Saturday, December 26, 2009

Print 'N Play Games. - Half the fun is in the crafting of the game but now-a-days the games are pretty cool too!

Way back when...I couldn't really tell you how long ago, I discovered the idea of Print 'N Play board game. Even back then I knew about PnP RPG's and living rule books things along those line but the idea of a board or card game in this format didn't occur to me. Yet I found some, a precious few amongst the slew of online RPGs...mostly I found war games but a few games that actually interested me showed up.

Notice I say a few because it seemed to me that back then (we are talking about 5 or 6 years ago) sucked ass. Not all mind you but most at any rate. Seems like someone would spew out some half baked idea for a game throw together some shitty clip art they got on a free CDROM with their Gateway, spice it with a neato wing ding font and then try and sell if for 6 to 8 bucks. Yeah I too the bite a couple times then stopped when I found out the games, as I said sucked ass. I found a couple that were cool and the best ones were typically being offered as free.

So I decided to shy away from these as they just were not paying off at all. I focused instead on building my game collection with professionally made board games. I got a decent sized collection under my belt and the further focused on trading games...get rid of the riff raff that I don't play in favor of something I would enjoy. While I've still got quite a few games I don't play I've managed to move a lot of them along the road to happy homes where they live hopefully getting played.

Yet that's not what this post is about, as is evident by my ever so cleaver title to the post. (For those who expected my return to this blog to be something biting and creative I apologize I've been under a quite a bit of pressure lately and well my creative side feels tapped out.)

I guess it's been the past couple of year that I've began to really focus on PnP games though. They have certainly been brought to the light of day with enthusiasm than previously and that's largely to do with the fact that the games have really improved in quality. Both the playability and the look of the games themselves.

This past Christmas season I even joined the Print 'n Play Secret Santa list on BGG and it was a truly rewarding experience for me. You can really tell everyone involved put their best pair of scissors forward and tried their best to craft the best possible game for the SS target. I had so much fun both in crafting the games I sent my target and in getting my package and pouring over the goodies I got. It didn't end there either, no not at all. We've been reading all month long as each person gets their package and posts what games they received and posts pictures of them. Part of the charm in this was getting to see different methods of crafting the games first hand.

See that's part of the experience in PnP games...the crafting of the game. It's a good bit of fun to print 'em out and make 'em. Find unique ways to package them and make them feel as much of a real part of your game collection as anything else you may have from Rio Grande or Z-Man Games. There then becomes a new level of pride in these games as you break them out on game night and everyone's ohhhing and ahhhhning over a game they can't just go out and BUY a copy of...but could print for free.

Now I know what most of you who are reading this might be thinking. (...and that very probably is just you Tony!) You are thinking that you just don't have the skills and equipment to do PnP games even if they are good. "Well wrong buddy." (without hearing me imitate the voice of The Cat from the show Red Dwarf that quote just wouldn't make any sense as all unless I tell you it was a quote of a line delivered by The Cat from the show Red Dwarf. It actually comes from the episode "Legion" if you really wanted to know. So there.)

I personally own a Kodak ESP3 ink jet printer. It's a pretty cheap printer I got at Wal-Mart. The color cartridge is $15.99 and the B/W is $11.99 when I need to replace them or I could buy in bulk online and save but typically I'm a dork and don't. Now a long time I bought a page laminator at K-Mart (I'm a fan of the Marts...but my favorite is X-Mart...but that's t totally different blog entry.) Wait got side tracked. Anyway K-Mart has this laminator for about $35 that I bought some time back and now find it exceedingly useful for my PnP projects but it's NOT necessary. Hell one of the games I received was blued to the back of cereal boxes! Simple spray adhesive that can be purchased just about anywhere I'm finding will adhere boards to nearly all types of material.

Bottom line is you would be surprised how much you can get done with very little "extras" and craft yourself a pretty cool game. One of my games was a tile laying game and the tiles were stuck onto the back of those self adhesive floor tiles! This made them thick, chunky and super sturdy. I was really impressed with this idea. Others will buy crappy games at thrift stores and cannibalize the bits and even the boards to make their own games...I must admit I've been cannibalizing thrift store games for years now. The best are the really old copies of risk with the wooden cubes in 6 colors and even those funny oblong triangular pieces that represent the 10 units pieces.

Alright so I've said the bulk of what I wanted to say and firmly made my stance about how anyone can easily come into the fold of PnPer's. Now it's up to you dear reader. Get off your lazy ass and find a game. There's hundreds of them these days. Just search "Print and Play" on Board Game Geek (best done under geeklists and forums) and you'll be flooded with responses.

Have fun.