Creating Archon: the Board Game in a 3D-printer

10 november, 2013 av: Jimmy Wilhelmsson  

This weekend I finally finished all pieces for my physical version of the digital board game, Archon, by Freefall Games to Atari 8-bit computers.

I use the word finally, but the process has really been quite fast. Each icon takes about two hours to print and I’ve of course spen several hours in Qubicle Constructor to create my version of each 2D-original. Despite my graphical shortcomings, I’m very pleased with the results.

archon_start_atariArchon is nothing less than a brilliant and innovative game of its time; it was created 30 years ago by Jon Freeman and Anne Westfall, whom I’ve been in contact with during the whole process. Even though they have explained that Archon once was created with the intention that it was not supposed to be able to do irl, I know that they themselves had some thoughts of doing just that – thought of creating Archon: the Board Game.

Jon Freeman explains:

Thoughts, yes; attempts, no.

One goal with Archon was to do a “board game” that couldn’t actually be done as a real board game – only on a computer. Having done that, I (naturally) gave considerable thought to how it might be converted to a pure board game. As I recall, I did come up with a plausible framework, but it’s been so many years that I’ve largely forgotten whatever I had in mind.

However, in my hunt for other procects around the web I have not been able to find any images of someone doing exactly the same thing; thus I do not know if this is the only physical board game of Archon of its kind – but I do know that it’s quite possibly so.

All icons are created out of their two-dimensional Atari originals, which means that a general rule is that the three-dimensional icon should look similar to its counterpart when looked at from the side.


With the exception of those pixels that do not stick together side-by-side (and thereby cannot form a body irl) I’ve stuck to this rule.

Below is a short image gallery with original music by Tommy V. Dunbar from the C64-version:

This is the complete Flickr-gallery of the Light team – the good side.

This is the complete Flickr-gallery of the Dark team – the evil side.

What happens next? I will finish the board, which will be about 55 centimeters in all directions and actually pretty bulky. After that, I will probably publish all 3D-models at and my own website, – where I will also showcase each one of them

Well, that’s it for now – have a great Sunday evening!


EDIT 21/11-2013: I have now been in contact with Jon Freeman again, and Free Fall Games has given me explicit permission to publish the 3D-models of the Archon board game on Thingiverse. You can find them all, download and print them from here:

In fact, mr. Jon Freeman himself said:

We think they are marvelous.


Spelpappan ("gaming dad" in Swedish) is a Swedish retro blog run by Jimmy Wilhelmsson with experience in Commodore, computer games and role playing since the mid-eighties.
For other articles in English click here.

Did you know that I have written a book on how the Commodore 64 inspired a generation of Swedish gamers?

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Kategori: Brädspel
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7 kommentarer till “Creating Archon: the Board Game in a 3D-printer”
  1. jef skriver:

    hello i like your content !
    only bad that its not so detailed, whit out color
    i know there is a chess version of archon, is that the role book?
    gretings from norway!

  2. Jimmy Wilhelmsson skriver:

    Hi, and thanks. The Archon pieces are exactly as detailed as their 2d original counterparts. My aim was to build them to look similar to the original, so they are as detailed as I wanted them to be :)

    Also, the original Archon pieces only consist of one color; blue or yellow – which makes them very suitable for 3d-printing.

  3. jef skriver:

    i found this on thingiverse, its made for few dolars
    this is no spam links
    retro game cabinet whit 8 bit game,
    there is a better version whit joystic al that
    but you need a laser cutter

  4. Marcus skriver:

    Kul och hitta din sidan då man själv är en jättenörd.
    Jag undrar bara hur det är att skriva ut figurer med 3d printer?
    Jag har planerar på att bygga ett eget brädspel och har väl inga superkrav på att det ska vara snyggt. Det ska mest vara praktiskt då jag ska bygga till en prototyp och testvara.

  5. Jimmy Wilhelmsson skriver:

    Ja, om du inte har färdiga ritningar så måste du ju skapa dem först. Jag använde som sagt Qubicle Constructor som inte kräver någon CAD-kunskap utan bara bygger modeller av voxlar (tredimensionella pixlar).

    Därefter är det bara att skriva ut; klart att man behöver testa och pilla lite grann men i allmänhet är det hyfsat lätt att få till en prototyp av det mesta. Det är i vilket fall jävligt roligt.

  6. Good point. I hadn’t thought about it quite that way. :)