3D printing has made huge changes in how industries conduct business. From spaceships printing out tools they need to people who would rather print their own sex toys at home, 3D printing is a technology that shakes up the entire production line.
Another place it’s sowing chaos is in tabletop gaming, thanks to startups like Hero Forge.
How it used to be
Tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder require a certain number of elements for players to participate. You need to have the basic rule book, a character sheet laying out a character’s history, abilities and description, a set of dice, and imagination. Very often players also need a physical representation of their characters, which is typically a miniature (referred to as a mini), to place on a grid map during combat.
In the past only a certain number of companies produced minis, and the designs were limited by what was most common (both for player characters and for the monster they fought). Unique designs were very expensive, and often players had to make due with a general miniature instead of one that represented their specific character.
Then Hero Forge came along, holding up 3D printing as a way to change-up the gaming status quo.
What is Hero Forge?
Hero Forge began as a Kickstarter project in January 2014 and the purpose was simple; a company that allows players to design a custom miniature, then prints it and ships it right to the player’s door. Are you playing an orc wearing an eyepatch and carrying a shotgun? No problem, you can make it.
Is it the future of gaming?
3D printing allows more players to buy just the minis they want. While they aren’t as cheap as mass-produced miniatures (yet, anyway), the ability to get custom designs for an affordable price is something there is clearly a demand for. If the future is indeed one where every house can afford a 3D printer of its very own then it is quite possible that gamers will have a much easier time printing out the creatures, heroes, villains, and even set designs (bridges, castles, turrets, trees, etc.) that will make their quests that much more memorable.