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Hand-Crafting Games

The raw materials The trimmed box labels The cut and scored box nets The assembled tray and lid The finished box Cutting the cards into strips Cutting individual cards The finished game

Hand-crafting games

The 'hand-crafted' adjective sounds a little pretentious, like 'artisan board games'. While it's very popular to describe your products as 'artisan' at the moment (bread? coffee?), the reason I stuff that in the title is because it's what's different about Eurydice Games. Back when I started Reiver Games I had limited money and there was no Kickstarter, so if I wanted to get my games into wider distribution I needed to find a publisher, or do it myself on the cheap. Doing it on the cheap meant doing everything myself. I made the boxes, I cut out the cards and I sorted and packed the boxes.

When I made the jump to 'professional' publisher, publishing others games and getting the games made for me in factories and sold for me in shops worldwide I lost some of the connection to the games. The early games were ones I had sweated (and bled!) over. I'd made them. It freed up a lot of my time, but the games lost some of what made them special.

In the intervening years I've continued designing games, but those games have not been released properly - I've just plugged away at iterating the designs, making prototypes and testing the games. It's reminded me that a lot of what I enjoy about designing games is both doing the graphic design and physically making the prototypes.

Scroll down to read how I hand-craft my board and card games.

Boxes

The boxes come in three parts, the tray, lid, and the labels. The tray and lid are made in the same way, hand-cut from a sheet of greyboard (that's chipboard to Americans). First I mark out the net on the greyboard and then cut it out using a craft-knife and steel ruler. Then I score the joins between the bottom/top and the sides and fold them up. Finally I tape the corners between the sides forming the tray or lid. The tray and lid are the same total size, but the tray has sides that are 2mm taller, making it smaller on the bottom then the lid is on the top so it fits inside and making it easier to open (since the lid sides don't cover the tray sides - so you have some purchase when trying to open it.

The labels are printed on self-adhesive vinyl labels and then professionally laminated to give durability. These are then cut out, and stuck on to the tray and lid. The labels wrap over the taped side joins to provide more strength to those joins. The whole thing looks just like a game you would buy in a shop except it isn't shrink-wrapped.

Cards

The printer provides the cards on A3 sheets, laminated to both sides to provide durability and give a little moisture resistance. Each A3 sheet has five rows of five cards. Zombology, with its 108 cards fills 4 and a bit sheets. The first job is to separate the rows (again by hand with a craft knife and a steel ruler). Once the rows are separated, the individual cards are cut out. Each sheet takes about five minutes. The final step is to give a professional finish by rounding the corners of the cards using a specialist tool I bought during my Reiver Games days.

Rules

The rules are the simplest bit. The printers provide them on A4 paper - all I have to do is fold the sheet in half and then fold twice more so it fits in the box.

"I VERY MUCH appreciate the hand craft of Jack's games. For that alone I will always buy his games and try them myself."
Mike J., Florida, USA