One of the beautiful things about Kickstarter is that fans from all walks of life and creative capacities will create right alongside the creator. Fans often mold games into a custom solution for their play group. Matthew Duhan is one such fan, so I invited him to talk about his journey from simply being a fan of Stonemaier Games’ Scythe to launching his very own 3D-printed game storage business. You can support Matthew’s Kickstarter campaign here.
Scythe by Stonemaier Games has won many awards and fan adulations since the game came out last year. Scythe immerses you in a world that many of other games sometimes fall short of for me. It is a title our gaming group is always willing to play.
When I first received my copy of Scythe, our play group found that the Encounter Tokens were hard to see on the board. But physical improvements and customizations can always be made for most any game. Since I owned a 3D printer and had done some 3D modeling in the past, I decided to make my 3D versions of the Encounter Tokens. I released those on Thingiverse under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license.
The tokens were a big hit, both within our gaming group and online. They were much easier to see on the board and added to the feel of the game. Being 3D, they also made for a better experience when a character moved to a hex with one and got to pick it up.
Turning Passion into Business
I started making more and selling them online through my store and followed it up with a replacement for the Action Tokens. These are the wooden pawns used by each faction on the player mat to show what action they took. Our gaming group felt that the small wooden pawns are a little too plain compared to the other great pieces. I designed the Action Tokens to resemble wax seal stamps, with the faction logo on the top. We have found them much easier to use and see on the player boards and harder to accidentally knock over.
Next came something much more ambitious. To add to the experience, as well as make it easier to set up and put away the game, I wanted to make boxes to hold all the wooden pieces, mechs, and character tokens for each faction. They were designed to be small chests that could fit into the world of Scythe. A lot of time and effort, and discarded test prints went into developing these just right so that all seven factions would fit into the game box in a single layer, and all the pieces would fit into the boxes. It was important that the Scythe box can close. The Faction Boxes now fit entirely in a single layer in both the base Scythe box and the “Legendary Box” due out later this year.
Each Faction box has a separate lid which has the Faction logo printed in dual color, using the official authorized images for accessories from Stonemaier Games. They have recessed holders for the mechs, with a small lip to help hold them in place, so they don’t move around in transport. The custom Action Token also fits into a special place in the box. There is a separate section for the character and another section that holds all the wooden pieces (workers, structures, upgrades, stars, etc.). There is also a section to contain the airship from The Wind Gambit expansion, with the combat dial fitting neatly on top.
I have also modeled a coin holder. It is designed to compactly hold all coins for Scythe, including the additional $2 and $50 coins available separately. The coin box has a lid which fits snugly for easy storage and transport. It is designed to fit in the bottom layer along with the Faction boxes, leaving enough room for the various decks of cards.
The Problem With Scale
I have been happy playing with the accessories I have created – the Faction Boxes, Coin Holder, Encounter Tokens, and Action Tokens. However, I have been getting requests from people to make complete sets for them as well. My current 3D printer cannot handle the number of prints I would need to make to satisfy these orders. I will need to switch the colors manually, and each box takes several hours to produce. To create one set would take almost a week! Thus, I started a Kickstarter campaign (http://bit.ly/GG3DScythe) to raise the money required to get an upgraded printer, the Formbot T-Rex dual color 3D Printer. It can print with two different colors at once and has a large build size to allow me to print 6 Faction boxes at once. This process will save a lot of time, and allow these to be printed and sent to others who want them much more quickly.
I considered manufacturing these on a larger scale, but this again challenges my problem of scale. For these to be mass produced, I would need 10,000+ units with plastic molding done overseas for it to make sense financially. Wherever this goes, I am happy to make a bespoke custom product here in the US for as long as I am able.
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