AMS Spring 2023

New 3D Printed Board Game Allows Players to Battle Autocracy

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Board games have been around for centuries, and even with all of the technological alternatives available today, they still remain popular. That doesn’t mean, though, that board games can’t be enhanced with new technology such as 3D printing. Classic board games can be updated with 3D printing, or entirely new games can be created with the technology. That’s what game design studio Bearded Giant Games has done with its latest offering, a quick-play 3D printed board game called The People’s Army.

Ciprian Bacioiu, the designer behind Bearded Giant Games, specializes in “coffee-break” games, or games that can be played in quick sessions – on a coffee break, for example. The People’s Army can be played in anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes. Bacioiu has more than 10 years of experience in the game design industry, and worked for companies like Gameloft and Disney before going independent. The People’s Army is a classic board game with a modern, 3D printed twist.

“It’s a physical board game for the digital era!” Bacioiu states. “It’s designed to be played in quick sessions (like most of the games under the Bearded Giant Games catalog) by two players (with the possibility of adding more seats to the game). And, just like my other games, it’s hackable, modable and procedural in nature. Everything from the board pieces to the release of the STL files has been designed with modding and hacking in mind.”

The People’s Army features three player types: the People, who oppose the current regime; the Army, which is commanded by the political leader; and the Dictators/Autocrats, who threaten the freedom of the people. The players are based in three types of buildings: the Cities, where the People live; the Barracks, where tanks are produced; and the House of Parliament, where the Dictators are molded and sent out into the world.

The game is modular and designed to allow for expansion and customization. It comes with 20 map templates, and users can create their own if they want. The game pieces were prototyped at low resolution on a Wanhao i3 Mini for playtesting, and the final version will be 3D printed as well – for customers who choose to purchase it pre-made and assembled. That’s one of the options, and the other is to buy the STL files and print them yourself.

“There’s a reason I went indie: I wanted the freedom to experiment with several concepts,” Bacioiu says. “And I’m happy to say 3D printing will be a core-part of my business and design model from now on, be it in the form of physical board games, AR experiments with printed tokens or collectibles for the main games.”

The price for The People’s Army hasn’t been set yet, but Bacioiu promises it will be affordable. Customers who buy the physical version of the game will also get access to the STL files, so they can print more pieces and customize their own if they so choose. 3D printing has become increasingly popular among gamers, who love the customization and expansion possibilities it provides. Board games used to be something that came in boxes – that’s still true in many cases, but 3D printing has allowed gamers and game designers to increasingly think outside the box as well.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Images: Bearded Giant Games]

 

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