About this project
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There have been many companies that have addressed the problems associated with cardboard gaming boards. Unfortunately, a lot of these projects only make one game, they die out, or only give you an amazing product with their first project. In the wake of all this, Thinking Monk Studios was born. Our goal is to make solid wood board games for not just one, but many board games, and make them beautiful, one-of-a-kind, collector style works of art that you will be dying to show your fellow game buddies.
We decided to start with a board that can be used with Catan, one of our favorites on game night. After over 200 hours of design time, we finally have a board we feel is truly a unique and beautiful work of art.
Think of our project as not just a board for one game, but as the first of many to come. Thanks to the support from our backers, we plan to create more unique wooden boards and accessories. For more information on our journey, please visit our Blog.
Below is our board and much more, along with the various accessories we have created in the process of this campaign.
All pieces for our board are made from hardwood (no plywood!). We decided to keep the board pieces (hexagons, and edge pieces) the same size as the original, so that all of your settlements, cities, and roads will fit proportionally with the board.
The stain on the board pieces is water-based, non-toxic, and provides a look that compliments the natural grain of the wood. After staining they are coated with shellac, a non-toxic variant to polyurethane.
The harbor tokens (aka ratio trade tokens) will have the same stain colors and shellac coating as their respective resource hexagons.
The edge pieces will come in two possible options, natural (no stain) or blue (stain). These will still have the same protective shellac coating as the rest of the board. There is also an edge piece with, and without a ship.
The seafarers edge pieces and hexagons can be added to your current pledge amount. For the amount to add to your pledge to receive these, see the add on sheet further down on the page.
The glasses will be etched with the following images. I still have a little editing to do on a few of them, as the way we etch the glasses is different from the hexagons. We will have some samples up of the finished glasses before the end of the Kickstarter. There are only going to be the 15 offerings for glasses (at the final reward level).
More information on board quality and what we are offering:
- 100% solid wood construction (no plywood)
- Original and unique resource designs
- All pieces have protective shellac coating
- Non-toxic, water based colored stains
We also have a few stretch goals that may add some of components being offered. For more information see our stretch goals directly below our reward levels.
Below is the box prototype. It will have a sliding lid, with our logo laser engraved onto it. It is made with 100% solid wood, and held together with box joints to ensure that it will last a lifetime. The final product will be shined. We may use teak oil, rather than shellac, simply to give it a more natural shine. We might also make some minor adjustments to the box as well, in terms of how it looks. I like to get creative, so I may add a bit of artistic flair to it. Currently, the box size is 12 x 12 x 5 inches, and will fit all the pieces you would get from us. The original board, plus the 5-6 player expansion, plus the seafarers and seafarers 5-6 player expansion, the small 3 x 3 x 4 box (for holding the pips, harbor tokens, etc) and all the player bags or pouches (with game pieces); will all fit inside this box!
The box comes with the small box, plus your choice of the 6 player bags or 6 player pouches, that is included in the price for the box. Any extra shipping is also included in the box price.
The player bags below are made from animal friendly faux suede, and will easily hold all the pieces for the original game, plus seafarers and the cities and knights tokens, with extra room. Remember, if you buy the box, you get to choose if you want the player bags or the player pouches.
The player pouches below are currently made from 100% animal friendly faux leather, and will easily hold all the pieces for the original game, plus seafarers and the cities and knights tokens, with extra room. All 6 of these will fit inside the box (on update 11 we were still not sure)! Remember, if you buy the box, you get to choose if you want the player bags or the player pouches.
Our stretch goals are explained in the graphics below. If a stretch goal becomes unlocked on the last couple days of the campaign, or more importantly, on the last day/hour, the item will be placed on our website at the same 25% discounted Kickstarter rate for 30 days. You will not be required to pay extra for shipping, as long as, of course you were one of our backers and you purchase it within that 30 day window.
What we want to deliver:
Something we do not believe in anymore for making wood board games, is plywood. To us, plywood is basically a very small step up from cardboard. It warps easily, is brittle on the edges, and when you laser cut images into it, those images can actually peel off just by brushing your finger over it; even with the "good" plywood meant specifically for laser cutting. While plywood is great for certain projects, a piece of art is not one of them. That is exactly what we want to deliver to you, a beautiful work of art that we hope you will love as much as we do. We are only going to use solid wood for our game pieces. That wood currently is solid Ash Hardwood. We also hope to add the option to select from a few other hardwoods and, with your help and support, will be able to.
What we are currently working on:
Blue Stained Edge Pieces: Finished!
Robber Design: Finished!
Glasses/Shot Glasses: Prototypes Finished!
Box Add-on: Finished!
What others are Saying about our Board!
Beasts of War - "I’m beyond impressed..."
The Review Board - "I love this wooden board."
Indietabletop - "This project doesn’t just open the doors to a sturdy Catan board experience, this company is looking to expand this idea toward more games"
BoardGame Stories - "Apart from its top-notch quality and essentially being a piece of art, check the images to witness its beauty for yourself..."
We ship to anywhere in the United States, Canada, and the European Union. We will only be shipping boards to Europe however, and none of the glasses, coasters, and shot glasses. The cost is just too high.
You may also pickup on site in Elizabethtown, KY. You will have to pay shipping up front, but will be refunded the full shipping amount on pick-up. This makes sure that if people end up not picking up the reward tier, we have the money from them to ship it, just in case.
This is an unofficial accessory that can be used with the game Settlers of Catan, therefor you MUST purchase or have a copy of the full game first before you will be able to use our board. We are in no way associated with Settlers of Catan, Mayfair Games, Asmodee, or any company or subsidiary thereof.
Risks and challenges
This project's biggest challenge at this point would be warped wood. The reason for this is because the wood is affected from start to finished by various factors. We want to ensure that every single board and product we send out is the best quality possible. To fix this, we are creating each board over a several day process, giving it time to dry between coats of stain, laser cutting, shellac coating, and even gluing the felt to the back. This makes sure there is not too much moisture applied to the wood at one time, giving it time to adjust without warping. We will also be monitoring the pieces very closely, and if at any point they do begin to warp, we will be fixing it with a flattening process that puts the pieces between 2 flat surfaces and clamps them down. Once they dry flat, they will not warp (unless you store them improperly).
Our next biggest challenge is if something happens to our laser machine, it could take a month or two to get it up and running again. Our hope is that, with enough funding, we can get a second machine, that way if anything happens to one machine, we still have a backup.
The CEO of Thinking Monk Studios, Max, is a project manager. He understands very well what it takes to fulfill a customer order, as he has managed projects in the millions of dollars. We already know exactly how long it takes to make an entire board from start to finish, and, since we are making everything ourselves, we do not have to rely on a 3rd party for fulfillment of our customers orders. We are a family run business that takes our customers very seriously, and are willing to hear any suggestions that they may have.
A lot of Kickstarters have some pretty complicated funding processes. We wanted to keep our first one very basic so that it makes the process easier for everyone to understand when it comes time to fulfillment of pledges.
Our last challenge would be if our Kickstarter campaign does amazing. At that point, we would need to arrange for a second and possibly third laser machine, as well as dedicate more time to ensuring fulfillment of orders. We have already arranged for additional help, if needed, in crafting the boards. And lastly, in an effort to keep all our Kickstarter patrons up to date on the latest news, we placed dedicated a person to be in charge of responding to your questions.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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