Six! Lucky as hell. That’s what we nerds are, because now if you’ve got access to a 3D printer you can print your own tabletop games. While that’s always been true (if you have a printer), Arian Croft, with the help of Tinkercad and Thingiverse, has highlighted the reality of the ability by printing his fantasy game into reality. Croft created and shared freely to the world a fully-printable tabletop strategy game called Pocket-Tactics.
Croft had already been designing a cross-genre game a couple team members for seven years when he discovered the wonders of 3D printers. Having sculpted with clay for some time, he was comfortable with 3D manipulation, though not digitally, so he felt his skills would be inadequate for creating the computerized version of his imaginary world. Fortunately, Croft came across Tinkercad and found himself modeling his own rangers, casters, and brawlers with relative ease. From the time it occurred to Croft that he could print a game and the time that he had a working, playable Pocket-Tactics prototype, not even a week had passed. He uses a MakerBot Replicator and prints solid pieces, commenting on Thingiverse that printing with “10% fill” proved to be problematic, and estimates about nine hours to print all the game pieces. A full game can be played in about 20 minutes on a surface the size of a textbook.
Croft won a MakerBot competition and has since quit his medical job to spend all of his time designing games. Not everyone printing game pieces has been as fortunate though, as Thomas Valenty has faced legal charges for sharing models that are in the style of copyrighted designs. That’s right, Thomas created his own models in the style of Warhammer pieces, and the producer of Warhammer, Games Workshop, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, issued a takedown notice to Thingiverse, where he had shared the models. If companies are legally able to control and limit style, then 3D printers will need to be extra careful about what they share. So if you plan on printing your own Sorry! pieces, make sure you keep it on the DL.