A bright mind and a 3D printer can go a long way. Combining aesthetics and entertainment value, 3D printed games range from chess sets and larger-than-life Rubik’s cubes to entirely new gaming universes created within a matter of days.
Effectively changing the rules of manufacturing, 3D printing will have fans of tabletop gaming stoked when they realize the scale of their favourite pastime just got a whole lot bigger. Printing already has a place in gamers’ hearts’, producing key items like dice and custom landscapes – essential for any serious tabletop gamer.
Exciting breakthrough projects like Breach, Pocket Dungeon and Pocket Tactics have invaded the market dominated by Games Workshop. According to their Thingiverse pages, some of these exciting are yet to be fully completed.
(Image from Wired)
Pocket Tactics is perhaps the most famous of the bunch, and is basically the size of a small travel game – you can play it on any flat surface. Creator Arian Croft, also known as ‘Dutchmogul’, claims to have thought of the idea on a Tuesday night, and by Friday had a functioning prototype ready.
While designers like Croft are busy ping-ponging new ideas around the Ill Gotten Games office, well-established games like Warhammer 40k and Warmachine may need to look over their shoulders.
Sure, it will be difficult for small companies to pry the hands of loyal gamers away from the most popular tabletop games, but what if they bought miniatures from a different company? Some official gaming kits can cost hundreds of euros, and more.
3D printing is allowing for high-quality miniatures, and Hero Forge serves as the proof in the pudding. Their Kickstarter page reveals the length at which they’re willing to help their customers customize their favourite gaming pieces.
Ironically, the digital revolution is helping the analog world.
|A Unique Miniature built by Hero Forge
(Image from Kickstarter)
Raising over $360,000 (more than triple their original target), their Kickstarter financial goal was met back in February. The appeal to gamers lies in the unprecedented level of detail one can add, with users able to choose different armour, poses, weapons, equipment and character sizes.
Moving on to a different branch of games completely, a quick look at the leading online marketplaces like Shapeways or Thingiverse will reveal the extent of the different board games, puzzles, desk toys and life-like models available.
Chess fans will feel right at home here, as the classic game has been a target of 3D technicians around the world. Since all it requires are pieces and a board to play on, the levels of customization are limitlesss.
|Minecraft Chess Set
(Image from Thingiverse)
If you fancy novelty, check out this portable Star Trek 3D chess set, or if you’re eager to take on two foes at once, this impressive three player set from Acryl should do the trick. Lord of the Rings fans will melt when they gaze upon this classic chess set with characters from Tolkien’s universe.
Our next pick is for the puzzle freaks out there. If you’re a fan of the age-old Rubik’s cube, this extra-large, fully-functional 3x4x5 cuboid will certainly catch your eye. Now being produced en masse, this nifty puzzle requires a bit of DIY assembly – requiring users to use their own springs, screws and washers.
The 3D printing gods have been kind enough to provide us with entertaining products in bountiful amounts, and for this we are very grateful. At this rate, our children of the future will be spoiled for choice!