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Sourcing Game Components: Chits

Unpunched chits from Small World.

Today I’m posting the third article in a four part series about where to buy components for your game designs. Last week I posted about Meeples. The previous week I posted about cards. Today is about those obscure little components so nicely referred to as Chits. Here is a list of the four articles in this series:

First, a disclaimer: There is nothing quite like that fresh new board game smell when you pull off the shrink wrap and open a game for the first time. Then you have the awesome moment of getting to punch out the chits and that really makes you feel special. I love that!

Today, however, we are not talking about unpunched chits, but rather blank chits that you can use for prototyping your game design. These include circles, squares, hexes, and more.

As a reminder I want to give credit to the list that inspired me to write these articles. This list is much more exhaustive than mine since I am just highlighting a few of the major suppliers. But here’s the list so you can check it out yourself:

http://spotlightongames.com/list/design/component.html

So today I present a few of the sources that I think are worth checking out…

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SpielMaterial.de

If you are of the European contingent, then I would suggest starting with SpielMaterial.de. They have a very nice assortment of chits that you can purchase. Here is the link:

On their page you can purchase triangles, hexagons, squares, rectangles, diamonds, circles, and more. They seem like an excellent option for purchasing chits.

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Print & Play Productions

672c6-print2band2bplay2bproductionsI have purchase hexagon chits from Print & Play in the past and have been very pleased. I like to buy the blank tiles with white on both sides. You can order them with your own artwork as well, so keep that in mind. Here is their page for “Counters”:

One of the nice things about Print & Play productions is that if you order the hex tiles, you’ll also receive the little rhombuses that were in between the tiles. And those could potentially be useful in a future game design! Available to you are triangles, circles, squares, rectangles, and hexes.

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The Game Crafter

While my go-to source for chits is Print & Play it is necessary to add The Game Crafter into the list as well. If you are ordering cards and meeples from The Game Crafter, then you might as well order some chits too! Here is a link to one of the chits they offer. Below the main area they link to similar items:

They don’t have nearly the variety of SpielMaterial or Print & Play Productions. And you have to deal with the lead-time issue. But it sure is convenient if you can order all of your components from the same source.

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Superior POD

While blank counters are not available, Superior POD (Print On Demand) does offer printed square and hex tiles, but only of limited sizes. Here is the link:

They only offer 2″ hexes, 1″ squares, and 5/8″ squares. So it’s pretty limited, but it appears that they might be mailed to you unpunched, which is sweet.

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So there you go. I know this is a short list, but I think that’s because there just are not very many sources for board game tiles like these. If you know of other sources that have quality components available, please let me know and I’ll add them to this list.

Thanks for checking this out. I hope it helps you as you build your game prototypes!

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Sourcing Board Game Components: Cards

This is the first in a series of articles that are meant to help aspiring designers and published designers alike. The goal of these articles is to simply list some of the sources for different components that we designers like to use in our game prototypes. While I have not used all of these different sources, I’ve done my research and feel confident that you’ll receive a decent quality production from any of these sources.

Today’s post is about sourcing cards for your prototypes. But over the next few Thursdays I’ll be posting articles about other components:

  • Meeples
  • Chits
  • Dice

They won’t be dreadfully exciting articles, but I hope they can help you out as your on your way toward a high quality prototype. But first, my inspiration comes from this post:

http://spotlightongames.com/list/design/component.html

That is a way better list than I’m going to make. But my sources seem to be some of the more mainstream sources. If there are component sources that you use, and like, that I have not mentioned in these articles, please let me know and I’d be happy to keep these articles up to date.

So let’s get to the sources I would use for cards… Note: The Game Crafter is my go-to source, and thus they are listed first.

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The Game Crafter

This is the one source that I have used. They have a large number of sizes available. They provide a template for each size. And overall I have never had any problems with my cards. They are not going to be the highest quality, linen finish, and all that, but they are great for putting together a quality prototype that you could feel confident pitching to a publisher.

Here’s the details about sizing and pricing (click the link to go to the template page for each item):

Printed Item Cost Per Sheet Cost Per Item Items Per Sheet Image Size (in pixels) Finished Size (in inches)
Bridge Deck $1.56 $0.09 18 750×1125 2.25 x 3.5
Business Deck $1.89 $0.09 21 675×1125 2.0 x 3.5
Hex Deck $2.29 $0.19 12 1200×1050 3.75 x 3.25
Jumbo Deck $1.25 $0.21 6 1125×1725 3.5 x 5.5
Micro Deck $3.99 $0.07 56 450×600 1.25 x 1.75
Mini Deck $2.89 $0.09 32 600×825 1.75 x 2.5
Poker Deck $1.56 $0.09 18 825×1125 2.5 x 3.5
Square Deck $2.29 $0.19 12 1125×1125 3.5 x 3.5
Tarot Deck $1.89 $0.19 10 900×1500 2.75 x 4.75

When you upload files you can upload a bunch at once, or one at a time. When you are ready to have them printed, you’ll have to “proof” each one. When I order cards I usually go with the Mini Deck since you can get them for a pretty good price. They are also one of my favorite sizes for games in general. They are large enough to hold a lot of information, but small enough to not be a nuisance.

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ARTSCOW

My wife has used ArtsCow for a few scrapbooking things, so I can attest to the quality of those. However, I have not used ArtsCow for any cards. So take this for what it’s worth.

On the ArtsCow page you can choose from custom playing cards, cards shaped like circles, and cards shaped like hearts. While ArtsCow doesn’t seem to have the game designer in mind with their products, I think people have had success with ordering customized cards.

The best option I’ve seen for custom double sided cards is the “Multi-Purpose Cards.” This seems like the best option for custom double sided cards from ArtsCow. They measure 2.5″ x 3.5″ and start at $10.99 for a 54 card deck, which seems quite high for 280 gsm matte paper. But like I mentioned, they don’t think like game designers.

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Printer’s Studio

I have not used Printer’s Studio for any cards, but I know people who have. Like ArtsCow most of their options for cards are decks of custom playing cards. But they do have a page for blank playing cards that can be fully customized as well.

Sizes include:

  • Mini Size (1.75″ x 2.5″) starting at $4.39 for up to a 64 card deck
  • Bridge Size (2.25″ x 3.5″) starting at $7.99 for up to a 54 card deck
  • Poker Size (2.5″ x 3.5″) starting at $7.99 for up to a 54 card deck
  • Tarot Size (2.75″ x 4.75″) starting at $1.89 for up to a 10 card deck
  • Large Size (3.5″ x 5.75″) starting at $13.99 for up to a 54 card deck

Those prices seem a little high to me, but these are for 300 gsm card stock. Each card size also has an option for 310 gsm linen finish.

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Print & Play Productions

While I have not ordered cards from Print & Play, I have ordered hex chits. I was very pleased with their quality, so I would likely be pleased with the quality of the cards as well. But that’s not a guarantee.

Print & Play offers several sizes of blank or custom printed cards:

They also have an option for a letter size sheet of custom cards starting at $1.25 for double sided printing.

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Other Sources: EAI / Amazon

If all you’re looking for is blank cards from which you can make a prototype, then perhaps EAI or Amazon is your best bet. Here are the details:

EAI: Single deck of 54 blank playing cards is currently $0.99 per deck (regular price = $1.55 per deck)

Amazon: 500 Blank cards for $13.50

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So those are the sources that I am most familiar with for blank cards. The other option is to use something like nanDECK and create/print your own cards that you could then sleeve. I haven’t had much luck trying to use nanDECK, so good luck with that.

Please let me know if you use someone else. I’d love to add it to this list and make it more complete. Thanks for reading. I hope this list and the next three covering meeples, chits, and dice will be helpful to you as a designer!

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