I love tabletop games. Something about the physical component makes them far more social and fun than a video game (which are fun, but tend to be anti-social).
So I asked my German friend, Tobias, owner of the German board games site Brettgames.de and board game expect, to help me create a list of his favorite 3D printed board games on Thingiverse.
If you live in Germany and are interested in children’s board games, check out his site for reviews of his favorite board games for kids at https://www.brettgames.de/zielgruppe/kinder.
Settlers of Catan style board game (magnetic)
This is our favorite among all 3d printable games we looked at.
It is a fully playable version of the classic game “Settlers of Catan”. Not only does this one bring all the exciting functionality, but wow does it deliver visually.
If you’ve never played Settlers of Catan you can pick it up on Amazon and be
fighting with your family about wheat having fun in no time.
Vorpal The Hexapod Walking Robot
This is an awesome 3D printed and Bluetooth controlled combat hexapod with a 3D printed gamepad and a set of game accessories to enjoy playing a variety of games.
It’s by far the most involved print on this list but would be a great parent/child project or fun weekend project.
Hexapod robots are also great for inspiring learning about robotics (for you or your child/grandchild).
Caterpillar 777f Dump Truck
I just purchased a Steel Catapiller Dump truck – just like this – for my daughter for Christmas.
But it would have been so much cooler to say “hey, daddy made this for you” (she loves that – even when I just write her name with a 3d pen).
Low Poly Fantasy Tabletop – Alliance Base Units
These three Low-Poly fantasy figures are perfect to be used in strategy tabletop games.
The set consists of an Elven Archer, a Human Swordsman, and a Dwarven Axeman and will give your games a special touch.
Fantasy Mini Collection (multiple poses)
This huge collection of fantasy miniatures should fill many of your Warhammer or D&D needs.
If you do decide to print these, user MonkeyRobot22 has some very useful tips:
For those asking re: print settings, I have found you want to do settings that reduce stringing and oozing primarily.
Look up how to reduce stringing, but in general, go for the highest default resolution your slicing program suggests for your printer. Be sure to keep their default and not go even higher.
The reason for this is your nozzle prints best at certain increments [aside: these are called your printer’s “Magic Numbers”]. Mine goes best at .08 mm layer height, first layer .2 mm.
Crank up retraction to maybe 5 mm and highest retraction speed. Reduce temp to 180 C for PLA and reduce print speed to 20 mm/s. Up travel speed as high as it will go, 200 mm/s for most printers, to snap off any string.
Since I have done this, my PLA minis look fantastic.
Also, if supports are necessary, use a brim or raft. Rafts are great in this case because the don’t really mar your base. This will prevent the support losing adhesion and making a mess. In general, fewer supports are better.
Finally, if you are having trouble with supports, use a CAD program to split the mini vertically, and print separately in two halves, which you can glue together using Loctite Gel Control.MonkeyRobot22
Fidget Spinner – One-Piece-Print / No Bearings Required!
We covered this one in our collection of free fidget spinners to 3d print. It’s a great, one-piece print-in-place fidget spinner with no need for expensive bearings.
A great time killer for your toddler (or yourself in your 18th zoom meeting of the day.)
Pocket-Tactics: Core Set 2 (Fourth Edition)
Pocket Tactics is a modular strategy board game that is fully 3d printable.
It has a hexagonal tile setup (popularized by Settlers of Catan) and looks like a cross between Settlers, Sid Myers' Civilization 6, and Carcassonne (a HUGE favorite in my family and our usual go-to).
Looks like fun!
Unlike the truck and all the other games also featured in this post, this small but mighty toy ship can float on water.
If you’re a parent, you can print a fleet out and turn bathtime into a maritime experience.
Cube Libre puzzle
The Cube Libre Puzzle is an interesting 3d printable puzzle game with a matching box.
It’s compact and fun – making it the perfect game for on the go.
CALIBLOCK – Calibration Print Toy
This interesting toy is actually a calibration print yet it can be used as a Lego-like building toy.
Assuming your printer is fairly well-calibrated, the CALIBLOCKs can be plugged together similar to Lego bricks.
Functional, good for tuning your printer, and a fun little toy to boot.
Although small, this is a cool little catapult. It’s also strong! Depending on the ammunition/item you place into it the catapult can fling it up to 7 feet (2 meters).
A great addition to create your own “break the castle” type game.
Castle dice tower with moveable gate
Dice towers are fun – yet functional! – additions to many tabletop games. You place the dice in the top and they roll down a staircase, ending at the bottom (essentially rolling for you.)
We liked that the gate on this one can be raised so that the dice do not roll onto the table.
PokéPawns: generic-use pokemon game pieces
With this set, you can replace conventional pawns in various board games – such as Sorry with these Pokémon style 3d printed board game tokens.
These figures are approximately the size of normal pawns, so they should do fine in a wide range of games.
And if you need more of a Poké-fix, check out our free 3d printed Pokemon file collection.