Category Archives: prototyping

a quick peek at more of the LXIX prototype


I picked up the rest of the prototype pieces I’m printing at The GameCrafter. They look great. The cardboard tokens are replacing the wood blocks in my current prototype. They’re less expensive, easier to produce and modify, and more portable.

My next step is to update the LXIX game board. It’s a non-standard shape, though, so I can’t have it printed at TGC.


LXIX has a circular board with six interchangeable pieces in the outer ring and one round center board. I’d like the outer ring sections to lock together like puzzle pieces so they don’t move when bumped. To accomplish that with some measure of precision, I’m planning to have the pieces laser cut at The Bodgery, a hacker space here in Madison.

I’ll lay out the cut template in Illustrator and export it to DXF format – a CAD file – and send that to the laser cutter, which will can the board pieces out of very thin plywood. I’ll print the images on waterproof full-sheet Avery labels and cut them by hand before applying to the plywood blanks. I should end up with a fine looking, precision-cut board.





LXIX prototype cards have arrived!

A selection of LXIX influence cards.


I stopped in at the GameCrafter after work to pick up the first deck of cards for my LXIX prototype. They look awesome! Cant wait to get them on the table.

I should probably photograph them in better light soon.


A selection of Leader cards from LXIX.


A selection of Spoils of War cards from LXIX.


laying out a new prototype for LXIX The Year of Four Emperors

Alan Moon’s The Gathering of Friends is coming up next month and I’ve got a big-box game to show to some of the publishers in attendance.

I hammered on the design for this one heavily last year and, while it’s in great shape rules-wise, my old prototype is getting pretty ragged. I figured it was time to make something nicer and more presentable for the con.

I do my layout work in Adobe Illustrator. For this prototype, I wanted to add some artwork to the cards to give them a little more flavor. I found a great set of Ancient Rome-themed illustrations on a clip art website, and borrowed a handful of the most appropriate images. They’re a little more “cartoony” than I’d envisioned, but they’ll do for a prototype.

I’ve got the cards laid out and uploaded to TheGameCrafter for printing. Below are a couple of examples. The first is the main card back and the second is a sample influence card. I’m pretty happy with how they’ve turned out. I hope to finish layout on the remaining game pieces this weekend – I can’t wait to see the professionally printed results.

Card Backs

Senate 2

I’m contemplating a blog post about not making prototypes too pretty, while working on this. I may need help.

Bid Track Board

never reinvent the wheel


Well, I didn’t play any games last night, but I did finish the prototype for Canardo’s Dungeon. I had planned to just sketch out the board with Sharpies, but then I remembered seeing something that would fit the feel of the game nicely. What I needed was a numbered track that looked like rooms in a dungeon, and the level tracking board from Munchkin Pathfinder Deluxe would be perfect with a few minor graphical modifications.

I found a high resolution image of the board online, made a few alterations in Adobe Illustrator, printed it on label paper and stuck it on some card stock. It looks great and conveys the theme I’m going for pretty well. Much better than I could have done in the same amount of time with Sharpies. With a pawn and some coin tokens from my parts bins, I had an attractive finished prototype.

For early prototypes, use what’s on hand. Borrow art from the web, if you want art. Don’t spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel.