I only managed to get a couple of hours in this weekend and I used it to get use to my new collection of power tools. I focused exclusively on the side boards, first cutting out the handholds to allow the inner board to be replaced or flipped. I then went at the sideboards with pencil and rule, testing my schoolboy knowledge of pythagoras and trigonometry to draw out the locations for the soulstone, victory and turn counter tracks. The result was a lump of wood that looked like it had circuitry drawn on it!
I then pulled out my new 22mm hole borer drill bit and spent an hour terrorising my dogs and worrying my wife, who believes I'm something of a clutz when handed heavy machinery. I will never qualify as any sort of woodsman, but I'm relatively happy with how it turned out, and I have no cuts or bruises to show for it...
As I stood back and reflected on how satisfying it can be to Swiss cheese a perfectly good piece of wood, I was at the same time a little disappointed to see that my hole boring hadn't left me with the insets I wanted for the counter to sit on. You see I'd drilled through 6mm of MDF, to create the holes where the glass bead would sit to reflect the current turn/victory/soulstone score. The problem was, the glass bead is only about 4mm tall and getting it in and out of the hole was now quite fiddly.
I always figured this would be the case and I had in my mind I could just cut some 18mm circles in 3mm MDF using the same hole borer drill bits, but apparently not so. Whilst the borer did a good job of cutting out the circle, it did it at the expense of the inner circle and I was left googling alternatives. I've probably spent six hours googling drill bits, counters and discs and then I hit upon Phoenix Laser
Now as I said, I had in mind that I'd need a 3mm tall inset and I'd intended to print some transfers up with the current number. I'd imagined using the Malifaux fonts like Bleeding Cowboy and Blood Crow to follow the theme and give the whole board a sense of authenticity. And then during my searching I found someone had already done the work for me. Someone had created counters precisely to size and they'd embossed numbers on to the top.
And not for the first time in this project, I find myself using laser cut MDF solutions for this board. You'll remember that most of the terrain for this project is coming from a Kickstarter terrain project by Impudent Mortal, or Walt to his backers.
And so as I reflect back on the title of this post, which I now realise was some time ago, I have to wonder if the future of our hobby is here already, lurking on the fringes. If I'd tried this project three years ago, I would have either had to scratch build or accept the offerings of plastic kit manufacturers. I would in all likelihood have paid my coin to a rich corporate and probably not got the exact product I wanted. Nowadays if it isn't out there, I can ask anyone of the the number of startups with access to a laser printer to make it for me.
And so I wonder, where will our hobby be in ten years time? Will we all have laser or 3D printers at home and all we do is log on, select our product and click print. Will our game boards be giant interactive TV screens, like that currently being developed by xxx
One thing is for sure, technology is bridging the gap between our imagination and the practicalities of modern life, each and every day. What things look like in our gaming scene in ten years is anyone's guess.