Saturday, August 25

Scoring Woes

I've been having some issues folding the player shields for It's Alive! Up until now I've been scoring the card with a craft knife, aiming to cut approximately halfway through the card and then folding it neatly along the scored line. Most of the time this is fine, sometimes I don't cut enough, which makes folding it a little harder, but at least the shields look pretty smart. Recently I've had a couple of problems. In the run-up to The Cast Are Dice, I over-cut a couple, actually cutting through the card, so the shield had a hole in it. I had to bin those ones, obviously. At TCAD, Luke (of this blog fame) spotted that I'd given him one of these over-cut shields in his game - I'd obviously not noticed that I'd done it. Damn. So I gave him a new shield, and he was happy, but I was beginning to think I needed a new technique. Yesterday I received an email from one of my customers, whose copy now had a couple of these broken shields after over one hundred plays! I'm going to ship him a couple of replacements (despite him living on another continent), because it's an artifact of the way I've made them, and customer service has to be important to any company, but especially one as small as mine.

This afternoon, in an attempt to fix the problem, I bought a specialist scoring tool from a craft shop. It's like a very small pizza cutter, with a rotary blunt metal blade. I've tried it out this evening, scoring both the inside and the outside of the shield, and neither work very well. Firstly they don't dent the card sufficiently to make it easy to fold, and secondly because the ink on the outside has to be stretched round the fold (rather than separated when I score with a knife) it tears and ends up looking really messy. Back to cutting with a knife, just a bit more carefully.

In other news I've now had ninety-nine people pay for their copies of It's Alive!, very nearly a third of the print run, I've 138 orders, which is nearly half the print run, and probably over half of the amount that will be for sale (once cocked up copies and freebies are discounted). Not bad for less than three months work. The number of orders has been helped by another stocking order, this time from a Bricks-and-Mortar store down South.


Rob Bartel said...

I use an inexpensive sliding razor-based cutter for my game prototypes (Fiskars brand but I'm sure there are others). It has an alternate, non-razored blade for scoring and I've had success with it on both thin and thick stock. Here are the product links, if you're interested:


(Replacement blades - the black one's for scoring)

They're readily available at Michael's craft stores here in Canada.

Hope that helps,

Jack said...

Hey Rob,

Thanks for the pointer. When I've previously used a rotary trimmer I found that it bent the cut edge of the paper/card - does this one suffer from the same problem?

The other problem is to do with the ink my printer uses, if I score the card with a blade I get a tidy line, but risking cutting through, whereas if I score without a blade I get a messy line as the ink tears along the fold, but I don't risk the cut. What I need is a precision cutter that will cut to a guaranteed depth!


Yehuda said...

Jack, for my shields, I simply turned the exacto knife over and used the tip of the blade, but on the non-sharp side. With the right amount of pressure, I never had a problem - only when I forgot to turn the knife over before scoring the sheet!


Jack said...

Hiya Yehuda,

I'll give that a try. Because I use a digital printer and thicker card, the artwork really needs to be cut on the outside or it looks awful. I'll see how it goes.