Boardgame Counters


Below are some graphics files which can be used to create so-called "counters" (playing pieces) for board games, whether tabletop- or computer-based. The intention is that players use the graphics available below to create countersheets, print them out, and use them in tabletop play. Together with the free gaming maps, these graphics provide a good starting point for designing custom games.

csv2countersheet, countersheet generation tool

The csv2countersheet Perl script can be used to generate counter sheets from CSV (comma-separated values) files which describe the sheet layout by listing individual graphics files, like those available for download below. In addition, it supports a very basic macro syntax to make creating such files "by hand" somewhat simpler (alternately, you can use your favourite spreadsheet program to create these files).

It requires a Unix-like environment and the ImageMagick convert tool to create countersheets. (Sorry Windows users - you'll need to lay out your countersheets using your favourite graphics program.)

Tip: to create double-sided countersheets, simply lay out the CSV descriptions so that the front sides are on one half of the countersheet (e.g., top or left half), then the bottom sides are on the other half (e.g., bottom or right half), then print them out, put some glue on the back side of the printout, and fold the sheet so that the front and back sides line up. This trick works pretty well, especially when used on small counter sheets (where there is less room to make a mistake in the folding).

Known bugs and mis-features:
  • Some versions of convert have a broken -border option which mistakenly colors the whole background of an image instead of bordering it. If that is the case on your box (as it is on my box with convert version 6.2.4) then csv2countersheet's -b option will not work as advertised for you. This does in fact make generating usable countersheets much more difficult because without the borders you don't have lines to follow when cutting out the counters! See this bug report for a description: http://www.archivesat.com/post4806754.htm.
  • This tool was written as a quick hack some years ago and may seem a bit funky. Hack it to suit your tastes.

Counters: Dungeon hacking


angband-counters-32x32.tar.gz (1709476 bytes, last modified 2009.Jul.27)

Here is a collection of 2320(!!!) dungeon-themed graphics, each one 32x32 pixels (so you may want to scale them up when printing them, to avoid that the printed counters are too small to handle). i grabbed these graphics from http://www.thangorodrim.net/ (see their downloads page, which i can't link directly to because that site uses frames). The only difference between this set and the one available from the link above is that these are chopped up into individual PNG graphics with transparent backgrounds, whereas the original is available as one big BMP file with a black background and a separate "masking" image file.

License: see the included README.txt file.

Counters: Generic armored combat


cisco-sci-fi-counters.tar.gz (60199 bytes, last modified 2009.Jul.27)

Here is a set of generic counters for use in games centered around armored combat (in particular near-future/sci-fi genres). Created by Francisco "Cisco" Cestero, they are identical to the graphics available on my Ogre page except that these copies have no unit statistics printed on them, making them more generic. The counters include a variety of ground vehicles (various sorts of trucks, tanks, and hovercraft) and infantry counters, plus a few extras like craters and buildings. Also included is a ready-to-use countersheet, in various colors, suitable for printing. These graphics are all 48x48 pixels, which normally prints out to exactly 1/2 inch (a common gaming counter size) on most printers.

License: These graphics are freely usable in non-commercial contexts, but may not be used in commercial contexts (see the included README.txt file).

Counters: Generic armored combat SVGs


wanderinghorse.net-VEG-SVGs-20130209.tar.gz (855147 bytes, last modified 2013.Feb.09)

This set contains a large collection of SVG-format graphics based loosely on the "cisco" set listed above, but with more variety, including new infantry and armor units, as well as over 65 unique cybertank counters. These graphics (plus a few more) are available via a public Google Drive folder (anyone with a Google account can view them), but downloading this bundle is normally simpler than fetching them via Google Drive.

License: Public Domain

(This set is called "VEG" because the graphics were originally created for use in a custom game of that name.)

Counters: Plastic army men


joe-counters.tar.gz (225206 bytes, last modified 2009.Jul.27)

This set contains a handful of 60x60-pixel counters which i created by photographing plastic army soldiers and touching up the photos to get silhouette-style images. They were created for the CGME Joe game, but can probably be used for a variety of games.

License: Public Domain

Counters: Space Ship Silhouettes


wanderinghorse.net-svg-spaceship-counters-20140112.tar.gz (1198569 bytes, last modified 2014.Jan.12)

This set includes over 240 individual silhouette-style spaceship counters, suitable for use in a wide range of space-themed games. The master copies are in SVG, and small PNG versions are included. Also included is a print-ready sheet which has the counters laid out in a 0.5x0.5-inch (12x12mm) grid. They can be re-scaled, re-colored, etc., using an SVG editing program like InkScape, and many sorts of conversions/transformations can be performed in batch mode using the ImageMagick family of tools.

License: Public Domain

These graphics are maintained in a public Google Drive folder, and the latest editions can be found there. This distribution is not always 100% current vis-a-vis the GDrive collection, and is provided primarily to simplify downloading all of the files at once (which is not as trivial as it could be in GDrive).

When using Inkscape, by selecting individual images (or groups of images from the larger countersheet) and applying various filters from the Filters menu you can get some really interesting effects. Some which i liked:
  • Textures-->Tinted Rainbow (or Melted Rainbow)
  • Ridges-->Thin Membrane
  • Protusions-->Fire
  • ABCs-->Specular Light (or Diffuse Light)
  • ABCs-->Black Outline
  • Bevels-->Button (probably my favourite, especially when the counters are brightly colored)
  • Bevels-->Bloom
  • Bevels-->Matte Jelly (in particular when the counters are colored)
  • Bevels-->Translucent
  • Shadows and Glows-->In and Out
  • Shadows and Glows-->Inner Shadow
  • Shadows and Glows-->Darken Edges
You can also use such filters to create, e.g., counters for destroyed ships by mutating the original counters (in Inkscape try (Textures-->Riddled or Protrusions-->Fire) for that).

Achtung: when applying textures to the invididual ship images, it may be necessary to first reduce them to a single path to avoid side-effects having to do with the polygons used in constructing the pieces. To do this, mark all elements of the graphic, ungroup (Shift-Ctrl-G) all elements (recursively - do it until no more groups remain), then use the (Path ==> Union) menu. That simplifies the image's internal structure. Do not do that to your master copies, as this loses data (nothing immediately visible, just internal structure of the SVG). The ships included in the larger preview countersheet are already "reduced" in this fashion.

Editing tip: while the originals look black, they are actually color code #030303, and they can be globally re-colored using any text stream editor (e.g. sed or perl) by simply replacing that color code with a hex color code of one's choice. For example to convert them all to bright red, use the following commands from a Unix shell:
$ mkdir red
$ for i in ship-*.svg; do sed -e 's/#030303/#ff0000/g' < $i > red/$i; done
The colored copies will then be the 'red' directory. Other effects (e.g. color negation, for white-on-(other-color)) are easily achieved using the ImageMagick "convert" command-line utility, e.g. the following command will negate a ship's graphic to white-on-black:
$ convert +negate ship-0001-0001.svg foo.png