We’ve been seeing a tremendous amount of movement in the tabletop gaming space of late, as crowdfunding, 3D printing, laser cutting, new casting technologies, and high-quality on-demand printing have significantly lowered the barriers of entry for even the smallest game concerns. Now, a scrappy start-up with a great idea can pre-fund and produce a product that can rival the biggest players in the industry.
BoardCraft is an ambitious idea to create a game design software toolkit that allows you to design a tabletop game, all of its playing pieces, even game tiles and terrain, and then print everything out on a 3D printer. Pretty awesome.
The developers of the program, principally Todd Porter and Jim Galis, in the past have worked for such industry heavyweights as EA, Atari, Sega, and Microsoft. Now they’re looking to bootstrap BoardCraft by crowdfunding a game, called NecroVirus, that they designed themselves using their BoardCraft “portal.”
NecroVirus is a zombie-themed survival game that can be played in 2D or 3D. On the Kickstarter page, pledges allow you to buy in at a wide variety of levels, from a 2D game you download and print yourself on a 2D printer, to a DIY 3D version (with all of the digital files you need to print the 3D game yourself in BoardCraft), all the way up to a pre-printed 3D boxed game with beautiful color-printed terrain and tiles.
The idea behind the BoardCraft portal is that, once you buy into a game like NecroVirus, you can use BoardCraft to design and print your own additional playing pieces, buildings, extra gaming tiles, and so on. BoardCraft becomes a way of gaining access to existing games to download and print, a way of adding to and improving existing games, and even for designing your own tabletop games from scratch.
This all sounds very exciting and promising to me, but so far, their Kickstarter has been alarmingly sluggish. With a campaign goal of $100,000, under $17,000 has been pledged with only 22 days to go. I think this sort of technology will be a significant part of the gaming landscape going forward. I hope they’re ultimately successful and that using NecroVirus as the bootstrap wasn’t a misstep.