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Meeples, Mayhem and Mangling

It’s time to follow up on the Meeple Mayhem post.  Past time, actually, but life is busy.

I promised to do some damage to some meeples last time.  I didn’t get to do quite what I had planned, but I did get to send them through a cycle and a half in the clothes dryer.  I figured that the warmth, slightly elevated humidity and constant agitation could simulate wear and tear of backpacks and pockets well enough to get some bead on what might happen over time with them.

For the most part, it looks like the bag that they were in doesn’t make much difference.  They all wound up dinged a bit, and there are the occasional bits of plating that come off, most notable on the antiqued copper.  This isn’t a surprise, but it’s nice to have some photos to show what happened.

I did run into a weird event where it looks like the Top Hat male first generation Tinker meeple, finished in “Misty Gold”, wound up mostly stripped of gold.  None of the other designs had this happen for their Misty Gold, though, and looking back at the “before” photo, I can’t be sure that I actually had a Misty Gold Top Hat meeple in the batch in the first place.  I grabbed one from each of my bins, but maybe the one that I thought was Misty Gold was actually another Antiqued Silver.

1280_MeepleBagTestTopHats

So, I did another experiment with just 4 Top Hat meeples, making sure that there was a Misty Gold in the mix.  This one didn’t have a big problem, though it did show a bit more wear than the other colors (mostly some thinning in the face area, no big chips or scrapes).

As such, I think that for the most part, I’m happy with how these worked out.  The Misty Gold Top Hat does disappoint me a bit, but gold is soft, so this isn’t shocking, sadly.  I wish I could say with impunity that these little folk were incredibly durable, but it’s just a reality that any plated metal will have this sort of issue.  We can’t really make solid copper or solid gold meeples… though that would certainly be a blast if we could say we did and they sold enough to make it worthwhile.

At any rate, overall I’m sufficiently pleased with the overall durability, since the zinc alloy core is plenty tough.  The dings and scrapes that come with life as a metal are just part of the bargain in my book, but it’s nice to finally have some photos to show off.

It might also be worth noting that this just simulates mechanical wear and tear.  I haven’t found a great way to simulate months and/or years of handling with the natural oils on human skin.  I suspect that such would be a surface issue, though, so you’re likely to see the same sort of effects that you might have with other metallic items, like truly silver silverware or copper coins.

Thank you!

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This is something that I should have done before now, but it’s time to do some transportation experiments with our metal meeples.  Specifically, I’m going to put five groups of meeples into five different bags, carry them around and beat them up a bit, and see just how well they handle the experience.

1280_MeepleBagTestSplash

First, the “Top Hat” meeples, in a not-quite-silk bag.  It’s the smoothest, softest bag I have on hand.

1280_MeepleBagTestTopHats

Second, the “Dame” meeples in a flashy pink leather bag.  It’s soft, slightly fuzzy leather, just… pink.

1280_MeepleBagTestDames

Third, the “Mad Scientist” meeples in a rubber and metal chain mail bag.  We picked this one up on Kickstarter here, and while it’s a fantastic bag, I’m curious to see how the metals cooperate, or fail to.

1280_MeepleBagTestMadScientists

Fourth, the “Tinkerer” meeples, in a rough burlap sack.  The life of a Tinkerer can be rough, scraping by with odds and ends.

1280_MeepleBagTestTinkerers

Fifth, the “Fairy” meeples will be in a small soft cloth bag, sort of a velour material.  It’s a bit more textured and solid than the silk-like bag.

1280_MeepleBagTestFairies

I’ll hang these on our stationary bicycle and let them bump around a bit, then pack them in a backpack for a while, letting them mosh about in the bottom.  We’ll see how things turn out, and I’ll take some “after” photos after a week of the beatings.

See you on the other side!

Just a quick observation this time:  The Mad Science Metal Meeples are out the door later today, so that’s another Kickstarter project wrapped and polished off.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tishtoshtesh/tinker-bits-ii-mad-science-metal-meeples/posts/1952937

I’ve no idea what happens next.  I have 3 projects I’d like to do… tomorrow, but this pesky thing called “real life” has me scrambling to see about getting a second college degree in a maybe-futile effort at a new career.  This is also why I haven’t written here much in the past few years; the simple problem with finding ways to pay the bills means I don’t have the luxury of blathering as much as I’d like.  There’s no lack of ideas, just a lack of time.

Mad Science Metal Meeples!

We launched a new Kickstarter campaign, this time for some more metal meeples.  We’re making the Mad Scientists and Tinkerer designs.  Please spread the word!

They are funded, so they will get made, it’s just a question now of how many and where we’re sending them.

Tinker Mad Science Meeples

600_MadScienceSplash

Thank you!

Dragon Aged

Yes, it’s been a while.  Yes, I have a lot of things I could and would like to write about.

For now, though, I’m short on time.  I wanted to show this design, though, for the Dragon Tinker Metal Meeple that I’d like to get made in a Kickstarter project later this year.  The “Dame”, “Fairy” and Top Hat” designs included for scale (the Top Hat gentleman is pretty standard meeple size, at 20mm tall or so, meaning this Dragon would be about 30mm tall, or 1 and 1/6″).  The Dragon has a normal mechanized Dragon side, and an “aged” side, to give it a bit of gravitas.  This also allows me to hint that it would be made of different metals, given that some parts don’t show the aging.

dragondesigns

This is the last design I’ve had in mind for now, though I certainly can come up with others, and there are some Carcassonne expansion meeples that I haven’t had time to work with yet.  They are less popular, though, and possibly less usable out of that game, so we’re sticking with more universal designs for the moment.  Like the Mad Scientist…

madscientistproto02frontback

The Tinkerer…

meepletinkererfproto01

and the Sky Pirate and Rocketeer…

skypiraterocketeer_600

Now, I really would like to get the Tinker Steampunk-flavored Carcassonne tile variant designs done.  They will take a bit more time, of course, and since I can’t really sell them, they will be a back burner “labor of love” sort of thing.

Then there’s the Pantheon Wars game, the Fudging Fates dice and this other game I’m designing, tentatively calling it Shattervale… there’s a lot to do.

Yuri Bezmenov

It’s always interesting to dig through this interview again.

The video

Three
piece
transcription

Going through Final Fantasy XII again via this spiffy video reminded me how much I really love the worldbuilding and look of Ivalice. It’s a world that spans multiple games as well, in different RPG subgenres. It has a great sense of place and history. It’s interesting to see a game studio do that sort of thing over the course of several years.
Blizzard has done some similar things with Azeroth, and I think it serves both companies well. A big part of making these games interesting to me is making them believable. Not realistic, not really, but believable as Other Places that are more than just Potemkin Villages.  That’s what I find most unique and appealing about video games; the ability to explore a different world and tinker about within it.  It’s always nice to see thought and craftsmanship involved in the setting rather than just the splashy things like polycount, soft body physics, battle engines, progression schemes and stunt voice casting.
I do have my quibbles with Azeroth and Ivalice, like the character design of Fran and her kin (she’s actually a great character with excellent, memorable voice work, but making her race be literal bunny girls with little modesty is dumb), or the strained two-faction lore of World of Warcraft (OK, maybe I just want a neutral Tauren to play).  FFXII owes a lot to Star Wars, Azeroth leans heavily on Dungeons and Dragons and is unnecessarily goofy at times (pop culture references don’t age well).  They both have somewhat lazy writing at times and weird choices in protagonists (Thrall and Jaina are overplayed, Vaan is a much weaker character than Balthier or Basch), but are endearingly earnest in their devotion to their story.
The thing is, neither game is in my top 10 list of games, but the worlds of Ivalice and Azeroth are high on my list of game worlds that I love to investigate.
I also find that the rather slow, political, story of FFXII is easier for me to follow when it’s all together like this, rather than in cutscenes between hours of grinding in a barely-interactive combat system, all over the space of a year, a few hours here, a few there.  Call it a personal failing, but I found the story much, much more entertaining when I was allowed to get on with it instead of plodding through the game, looking for the next story crumb.  I did actually like the game sometimes, like when I just wanted to zone out and look around, but the story got lost sometimes.