The traditional board game Settlers of Catan is very popular because it combines strategy and luck, while still being realatively easy to play. Despite the popularity, I think it could be even better with an upgrad to the gameboard and the playing peieces. This blog post will feature a custom Settlers of Catan gameboard that was 3D printed and handpainted. Keep in mind that to play, you must still have all of the game cards from the original game.

I spent a lot of time browsing Thingiverse for 3D files to use for my custom gameboard. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Settlers of Catan-related designs available, and I picked out the ones that I liked the most and thought would fit together well. I used files from several different creators on Thingiverse, and I would like to give credit to the following:

It took me about a year to print all the pieces for the gameboard on a resin 3D printer, as I had to pause the project several times while working on other projects as well. This project was very time-consuming, so it was nice to take breaks and work on something else for a change. The total time I used on printing adds up to about 3 days, even thought I made effort to fit as many pieces on the print plate for each print.

Before painting, I had to insert magnets into all the tiles so that they would stay together on the gameboard. I used small ball magnets for this, which the tiles are specifically designed to fit. In total, I used 666 magnets (18 tiles x 36 magnets per tile). Inserting and gluing the magnets took about 6 hours. After inserting and gluing the magnets, I also sanded the bottom of the tiles on a belt sander to make them smoother.

To paint the tiles, I used an airbrush for the primer and to give the pieces a base color. I also used the airbrush to achieve gradient effects, such as on the water tiles. I finished off all the details with a very fine brush. Finally, I sprayed a layer of clear varnish on the water tiles and a layer of matte varnish on everything else. I mainly used airbrush paints from the Vallejo Game line, as these paints can achieve a cartoony look which I was going for.