When I first started collecting board games the excitement of adding new games to my collection became a thrill that I could not explain.
The idea of purchasing a new game and adding it to my collection ready to play with my friends the next board game night was something I still try to do.
However like most board gamers around I very quickly found myself discovering a well know truth board games can actually end up being an expensive hobby.
Depending on where you live this can be the difference between the same game costing $30 in one country and $80 in another and as life changes and we gain more responsibility some of us can no longer afford to splurge on shiny new board games.
However, in most cases, we do find ourselves with extra players. There is a cheaper alternative to buying new games that a lot of gamers have taken to.
The world of print and play games
Welcome to the world of Print and Play (PnP) board games where players start to sound more like scrapbookers as they construct board games before they play them putting together cardboard masterpieces for there friends and family to enjoy.
So if you are looking for a new solution for adding some new games to your collection keep reading as we explore what (PnP) games are if they are legal, some ways to construct them and some board games you can start playing.
What is a print and play (PnP) game and how is it different from a regular board game?
Print and play games (PnP) like other board games come in a lot of different shapes and sizes and there are options of most categories of board games available in a print and play format.
The main difference between these games and most regular board games is that when a board game designer makes a board game sometimes it never make it through to the publishing stage or the designer decides that in addition to this they would like to offer their games online, in PDF format.
One of the best examples for this is the social deduction game Secret Hitler, this game has been released In both retail versions and is available to download on there website.
This means that if a person what’s to play the game all they need to do is go down to the local stationery store, buy some printer-friendly cardboard, and maybe borrow the colour printer at work.
Then do some literal cutting and pasting, invest in a few packs of card sleeves, maybe grab a coin or something to use as a token and they have a copy of the game.
Alternatively, a player if they would like the game can head down to there local board game shop and buy a copy costing them more money but taking a lot less effort on behalf of the player.
This alternative model of delivery has to lead to a rise in well developed and play tested games being introduced into the board game community as designers don’t have the financial risks around publishing and can just focus on creating games that the gamers then produce themselves.
These benefits are very appealing to a game developer leading to a variety of fantastic free or low-cost print and play games being created regularly for you to download and add to your collection.
So Are these print and play (PnP) games legal
The answer is normally yes! Let me explain. If a game has been released from the designer as a print and play game are good to go.
With some designers releasing their games into the wild to get feedback and free playtesting or using this method to create hype for the game before they explore a retail release.
Paperback is a great example of this the print and play files for this game are now impossible to find but for a short time, they were available for players to get a feel for the game and provide feedback that assisted with the retail publishing process and helped shape the final product.
Some publishers, however, such as CheapAss Games, decide to keep these files available even after the game has been published and can be purchased for example they have put professionally-produced black and white games up for PnP like lord of the fries.
Most of these designers are simply happy that someone is playing their games and released them under a Creative Commons license, or something similar.
However, when print and play games become troublesome is when people decide to publish fan versions or re-skins of games.
These games, in my opinion, are ok if they still require the base game to play for example the marvel Splendor retheme requires a play to have a copy of the base game to play it. These act more like unofficial expansions then standalone games.
But if it’s a full game that’s a direct rip off of a retail non-print and play game maybe it’s best to move along and not touch it.
So I what next and how do I find these games.
There are heaps of board games that have been released for print and play tho a lot of them are quite simplistic here are the games that I have found to be the most polished and work great in the print and play format.
Secret Hitler is a social deduction game for 5-10 people about finding and stopping the Secret Hitler.
Players are secretly divided into two teams: the liberals, who have a majority, and the fascists, who are hidden to everyone but each other. If the liberals can learn to trust each other, they have enough votes to control the elections and save the day. But the fascists will say whatever it takes to get elected, advance their agenda, and win the game.
Secret Hitler is available for free under Creative Commons license BY–NC–SA 4.0. Plan to spend about an hour with a printer and scissors, or $5 and 20–30 mins at your local print shop.
Get a copy of the game on their website
Funemployed is a card-based party game in which everyone’s trying to become employed. Apply for real jobs, like astronaut, lawyer or priest, with unreal qualifications, such as a dragon, the ability to speak panda, or a DeLorean.
In the game, each player uses his qualifications to convince the other players that he’s the best qualified for a job. To do this, players tell the story of why their qualifications make them the best fit for a job by role-playing and acting like they are in an interview. Find innovative ways to use your qualifications and become the most “funemployed” player at the table!
Get a copy of the game on their website
Lord of the Fries
Game Synopsis: Lord of the Fries is a thematic sequel to Give Me The Brain!. It takes place at the same restaurant, has the same cast of characters, and requires roughly the same equipment. But the game is entirely different.
Players choose orders (sometimes randomly, sometimes not) from the figuratively colourful Friedey’s menu, and try to fill them with cards from their hands. Some orders are easy, like the Cowabunga. One Cow Meat, one Bun. Some are a little harder, like the Chickabunga Conga: same as a Chickabunga (Bird Meat plus Bun), plus Fries and a Drink. Sound easy? Now try your hand at a Lord of the Fries, a Meat Munch, or the infamous Patriarch (Fish Meat, Cheese, Bun, Fries, Drink, and the oft-maligned Strawberry Pie).
Lord of the Fries supports 3-8 players and takes roughly 45 minutes to play. Download the print-and-play all at once via a handy .zip, or access individual components:
- Lord of the Fries Rules: A single 8.5″ x 11″ double-sided page, designed to fold in half.
- The interior page is the menu, and could also be printed separately.
- That would leave you with a one-page rule sheet that seems out of order, but that’s not a big deal.
- Lord of the Fries Cards: Eight pages containing 72 cards.
- The file includes six “menu” cards as well as the deck of 66 game cards.
- Lord of the Fries Card Backs (optional)
- Lord of the Fries Envelope (optional)
Burger Up is a card matching puzzle game about the art of burger making. Fill orders, earn prestige and be the best burger chef around!
Players strive to become the most prestigious restaurant by building the biggest Burgers and by using the best ingredients.
Players take turns, which consist of four phases: the Market phase where players may purchase ingredients from the market, the Building phase where players place up to 3 ingredients on their burgers, the Burger Up! the phase where players may score their burgers if they satisfy an order and the clean-up phase where players draw back up to 4 cards.
The game ends when no more Order cards can be revealed. A bonus is awarded to the Chef who built the most burgers and then the winner is determined, based on who has earned the most coins.
Get a copy of the game on their Kickstarter Page or click the button below
Tips for building your print and play game
There are many YouTube channels that have focused on showing people how to create components for board games in the luxury of there own home.
These are some of the videos and blogs I have found the most helpful in starting to create my own print and play board game components.
if you have any you would like to add to the list hit us up in the comments and i can check them out.
Are you looking for more game?
Check out our latest posts for more print and play games
Or check out board game geeks golden geek award for print and play games for some great suggestions