Daily Archives: November 8, 2015

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3D Scythe Models

You might recall I’d mentioned that I have a really pretty print & play version of Scythe.  I wasn’t kidding.

When the Kickstarter for Scythe first launched, I and a number of others asked the game’s designer, Jamey Stegmaier,  if the 3D files for the playing pieces could be shared.  He quite reasonably said no, that the models would stay in-house.  They’d spent a lot of money on them.  I can believe it!  Creating 3D models is a specialized skill, especially when they’re as detailed as those in the Scythe board game.

But I have a 3D printer at home.  And I’ve done a little 3D modeling.  I decided to make my own Scythe models.

It wasn’t difficult, but then I kept them fairly basic.  It only took about a day and a half to knock out designs for the mechanized robots and leader pawns for the five factions in the game.

Russviet Mech Model
Russviet Mech Model

I just eyeballed them from the photo on the Kickstarter page.  I didn’t sweat it, I just got an idea in my head of what they might look like and went for that.  For doing them so quickly I think they look pretty good!  They don’t have the same level of detail as the professionally done models in the production game will have, no where near it.  But they’re game pieces.  That look like little mechs running around the board.  They’re soooo much better than cardboard cutouts or stickered wooden disks.  For the leader/character pawn I just did a standard standee style pawn with a cutout representing that faction’s animal companion.  Once I started printing them out (about two to three hours per faction) I realized that I was now committed to building the rest of the game as a print & play.  How could I stop?

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The next task was to make the actual game board.  I printed out the board from the print & play files  on the Stonemaier Games website and quickly had a board split across six sheets of standard paper. I admit I got lazy here and didn’t trim the white edges from the printouts, I just folded the white margin under and gave the edge a good crease on half of the places the sheets matched up, leaving the matching side alone on the other half of the sheets.  For once my laziness paid off, you’ll see in a second how it worked to my advantage.

I took a sheet of foam core board I had sitting around, sprayed it with adhesive (something made by 3M, Michaels carries it), and began carefully placing the printed sheets down one by one.  I started with the one sheet that I hadn’t folded at all, it still had a solid white margin around the board printout.  When I grabbed a folded sheet to place next to it I was able to slide the new sheet around and get things lined up perfectly before pressing it down.  It just slid around on that white margin I’d neglected to trim off.  It really worked a trick, I was able to place all the sheets down on the board in near perfect position without having to peel up and reapply a single one.  If I’d done all the trimming and hadn’t left the white margin on some of those sheets it wouldn’t have turned out half as well!

The final step was to cover the entire thing with a layer of Con-Tact clear shelf paper.  I found it at Target in the kitchen accessories section.  Great stuff.  It has a nice dull finish, and is very clear as it goes down.  It adheres just enough to hold fairly well, but not so well that you can’t peel it up and rework it a bit (to get rid of any bubbles).  I love the end result.  It’s super durable and gives the board a professional, finished look.

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I did have to put some packing tape around the edge of the board.  That clear shelf paper doesn’t stick down forever, the edges will peel up a bit if they’re not finished.  Edging it with clear packing tape did the trick.

Each faction in Scythe has a large set of small tokens, markers, buildings, and such to track everything in the game.  There are a lot of moving parts.  Creating those was actually relatively simple to model.  Printing them out was another story, each faction is another three hours of print time.  Fifteen hours later they were done.

Tokens and bits for the Russviet faction
Tokens and bits for the Russviet faction

The player and faction mats were easy enough, I printed them out, gave them a backing of construction paper with some spray adhesive, and ran them through the laminator I picked up a couple of years ago.  Easy peasy.  But I do desperately want the double-thick punched version coming in the production game.  Those tokens do slide around a lot!

The last bit of 3D modeling I had to do was for the resources used in the game.  There are four types – metal, food, wood, and oil.  I strayed a bit from the look of the bits in the production game here as well, especially with my wood and food bits.

Metal, Wood, Food, Oil
Metal, Wood, Food, Oil

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It was another hour or two per resource type on the 3D printer.  Probably about six hours in total.  Man, my 3D printer is getting a workout on this project.

I made Encounter tokens as well, little bumps with a compass modeled on top.  These were printed out using two colors, a blue base and then gold for the compass.  You can see one in this photo:

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The various decks of cards for the game were simple, it was just a matter of printing out the files in the print and play directory, trimming them, and dropping them into card sleeves (each with an old playing card as backing to stiffen it up).  Again, thanks to Jamey Stegmaier for making all of these files available!  Sharing essentially the entire game as a print and play really speaks to the confidence he has in his game.  And the artwork is gorgeous.

In hindsight though I can honestly say that making the decks of cards was definitely the most painful part of the whole thing.  You see, I cut the tip of my finger off while trimming the cards!  It’s mostly healed up now, but at the time it stung quite a lot.

Sorry if you're squeamish!
Sorry if you’re squeamish!

The coins I took from an old copy of Livingstone I had laying about.  The colors look great, they match the ‘earthiness’ of the Scythe art very well.

After all this work Scythe needed a nice box, so I mocked one up.  Sorry Livingstone, get over here!  I flipped the insert over to create two wells, one for the game bits and one to protect the mechs.  Everything just barely fits.

The finished box
The finished box

Did I say I was finished?  I’ve forgotten one important thing.  The Power Dials.  I printed and trimmed them and then ran them through the laminator.  To hold the dials together though, could I really just rely on a standard paper fastener?  That would look so, so pedestrian now.  So I sat back down at the computer and modeled a little snap-together hub for the dials.  With a 3D scythe in the center.  And printed them in gold with the scythe in silver.   🙂

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They look spiffy.  The buttons don’t take long to print, but it is tricky to get the silver scythe on top.  I had to watch the print and stop it to switch colors at just the right spot.  A little extra time, but I think it was worth it.

So that’s the version of Scythe my friends and I have been playing with this past month.  I think it’s about as close to a production version of the game as you can come (well, except perhaps for Jamey’s prototypes).  It’s beautiful, and it makes the game all the more fun.  Still, I can’t wait to get the production version.  I expect it will be ten times better.  If you didn’t get in on the Kickstarter it’s not too late.  You can pre-order a copy of the game here.

I had all of the 3D files done during the first week of the Kickstarter.  And I was excited about how it all turned out.  Still, I didn’t want to hurt the campaign in any way, or create any confusion by releasing the models.  Jamey had enough on his plate, there was no need for me to potentially pile on more issues for him to deal with.  I pinged him and we agreed that holding off until after the campaign would be the best thing.  But now the Kickstarter is over, the orders are all taken, and I want to share the files.  So here you go.

The 3D files are all up on Thingiverse right here.  There are a lot of files, all of the faction mechs, the faction leaders, tracking tokens, four sets of resource tokens, and the power dial buttons.  They’re all there to download free of charge.  But they’re being released with the condition that people aren’t reselling either the model files, derivatives, or the resulting prints.  Print them out for your personal use, but please don’t print them out to sell.

And enjoy the game!  I’m still wrapping my head around the strategies myself.   🙂

Oh yeah, the models do have their rough spots, I haven’t gone back and made them perfectly clean.  They can have a little bit of stringy fur, or the support walls may fail to print all of the way on occasion.  I may get to cleaning that up later.  But the models published today print fairly well, and have supports built right in.  Just print then carefully snap the support walls away from the model.