How to create a prototype (game board)

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Now I had these Powerpoint slights of my game as a first draft. Easiest way to start was to print it out. DIN A4. Nice, but much too small. Though really nice to look at my first offline draft. But so I decided to use multipage printing 2×2, which is close to DIN A2.

That did look much better. I checked the sizes of the hexagons with the expected size of player discs and villager-tokens I had and everything seemed pretty good. So I started cutting and gluing the board together. It was not the best gluing I did, the whole sheet was crooked and wavy – and ugly – but it did was it was supposed to do. Be a board to play upon. So I did my first test on it for the next couple of days. It was ok.
But I thought I can do better. This can’t be it. So I thought about it.

About a week later I had everything I needed for my first hand-made “semi-professional” board. I had bought A4 paper 160g/sm (my printer does not accept more), A4 paper/cardboard 300 g/sm (today I use mostly even 700 g/sm), spray adhesive and collected lots of old newspapers.
So I printed again multipage 2×2 in color, but this time on the thicker 160 paper (so it does not wrinkle when glued). Then I spread the old newspaper out on the table and started spray gluing the cardboard. After waiting a few minutes I applied the print to the cardboard, put a clean sheet of paper on top of it (not to smudge the printing) and then smoothened it with my hands/small towel. After waiting half an hour I tested it. It was so much better, no wrinkles, no easy shifting. I cut the white edges away with a  pair of scissors (now I have a good cutter which makes it much straighter).

But over time I was not satisfied. It did shift every once in a while and the tokens lying over the gap between board parts moved. So I thought about it and decided to look for a professional external solution.

I searched in the internet, asked a printing company and friends about what is possible for producing a 2×2 folded professional prototype board (1-3 pieces). I came by many companies. Most really interesting were in the USA, which was a tad too far (transport costs, delivery time). In Europe I contacted a couple, but did either not get a satisfactory answer or even none. All of those where rather semi-professional companies. Then my friend Mighty gave me a hint. Make my Game. And that was actually what I was looking for at this time. Easy to create a board (though only 3 pre-defined sizes) by uploading your picture. Not inexpensive (with set-up and transport costs for buying 1) but exactly what I was looking for. Very good and professional quality and look and feel. That was something. A huge step ahead. After testing the first one I ordered 4 more and then made altogether 5 prototypes to pass around to friends.

And I had a great other side-effect by using Make my Game. They also do punchboards and label printing for the punchboards. So I got another thing I desperately needed. My villagers in a professional way with much less work (different story).

Over time the game developed and one day I needed new boards. But the size/relation of the board had changed. It did not fit in any of the available standards at Make My Game. So another solution was necessary. This time my brother had given me the solution (and recommendation Deep Cut Studio), though month ago under a different aspect. Mousepad or PVC mats (I did not know about cloth mats at that time). This mat certainly does not fit into the box because you have to roll it, but I had no choice since I did find nobody else that would make custom sized folded boards.

So I tried it out. That was also very easy. Choose custom size and mat type and upload your picture. A week later I had my first mousepad mat lying on my table. Wowhh. Very nice. Exactly cut. Good colors. Great touch and feel. That was something. So this is what I used since then for my prototype boards.


But I am still looking for alternatives. If you know any other way or companies for creating custom size boards please give suggestions.

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