The layout of a punchboard: detailed exploration
Quick news: one round of digital proofs is through with a few corrections, and the next round of proofs will be in my inbox around Monday (which I expect to be able to immediately approve). So the next big news will be when we receive the physical proof copy from the manufacturer. That will include all printed, wooden and plastic components for me to approve (and show off). In the meantime I thought it might be interesting to detail the process I went through to arrange all of the punched cardboard components onto punchboard sheets!
Overall, the process of arranged a punchboard is somewhat fluid, because often board layout will tweak the shapes and quantities of parts, and then those tweaks require layout adjustments. Back and forth. In our case, at the beginning of the campaign I knew we needed:
- some number of hexes (73 blueprints + ?? expansion Stretch Goal)
- some number of scoring tiles (4 lap-scoring & 8 end-scoring + ?? Stretch Goals)
- some number of coins (the most I could fit in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25- I had been testing with something like 45x 1s, 15x 5s, 10x 10s, 5x 25s)
Further complicating things, the exact size and shape of the scoring tiles were still TBD. So before final quantities, I could only start to guess. I figured out I'd need somewhere between around 5-6 punchboard sheets, so the budget was made accordingly.
After the campaign, the quantities were finalized. Here's where we ended up with punchboard components quantities:
Next, doing some quick math, I saw that all the desired quantities were divisible by 6: so maybe we could arrange everything such that we have six punchboards with all the same cut-lines? That would save some tooling money. So, the below animation shows a few of the states before we came to the final design:
On the topic of component nesting and layout: Honestly, I never found a good way to do component placement automatically. Pack optimization is a well-studied topic, but with our variety of component sizes / shapes, it turned out that intuition and trial-and-error was the best solution. SVGNest is an free, online automated solution that is generally used for laser-cutter pattern layout... and it was CLOSE to working, but couldn't do better than the aforementioned intuition and trial-and-error.
Along the way there were some issues with actual overall punchboard size (I tried to grow it, but then had to shrink it back again to actually fit within the box). Also there were issues with margins around the outside, which we didn't notice until almost the end. But overall it wasn't too bad, and I think the final result looks pretty snazzy (click to embiggen):
Onto the future! Once we receive the Physical Proof Copy (PPC), we'll take all of the components out, test their fit in the fancy tray, and show them off to all you backers.
One final note: I plan on sending the Kickstarter surveys that ask for your address in the next month, in order to fully plan for shipping. After that point, any changes to your address will have to be done through a note to me. I will send one more address-change reminder before the shipping is final, but that will be much closer to the actual shipping date.
Until next time!