There’s a board game that I wanted to get that’s known as being one of the best in its genre, but it is a) out of print, and b) I’m not a big fan of the design of the board. They’re republishing the game, but unfortunately I like the new board even less. With the resources available to me at SLMS, I ended up redesigning the board and making the components myself, of course:
This is probably the most intense use of Inkscape (or graphic design in general) I’ve ever attempted, so it was a great learning experience. I used someone else’s fan-made board as a starting point, intending to just tweak it, but ended up almost completely redoing it. The goal I set for myself was to find a better way to best represent the “information” of the game. Then to make it pretty, I spent a lot of time looking at fonts and inspo pics, then aimed for a “contemporary Victorian” look. Lots of iterations later (and advice from @ryanf), I ended up at the final product.
- each company color needs to have a score, which is the track on the top/right.
- The Map: trains go on the hexagons. Different hexagons have different costs/effects. In the original board, there are a bunch of numbers on every single space to represent this, and in my opinion that makes it hard to parse. What I did here was to have the cost of each type of space represented by the number of hexagons (so blank is $1, the ones with 3 hexagons and a pip are $4), with a reminder on the left. So in short, representing the information with shape and color, rather than numbers. I made up some symbols to represent the other effects of each space.
- the key on left is a reminder for the values of most of the spaces
- three special spaces get their own tracker, which I placed on the bottom
- there is an action tracker in the bottom left
- the trains and cards get arranged along the bottom of the board
This is the fan-made version someone else made that I used as a starting point, thanks Elvenslurpee from BoardGameGeeks.com :
And here’s an intermediate take I had on the board after spending some time with it:
And here’s what I ended up with, after copious amounts of added whimsy:
Were I to redo the board, I’d make the hexagons larger, and the key on the left smaller, or moved onto a card. When actually playing, I’ve found people really don’t refer to the key after the first 5-10 mins.
Each railroad (color) has a number of shares. On each share, I indicated two pieces of key information, the total number of shares, and the number of total trains. The cards are printed on a posterboard, with card stock glued to the back, and cut out with a laser cutter.
The Trains and stations
I made these as an excuse to try out the resin printer! I got the models from thingiverse. Each of the trains is two pieces independently painted then glued together. I’d never really airbrushed before, so this was a learning exercise as well.
Progress pic from painting:
I wanted the boxes to visibly show that each color gets a different number of trains, which is helpful for game play, as well as have a place to hold each company’s shares (the cards).
They’re made of layered greyboard glued together. I was using liquid PVA spread over each piece, but the greyboard would absorb it really quickly. I found I got better results with a glue stick (which I’m pretty sure is still PVA). There are small magnets in the lids of the boxes, which I intended to attach to small tacks driven through a wall of the box, as you can see here:
I tried 2 styles of magnets/tacks, and while I got very low magnet sticking power for my train box, it worked much better with the style I used for the station box. I wrapped each of the boxes in brown paper that I laser cut to the proper shape:
There are a few things I’d change about the boxes were I to make more, but these work well enough.