Pre Production

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 and this allows your design to be lasered into the surface. The design can vary from anything like icons, logos or numbers. Laser engraving can be used on acrylic, resin and wooden dice.

The advantage of laser engraving is that they have a much lower initial set up cost. As they don’t require molds, the design is directly programmed into the laser machine. This does mean a slightly higher costs per dice when excluding the molding fees. Downside is that it is slightly less precise and clean than molded dice.

After the shape is lasered into the dice, paint can be applied to the carved spaces. Especially with contrasting colors, this makes the image on the dice easy to read and helps it stand out. Keep in mind that it is more difficult for lighter paint colors to completely cover dice with a very dark base color. This is particularly true if there are many small areas in the design. Another color, or a design that allows for a larger connected area, could be a better choice then.

molded dice

Molded

A molded dice is made by creating a mold according to the design. Once the mold is complete, resin or acrylic is injected into the mold to create the final dice. Doing this allows for the highest level of detail in the design of the die face. After the shape of the die is set, the depressed (lower) areas of the die can be coloured in with paint.

Both acrylic and resin dies are made using molds. However, the molds are different for the materials. Resin molds wear out faster, and as such are more suitable for lower quantities. Acrylic molds are more resilient and can be used for a longer time before they wear out and break, but they are more expensive to make. 

File preparation

Although in theory any design can be put on a die, reality is a bit different. To make sure your idea comes out flawless, there are some things to keep in mind. Due to the nature of the material and the size of a die, very thin lines don’t work very well. Nor do a lot of different elements grouped together too closely. Thus, it is best to design it so that there is enough space between the different elements. As a rule of thumb, lines should be at least 0.6mm thick. Furthermore, the whole design needs a 2mm margin around the edges. This is to make sure the entire design is on the dice, even if it shifts slightly during production.

The submerged parts of the die can be painted too. For this, the colors need to be specified in pantone colors for each icon. And you can only use spot colors for dice. You can use one color per die face but the die faces on 1 single die can be different. For a normal die with 6 die faces, you can select up to 6 different colors!

The files containing the design of the dice should be in a vector format. This can be Adobe Illustrator, PDF or EPS. Please separate different dice designs into different files. And make sure to label them correctly.

silk screen dice

Silk Screen

Besides molded & engraved dice, there is also another way to get a design onto a die face. Silk screen printing can be applied to the die face. This means that all sides of the die will be flat, with no carving or relief. The benefits of silkscreen are that they are not limited to 1 color per die face. And they don’t require molding costs for setup. If you have a very detailed design with multiple colors, silk screen can be a good choice.

Since silk screen dice are not limited to 1 color, the design process allows for more freedom. However, a die is still a small item. As such, too many details have the chance of being lost when printing. Furthermore, the resolution of silk screen printing is lower than normal printing. So very intricate details are more difficult to print correctly. For silk screen, CMYK colors can be used. The file should be one of the standard image file formats, such as Photoshop.

shaped dice

Complex shapes

Maybe you have a really cool idea for your dice. One where the edges are shaped like tentacles, or maybe each die face has a creatures face, where the amount of eyes the creature has equal the amount of pips!

At Boda Games we are happy to discuss you how to achieve this striking custom dice, giving you a choice of materials and processes.

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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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