. Although the Painter meeple we used in this example had a fairly basic shape, of course you can also design more complex shapes. But always try to balance it so that no parts of the meeple get too thin, with the risk of breaking off during the cutting process. As a rule of thumb, try to make sure that parts that stick out from the main body are at least 1.5mm-2mm thick, especially on the connecting part.

You can see another example here from Barrage on Boardgamegeek a game that we manufactured lately, that has a more complex shape with various parts sticking out.

Color

Next the meeple is normally painted in 1 base color that covers the entire body of the meeple. In our case we went with a deep red, a traditional color in China. The exact color we used was pantone P46-8 C. By using pantone colors, you can make sure that the color you have in mind and the color of the final product matches up exactly. If you’re unsure about how pantone colors work, your account manager can help you figure it out. So feel free to contact them if you need assistance with that.

Engraving

Another reason we went with red, which is a darker color, is because we wanted to do engraving on our Painter meeple. Previously we already explained the thought process behind the shape of our painter meeple. And for many meeples, the alone is enough to instantly understand what kind of meeple it is. But to really make sure our painter is instantly recognizable, we wanted to add more details to him. One option for adding these details is through laser engraving.

The way laser engraving works is by removing a thin layer of the by now painted wood from the meeple. By doing this, you expose the bare wood’s natural color that is hidden below the layer of paint. It also creates a difference on the surface of the meeple’s body, similar to the embossing effect often found on game boxes and game boards.

For the laser engraving on top of the meeple, you need to create a pattern. The laser will then cut out the parts according to that pattern. More importantly, it won’t cut the parts that should remain covered in paint.

Things to pay attention to

There are 2 things to pay attention to when creating this pattern:

  1. Similar to paper components, you need to maintain a “bleed” in the design. The meeples can move slightly when they are placed into the laser engraving machine. Thus, without a bleed the design can shift to the point that it extends beyond the body of the meeple. To make sure that the entire design gets lasered into the body of the meeple, make sure that the laser engraving pattern is 1-1.5mm smaller than the outline of the meeple itself. That way, even if the meeple is not 100% centered the entire design will still be lasered into the meeple correctly. This space should be kept on all sides of the meeple.
  2. Although laser engraving machines can create lines thinner than you can imagine, it is better for the details to not be too fine. When the lines of the design are too thin, they might be hard to see once the meeple is produced. This is also because the natural wood that you are exposing through the laser engraving has a patina with lines running through it. If a very thin line is cut out, but below it is a darker grain of the of the wood, you might find it is hard to see.

Design files

The preferred format to prepare the design files for a meeple is in vector form. Both .ai and .pdf format is good for this. If you’re unsure about the file format to use, please ask your account manager for advice and guidance. Two more tips to avoid any mistakes arising during the manufacturing process:

    1. Try to design your file using real measurements. This means that if your meeple is going to be 3 centimeters tall, the design file is also 3cm tall. That way, the size of the design equals the final size of the meeple. Also make sure to include clear instructions for the desired measurements, so that our time can double check the files.
    2. When making an engraved meeple like our Painter, make the file so that it has two layers in it. That way, one layer is for the shape of the meeple. The other layer for the engraving pattern of the front of the meeple.

And voila, now you know the process behind making engraved meeples. Of course, there are other manufacturing methods for creating meeples. In part 2 we will also explain how to produce silkscreened meeples. Stay tuned!

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Interview with Mothership designer Peter Sanderson

Interview with Mothership designer Peter Sanderson

Peter Sanderson, the designer of the hit game Mothership that combines miniatures, strategy and dice games into one, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. Well into the final stretch of the campaign for the 2nd edition of Mothership 2nd Edition Kickstarter, Peter shared with us some of his experiences, learning moments and other things to pay attention to when running a Kickstarter.  - This is the 3rd Kickstarter campaign you’re running for Mothership, first of all congratulations! What would be the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the course of these campaigns?   Peter: Thank you! I've learnt so many lessons over the course of these 3 campaigns (plus one failed!). But to narrow it down, these come to mind: 1. Have a good, well playtested game 2. Present the Kickstarter well 3. Love your backers   That last one is really important. Kickstarter is a community, not a store. The backers on kickstarter are giving you their hard earned money because they believe in your game. You need to show them love and appreciation back.  - A lot of publishers that run Kickstarter campaigns name the backers as one of the most fulfilling albeit it challenging parts of the process. Any fun...

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Kickstarter Do’s and Don’ts #1

So you’re running a Kickstarter campaign for your next board game! Those are some exciting times. You’ve probably been scouring the internet. Trying to get any and all advice you can get on how to run a successful campaign. The good news is, Kickstarter is huge. HUGE. So there is plenty of advice to go around. A lot of veterans are sharing their experiences online. The downside? Most of it is from the same perspective.    At Boda Games, we’ve been through our fair share of Kickstarters. We remember when our very first customer told us “I’m trying this thing called Kickstarter.” However, we are not game designers. Nor are we publishers. We are a board game manufacturing company. We make board games. And together with all of you, and with a little bit of help from Kickstarter, that is what we are here to do. So allow us to tap into some of our experiences and share a few do’s and don’ts with all of you. Here are some do’s and don’ts for Kickstarters that we have gathered over the past few year. But from a manufacturing point of view.  DO: When you run a Kickstarter, you will set up stretch goals. Heck,...

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Boda Games hosts online seminar Tuesday 28th 19:00 EST

Boda Games hosts an online seminar this Tuesday the 28th, starting at 19:00 EST. At boda games we are always excited to partake in events related to the board game industry. Usually these events will be at conventions. Panels, presentations, contests and other events. So when we were asked if we wanted to talk about board game manufacturing, we said yes without second thought. Because we love talking about board game manufacturing! It’s our bread and butter, it’s what we do every day from early morning until late at night. Unless we are at a convention, talking to publishers about it. Unfortunately right now, it is difficult for anyone to attend conventions. The whole world is restraining themselves from going outside and gathering in groups. So we have to get creative and find different ways to connect with each other. And one way to do that, is by organizing an online version of a convention! When the people from EESPEAKS explained the concept, we were intrigued. Although it is our first time, we are excited to be part of an online presentation. What will the seminar cover? Our director and one of the most knowledgeable people about board game manufacturing, Jeff Zhou, will do...

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Boda Games Manufacturing Chinese New Year 2020

Boda Games Chinese New Year break 2020

Boda Games Chinese New Year break 2020. Even meeples need a break every now and then! So last week all our factory meeples took a well deserved break. They put the figurative and literal dice down, halted the production machine. And travelled home to spend some time with their family and loved ones. Far away from the hustle and bustle of games manufacturing. Until next month, when everyone comes back recharged and ready to go! And at the end of this week, our office meeples are also finally getting the rest they need! Except for a few of us, who are flying out to Nuremberg early next week for the Spielwarenmesse 2020. So when you see us in Nuremberg, come say hi and we will gladly wish you and everyone else a happy Chinese New Year! Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! To summarize: • Our factory will halt production from January 15 until February 10. • Our sales office will be out of office from January 24 until January 30. But of course we will always be available for urgent matters! But please give us a bit more time than usual to get back to you. ...

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Boda Games looks back on 2019 – part 2

Last week we looked at Boda Games on 2019 - Part 1 for Boda Games in the year 2019. We talked about the artwork guidelines project, the new website and more. But we left out one crucial part - the games! As anyone who works in the industry can confirm, the games are what makes all of our jobs fun. For us at Boda Games we manufacture all types of games. The variety in games that passes through our hands in a year is huge. And every now and then when we get a chance, we sit down and play them! So let us introduce some of our favourite games  from 2019.   Reavers of Midgard     BGG says: Reavers of Midgard is a single worker placement game with elements of set collection, dice combat and engine building set in the Champions of Midgard universe. In Reavers of Midgard, you'll be looking to gain glory by raiding nearby villages for their riches, sacking well-fortified castles and battling both man and monster on the open seas. You'll not only need to take your rowdy crew of vikings and the food needed to keep them happy along for the ride but you'll also have to recruit a crew of elite...

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Boda Games looks back on 2019 – Part 1

2019: Time once again seems to have flown by in 2019 for all of us at Boda Games Manufacturing. Just last week we were in Philadelphia at the PAX Unplugged 2019 convention having a blast with all our fellow gamers. And with that, convention season for 2019 is officially a wrap! Saying we had a great year would be an understatement, so let's take a moment and look back at some of the highlights for us this year.  First things first, before we talk about all the games we had the pleasure of being the manufacturer of. On January 7th Boda Games launched it's completely renewed website. Yes, it was long due but we'd say it was worth the wait? With the new website, it is easier than ever to learn about Boda Games. And our board and card game manufacturing solutions. We think that as a manufacturer, it is important to communicate with our customers as much as possible. After all, Boda Games is in China but the vast majority of our customers are somewhere else in the world. As such, one of our goals with the new website was to get more information to our customers.   How do you ask?...

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Dice design guidelines

Dice are one of the most ubiquitous items in the board game industry. You can use them for almost anything, design them in every shape, colour and size you like. Because a dice is not just limited to numbers, you can put (almost) any image on there. And on top of that, it’s just fun to roll dice. When you’re designing dice for your game, it is important to keep a few things in mind. First of all, check what type of dice (material) you will be using. There are some minor yet not insignificant differences between the different types of dice. The different types will be explained in detail below, as well as in this article. The vast majority of dice are made from resin, acrylic or wood. The differences between resin and acrylic dice mostly stem from different production methods, as they are similar in appearance for the most part. The choice between resin and acrylic dice depends on the quantity needed. Besides the choice for dice material, there are different methods to put the design on the dice. Laser engraved  A laser engraved dice has layers of the surface burned off with a laser. The laser is extremely precise...

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Dice Debunked: Acrylic or Resin?

Acrylic or Resin? The age old question. Dice are one of those things that seem simpler than they are. At Boda Games we get a lot of questions from our customers about the different types of dice we offer. A very frequently heard one is as follows: “what is actually the difference between an acrylic die and a resin die?” Some of you industry veterans might not know it either, but feel embarrassed to ask. So today we will break it down in a way that everyone can understand. So read on and get ready to show off your new dice knowledge at your next gaming night! For starters, before we focus on what is the difference between a resin and acrylic die. Let’s have a look at what they have in common. When we talk about acrylic and resin dice, we are talking about molded dice. The base material of the dice is poured into the mold. For a resin die, the material inside the mold undergoes a chemical reaction in the mold that turns it from liquid to solid. For acrylic, after the material is poured into the mold it needs to cool down to solidify and consequently...

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Pin-badge artwork guidelines

So you’ve seen them around at conventions. Those kick ass pins-badges adorning lanyards, bags, bright and shining. And now you want to make your own pin-badge! To promote your game, your company, or just because you have an awesome design in mind. But how? Artwork for pin-badges First things first, the artwork. When designing a pin-badge, keep in mind that there is a limit to how detailed it can be. The fewer lines and “parts” you use, the more effective the design tends to get. Although there is no fixed size for a pin-badge, most of them are between 2-5 centimeters in diameter, meaning they are pretty small.  Therefore, bright and bold colors tend to work best. Every part of the pin design can only have 1 color. So shading or gradual colors should be avoided when designing the pin. Because each part of the pin is separated by a thin silver line, having offsetting colors next to each other works very well.  The file itself can be a pdf or a single layer photoshop file. When making the artwork, you don’t have to “draw” the separation lines, we will do that for you at the factory when converting the artwork into the actual...

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