My Sabacc Credit Chip Evolution

When Christine and I first learned to play Sabacc, it was on the Galactic Starcruiser. Betting was done with little plastic chips, about the size of a dime. After departing, we played in our hotel room — using torn up scraps of paper as currency.

The hotel table, betting with paper scraps.

Later in our stay, I realized I’d laser cut a bag of droids to hide and give away to folks (similar to the laser-cut cats I hide in public places). We started using those instead of the paper.

Using droids as currency.

Upon returning home, I set about designing some actual chips to produce on the laser cutter. At first, I used the technique of temporarily leaving the paper mask on to apply paint into the etched areas. This proved to be tedious and the resulting quality was not up to the level that felt worth the work. Only some are inked.

Although the design is my own, it’s inspired by looking at other folks’ designs. Because I’m extremely terribe at mentally mapping poker chip colors to monetary values, I decided to follow the pattern that certain foreign currency uses: the larger the coin, the higher its value. The 1, 5, and 10 credit coins increase in size as a reminder of their value.

I used spare/scrap material, so the 1 credit red and 5 credit orange are translucent, but the 10 credit green is just a standard opaque green. It would have been nice to make it translucent, too.

Sabacc Credits

After designing the chips, I felt I needed a proper holder for them. Carrying them around loose in a plastic baggie just didn’t feel dignified. I set about designing a rack with specific maximal dimensions — so that it fit in a Pelican case — and ended up with a design with a balance of utility and style that I liked.

There were two flaws to this design. First, I totally spaced out on the fact that several of the Aurebesh letters won’t actually print on an extrusion-based 3D printer due to gravity and lack of supporting material. Second, even though I really want hexagonal chips, they really don’t want to stay well-aligned when trying to slot them into the columns.

The S and two As turned into spaghetti.

Despite the flaws, I didn’t attempt to redesign or reprint it. I didn’t want to revert to round chips and the other flaw was simply cosmetic.

Because I had far more reds than the other colors, I decided to design and print a second rack for just a tall stack of 1-credit chips.

(I may have to get more translucent red acrylic to better fill out that rack.)

This tall rack for the reds suffers from the same chip-alignment problems as the short rack. In fact, I had to redesign it, both for structural stability and to better accommodate getting your fingers in there to align the chips.

Overall, I feel that using nice, quality chips as credits really helps increase the fun and immersion of our Sabacc games.

Posted in: Games MakerBot

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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