Author Topic: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames  (Read 18476 times)

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Offline Capn Darwin

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DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« on: February 13, 2012, 04:32:13 PM »
Okay. My next segment on the DIY front will deal with the tools I use to make counters. There are a number of items involved in this, but I've produced some damn near ready for the printer counters (again, I'll post pics when I find a good pic hosting site). Counters like maps do take some effort in being able to make/layout art elements to get your point and information across without looking like you just made something the cat yacked up. Having been doing games in some fashion since the mid seventies, I would have killed for half of the firepower you can being to bare these days. Lets get cracking on the tools I find useful.

First up. Office 2010. Between Powerpoint and Excel and in some cases word, you can mock up a good number of items pretty quick and with all of the cool effects in these packages the stuff looks good too. I use Powerpoint to outline game designs. It is a nice way to flow ideas and images to get going. Excel is great for tables and other items, but I digress.

Art Programs. I have been using Paint Shop Pro for years. Yep it costs some bucks, but you really need a better than MS paint editor. The need for layers and all of the other image effects (gradiants, drop shadows, background erasers, etc) are like gold. There are others out there including Inkscape (I use it too but for counter layout, see next section).

Counter Making Software. There are two programs. Okay, really one program and an set of extensions. First grab Inkscape. You can find it here http://inkscape.org/ and it is open source. Generally having the latest version is better, but .048 has an odd bug that does not play well with the extensions. Go for .047.

iBoardGames Extensions. A great addon made by Pelle Nilsson that helps with laying out counters for printing. It works with .CSV files (excel) and is an add-on into Inkscape. It has a steep learning curve. Mainly getting use to the codes and to how inkscape works on things.
The extensions are here: http://www.lysator.liu.se/~perni/iboardgameexts/ I do use 1.4.4 without an issues. There are also a hexgrid maker and map translator on the site.
This is a link to the BGG page with good info: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/299033/inkscape-extensions-for-boardgame-development/page/1
And a second BGG forum/guild here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/950

I will definately have to spend some time writing some step by steps to show what I do to get from A to B. I have made special spreadsheets and also have a number of custom .svn files to cover different types of counter sizes and functions. The sites will also help and playing around with Pelle's examples will get you going.

More later!  8)

A few samples:












They look really good on 5/8 and 3/4 counters. The images are a bit zoomed in here. But you get the idea.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 07:38:28 PM by Capn Darwin »
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Epee1

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 08:56:27 PM »
Those are really beautiful counters.

Offline Double Deuce

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 06:23:59 AM »
Nice counters. My problems hasn't been actually creating the counters, its always been finding a company that can make the finished, printed product (other than China). Up to this point I've always made them manually by printing to full sheet labels, sticking to posterboard, then cutting them out using rotary cutters and exacto knives. No telling how much posterboard and ink I've wasted over the years trying to get it right. :-(
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 08:17:07 AM by Gunnar Greybeard »

Offline LongBlade

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 06:56:01 AM »
Those are really beautiful counters.

+1

Offline Capn Darwin

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 04:15:58 PM »
Here is a link to a site with a very nice in-depth look at how to make counters. It is focused on the equipment and steps to mount and cut out counters and has links to supplies and also talks to various cutting methods. A good read is you plan to make your own counters.

Link: http://privatewars.kyth.org/making_your_own_counters.htm

 8)
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0kult13

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 12:44:44 AM »
+1 they really are sweet, thanks for the post, great to have the chance to learn from a pro. I will be getting Inkscape asap. Using a combo of manga studio and the gimp for graphics, however switching and experimenting with old fashioned art + scanner just now.   

Offline LongBlade

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 07:24:36 AM »


Hey, Jim. I just noticed a typo. Your PzIIIL and Stug3G are spelled wrong - it's "kopf" not "koph."

Offline Capn Darwin

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 07:34:06 AM »
Thanks.  I'll fix it for the guys I'm working with. Quite the eagle eye.
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Offline LongBlade

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 07:50:43 AM »
Quite the eagle eye.

Meh. It took me a couple of passes to catch it. And luckily I speak German. That, and I'm an editor by trade these days. Eventually it caught my eye, but it did take a couple of times.

It was only after I started looking at them wondering if a Jagdpanzer would show up and make a suitable avatar for a few days that I realized I was looking at a typo. Didn't Otto Carius' unit have Jagdpanzers? Or were they another model? The translation in his book left me a bit perplexed.

memitchell747

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 09:46:38 AM »
Here is a link to a site with a very nice in-depth look at how to make counters. It is focused on the equipment and steps to mount and cut out counters and has links to supplies and also talks to various cutting methods. A good read is you plan to make your own counters.

Link: http://privatewars.kyth.org/making_your_own_counters.htm

 8)

This guide is awesome, except it takes something simple (constructing the counters) and makes it look like rocket surgery.  I wrote a PNP guide that includes Counter-making.  It takes something very simple and makes it stupid simple, very quick, and inexpensive.  Scroll down to my post.

Offline OJsDad

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2012, 07:23:33 AM »
Here is a link to a site with a very nice in-depth look at how to make counters. It is focused on the equipment and steps to mount and cut out counters and has links to supplies and also talks to various cutting methods. A good read is you plan to make your own counters.

Link: http://privatewars.kyth.org/making_your_own_counters.htm

I've had that link in my favorites for several years now.  I was going to post it here, but you beat me to it.

Alan Emrich's site has a lot of links tools of the trade.  Click on the Game Making Tools section. 
 
http://www.alanemrich.com/
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Offline bob48

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Re: DIY - Counter Making for Wargames
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2012, 09:14:18 AM »
very useful.

I assume that the NaW counters are from a possible Kursk game?
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