With the first printed version of “Yard Master” in our hands, we were inspired to work on a first pass of the components.
We recently got a 3d printer, so what better use for it than to start making little train engines. We are using a LulzBot Mini, super user friendly, auto levels, auto nozzle cleans, easy printing software, fantastic for a first time 3d printer user. We modeled the train engine using a, free to use, web based app Tinkercad, designed to model for 3d printer output, also very easy and simple, but has a good deal of potential. These two products together have worked out well for us so far for making good inexpensive prototype pieces.
Beyond the train engines, we made some point chits, little cardboard counters or tokens, to help track bonus points for scoring. We used 8.5 x 11 inch 46 point chipboard, fairly thick and sturdy cardboard stock, and printed the graphics to full sheet sticker sheets. Stuck the sticker sheet to the chipboard and used the same rotary trimmer, that we used to cut out our paper prototype cards, to cut our the square chits. Finally we sprayed them with a few coats of clear sealant for durability.
Both of these test pieces and techniques seem to produce good quality components, and should help to remove the sometimes hard to get over challenge some playtesters have with abstract stand-in parts, as well as enhance and reinforce the themes importance.