Trigger Pulled

The big batch of walnut Pentimoes arrived yesterday.
Devon and I were collectively to impatient to do some sort of foolish unboxing, let alone take time to photograph the jigsaw fun of the cut sheet still held together with adhesive paper. So, in the aftermath of all the release and peel of Pentimoes from the sheet and scrap, I took a few photos of the unfinished set to share: 
What was left of the sheet of wood.

The two kinds of scrap. In casting, this sort of thing is called sprew.
Laser cutting needs a fun name for the cast off bits too.
The bag of scraps. I am hoping to find a fun use for these odd bits.
The Money Shot! Actual Pentimoes, next to the ol' CoT.
I still need to stain the tiles and paint the pips white, and of course, there are three tiles missing from this set still, which I will be ordering soon. Those are the 'quints': 1-1-1-1-1, the 2-2-2-2-2, and the 3-3-3-3-3.  I am considering getting three sets of those. I can fit ten tiles on the small sheet, and it seems having redundant tiles that are all matching may be a useful thing, both as back up, and for rule variants.
Any tiles I don't have 'pipped' will get a Mayan Oroboros motif, and will be suitable as a wild card, or wild-tile in this case. The only question is: do I get one wild-tiles and three sets of quints,  four wild-tiles and two sets of quints, or one set of quints, and seven wild-tiles?
I am leaning toward two sets of quints and four wild-tiles... Seven wild seems a bit extreme on one end, and three sets of quints seems excessive on the other. double quints and four wild seems like the best solution. I wonder how many other game designs have been based on manufacturing restrictions?


Pulled the Trigger

Ordered the large sheet of Pentimoes on walnut laminated mdf, for about $150.  I really loved the way the burned cherry smelled, but after a few weeks, that lovely fragrance fades, and what I really want are dark tiles, so walnut is the best choice. Starts dark, stays dark, and uses less stain to get darker.

With this order, I got a $50 voucher on my next order's manufacturing costs, excluding mats and shipping, so I will order the small sheet to complete the set once I get this one and check it over.  The small sheet has some 'throwaway' tiles on it, so if there are any imperfections or issues with some tiles on the large sheet, I can use the small sheet to get replacements for those (pretty damn clever if I do say so myself).

Currently, the small sheet's manufacturing is about $40 worth, so this also gives me a little time to brainstorm a small project I can fit in the margins of the small sheet to use up the last $10 of the voucher.



I ordered a set of steel dice from Shapeways.

The photo isn't very good, and there is a slightly oxidized patina on the surfaces that didn't get buffed, making them look a bit muted in the photo here.

Most of the dice are surprisingly hefty, except the d4 which is much lighter than you might think looking at it. All but the d4 roll well, but d4 are usually erratic. The truncated points on it help make it roll more consistently, but its light weight makes it a wash. If it had some heft, it would probably be a superior d4 to roll. The d10 is a very solid but rather small die, and the d20 is a bit larger than expected. The truncated d4 and the d6 could have stood to be ever so slightly larger. All in all, I am very pleased with the dice... this is just me playing arm-chair designer.

I am toying with the idea of scrubbing out the oxidization from the number panels and enameling them, so it comes up just shy of flush with the raised face of the number and frame... I will probably experiment with some regular model paint first, just to see what colors I might like. No hurries, just one more thing to distract.

Pentimo Photo

Pentimoes, not rendered!
I finally took a picture of the sample cut pentimoes. My design tweaks are going to be great, and the depth of the etched pips and dividers are going to be slightly deeper too. This will allow me to fill those features with paint and hit the wood with light sandpaper to take off any over-paint, then I can stain and seal them. 

I am thinking I am going to use an espresso or ebony stain, and paint the pips with a white acrylic. The dark stain will match the burned thru-cuts on the edges.

I am going to hold out on ordering those until there is another good sale, so I expect to get them on a 'Dads and Grads' sale in a few months.


Pentimo design changes

Black Pentimo with no dividers (rendered)
In the interest of refining the aesthetic and lowering the 'making' cost, in terms of laser burn time, I filtered off the dividers between the facets on the Pentimoes.

I am pleased with the appearance of the 'refined' tiles. The pips are sized and arranged so that the dividers were unnecessary, and removing them makes sense.

Unfortunately, removing the dividers did not significantly lower cost (just a few cents per tile). It turns out that laser etching is a fairly affordable process relative to thru-cutting. With 104 tiles and the assorted chad created by so many 'irregular' cuts, there isn't much to be done to minimize cost on the making front. I could remove the center hole and trim around 5-10% of  the cuts and cost, but I consider the hole a critical part of the design; several of my game concepts for Pentimoes actually need a thru-hole.

For now, I am going to maintain both versions and choose one when I am ready to drop the dime.


Ponoko para Pentimoes

Cherry Laminate Pentimo (render)
I have tweaked my laser cutting patterns a bit and resubmitted my Pentimo design to Ponoko so I can order a complete set. I am holding out for now though: At about $3.50 each for thin wood dominoes, that makes a complete set (51) a bit rich for me to spring for on a whim. I will need to sweet talk myself into it.

Black Plastic Pentimo (render)
I have also worked out a similar set in a thicker 9mm black plastic at just over $5 each. Even more interesting, to my sense of aesthetic at least, are the sets I designed that are etched on a 4.5mm plastic, with decorative backs and pipped faces, so they can be bonded together to create Pentimoes with decorative backs that are about 9mm thick too. These also run just over $5 for each completed domino, but require assembly.


Pentimo, Afterthought

While (finally) getting set to order a test sample of Pentimos, a curious thing occurred to me: I did not even contemplate using zero pips as a facet value!

Confronted by this realization, I sat down and crunched some quick numbers, and found it was impractical to add a 4th value to the pentimo set: Currently, there are 51 individual tiles in a Pentimo set. Adding a null set and including all permutation, I get 1024 combinations, removing the 4 unique solutions (0,0,0,0,0; 1,1,1,1,1; 2,2,2,2,2; & 3,3,3,3,3) leaves 1020 combinations, which can be divided by 5 to eliminate radial redundancy (i.e. 1,0,0,0,0; 0,1,0,0,0; 0,0,1,0,0; 0,0,0,1,0; & 0,0,0,0,1), leaving 204 variations, for a total of 208 total tiles.  Frankly, 208 tiles would be both costly to make, and impractical to play with...

So, omitting the zero-set was actually a good choice, but for some reason, it was an option that just never came to mind when I was in the midst of the design process.