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Subject: Pimpin' out my hoes...and other Agricola components. rss

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Brian J. Hotovec
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Pimpin’ out my hoes...and other Agricola components

(Edited to upload House Goat, stables, fences, fields, endgame farm, Tan Family and check out the Major Improvements added 12-3-09)

Here is yet another set of clay people and components for Agricola. I wanted to share pictures of my pimped out Agricola families and (more than-edit)a few accessories for the game. First, I’d like to say thanks to David Barry (Davidb3) for his thread on making clay Agricola people (http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/348875). His thread really helped me jump right into making my Agricola components with clay. Also thanks to ColtsFan76 for some posting tips.

Thread Overview
In this thread I will show pictures of the various families and game components that I have made out of Sculpey III and the storage box I use. I’m not going to go into detail about how the components were made as I would like to mainly focus on the end result for each set of components and comment on their pros and cons. Hopefully these pictures might also help others that want to make clay components.

Sculpey III
I used Sculpey III for all of the work shown here. This is really the first time I’ve done any clay work so I don’t have any frame of reference, but Sculpey III worked fairly well. Some colors certainly are much softer than others and I definitely would have benefited from having an armature support for the family members, but overall I was happy. The main drawback was the purple and deep red I used were too dark for what I wanted.

Families
I currently only have four families complete. I may not finish the 5th because I don’t play with five players very often and I’m not sure it would be worth the time to make the 5th family. I think some basics that should be adhered to for making a family are:

1) Have a theme. Ranching, baking, wood cutting, etc. Try to pull this theme through the family to make them look cohesive.
2) Be consistent. Make sure your family members are consistent in size, use the same clay colors throughout, and carry through common accents (animals, hats, farm tools).
3) Try to stick to 2 main colors. Obviously you will want to use the family color (red, green, etc) and probably one other main color for clothing. From there, I recommend sprinkling in small amounts of other colors as embellishments (tools, clothing accents, animals). If you use lots of colors on large parts of the family members I think it can detract from the family as a whole.

Having said that, I think the Red and Blue families are my best examples of adhering to these recommendations. The above guidelines helped me focus my efforts when making the families.

Let’s start with the Red Family. This is the most recent family I have completed.



Overall, I really like the way this family turned out. I gave them a ranching theme with each member having an animal or a ranching tool. Grandma has mud on her arms and face from the little pig and Mom has a very nice cleavage, uh, cleaver in her left hand. The hats are really quick to make and I really like the way they look and I think they also tie the family together well. I was quite disappointed when I went to the "Bake Clay and/or Sow" action space (i.e., baked the clay in my oven) and found out that the three men had fallen over in the oven during baking. Gah!! cry They were a little weak at the feet. I did use a toothpick "pin" to connect the torsos and legs for most of the families prior to baking. I was able to easily fix two of them by patching the main figure and re-baking. The re-baking worked well. The patches are just slightly lighter in color than the original baked figure, but no harm was done to the previously baked parts. Dad had to have reconstructive surgery on his entire lower half. We had the technology to rebuild him and make him better, faster, and stronger (and he got a free enhanced buttocks upgrade as well!--not pictured due to graphic content).



Here are the Red Family's fences and stables.(Added 2-13-09) I gave them cattle skulls/horns on their stables and fences to carry the ranching theme through.

Next up is the Blue family. This family has a farming/bread baking theme and consists of Dad, Mom, two brothers and a sister.



Overall, I like the way this family turned out, but there are a few tweaks that could have made it better like the positioning of the scythe for example.



Here are the Blue Family's fences and stables.(Added 2-13-09) I gave them flowers to carry the crop theme through.

The Purple Family is next. They have a wood cutting theme.



I wish my purple wasn’t so dark. I should have gone back to the store to get a lighter purple (like I ended up doing for the red). In these pictures, it looks almost black when in reality it is a dark purple. Grandma has a purple/white blend for her shirt. One problem I had was that Mom’s back shoulder was too thick so when I put her hair on it made her look a little boxy from the side. Now I cut the shoulder blades back for the women to make room for their long, thick hair.



Here are the Purple Family's fences and stables.(Added 2-13-09) They have little wood piles next to the stables to carry out their wood cutting theme.



Here is the last family that I made, the Tan family. I decided to go with a fishing theme for this family. Since I've been playing a fair amount of five player games, it was time to finish the set with this 5th and final family.



Here are the Tan Family's fences and stables with a fish nailed to each stable (drying for delicious fish stew in the winter).

Finally, we come to the Green Family. This was the first family that I did so my skill level was lower and, mainly, I tried to complete them as quickly as possible so I didn’t do any real embellishments on them and "raced" through making the bodies. This family probably took 1-11/2 hrs per person whereas the other families took more like 2-21/2 hrs per person to complete. These are my least favorite and in clay, just like in life and in Agricola, you reap what you sow.



Below are the Green Family's shantys and fences.(Added 2-13-09) Our group decided the Green Family was the destitute family so their stables are falling apart and their fences have lots of holes in them!




Major Improvements

I decided to do the Major Improvements (added 12-3-09). Here is a picture of the fully loaded Major Improvement board.



And now I'll go through individual pictures of each Major Improvement.

Here is the 2 Clay Fireplace--a sheep eater's dream. Crude, but effective.



Next, the 3 Clay Fireplace. This one is a little pricey for my tastes, I really think you pay the +1 Clay for the namebrand only.



Onward and upward to the ever versatile 4 Clay Cooking Hearth. Great for veggie eatin' and big families alike. I like to use it occasionally for when I'm swimming in grain and just do a 5 x 3= 15 food bake.



This one is the Cadillac of Cooking Hearths.



Next is something near and dear to my heart, The Well. What a great bargin in the game. Anytime I can Renovate to Clay and pick up the Well I know I'm in my groove. And when my opponent does it, I get this sickening, feeling like I'm falling (..perhaps down the Well.)



Onto the very efficient Clay Oven. Nothing says lovin' like fresh bread from the Clay Oven.



And here is the Stone Oven. When you are flush with grain, this oven is a must.



Next we have the workshops. Alas, Wood is so often at a premium that Joinery is one that gets bought about the least. With the new Bling, maybe my opponents won't be able to resist the lure of the Sculpey pimping and they'll buy it anyway...



Here we have Pottery. This one gets picked up a lot in the 4-5 player games with all of the Clay available in the endgame.



Finally, the Basketmaker's Workshop.



Other Components
Here is the first player marker. It is what I’m usually working towards--a nice stone house!



Below are the various food markers. There are loaves of bread, fish, and plates of meat and veggies as well as a little cake for dessert.



Here are the grain (wheat bundles) and veggie (carrots) markers. Up to this point I have made the wheat bundles by hand which is pretty slow. I recently bought a clay extruder tool for ~$6 (U.S.) which is basically a metal syringe with different simple dies that can be put on the end. I just started using this to make clay "string" of uniform diameters. I used it to make reed (v1.1--see reed below) and I will use it to finish off my wheat bundles. I wished I had bought this at the beginning of this work because it would have saved me a lot of time with the wheat and reed.



Below are the reed, wood, and clay components. The original reed I made were very thin and they were both difficult to pick up and broke rather easily. The ones pictured below are v1.1 and are considerably thicker--sort of like reeds on ‘roids. The wood and clay work well.



Below are the animals. The sheep were done first and I think they are the least interesting. I put mud on the pigs and tried to give them and the cows some expressions with eye/ear/tail positioning.



I just had to do a House Goat(added 1-09-09). She rocks the house! Even though it looks about 20 feet tall, it is the same size as the sheep at about 3/4" long.



Below are the fields. Some have ponds with ducks, some have rocks and tree stumps in them. (Added 2-13-09)



Here are some food markers for the Chicken Coop. Perhaps the only flaw in this game is that it doesn't have enough chickens! Well, now that little problem is taken care of.



After all of this work was done, I decided to create a "Master Farmer" trophy that rotates around our group and is given to the current winner. It makes bragging rights a little more fun.



The Complete Set
Here is a picture of my farm at the end of a game. (Updated 2-13-09 to include new stables, fences, and fields) One of the reasons I wanted to get Agricola was to have fun making the clay components and to get to play with them. I really like the look of the final farm and my group has lots of fun using the clay components instead of the wooden ones that come with the game. I like to spice up game play a bit with comments like: "Here comes my eldest son from the Red Family. He’s not too bright since he got kicked in the head by an ox, but he sure is good at raising the sheep". This makes my inadequacies as a sculptor so much more fun!



Below is a picture of the main set of clay components and the Plano trays I use for storage. (The Tan Family was not included in this picture.)



I keep the boards in the main Agricola box and the clay bits in the Plano box shown below. The cards are kept in a plastic card organizer (not shown).



Summary
My wife and I are the main two people that play this game and we both really love all of the fun clay components that we now have with our set and I really enjoyed making them as well. This combined with what we think is a really great game has made for many hours of fun. We also play with several others and everyone agrees that the game experience is really enhanced with the clay components. It did take me a lot of time to complete this set and we probably spent ~$50 (U.S.) on clay, but it was definitely worth the time and effort.

Update--we've had the game for close to a year now and have played over 100 2-player games and over 100 3, 4, 5-player games. I think I'm nearing a total of 250 games played at this point.

Have fun!

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Gabe Covert
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Lexington
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People like you make me sick...

Out of envy for your Fimo Sculpey skills...

Mostly...

ninja
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Marco Negrelli
Italy
Verona
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meeple Great !!
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Frank Strauss
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Berlin
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Excellent work, I really like the look of your components !
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David Barry
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Thanks for the kind words and reference. As you can tell from the links in my own article, I was building on the work of many others before me. And your people have turned out amazing! The Red family in particular turned out very well, and I also love the look of your stone house start player marker!

I'd encourage finishing the 5th player set to allow you to occasionally play with different colours - and also to express more of that creativity! (Also great design examples for me and others to copy )

One word of caution though: if you are going to use your figures regularly for gameplay, especially with others outside the family, then avoid having exposed small thin bits sticking out, such as the tines on the blue farmer's pitchfork. While it looks great, it will likely break sooner rather than later. The wheat bundle bits and cow horns etc. also look a bit fragile. Try change the design to have the fragile bits either against a main body part for strength, or turned around so that they are not exposed, e.g. the pitchfork could have been held with tines down. (Yes, I know it might not look quite as cool - it's a trade-off, unfortunately). Likewise if you find the wheat bundles breaking, you could put each one on a small disc base for added strength.
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Bryan Maxwell
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Brian J. Hotovec
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davidb3 wrote:
...One word of caution though: if you are going to use your figures regularly for gameplay, especially with others outside the family, then avoid having exposed small thin bits sticking out, such as the tines on the blue farmer's pitchfork. While it looks great, it will likely break sooner rather than later. The wheat bundle bits and cow horns etc. also look a bit fragile. Try change the design to have the fragile bits either against a main body part for strength, or turned around so that they are not exposed, e.g. the pitchfork could have been held with tines down. (Yes, I know it might not look quite as cool - it's a trade-off, unfortunately). Likewise if you find the wheat bundles breaking, you could put each one on a small disc base for added strength.


I think you hit the nail on the head--it is a trade-off between fragile components that look better vs. more functional ones that maybe don't look as good. The reed and the grain are definately fragile, but luckily the people I play with are pretty careful overall and things haven't had any significant damage. I play with a fairly small group, but others that play in larger groups may want to go with sturdier variants.

Lazy Cynic wrote:
I was interested in your excellent interpretation of the Start Player Marker, because that is a piece that cries out for some sort of FIMO representation. It could be anything of course. I chose a Start Player Pig (see below) and am now wondering what sorts of things other Agricultists have come up with for that piece.


I'm glad you like my Start Player Marker. I saw your's a couple weeks ago and thought it was great!



Aglar wrote:
If you guys think Brian's Agricola pieces are a feast for the eyes, you should see his Warhammer stuff! Nice job, Brian!


Thanks Roger!
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Nick McElveen
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Those are some of the nicest FIMO Agricola pieces I've seen. After having done a set myself--and not having achieved quite your consistent level of polish on all of mine--I can appreciate what a labor of love that was.

I was interested in your excellent interpretation of the Start Player Marker, because that is a piece that cries out for some sort of FIMO representation. It could be anything of course. I chose a Start Player Pig (see below) and am now wondering what sorts of things other Agricultists have come up with for that piece.

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Chris Deotte
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AWESOME WORK BRIAN!!



Someday I'd like to pimp out the Agricola Online site similar to that.
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Roger Boykin
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If you guys think Brian's Agricola pieces are a feast for the eyes, you should see his Warhammer stuff! Nice job, Brian!
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Mauricio Arruga
Brazil
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I still prefere my Agricola bacause mine has stones

Amazing work. Congratulations.I envy your games of Agricola.
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Brian J. Hotovec
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I've decided to go ahead and finish the 5th family (Tan) and their stables and fences. I will update the article in 1-2 weeks with pictures of this family.
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Will
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Hi Brian,
Awesome stuff. I had a question about technique. It applies to a lot of things here, but it is most notable in the fences. Would you be able to explain how you make them so perfect? I am using sculpey and when it comes to the fences I have a lot of trouble making them neat. I assume you are rolling out a flat sheet and cutting them. What are you cutting them with and how do you put them together without mashing them out of shape?
Thanks for your help
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Brian J. Hotovec
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Temelin wrote:
Hi Brian,
Awesome stuff. I had a question about technique. It applies to a lot of things here, but it is most notable in the fences. Would you be able to explain how you make them so perfect? I am using sculpey and when it comes to the fences I have a lot of trouble making them neat. I assume you are rolling out a flat sheet and cutting them. What are you cutting them with and how do you put them together without mashing them out of shape?
Thanks for your help


Will-
After a few dozen hours of clay work, I picked up a clay extruder which made the work much quicker! (I was a little stubborn.) If you aren't familiar with them, they are basically a set of dies that you put on the end of a syringe to press out various shapes. I've seen them at many craft stores for ~$12 (US). Here is an example: http://www.ritzcamera.com/product/EP61104882.htm?utm_medium=...

I used a flat ribbon type die for the fences and a half round die for the grass. I cut a simple piece of plastic the same size as the fences and pushed it into the grass so that there was a little hole for each fence "post" to fit into. I put the three posts into the three holes for each fence then put the horizontal fence board onto the posts and pushed a toothpick into the board to help hold it onto each post (hence the three little holes visible in each fence board). I haven't had any problems with them falling apart (~150 plays on those pieces), but glue would easily fix that.

I also used a spaghetti noodle type die for the reed and grain stalks. This makes them very uniform and quicker to produce.

I recommend getting a clay extruder if you are going to do more than a few pieces. I wished I had bought mine at the beginning.

Have fun!
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cw
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best .. post.. ever.. :star::star::star::star::star:
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Adam Daulton
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Hey! I've seen this set in real life! Excellent job. Crazy, but excellent.
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J. David Koch
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Brian,
You and your lady are the best!
It was incredible to see this set in real life.
Wonderful.... Wonderful....
Now, if I could only get you to make a set for me....
Fantastic work!
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To express my true sentiment here in words would result in the moderators axe. Suffice it to say, EPIC.

On a personal note, and I hope to to pry too much, but are you affected by the rare genetic condition known as microhandus clayformicus?

It's okay not to answer. blush
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Tim Fiscus
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That is just...

just...

Agricoriffic!
 
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Felix Santana
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In the words of Inspector Gadget... WOWZERS!
 
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Alex Chen
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I hadn't seen this thread before, so I'm glad it got bumped. Talk about amazing.
 
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Martyn Smith
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Just stumbled across this for the first time and have to say that for my wife and I it had a VERY high feel good factor

All the time, care, effort and amazing creativity you've put into this must make the games you play really, really special.

Good on you for sharing these images - they're the BEST I've ever seen on this site...

 
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Pat R
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That is just incredible. I congradulate you on your talent and the beautiful fruits of your labor!
 
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Matt Olson
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I am worried. The anatomy of your women folk leads me to believe that some sort of sinister impersonation/abduction has taken place. I am not savvy enough to divulge what this might mean; however it's possible that there might be more than one "gay in the village". surprise
Another possibility is 'witches'. Should this be the case, we will obviously require another expansion and fimo stakes.


 
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Brian J. Hotovec
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I'm glad to see the addition of the Major Improvements brought in a lot people that hadn't seen this post yet. I hope it motivates others to at least bust out an additional game or two of Agricola. Thanks for all the kind words regarding this set, it has been a lot of fun making it and my group really likes to play with the upgraded pieces. And out of courtesy, they almost totally overlook my blatant psychological problems.
 
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