Pre Production

The multiple sides of dice

The multiple sides of dice. Dice are to this day the obvious choice when you need to generate a random number. Although over the past few years board games have developed a lot and with it a vast variety of other mechanisms to create randomized elements in games, few can beat the ease of use along with the reliability of a dice. As such, the majority of board games will have them being used in some shape or form. And they can be customized in many ways. Whether you change the amount of die faces, the colors or the size, you can make it as unique as well as exactly how you want. And let’s not forget: how much fun is it to roll a dice? The excitement of rolling and hoping for that one lucky 6 you need to win!

For a component this important to many games, we of course also had to include it in our sample box. But as said before, there are many different ways to customize a dice. So instead of settling for only one type of custom dice. We designed 3 different ones! In this article, we will explain the different production methods and what to pay attention to in terms of design for each style.

The “resources dice” – Molded resin 12 sided dice

The Boda Games sample box is actually more than just a box filled with sample game components. It itself is also a game! And in the game that we aptly called “The Manufacturer’s Race,” we have several resources that you need to win the game. The first dice we will discuss is a 12 sided one that has custom die faces, as pictured below.

Material choice

Custom dice can be manufactured according to different manufacturing processes. For this 12 sided custom design, we chose to use a molded resin manufacturing method. With this process, a mold is created first and then that mold gets filled with resin to make the dice. The reason we chose resin and not acrylic for this dice is because resin is slightly harder than acrylic, and therefore you can make more profound and easy to identify details on the dice surface. For the base color, we used a simple black color. The advantage of using black as a base is that it is compatible with any other color for combinations.

Face design

dice die face designs

When you design the die faces of a custom dice, you need to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, the number one rule with die face designs is that lines cannot be too thin. If they are too thin, they are very hard to see and there might be issues with the painting of the lower parts of the die face later on. Another thing that does not work well with these designs is if there are a lot of different elements that are grouped together too closely on the same die face. 

The designs in the below image were all made keeping these things in mind. As you can see, although there are some “thinner” elements here and there, they are part of a rounding or oval shape design and not straight lines. We also made sure that different elements were spaced far away from each other to not interfere. 

When you send your designs for dice over to your Boda Games account manager, please check in what format you send them. Our preferred file format is a vector file, that can be made either in .ai or as a .pdf.

Colors

dice color selection pantone

When you make custom dice, each of the different faces of the dice can be painted in a different color. This also helps tremendously in differentiating between the different dice faces and the various functions each dice face has in the game. 

For our resource dice, we had some icons that were different but belonged to the same type, so we painted those in matching colors. For painting the different colors of the dice faces, we use standard pantone colors. You can get pantone color books at artshops to help you understand how the color would look like in real life! Please include the pantone color number somewhere in the design file when you send it to your account manager. This way we can make sure that each dice face gets painted in the right color. 

The other thing to keep in mind when selecting colors, is that not all colors work together as well as you might hope. Depending on what color you make the base, you might find that some colors might not come out as bright and popping as you hoped, or as distinguishable. If you are unsure about certain color combinations, we can always advise you on it based on our plethora of experience so don’t hesitate to reach out!

The “machinery dice” – Engraved 6 sided dice

machinery dice

The next design from our sample box game “The Manufacturer’s Race” is the “machinery dice.” The machinery one has a design that is inspired by gears and machines. The machinery one is also a resin-molded dice, like discussed before, but made from a different base material. This one is made from a pearl base material, that gives it a very attractive marbled texture. Making it very popular among board games and board gamers alike!

As the main focus point of the machinery design was the beautiful pearl texture, the designs were done in black and white patterns. We use Adobe Illustrator to make the designs. But any software you are familiar with can be used. As long as it can output in a file format that we can read. The main point was to have the design simple and effective, but still visually interesting.

For this dice, we decided on a golden paint rather than use a pantone color. The golden paint contrasts beautifully with the dice base color. And adds to the luxury feeling by combining the pearl finish on the base material with the golden accents and touches on the patterns.

The “action dice” – Silk screened 6 sided dice

Silk screen dice

The third and last one in our sample box is one we call the “action dice.” The action dice combines with other parts of the game for some of the more interesting game mechanics. To accurately convey these game mechanics, we needed more complex patterns on the dice faces.

When you want to show a more detailed image, you can use something called silk printing. A silk printed dice is one where an image is silk-printed, or in other words transferred, directly onto the surface of the die face. This allows for more complex images with fine details. And is perfect for design that struggle with some of the limitations of molded ones. These include things such as thin lines or heavy grouping of details. Or multiple colors within the same image. Another advantage is that the manufacturing cost is lower than that of a molded dice with custom dice faces. 

Although silk screen printing on the die face allows for more complex designs. It is still recommend not to have too many colors per design. The more colors you use, the higher the price will get. Furthermore, it increases the chances that the image will be less sharp. For our design, we stuck to 4 color tones for the color selection.

So many options…

The three dice we put in our sample box that we discussed in this article are merely the starting point. There are so many different options you have when it comes to dice. Boda Games is proud to offer a huge variety of manufacturing options and solutions. Colors, paints, shapes, sizes and more. You name it and we can help you find the optimal way to manufacture it. Do you have any ideas for dice that you’re not sure how to best approach in terms of manufacturing? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We will gladly bounce ideas back and forth and help come up with ideas. 

For further information about dice, also have a look at our artwork guidelines section that is filled with advice and information on this topic. And while you’re there, check out all the other guides we wrote about other board game components as well!

 

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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...

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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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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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Get your game box up to sniff

A game box is the business card of your game. It is the first thing you see. You pick it up, you turn it around. You study it from all sides, wondering what will be inside that plastic shrinkwrap. The most important thing with a game box is to remember the main purpose of the box: to hold the items from your game.  People get so swept up  in trying to decide what type of box they want. That they forget that first and foremost, all the components should fit. This actually sounds easier than it is in reality. Particularly when you have sized and larger components. You need to account for the total volume they take up. As a general rule of thumb, your box should be at least 15mm bigger than the largest component in the game. 15 mm bigger in every single possible direction. But also keep in mind how the items will fit into the box. And how to do that in such a way that they are easy to take out of the box. At Boda Games we have a lot of experience with this after doing it countless times. So normally our customers let...

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A game board for every game

When you think about board games, you think about game boards. Even more than cards, you think of the foldable, big game board that greets you when you open the box. When opening a game for the first time, what is the first thing you check? Not the rules or the meeples, no you go for the thing sitting on top of everything. The game board that gives you a sneak preview of what you can expect from the game. You fold it out, put it down flat on the table and the gaming session is underway!  However, this article is not about the fun you can have with a game board, but about the way to prepare the necessary files to make one in the first place. Even though it seems like one of the more straightforward and easy items to design and prepare, there are a few things to pay attention to in order to ensure a smooth and trouble free manufacturing process. As always, this may be the first time for you to handle these type of things but it definitely isn't for us! So make sure to get in contact with your account manager if you run...

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Great punchboards – how to create them?

No game is complete without punchboards. As such, punchboards play a central role most modern board games. They make up a wide array of components in a game and can be used for almost any purpose. The game board, the tokens, the player boards and anything else that you can think of, can be made from punchboard. These punchboards themselves can be made from multiple layers with cutouts, different thicknesses and so on. The fact that punchboards can be used in so many ways and take so many different shapes, is also what can make it a bit more difficult to prepare the files for. Similar to cards, one must take care to leave enough bleed and margin. But unlike cards, you also have to consider things such as folding lines (for game boards) or optimal token placement. Then there are special margin requirements, dielines, thickness of the material to keep in mind.. All in all, quite a bit!  Fortunately these are all things that we at Boda Games have a lot of experience with and will gladly help you with . By optimising token layout, we can reduce the amount of cardboard and space needed in the game box, which is...

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Getting cards ready for printing

Card games, cards in board games. There is a fairly good chance that you have designed a card game at some point. For many, their first steps into designing games start with a card game. Easy to prototype, easy to carry around, endless possibilities. Now, there is a lot of information out there about the intricate details of designing a (card) game. In fact here are entire discussion groups dedicated to it. Lots of ways to let your creativity run wild and create something amazing. But there is one thing that a lot of those articles tend to leave out. The practical aspect of it: getting them transformed from an idea, from artwork, from a rough draft.. Into a file ready to be send off to the printer. Let's get into the other side of board game manufacturing! So even though it is not as thrilling and creatively satisfying, this article will discuss getting your cards ready for printing. Files that are not ready end up needing a lot of back and forth between the designer and the printer, which is a huge waste of time and effort for everyone involved. But more importantly, it could mean the difference between getting...

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