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3D printing can create a fun new board game

Sam McConnell

I’ve found a fun new board game that I’m excited to give out for Christmas gifts to the kids in my family this year. It’s a two-player stacking game called Tippi Tree.

The game was designed by Devin Montes of the YouTube channel Make Anything. You start out with a tree that has a few nubs on top, and a set of geometric, loosely interlocking leaves. Each player alternates placing these leaves on the tree, or on other leaves. Because of the shape of the leaf pieces, you can build up, out, parallel, or perpendicular. If any leaves fall as you’re placing your piece, they get added to your own stockpile, and the first player with no more leaves to play wins.

You can’t buy a copy of this game in a store, or even online. It comes as a set of 3D model files to 3D print.

3D printers are getting absurdly cheap these days, with some models costing less than $200. But these days if you want to use a 3D printer, you don’t even have to own one. Wichita’s community makerspace, MakeICT, has six 3D printers for use, and the Wichita Public Library has two. They both have classes on the operation of the printers, as well, so you can learn how to use the machines…classes are required before you can start printing.

Having the game 3D printable is fun because there are so many ways it can be customized. Want the game to have a fall aesthetic? Print the leaf pieces in yellow and red instead of shades of green. Or print some of the optional pieces, like berries, birds, or even a tree trunk that acts like a spring and can wobble back and forth. And at the end of the day, you made the gift. That’s worth some bonus points too, right?



Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.