Goats Vs Llamas - a Design and Make Your Own 3D Board Game made over Zoom - Make: Community
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Goats Vs Llamas - a Design and Make Your Own 3D Board Game made over Zoom

By Jude Pullen

An Award-Winning 3D DIY Board Game: download PDFs, print on paper, stick on waste cardboard, cut out, build - and customize. Epic fun and creative opportunities for makers/designers of all ages, and great reuse of your cardboard packaging!

Type: Education

Website: https://www.instructables.com/Goats-Vs-Llamas-a-Crazy-Monumental-3D-Board-Game-W/

State: London
Country: United Kingdom
Affiliation: None
Team Members:
Mark Greenbaum - Graphics & Character Development, Co-Creator of Concept


What inspired you or what is the idea that got you started?

Jude and Mark are both Dads who like making toys for their sons out of cardboard boxes - partly as an alternative to plastic toys, but also to allow for new ideas to evolve. Jude is in London, Mark is in Boston. During lockdown, they saw each other's posts online, and got in touch. Eventually, they decided to make an epic board game together, and this became a DIY Game taking full advantage of its 3D nature - with falling rocks, and buried treasure. Over many Zoom calls and Whatsapp chats, they developed a way to co-create despite the geographic distance.

Having worked for LEGO, Jazwares, Hasbro, etc. they knew a little about making playful things: Jude ‘thinks with his hands’ and takes professional commissions in prototyping, so he was responsible for the 'cardboard engineering', whilst Mark was an experienced graphic artist - they set about developing the Goats Vs Llamas' look, feel and the backstory behind worshipping crazy gods, and seeking The Golden Underpants.

What is your project about and how does it work?

Jude and Mark loved the notion of 'downloadable physical play' - a game perfect for makers who also love gaming! The project works by printing the graphics on plain paper, sticking down on waste cardboard, cutting out, glueing together - and voila! You have an epic tower of a game, where your figures climb up the steps, avoid falling rocks, and pick up bling along the way. Grandpa may have to do a goofy dance, (or go back 6 spaces!). Nobody is spared from silliness!

Although the game is 'enhanced' by 3D printing the cheeky game pieces, (and prizes to adorn them, and some traps!) Mark and Jude wanted this to be as accessible as possible, so the entire game still works with paper/cardboard-only assembly. However, the true objective of the game was to not just promote DIY making, but also encourage a resourceful/recycling mindset through making something special with friends and family. The 40-step guide explains the tips and tricks for makers as well as the goals of making the game.

What did you learn by doing this project?

Although Mark and Jude clearly had great fun figuring out all the mechanics, gameplay and creating the DIY guide - unquestionably the most personal part was that their sons (5 and 6 years old) both were so invested in the project, observing the prototypes, failures and eventual successes. The greatest reward was seeing the kids not only get excited about making, but that they were encouraged to draw, paint and make their own extra parts of the game.

For all its silliness, Goats and Llamas is a meditation on 'the journey', not just the 'destination' of making something with the ones you love. It takes around a couple weekends to complete the build, and you'll have something that is not just unique in its appearance, but you'll have made it special to your family. The game structure can be reconfigured in over 1024 ways - keeping gameplay fresh and fun.

The project is not bound by a manufactured game for $19.99 (the planet paying the price for it) - it's about you making it priceless.

What impact does your project have on others as well as yourself?

With amazing feedback on Reddit, Instagram and Twitter - even winning a Toy and Game award on Instructables, this validation helps Goats vs Llamas reach wider audiences and inspire new makers. In addition to the open source guide, praise had also been given to the detailed ‘industry insights’ from Mark and Jude - aimed to inspire others to make original and sustainable games.

Observing feedback, it’s clear the game is not only a 'tour de force in cardboard prototyping, 3D printing and character/game design', but also stands as a tangible call to all makers:

Sustainability can often be an unwieldy or sometimes dull chore to engage with, but this is an example of where the potential of cardboard has been taken to surprising levels, that question why we consume so many games which might be possibly be made at home.

This project also helps kids (and adults too!) gain confidence in working with basic materials, and creating memories whilst they build, problem solve and create together.