3D printing has been evolving and it’s being used for many crucial roles in medicine, architecture, and industry. With the focus shifting towards manufacturing we can forget that the potential for 3D printing at home is still present and expanding, One area where 3D printing use is on the increase is in tabletop gaming.
What’s exciting about 3D printing is how far you can take your imagination. I’m sure many of us, love playing board games. With the technology we have in our hands nowadays it’s possible to replace a missing piece with a 3D printed one. But what would it feel like if we could create our own board game? Producing your own board game with a 3D printer will save you time and money, and you will be in control on what will be included.
Let’s take Dungeons & Dragons as an example. This classic board game is a fantasy role-playing game based in storytelling that was originally designed and published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules. Each player has their own character or “hero” and every player must guide their heroes through quests to gain access to treasures, rescues, battles and more. The game is played with figurines, objects, scenarios, special dices, and props all placed on a tabletop and comes with its own rules. These games usually take a lot of time to finish, and what makes it more dynamic and fun is the use of the player’s imagination and the pieces they interact with.
Although there are many websites that provide digital files such as Thingiverse, My Mini Factory and so on, where we can find a variety of models, there are also exclusive websites such as Desktop Hero 3D which provide a lot of Dungeons & Dragons models that anyone could modify to their needs.
Desktop Hero 3D is an open-source character maker for 3D printing created by Andrew Stockton in 2016. The website was released and published on January 2018. The website lets you choose from genres, races, body and head shapes, to gear, clothing and bases, this website gives you the possibility to take control over the pieces you want in your own Dungeons & Dragons game. It has a variety of poses to choose from, and the clothing can be shared between genres.
What makes this more fun is that you can also build your own scenarios. There’s a wide mixture of miniatures, landscaping, props, traps, dices, towers, and many other accessories to create your own experience. There are different types of structures you can choose from, furniture with the smallest details, and dices with various sides.
In 2016, we had the opportunity to talk to Miguel Zavala, a big Dungeons & Dragons fan. By then, he had a library of over 200 3D printed monsters. Later that year, Zavala finished his primary project which was creating 3D printable models of the entire Monster Manual, the miscellaneous creatures from Appendix A and the Non-Player Characters from Appendix B. His whole library has over a thousand of new creatures and characters.
A simple unpainted miniature can cost around $13, while a kilogram of filament can cost around $30. This means that if you were to create an army of characters or enemies for your own Dungeons & Dragons game, printing them will cost less than buying one online or at any store. Moreover, Desktop Hero 3D gives you the possibility to customize your figures with endless designs, while the ones in the market are not actually different and new, which could end up making the game a bit boring for some players. And once the model is printed, you can paint it yourself the way you want to as to create your own gaming experience.
However, if you don’t want to make your own Dungeons & Dragons, there are still many figures, figurines, props, dices or objects to create your own board game, as well as enhancing one you like the most, saving money on buying any classic board game, or even recreating an old one. 3D printing gives us the possibility to get creative and use our imagination. Being creative shouldn’t be overpriced, it should be cost effective.[Sources/Images: GeekDad, DndWizards, Thingiverse, EnWorld, My Mini Factory]
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