So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Making Your Games Bloom – Floral Stones

At times, ramping up the Awesomeness Factor on a game can get expensive.  Let’s face it; a custom made dice tower isn’t going to be cheap.  If the miniatures in the game aren’t pre-painted, and you can’t paint them yourself you just might as well give up on that upgrade.  There is an inexpensive alternative that can add some flair: floral stones.  And, should someone just happen to have a craft table (or a fish bowl) in the house, a few of these might be “liberated” for a greater purpose – gaming!  Here are a few ways to use them, in increasing order of Awesomeness: scoring, game copies, and replacing parts in existing games.

Using stones for scoring is probably the easiest and most common use.  Qwirkle comes with scoring rules that require a piece of paper and pencil to keep track of in the same way Scrabble is scored.  We printed out a scoring track from BoardGameGeek (BGG), and viola! – instant Awesomeness.  The best part about this is that scoring is always open information for everyone to see.  Ivanhoe is another game I own that I use stones for scoring.  This is a card game where the object of the game is to win several different fighting tournaments out of the number played, such as jousting.  Which tournaments a player has won is tracked by the player keeping different color tokens for each tournament type.  The tokens that come with the game are little poker chips that are, well, not impressive.  Different color stones serve the same purpose, have some weight, and just look better.

Creating a copy of a game is another use.  Before you get upset, I am talking about copies of public domain games.  Games like Brandubh, Nine Man’s Morris, Mancala and Senet are all ancient games that could easily be produced using floral stones.  (Stones were the original pawns.)  Rules can be found on the internet and boards for these games could be anything, including drawn on a piece of paper (though that does severely hurt the Awesomeness Factor).

Replacing tokens in already awesome games is another way to use them.  My favorite example is the fantasy game Runebound, which has heavy cardboard markers on the board.  These represent places “where there be dragons” – literally if they are red in color.  These markers are called “jewels”, but they really don’t look like much.  Now, replace these with translucent floral stones of the appropriate color, and the board is transformed!  The Awesomeness Factor goes way up.  Now I just have to find the time, and courage, to paint the figurines and my copy will peg the meter on Awesomeness!

Floral stones in Runebound (image by Richard Johnson)
Did you ever imagine that something so mundane could be so cool!  Go down to your closest craft table store and pick some up.  You can often find them on sale and in large bags with a mix of colors.  If you figure out some other uses, let me know!

It’s Your Move

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