Print-and-Play Tabletop Gaming

Sometime in late 2019 i discovered the semi-underground phenomenon known as "print-and-play," a.k.a. PnP, tabletop games. In short, PnP games are distributed in electronic form, typically PDF, and are intended to be printed out and assembled oneself. Some require additional components which cannot be distributed electronically, e.g. dice and tokens with which to track things are common. As of July 2021 i've assembled more than a dozen PnP games and have gotten reasonably good at it, though there are levels of professionalism i cannot possibly reach due to my personal aversions to some of the required materials (namely aerosol sprays).

Though i have a color printer at home, it doesn't do well with large areas of color, prefering to smear them across the page and the following few pages. Whether that's due to cheap toner or an aging and dying printer is unknown. Thus to print out PnP titles i send them off to an online printing service, posting them in batches of 200-300 pages or so to reduce the cost significantly (10-12 cents per page, including shipping, is typical, though it can be as high as 15 cents for smaller batches). Though i prefer paper weights of around 220-230gsm, those are not always an option, and sometimes have to fall back to 200gsm. 250gsm is kinda nice, though i'm somewhat torn on whether its extra thickness is a blessing or a curse. Once the printouts arrive, the work of gluing together the fronts and backs of cards, and similar aspects of construction, begins.

Resources

  • The obligatory photo album where pics of in-progress and completed PnP builds are posted.
  • PnPArcade.com is the online source for obtaining PnP titles, many of which are free and the overwhelming majority of which cost 3 USD or less.