Five years ago, I moved into a studio live/work space and slept on a mattress on the floor of a small, triangular-shaped room. I had just become enamored with the idea of creating tabletop games and my head was full of a project I would eventually call Scale. The idea was to create a bunch of strange 3D creatures that would be used to tell out-of-this-world stories. The game pieces would include terrain (mountains, rocks, flowers, trees), buildings (homes, taverns, windmills), and unique and wonderful monsters that would vary in size from very small to extraordinarily large. All of the items would be created using black, white, and gray paper.

I called the game Scale because the pieces would be rendered in grayscale, the items would range from small to large, and the game would be used to tell both tiny and epic tales.

For a few days, I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, filling a notebook with sketches and ideas. Then I bought an X-acto knife, some glue, white paper, cardboard, a ruler, and some French curves, and starting cutting and assembling prototypes.

I was quickly overwhelmed. The project I envisioned was too large. There was no way I would be able to create it in a reasonable amount of time. A few days later, I put the project on the shelf and moved on to creating smaller projects.

But the game stayed in the back of my mind, and whenever a chunk of free time became available, I would take a stab at making a few pieces, get discouraged, and put it back on the shelf.

Three things happened that allowed me to finally start working on the project.

First, I committed to a single medium: paper. In the past, I had imagined using everything from wood to magazines to cardboard, but paper, though more fragile than cardboard and wood, is also more plentiful, cheaper, and comes in a variety of grayscale colors.

Second, I bought a laser cutter, which could cut designs out of paper as soon as they were created on a computer.

And third, I learned more about how to create 3D designs, by taking an AutoCAD class and teaching the 3D design programs Blender and Maya.

The combination of these factors removed the obstacles that had stopped me from working on the project and I was able to begin in earnest and actually enjoy the process.

Stay tuned for future blog posts about Scale, which will include more descriptions and drawings and maybe even a few pictures!