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Craft question: Make your own Colorforms, or equivalent?
July 12, 2007 5:34 AM   Subscribe

Can you make your own Colorforms? I need to assess some different ways of affixing small things onto large things and then easily removing them.

I'm prototyping a board game in which you acquire properties and then make improvements to those properties. Some of the improvements are quite specific. The properties are represented by oversized cards with blank spaces that can receive the improvements. I would like to be able to move these cards about, which precludes the most obvious solution of simply setting tokens atop the cards. Other approaches might include:

% Printing the cards on heavy cardstock/cardboard and putting sliders on the edges. Sliders are good if you want to measure discrete changes along a continuum, but in my case I think there are more options than you could comfortably fit around a card's perimeter.

% Putting the cards inside a transparent dry erase sleeve. This is probably the economical solution, but I find it somewhat inelegant. In my experience, people want to interact with pens as little as possible when playing a game.

% Printing everything on sticker paper and affixing it to, in the case of the cards, some cheap metallic surface or, in the case of the improvements, little disc magnets. I question my ability to find these metal backings (need to be of uniform size, no sharp corners, capable of being "shuffled" in one way or another).

% Colorforms or other static-cling process. With these, however, I don't see any way to avoid going to a vinyl shop and having them do the printing, which would be ridiculously expensive because it's such a small batch. (I suppose $50 for a one-color 13"x13" sheet isn't so bad, assuming everything fits on a piece that small and can all be of the same color, but I'd like a DIY-ier solution.) I suppose I could buy existing generic static-cling bits and repurpose them, but I can't think of anything like that of the appropriate, smaller-than-a-quarter size, or that would provide a solid color field that I could cut up and draw on. Is there some cheap static cling product out there I could repurpose?

Hive mind, have you got anything for me?
posted by blueshammer to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Avery makes static-cling window labels. I'm not quite sure what colorforms do, but if I remember correctly, it's the same concept.
posted by TuxHeDoh at 5:56 AM on July 12, 2007


I can only think of two similar mechanics: either something like hotels in Monopoly (only one type of improvement per property) or the many card games which have extra cards as modifiers (where card A gets a stack of cards A1, A2, A3 and A4 which modify it). Usually A1-4 end up as a nice stack of cards lying on or underneath A. If the title of A1-4 is printed right at the top of the card, they can be arranged so that most of A1-3 is hidden, with only the top showing, thus taking up relatively little space.

Consider this vehicle. It's a property, the player's car, which has acquired a number of modifiers. The missile and machine gun which hit it in the front did 7 points of damage (out of 12). The autocannon which hit it on the right did 5 points of damage. The autocannon which hit it on the left did five points of damage, three of which was blocked (covered up!) by an armor card. It was also hit by a missile in the back doing four points of damage. It swerved once, doing one point of damage to its tires (out of 9), and it has acquired fireproof armor.

Proper card design and placement makes this not too confusing. It's not really designed to be easily moved around, but at least a wide variety of improvements (damage, in this game) can be represented.

Or see this game mat. The rectangles are sized for the cards which are used in the game - here's an action shot.

As a gamer, I would dislike anything sticky (what happens when it isn't anymore?), anything dry-erase (pen dries out), any sort of slider or spinner (cardboard wears out and frays), or any little plastic clingy things (get lost, damaged, stick to each other in box). Stick with heavy cardboard and wooden tokens, and durable plastic-coated cards (for the final game anyway, who cares what the prototype is made from).
posted by jellicle at 6:13 AM on July 12, 2007


Is there an upper limit on the number of improvements that can be made to a property?

If so, why not something like one of those jigsaw puzzles for children where there's a cardboard backing with cutout recessed spaces for the "jigsaw" pieces? You could even have the pieces complete a picture of the improved property, or cover the old features the improvements are replacing.
posted by JaredSeth at 6:27 AM on July 12, 2007


What about a holder with spaces where improvement pieces "fit", like the wheel/wedge system for Trivial Pursuit, or something similar?

Other ideas: snaps, velcro (you can buy little sticky velcro dots) -- neither of these really sounds right to me.

Another idea: the "attribute" tokens could have holes through them, and there could be some way that a short cord was affixed to the "property" cards, such that it was easy to string the attributes on the cord (attributes become beads). You'd need a way to secure the loose end of the cord so that the beads would stay securely in place, of course.

Another idea: a secure wooden tray, kind of like the tile holder trays in Scrabble, but perhaps with just a little acute v-groove down the center of a long block of wood, such that wooden or cardboard pieces would fit snugly in the slot without damage, and would stand up. You could have a large piece representing the property, and could fit smaller "improvement" pieces next to the property in the same groove. I think this could be a viable solution; ask if you would like clarification and I could probably whip up a diagram.
posted by amtho at 7:18 AM on July 12, 2007


Magnets? Those cheapo thin plasticky magnets that can be cut into shapes and printed on? Y'know, the kind that companies print their logo on and then give out as promotions - you've probably gotten a few in the mail yourself. Check your fridge.
posted by Quietgal at 7:43 AM on July 12, 2007


Make the cards dual layer cardboard with the top layer containing die-cut holes. Make the add-ons cardboard that will snap into the holes.

Make the cards single layer cardboard. Make the add-ons from colored plastic that is in the shape of the black metal part of a binder clip. You can use plastic report binder spines from things like this for prototypes. Just cut off 1/2" sections with utility shears or an X-Acto. Made in bulk, these should be way cheap since this is an easily extruded shape. You can always put stickers on them if you want them more "arty".
posted by plinth at 8:22 AM on July 12, 2007


In regards to Quietgal's suggestion, Avery also makes printable magentic paper.
posted by jeanmari at 8:22 AM on July 12, 2007


60x 12" vinyl sheets in lots of colors. Twenty bucks.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:26 AM on July 12, 2007


plinth's first suggestion is what I was trying to get at (I think he or she did a better job of describing it though).
posted by JaredSeth at 9:36 AM on July 12, 2007


TuxHeDo, your link just goes back to this thread. Do you have a link for the actual Avery product?
posted by genefinder at 11:20 AM on July 12, 2007


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