Table Top Games and 3D Printing

3D printing technology is increasingly being used within the realm of table top games. For example, losing a playing piece for a boardgame is a common occurrence and it can be difficult to purchase a replacement. Why not just 3D print a new one? For many popular board games such as Monopoly and Cluedo there are already models available to start printing any replacement pieces that you need.

Let’s explore how 3D printing can be used alongside table top gaming.

Making the game your own

3D printing has opened up new possibilities for the role-playing genre of table top games. ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ themed games can be enhanced by designing and printing a custom model to play with. This is something which previously would have been too costly and time consuming but has been made easier to do with 3D printing. Set pieces which can be placed on the board to help players visualise the narrative, such as buildings or landscapes, can also be printed.

(A mage character model, available from Cults3D)
(A unique dice using the steampunk aesthetic. Source: 3D Printing Industry)

Printing a complex 3D model isn’t always necessary to give a game a more custom feel. Something as small as printing some colourful or interestingly designed dice can change how the game is perceived by the players.

I enjoy playing the boardgame ‘Ticket to Ride’ with my friends so I decided to see what I could 3D print to go with it. My favourite item was uploaded by Thingiverse user ‘nimli’ and it’s a neat card tray holder, designed to keep the play area tidy during the game. I’m looking forward to printing it and using it myself!

Making the game your own, literally

There have been many successfully backed Kickstarter table top games which used 3D printing to create prototypes. These prototypes allowed the creators to test their games, while also giving potential backers a good idea of what the finished product would look like. This is a good example of using the cheap and quick production nature of 3D printing to overcome barriers presented by standard manufacturing techniques.

If you’re feeling adventurous there’s the option of printing an entire game to play. MyMiniFactory has an entire category dedicated to custom board games. It contains many 3D models for game pieces, but there are several fully fledged games available to download and print. It must feel pretty cool to design a game and have other people print and play it!