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Pocket-Tactics (First Edition)

by dutchmogul, published

Pocket-Tactics (First Edition) by dutchmogul Jul 23, 2012

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-UPDATE: This (while still playable) is an outdated Pocket-Tactics design. For current sets and rules, go here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:586240

Introducing Pocket-Tactics! A fast-paced, modular strategy board game that all fits in a tiny bag.

Still not sure what we'll do with this little game, though I'd like to make it free to print and play to my fellow makers. My nerdsmen and I have been having a blast with it these last few days. If anyone ends up printing one of these let me know how it plays, I'd love to get some feedback. Reporting any typos/mistakes in the rules would be greatly appreciated as well.

We'll be updating the progress of the game and provide expanded rules on our blog, so be sure and check us out there as well


All of the pieces were designed using Tinkercad.



Each piece was printed on my Makerbot Replicator at a .10 layer height with 10% infill. I printed them all one piece at a time, though you can feel free to try and print bricks of them. I had trouble doing so and it was probably due to my calibration. All in all, the set takes about 9 hours to print, give or take.

So, for the core set as I've designed it, you'll need the following (and I've included the colors you should paint things, though this is only a suggestion):

-3 Conscripts (tan)

-2 Archers (tan)

-2 Spearmen (tan)

-2 Swordsmen (tan)

-1 Shieldmaiden (tan)

-1 Fire Mage (tan)

-3 Beastfolk Stalkers (dark green)

-2 Beastfolk Marauders (dark green)

-2 Beastfolk Juggernauts (dark green)

-2 Forest Witches (dark green)

-1 Cursed Ranger (dark green)

-1 Druid (dark green)

-1 Caer (tan)

-1 Druid's Circle (dark green)

-2 Village Tiles (tan)

-3 Water Tiles (blue)

-4 Hills Tiles (light green)

-4 Field Tiles (yellow)

-7 Forest Tiles (dark green)

You'll also need a grip of six-sided dice (6 for each player) and it helps immensely if half of them are a different color. The rules are in super-beta mode (just finished writing them last night) so expect typos and confusion, but throw me some feedback and I can answer questions/clean up the document as we go.

-Big props to our tech editor, John Peden ([email protected]) for this new, squeaky clean rules sheet

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Printed the whole thing off in one go (tiles, both armies), took about 13 hours at .12mm. Came out nice, I'll be playing with the 4th edition rules but I liked that I could print these without supports, unlike the newer versions.

Hey, right on. Actually, the first core set in 4th edition is designed to print without supports (but the rest aren't).

what is pocket tactics

You could convert that into a "Settlers of Cataan" set.

I'll post a picture (and maybe a blog update) tonight but I was surprised at how well this printed on my Makerbot. The whole set worked, no supports. Had a bit of detail issue, but I thing I had the speed a little too high.

Thank you for including the plates. Hopefully you'll have plates for the other sets when I get to them, but I want to play this one first. I think I'm gonna try pocket sizeing the rules too and adding some illustrations.

By the way, I ran the plates through netfabb before I printed. I think that helped my success.

Awesome, glad to hear it worked out. Looking forward to seeing pics, let me know when you post something.

Yeah, I'll get plates together. Been busy, and once you have a plate together on TCAD it usually takes a few days to render. What material did you print the set in? Also, what temp, layer height, infill, and speed was it it set to?

I am having a lot of problems printing the game pieces out. Last night I tried the druid and found that the staff wont print correctly. The base of the staff prints - then for the next 5 or so layers nothing prints out for it - then it starts again making a big blob of plastic. Also - it seems like a lot of these models have errors when i run them thru netfabb. I am printing in ABS (230 nozzle / 115 build platform / 2 shells / .10 fill. Are other people having problems with these parts?

I've heard that, though not for the druid's staff. Seems to be different parts for different people. I don't know too much about the technical nitty gritty, but I know that I achieved success by trial and error and especially by leveling my build plate. I print them one at a time (in ABS) and, like you, at at an extruder temp of 230. A plate temp of 110, but I can't imagine 5 degrees making much of a difference. They should be printed at a .10 layer height, not sure what would happen otherwise. Might lose detail and it might come out as blobs in parts. Sounds like you've got that part right. I don't know about netfab, but they should work if you're taking the same steps. I should add that I use a Makerbot Replicator, I really don't know what other printers will do... oh! And I've been printing them at 100% infill lately. You might try that. I used to do them at 10% with one shell (never tried more than one shell with those, so that's another unknown for me), but rock it at 100% and see if that doesn't make a difference. The pieces are more durable and have a nice heft. We've also seen a marked improvement in the detail.

Netfabb basic is a free stl viewer/fixer. It shows that the Druid has a lot of degenerated faces (faces with no area usually a side that is 0 length) Using the usual cleaning procedure then saving it offers to fix those degenerated faces resulting in a much smaller file. If you don't wish to use Netfabb on your computer you can use http://cloud.netfabb.comcloud.netfabb.com to clean meshes like this.

Thanks for this nice game!

I'm translating the rules in french for my kids, and I'm not sure to clearly understand the section below; could someone explain me in detail how it works?

"Ranged Assaults: Ranged assaults use a number of dice equal to the offense and defense of both the attacking and defending units' Ranged or
Magic values (chosen by the attacking unit) and function in the same way as close assaults except for the following ways"

Once this part done, I will be able to shar the french translation...

You're quite welcome :-)

Okay, ranged assaults... So, these are made using the Bow values or, if you choose, the Magic value (Magic can operate either as a close or ranged assault, the attacking unit gets the option). When you attack this way, you don't move to attack into the enemy's tile. Instead, you attack from your t
ile and they defend from their tile, so the attacker only gets tile advantage if they're shooting -from- the type they have an advantage in. Also, the attacker only gets assist re-rolls from allies who are adjacent to the guy they're attacking, not for the ones that are adjacent to themselves (unles
s they happen to be both, of course).

Otherwise, it works just like a close assault. If you attacked with Bow, you use your Bow OFF and DEF dice and the opponent has to use their Bow OFF and DEF dice in return (a lot of units don't have Bow OFF, which means they can't retaliate and makes ranged co
mbat a good option). Same with Magic, if you attack with Magic, the enemy has to defend/retaliate with their Magic value.

Ranged attacks still have to be adjacent to the opponent, but special abilities like the Archers Longbows allow for the model to be further away (that's it for this set, but th
ere will be more to come that modify the range of Bow and Magic attacks)

Does that help? Let me know if you need any more help, and if you get it translated could you send it my way? We would love to have a copy in french.


Ok, I think I understood. Thank you very much :o)

I will update the translation this week-end and send it to you so you can add it to your thing (so other french people will be able to review it and make corrections if needed).

That is truly fantastic :-) We'll make some game-play videos soon and put them on youtube (which will immensely, I think), so maybe I'll hit you up for french narration ;-)


Forgot to ask: does a french guy know how to translate "Beastfolk Stalkers, Beastfolk Marauder, and Beastfolk Juggernauts"?

I started to translate the stat sheets, and there is another point I'm not sure to understand:


Whenever a Red Mage assaults with Magic all enemy units adjacent to the assault are affected and roll the highest dice values of all affected"

Could you explain in detail what happens, here?

Absolutely, sorry for the delay. So, when the Red Mage assaults (his choice of shooting from his base like a ranged assault or closing in as a close assault, as per Magic) any enemy unit adjacent to the Red Mage during the assault is affected along with the target. Because multiple models can be affected, they can defend and retaliate with the highest defense and offense dice available between those charcters:

(Example) The Red Mage moves in for a close Magic assault with a Beastfolk Stalker. The Stalker has a Marauder and a Forest witch Adjacent to him. The Red Made rolls his usual 2 Offense and 3 Defense for Magic. The Stalker, Marauder and Witch are all in trouble, but you nget to choose the best val
ues to defend. The Stalker and Marauder have 0 OFF and 1 DEF in Magic, but the Witch has 1 OFF and 2 DEF, so you would use her dice to retaliate (also, they still get two re-rolls because they're adjacent to the Stalker's tile where the fight is originating). If they lose though, all 3 models are re

If the Red Mage made a Ranged Attack and wasn't adjacent to anyone but the Stalker, he wouldn't get to pull the stalkers allies into the fight, though would if those allies were adjacent to the Mage's tile when he makes that attack.

Its a slightly more complicated ability than most, so its
sort of been under notice, but I'm doing the play-testing run with this batch and it plays well enough so far.

Oh, and with the next ruloes revision, it should say "FIRE MAGIC
Whenever a Red Mage assaults with Magic all enemy units adjacent to the Red Mage are affected and roll the highest dic
e values of all affected"

UPDATE: New version of the rules available at the bottom of the downloads. I'll leave the old set up for a time, though I think this new version is the way to fly (only having play tested a couple of times, I can't be 100%). No more moving and making ranged attacks in the same turn. Also, Magic now has the option of counting as close or ranged assault. Made the Forest Witch's ability a little better too.

You really should kickstarter this game :)

Hey, thanks. I'm definitely on board with that ;-) Working up a plan for that now. I have a few more sets I want to finish first and then I'll get the proposal together. I'm actually considering ways that I can get it produced and still keep it within the maker community.

Where are the rules on your website?

I cant find them, i know im probably looking straight over them but I really cant see them.


Oh, good question. Actually, we don't have the rules up on the blog quite yet, but they're available here. The PDF is to the left of our thread here along with all of the STL files for the pieces.

UPDATE: Both sides and the tile set are now available as full-plate prints! This can make things easier, let me tell you....

Oooh, I'm liking thingiverse's new STL renderer! Makes everything look a lot more professional. I wonder how long it will take to re-render the entire backlog?

Hah, I just noticed that too. Was slightly confused at first, but boy is it clean! I can't imagine it'll take too long. Do you think they actually have to manually change old entries?

It wont be manual no. Just a build script that re-processes everything with the new render pipeline. I would love it if they put a bounding box measurement on each picture so you know the exact size. The 1cm grid shows you a rough size, but it would be nice to see the exact dimensions, something like...

XYZ = 14x14x5mm

In a small font in the middle bottom.

+1 warm fuzzy feelings (or that's what I get when people use the "I made one" button on my things)

I printed the king's army in black PLA on my Ultimaker. It shows some stringing, and the heads are troublesome because of the resident heat (I have not yet figured out the best settings for tiny things)

Maybe so, but wow! Totally awesome to see them printed by someone else! I'm sure you'll find the balance. Man, I'm just starting to get a handle on printing them in PLA now. Takes some doing, but its worth is. You'll have to let me know if you get a game in!

I was reading the rules yesterday, but a few things confuse me. It could use some images per illustration and some examples.

For example, the board setup: "No tile may be placed so that it
touches the back 3 facings of a previously placed
tile (the three faces that face the first player's table
edge)" not sure what you mean there. But I think you could make it clear with a few simple images.

Combat could use a simple e
xample, because I'm not sure if I should use total dice value or evaluate the dice from highest to lowest.

Yeah, I'm looking for ways to add diagrams and still be able to fold the rule sheet into the bag with everything else, so that should be coming soon.

Okay, so as for the tile: When the first player puts down their base, they do it so there are 3 facets of the tile facing their opponent. As tiles are added to the board, no tile can touch the back three facings (the ones pointed at the first player). This ensures that as the board is built it sor
t of fans out and can't double back on itself and makes sure there's plenty of room between the two bases. The second player's base is placed after the last tile and has to be the farthest point away from the first player's base.

This is just one way to play. We've come up with a ton of variants, a
lot of which will be especially useful in campaign modes where players attack one another's territories (Base Defense and Fog of War are my favorites right now). One way to do the board is to just take turns laying tiles as you feel, then roll off. The winner is the first player and places their ba
se wherever they want and the second player places at the farthest point they can. This is fine, though we've been finding a lot of strategy in tile placement and I think a lot of that would be lost in this mode.

Yes, on the dice, evaluate from highest to lowest. So, compare the red offense dice to
the opponents blue defense dice (all done simultaneously). If the dice tie, they cancel one another out until one person has the highest value or results in a stalemate. You have a much higher advantage with more dice, obviously, as when a tie occurs and even a 1 is left over, that person wins.

Ah, that explains the tile laying rule, and confirms my suspicion about the dice rules :) thanks.

UPDATE: My game company is looking for a printable logo for Pocket-Tactics, so anyone interested should check out our blog. The winner will receive a free, hand-painted copy of the game from yours truly.


I tried printing the beast stalker on my Ultimaker, but the details are so tiny that it doesn't seem to print very well. Do you have a close-up photo of your print?

I don't have any experience on Ultimakers, so I couldn't tell you how to go about it, but on the Makerbot I printed him at a .10 layer height. That was in ABS, and the results were okay (certainly passable as a board game piece) though I'm getting even better results in PLA. If you look at one of the most recent pics I added here (the one at the roots of a tree) you'll see the little dude front and to the right. He's a little lumpy, but I'll have some more renders soon.

Well, I think my print was a bit sparse. But your close-ups help, I think I should be able to get the same quality as that. (My PLA spool jammed during the latest print)

I'll try the king's army first, those look easier to print.

Man, that's what's been happening with mine too! The PLA is awesome, and I can see that its got the detail I want, though so far I've only gotten to about the heads (on the full plate of High King models) before my spool jammed. Well, I thought it was the spool, but now I'm thinking its the temp I'm using and it gets too gummed up by that point to finish. I'm kicking it up 5 degrees (to 205) and we'll see if that doesn't do the trick. I was printing at 220, but I get a ton of strings and spears invariably break off during the cleaning process. Boo. I know they'll be stronger once they're painted though.

That's why I never print plates (and the stringing issue) I actually print the objects one at a time, after each other. (Cura's project planner facilitates this, but I don't know if Cura works with a Replicator)

I'm printing at 210C, but Ultimakers need a bit higher temperature in general.

My spool jammed, not the extruder, or the hotend, it was just the PLA that got tangled up. First time ever with this roll.

Yeah, it keeps happening to me too, though I can't quite be suire if its the spool getting caught or the PLA getting gummed up. I think I might need to jump to 210 as well.

I tied some things as single prints with this stuff but as the extruder slowed down on the final parts (heads) it would melt the face into a big ball of goo. This was at a higher temp though, so I should go back and try single prints. Its nice to have a figure done in 20 minutes and not have to co
mmit to a four hour supervision, that's for sure.

UPDATE: So, on the 3rd version of the rules. Tightened some things up and added some expanded rules for water tiles.

Oh! And rules for returning units to your reserves through your base. Almost forgot that one....

Somethings wrong with the cursed ranger. It won't slice and any attempts to fix it on netfabb fails. Is there some duplicated geometry in the original tinkercad file or something?

Hm, not that I'm aware of. I printed him out okay and have coped him since then. I'll take a look at him on Tinkercad and see if there's an issue....

Just checked him out and I couldn't find an issue. Can you copy him and check him out on Tinkercad?

I just tried a fresh download.

Just because it prints doesn't mean the geometry is good. If you pay attention durring the slicing process you're told about all sorts of problems. If you're not paying attention you probably won't see the errors.

Take your cursedranger5mm there to http://cloud.netfabb.comcloud.netfabb.com and run it through that site.
That will try to clean up your stl. It will fail, at least it does for me. Maybe the upload is corrupt.

Sorry you're having problems with it, man. I haven't had any trouble with it taking it from Tinkercad to ReplicatorG to my Replicator and I've seen other successful prints online. Thanks for the info though.

Nevermind what I said. Apparently netfabb is down right now.

The stls are not manifold solid which is creating the issues. I get errors during slicing as well. Did running them through netfab fix them for you? I fixed one manually in blender but it took me awhile.

Hey, everyone. So printed the original set in ABS, though I've recently switched over to printing in PLA and I'm having a rough go with some of these pieces. Anyone have any tips for getting clean PLA prints or, even better, has anyone printed these in PLA? Pocket-Tactics might be an ABS joint, though I'm always eager to go green where I can.

I haven't printed these yet. I will soon, but the models have so many polygons that I found memory problems with Cura. I do like them so much, that I'm using them to write a my Project Planner tutorial with them: http://daid.github.com/Cura/?page=Project%20plannerhttp://daid.github.com/Cura/?p...

And I print exclusively in PLA. General PLA tips are, print at a lower temperature (190C is possible) and cool your object during printing. Also, PLA acts different then ABS, so you might need to re-callibrate things.

Okay, good deal. I tried printing at a lower temp but I could hear the motor struggling, nothing was coming out I don't want the teeth to grind off. I'm guessing I should preheat to something super high and then jump right into the print, which is my next call. I think most things I'll print will be in PLA but the spears and bows on these little dudes snap off a lot easier in PLA. Of course, this might change once I throw a couple of layers of paint on them, so the verdict is out.

Hey, thanks for featuring me for your tutorial. That's awesome :-) I'd guess this has to be one of the more difficult prints. Let me know how they turn out.

The moment I saw this I went "Ooh, I don't know what this is but I LIKE IT"!

Do you have rules yet? Who cares, I'm printing these off right now.

Awesome :-) Yeah, the rules PDF is at the bottom of the downloads here. There will be some revisions soon, but its fully playable.

I've been reading the rules. The placement rules reminds me of an old DOS game called StarControl. It had a full game with a 3D rotating starmap that resulted in a lot of the same layout; chokepoints, long passages, some wide areas, and a base on each side.

Star Control is my favorite game ever, so this gets bonus points for that.

So I've read through the rules and as soon as the relationship to Star Control was made in my mind I started thinking how the rules could be modified to be more like Star Control 1's rules. These rules were also applied to another game, Unholy Wars, by the same people.

The change would be simply:

On each turn you get 3 tokens. Every move, attack, or summon costs a token. So you can load all your tokens into one character and have them move and attack or you can move several pieces slowly covering each other.

That's not bad, but we've actually tried it that way, believe it or not. We had a token based system that scaled with the size of the force. We decided that a single move (be it move, assault or summon) on either side keeps the pace a little better. Not a lot of time for deliberation for those who (um) take a little longer than most with their decisions ;-) Also, it leaves the door open for special (and really powerful) unit abilities that modify that. Not to mention commander unit abilities that can move blocks of models at once, etc.

Its funny that you mention Star Control. I've never played it, but its come up in discussions recently as a friend of mine has been playing Starflight, which I guess draws some comparisons. I'm dying to get into one of those and I've been told Starflight is the wy to go. Have you played both? I'l
l have to look into Unholy Wars. Tactics game? Sounds up my alley ;-)

Oh, and all that being said, the token system does make a GREAT variant for those of us who like to plot and take our time and don't have trouble with the more sub-systems we have to track, especially with the contents just within this set.

Holy, that's a lot of awesome from you at once! Great job!

Hey, thanks! Yeah, I did some work....

I'm trying to pack the pieces into plates for easier printing. To that end, I came up with an OpenSCAD script that does the right thing in preview, but gives tons of errors when compiling (required to generate an output STL). I know that OpenSCAD is picky about what STL it will read, so this approach might not work.

In case anyone cares to take a look, and help me figure it out, the script is:


module tan_plate() {
for (i=[1:3]) {
assign (x=s*i) {
translate([x,0,0]) import("conscript15mm.stl");

for (i=[1:2]) {
    assign (x=s*(3+i)) {
        translate([x,0,0]) import("archer15mm.stl");


for (i=[1:1]) {
    assign (x=s*(5+i)) {
        translate([x,0,0]) import("shieldmaiden15mm.stl");

for (i=[1:2]) {
    assign (x=s*(i)) {
        translate([x,s,0]) import("spearman15mm.stl");

for (i=[1:2]) {
    assign (x=s*(2+i)) {
        translate([x,s,0]) import("swordsman15mm.stl")


for (i=[1:1]) {
    assign (x=s*(4+i)) {
        translate([x,s,0]) import("FireMage15mm.stl");

for (i=[1:1]) {
    assign (x=s*(5+i)) {
        translate([x,s,0]) import("caer.stl");

for (i=[0:1]) {
    assign (y=s*(i)) {
        translate([7*s,y,0]) import("village_tile.stl");




Yeah, using a for loop to render one thing is silly, but it made the code a trivial copy/paste/edit. OpenSCAD lacking variables kinda sucks. :-)

Anyway, previewing works, but when I compile the geometry I get really awesome internal OpenSCAD errors like:

Rendering Polygon Me
sh using CGAL...
CGAL error in CGAL_Build_PolySet: CGAL ERROR: assertion violation!
Expr: check_protocoll == 0
File: ../libraries/install/include/CGAL/Polyhedron_incremental_builder_3.h
Line: 198

Actually, if you head over to Tinkercad and copy the model, you can make duplicates and arrange them however you need for a plate.

Instead of trying to create a plate with OpenSCAD. You can use Cura's project planner to assemble plates: http://daid.github.com/Cura/http://daid.github.com/Cura/

I use blender.

Looks great. Are these ABS? How did you paint them?

Thanks! Yeah, ABS, though I'll try my hand at PLA versions soon. Painted with water-based acrylics (Citadel and Vallejo Game Colour)

mmm my favorite paint brands :)