Tabletop role playing games (RPGs) can be a hobby or, for some people, a lifestyle. For several years, my own home had an entire room devoted to gaming, with a huge bookshelf dedicated to tomes on Dungeons & Dragons, White Wolf, Warhammer 40K, GURPS, and other popular systems. While that room wasn’t mine, I became pretty familiar with the gaming world and culture, playing from time to time and even painting my own character mini (I had a half-Elf bard) and her horse (the horse turned out much better) at one point, and became accustomed to looking for small-scale castles, monsters, and adventurers before I vacuumed.
Brent P. Newhall is a designer with not just an impressive professional CV, but significant experience as a gamer as well. He maintains a blog, Dr. Worldcrafter, in which he discusses the many-faceted world of world building. Not content with the systems available, Newhall even authored several of his own systems and is still working on developing other RPG ideas and content. Newhall seems to be quite the connoisseur of tabletop gaming (he’s also designed several board games), and fortunately for gamers everywhere, he’s clearly all for sharing information.
Critical to any tabletop game, whether RPG or board game, are the pieces representing all the figures in the game. Miniature figurines, frequently called minis, figs, mini-figs, or the like, are an important part of each player’s gaming equipment. Minis are often made not just for each player’s character (PC), but also for non-player characters (NPCs) and for surroundings, as settings must be factored into game play.
And of course, creative types that they are, gamers personalize their minis. 3D printing allows for top-to-bottom design for one-of-a-kind characters and settings, improving upon the often-seen pre-made minis available from companies like Games Workshop that gamers are accustomed to painting and modding to match their vision. By 3D printing the total piece, a gamer can have control over everything from their character’s gender to build to armor to weapons.
Repositories like Thingiverse are home to seemingly endless supplies of designs — and Newhall has scoured the best of the ‘net to provide links to just a few of his favorite options. By “just a few,” I mean 589 different designs, grouped into convenient categories so anyone can find whatever they may need.
Newhall’s categories for minis include:
- Monsters and Animals
- Environmental Objects (statues, trees, etc.)
- Modular Terrain
- OpenForge Designs
- Rough Stone
- Smooth Stone
- Tudor Style
- OpenForge Designs
- Buildings and Complexes
- Modular Terrain
Among all of these well-organized categories, a gamer armed with a 3D printer has the opportunity to find just about anything they might want to create a new world for just about any platform. With designs encompassing medieval castles, Doctor Who‘s Weeping Angels, Warhammer 40K characters and vehicles, UFOs, German tanks, and statues, Newhall’s listing leaves no gaming platform uncovered. Post-apocalyptic space futures are represented alongside ancient Chinese statuary, allowing for gamers favoring both fantastical and realistic worlds their choice of designs.
Of course, enterprising gamers could feel free to build upon any of these designs, as Newhall notes that he has collected open license options:
“I’ve focused on files that are provided with an open license that lets you expand on them and even sell your prints if you’d like, unless otherwise noted,” he writes (emphasis his). “All these files should print without support material, unless noted. I’ve avoided listing designs that directly and obviously infringe on copyright, like files pulled directly from video games and models of well-known copyrighted characters (like Shrek) and fantasy vehicles (like X-Wings). I have included iconic Dungeons & Dragons monsters like Mind Flayers and the Tarrasque, since one could just as easily rename them.”
Have you noticed that your favorite design somehow didn’t make this extensive list? Is game design up your alley? Let us know if you’ve 3D printed your own gaming figs or other hobby items in the 3D Printed Game Mini Repository forum thread over on 3DPB.com. Check out some more designs from Newhall’s list below.
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