Printing Options for Your Game

Turn-in for Season 5 of CUDO Plays is just around the corner! In the coming weeks, all the teams will be hammering out rules and putting the finishing touches on their components. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons for the major game printing options.

I want to emphasize that, if you are a CUDO Plays competitor, there is absolutely no requirement that you get your cards/board etc. professionally printed. Every year we have teams turn in finished games that are largely made by hand, with their components printed from home. These teams have gone on to win awards in the competition. However, some of our awards emphasize fit and finish of all of the game components, and for these categories, professional printing could give your game a leg up.

The three main providers of game printing that CUDO Plays competitors traditionally use are Print & Play, The Game Crafter (both are online resources where you can upload your own game components for printing, buy bits and explore other users’ designs) and Dixon Graphics, the local source for all kinds of professional print jobs.

 

Game Crafter Logo

The Game Crafter

CUDO Plays veterans agree that The Game Crafter beats Print & Play in terms of quality and consistency.

Pros:  High quality components that, more often than not, arrive looking as the designer intended.

Cons: Longer turn-around time than the other options. Expect to wait two weeks for your order. More if it is a high volume time of year, though you can always pay extra for expedited production.

 

Print & Play logo

Print & Play

If you need your game printed fast and for a reasonable price, Print & Play can’t be beat.

Pros: Very quick production and shipping times

Cons: Must use P&P’s own fiddly and occasionally confusing templates for cards, boards, and boxes. Even with using these templates, components are sometimes miscut or misaligned.

 

Dixon Graphics Logo

Dixon Graphics

If you want to do your printing locally, Dixon is the best choice.

Pros: Friendly and knowledgeable staff that you can talk to directly to get exactly what you need.

Cons: A fair bit more expensive than the online options. Experienced printers, but they have less of a focus on board game components specifically.

 

Again, there are many other options out there for printing, but these are the ones that our competitors rely on the most. If you’re a Season 5 Competitor and you have more questions about these and other avenues for printing, post a question on the Season 5 Teams facebook page!

 

CUBED Playtest at Titan Games

CUBED hosted one of their focused playtesting events this week at Titan Games. The featured game was the meeple-rolling breakdancing game Break It Up A Notch, by CUDO Plays veteran Ben Moy. Many wild dance moves were had!

Break it up a Notch rulebook and meeples

 

Upcoming Events

 

Exclusive Playtest at C-U Adventures in Time and Space

Season 5 teams! Sots for our Deep Silver Volition playtest (Jan 13th) are now full! If you would like to come out for the Adventures in Time and Space playtest (Tues, Jan 16th) please email the team liaison Lee at kainesh42@gmail.com. These closed playtests are great opportunities to get your games played by professional designers and artists.

Open Playtest at G-Mart Comics – Monday, Januray 15th

G-Mart Comics Champaign @ 6:30pm – 9:00pm

In lieu of our normal monthly game night, we’re pleased to announce our first playtest event at G-Mart Comics in Champaign! If you attend you’ll also be getting a sneak peek at G-Mart’s gaming space.  Facebook event

CUDO Plays @ Winter War – Sunday, Januray 28th

Wyndham Garden Urbana @ 2:00pm – 5:00pm

As always, CUDO Plays will have a room for open playtesting at Winter War, the local gaming convention. You don’t need to be a con attendee to join in, but if you’re a Season 5 competitor, this is a great opportunity to get your game in front of some hardcore gamers that you might not see otherwise. Note that Winter War is at a new location this year!

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends Azul.

Azul board and tiles

In this very colorful game, players take turns draftingtiles from suppliers to their player board. Later in the round, players score points based on how they’ve placed their tiles to decorate the palace. Extra points are scored for specific patterns and completing sets; wasted supplies harm the player’s score. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. Azul is a surprisingly strategic game with strong puzzle elements. Be careful or your opponents will leave you with all the wrong tiles!

Weekly Rollup: Dec 30th – Jan 6th

Open Playtest at Titan Games

Another great playtest night with our friends at Titan Games. This season’s games are slowly becoming tighter and more polished.

music game

 

Upcoming Events

Closed Playtests at Deep Silver Volition and C-U Adventures in Time and Space

Season 5 teams! If you have not yet signed up for a time in our Deep Silver Volition playtest (Jan 13th) or our Adventures in Time and Space playtest (Jan 16th) please email the team liaison Lee at kainesh42@gmail.com. These closed playtests are great opportunities to get your games played by professional designers and artists.

Open Playtest at G-Mart Comics – Monday, Januray 15th

G-Mart Comics Champaign @ 6:30pm – 9:00pm

In lieu of our normal monthly game night, we’re pleased to announce our first playtest event at G-Mart Comics in Champaign! If you attend you’ll also be getting a sneak peek at G-Mart’s gaming space.  Facebook event

Critical Review for Teams – Saturday, January 20th and Sunday, January 21st

Champaign Public Library

Critical review is right around the corner. This is where teams meet with members of the CUDO Plays Committee to discuss the state of their game, and what needs to be finished before turn-in come February. If you’re a team, please sign up for a review slot here.

CUDO Plays @ Winter War – Sunday, Januray 28th

Wyndham Garden Urbana @ 2:00pm – 5:00pm

As always, CUDO Plays will have a room for open playtesting at Winter War, the local gaming convention. You don’t need to be a con attendee to join in, but if you’re a Season 5 competitor, this is a great opportunity to get your game in front of some hardcore gamers that you might not see otherwise. Note that Winter War is at a new location this year!

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends Funemployed.

Funemployed box

Thi is a card-based party game in which everyone’s trying to become employed. Apply for real jobs, like astronaut, lawyer or priest, with unreal qualifications, such as a “German accent,” the  “handcuffs,” or a DeLorean. In the game, each player uses his qualifications to convince the other players that he’s the best qualified for a job. To do this, players tell the story of why their qualifications make them the best fit for a job by role-playing and acting like they are on an interview. Find innovative ways to use your qualifications and become the most “funemployed” player at the table! This is a hilarious party game for groups of all ages.

Weekly Rollup: Dec 23rd – Dec 30th

Don’t Stop Designing! (Hold on to that Feeling)

Pretty slow week for CUDO Plays events due to the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you get a break from working on your game! Be sure to check out our new blog post from BJ Gailey about great game design resources. You can also visit the downloadables page at cudoplays.com for presentations and handouts from our workshops. Keep those creative juices flowing!

 

Upcoming Events

CUDO Plays is hoping to set up a playtest event or two over the holidays. These plans haven’t firmed up yet, but stay tuned for more information!

Open Playtest at Titan Games – Thurs, Januray 4th

Titan Games @ 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Ring in the new year with some playtesting! If you’re a CUDO Plays competitor, bring your game and get valuable feedback to help your design. If you’re not in the competition come out and play some locally-designed games!

Don’t forget to invite friends, and remember, you can never playtest too much.  Facebook event

 

Open Playtest at G-Mart Comics – Monday, Januray 15th

G-Mart Comics Champaign @ 6:30pm – 9:00pm

In lieu of our normal monthly game night, we’re pleased to announce our first playtest event at G-Mart Comics in Champaign! If you attend you’ll also be getting a sneak peek at G-Mart’s gaming space.  Facebook event
CUDO Plays @ Winter War – Sunday, Januray 28th

Hawthorne Suites Champaign @ 2:00pm – 5:00pm

As always, CUDO Plays will have a room for open playtesting at Winter War, the local gaming convention. You don’t need to be a con attendee to join in, but if you’re a Season 5 competitor, this is a great opportunity to get your game in front of some hardcore gamers that you might not see otherwise.

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends Brave Rats.

Brave Rats bo

This game (which also goes by the name “R”) may be the best two player game you can play in five minutes. Each player starts with the same hand of eight cards numbered zero through seven. Each turn, both players select a card and reveal simultaneously, and the higher value wins. Seems crazy simple, but each card has it’s own special power that helps it counter other cards and strategies. For example, one card dictates that the lower value wins the turn, another increases the value of your next turn’s card. The first player to win four turns wins the game. Try to outsmart your opponent but know that they’ll be playing mind games with you. Brave Rats is by acclaimed designer Seiji Kanai who created Love Letter, and both games are ones you should carry at all times so you can game at a moment’s notice!

Great Game Design Resources

Tom: Hope everyone is enjoying a nice break of some sort this holiday season. As you know though, the work of a game designer is never done! With that in mind, our own BJ Gailey, who has been designing games for many more years than I, has compiled this list of useful game design resources. So, while you’re sitting in front of your lovely fire sipping a spiked hot beverage of your choice, take a look or a listen and keep those creative juices flowing.

 

BJ: All of this stuff I have used myself, some extensively and some just to glance at, but it’s all stuff I recommend.

 

Books

Cover of the Art of Game Design
The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell: Half inspirational, half practical, this book is an excellent place to start thinking holistically about game design. The book is centered around over 100 different “lenses” that can be applied to your design work; these lenses are also available as a separate deck of cards if you’d prefer to jump right into the practical side of the text.

 

The Characteristics of Games by Elias, Garfield, and Gutschera: A true textbook of game design and in many ways the opposite of Schell’s book. Very crunchy, very specific, and very, very useful as you dive deeper into the theory of design.

 

Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals by Zimmerman and Tekinbas: Even more dry and textbook-y than The Characteristics of Games, but useful too – it has some great design exercises and challenges that I found worth the price of admission, if only just (it costs as much as textbook, so caveat emptor).

 
 

Podcasts 

Ludology: Maybe the only podcast about game design itself that I find halfway worth listening to (there are a lot of enjoyable podcasts about board games, but very few enjoyable ones about board game design specifically and solely). The changing focus helps- each episode looks at a single design concept, like opportunity cost or asymmetry, and does a fairly deep dive into it. Other episodes are interviews with designers, which can be hit or miss.

 

Board Game Design Lab logo
Board Game Design Lab: A podcast that I wish I found more entertaining. It has it’s fans, though, and their website is actually a really nice collection of other design resources.

 

99% Invisible: Not at ALL about game design, this podcast is about how design influences the world around us and yet remains primarily invisible. Incredibly intelligent, I like this one because it gets me thinking about how visible my “fingerprints” should be as a designer.
TOM INTERJECTION: 99% Invisible is maybe the best podcast ever made and it will change your life.

 
 

Web

BGG logo
BoardGameGeek: BGG is a fantastic resources for gamers in general, but the community can be iffy at times. However, their design community is pretty stellar and a couple of threads in that community are sort of amazing. First, “The Designer’s Resources List” is a clearinghouse of links related to game design, everything from freelance artists to probability to publishers. Second, “A Brief Crash Course on Game Design” will look very familiar to CUDO Plays members- it’s essentially a timeline for the development of a game. It’s a useful reminder though, and it does cover a few topics that CUDO Plays does not.

 

And of course, there is Jamey Stegmaier’s Kickstarter Lessons series. It’s fairly specific in its focus on crowdfunding, but if you’re gonna end up there (or think you might want to) it’s an absolute treasure trove from the guy who pretty much wrote the book on board game design Kickstarters.

 
 

Anyway, there’s lots more but I think this stuff is potentially the most useful to the most people. Happy designing everyone!