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“Pandemic Panic”: COVID-Inspired Board Game Made with 3D Printing

AMR Military

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When you’re wrapping up your senior year of college, it’s not easy to pay your tuition and complete your degree, all while pursuing your passion of crafting tabletop games. But when your school happens to boast a state-of-the-art 3D printing lab, all of that becomes that much easier. Thanks to William Paterson University (WPU)’s additive manufacturing (AM) facility, I was able to create my latest board game, Pandemic Panic, all while keeping an eye on finishing my senior year with a BA in Public Relations and Design.

Every aspect of Pandemic Panic has been meticulously designed, modeled, and printed by me using advanced 3D printing techniques and Autodesk Maya. The immersive setting unfolds in a fictional city on an 18×24 inch game board and a custom-designed box, reflecting the challenges of navigating a pandemic-stricken urban landscape. The visually stunning and tactically engaging gaming experience is enhanced by cloudy, blue and gray skies looming over streets connecting the home base (masked zone) to the coveted end base (COVID-free zone).

In this four-player cooperative game, participants take on the roles of survivors and essential workers using player pieces like a doctor, plunger, Amazon delivery truck, and an Apple iPhone wireless charger – all carefully crafted in Maya and 3D printed on WPU’s campus.

The heart of the game lies in the quarantine supply pieces, representing essential items like toilet paper, Purell hand sanitizer, masks, Lysol and Clorox sprays, and gloves. With a dedication to detail, I aimed to ensure they were not only functional within the game but also visually appealing. My goal of designing these pieces was to represent essential items during the pandemic that were poorly understocked in stores for months on end.

To bring my vision to life, I leveraged the college’s 3DPrinterOS software and Makerbot 5th generation Replicator printers in the Cheng Library. Spending dozens of hours creating all 50 unique pieces that make up Pandemic Panic, I submitted 200 hours’ worth of 3D printing to various printers at the school. I also designed the board and graphics on the box in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in an effort to bring a great product to market.

The advanced rendering and printing technologies of the Replicator printers allowed me to meticulously craft the complexities of curvature and ergonomics behind my designs. I plan to continue using 3D printing for my newly launched brand, Monte Plays, where I aim to design more board games and toys. These designs will be modeled in 3D software such as Maya 3D and AutoCAD, then submitted to Makerbot Replicator printers for production.

Creating Pandemic Panic pushed me beyond traditional board game design. The marriage of 3D printing and gaming opened me up to new avenues for creativity and innovation. As I approach graduation at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, in just a few more months, I aspire to land a job at powerhouse toy manufacturers like Hasbro and Mattel, kickstarting my career in toy making and 3D printing. My ultimate goal is to license my games and ideas to industry giants, driven by a passion for designing innovative toys and games that serve a purpose and bring joy during challenging times.

3D modeling and 3D printing has become a huge emphasis in my personal life as well as my professional career as it has allowed me to take ideas from my mind and 3D model them to eventually be printed. It’s literally like printing ideas physically straight from my mind, and it has been a huge beneficial factor for me to bring ideas to the market for people to see and enjoy.

I aim for Pandemic Panic to redefine the board gaming landscape by offering players a unique blend of strategy, storytelling, and tangible craftsmanship. As we eagerly await its release, I hope that my approach serves as an inspiration to creators and gamers alike, proving that the future of gaming is not just digital, but tangible – crafted with passion and precision. I look forward to designing more games and toys to bring a smile to consumers’ faces and help change the world one game and smile at a time.

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