Stakes Made from Como Lake Driftwood
Selection and Craftmanship
It is in Italy that the ideal wood for stakes was found. First, this driftwood had already fallen, so no trees were cut for the game. Tree branches fallen into the emerald waters of Lake Como lost their bark due to the gentle and repetitive movement of the waves and were slowly sanded down until they ran aground on the shore. The blazing sun then dried and sanitized them. Sourcing this wood has limitations, especially during a global pandemic. Therefore, I picked up driftwood this Spring from the nearby St-Laurent River. The freezing waters of this mighty river did an equivalent job to the wood and the much clamer Como Lake. The stakes are carved from this wood with entirely manual tools. The cross is burned on the side of the piles with a specialized iron. Finally, they are soaked in a varnish 3 times thicker to provide a long-lasting shiny finish.
Polished Rocks Tokens
Features and Production
The tokens are made of polished rocks, chosen for their beauty and capacity to differentiate the players. They are made of jade, opal, amethyst, lapis lazuli, aventurine, hematite, agate, and more. They measure about 35 by 45 mm and 7 mm thick. They are very pleasant to handle with a weight varying from 20 to 45 grams depending on the density of the rock. In comparison, a good quality poker chip will rarely exceed 15 grams. The word "hidden" is engraved and painted in gold ink on one side. These tokens are normally sold to those who give special virtues to rocks. In order to keep a reasonable price, they are polished and lettering is applied in China, at Donghai Qianpanger Jewelry Co. in Jiansu province. It is a small company with 5 to 10 employees dedicated to the quality of its products and customer satisfaction.
Black Recycled Cardboard
Selection and Construction
The cardboard is produced locally, in Rougemont, at Paulymark which has been in place for more than 40 years. This manufacturer is FSC certified and adopts processes to reduce its ecological footprint as much as possible. The black cardboard used is made from 100% recycled materials, mainly from cardboard scraps that are dyed. The cardboard sheets are glued together to produce a strong, durable cardboard that won't fly away at the slightest sneeze. The cardboard is measured and cut with 100% manual tools. It is mounted with quality adhesives to keep the elegance of the whole.
Printer and Paper
All game elements are printed with an Epson SC-P800 printer on self-adhesive luster photo paper rolls. The printer was purchased second-hand, always with the aim of reducing the environmental footprint. The size of the game box has been reduced to allow the use of the same 17-inch roll. Ink cartridges are ordered online and are genuine from the manufacturer. A manufacturer from China, Fortuna Imatek did a special mill run to supply me with high quality self-adhesive rolls of photographic paper. The 17" width falls in between the needs of individual users and those of print shops; it is very rare to find at a decent price.
Handbooks and Markers
Selection and Construction
The first versions of the Conversion game did not have a handbook. Players had to take notes on paper, the old-fashioned way. One day, the author, like all his neighbours, received a promotional small tablet and a dry-erase marker, which was essentially as a mini whiteboard. The concept of the player's notebook was born, because it became feasible at a reasonable cost. In addition to taking notes in the hidden part, the visible parts would provide a quick reference to the rules, such as the conversion table. The notebook is printed on self-adhesive photo paper and affixed to black cardboard, like many other parts of the game. The inner surface is covered with a very resistant plastic film, guaranteed for 10 years for outdoor use against graffiti. With such protection, the markers will not leave unwanted residue on the notebooks and they are therefore designed to last for many games. The markers come from China and are sent to me by a company that is ready to print a logo in relatively small quantities (MOQ = 1000): Queenstar Stationary. Why is there one more marker than the number of players? In the event that one of these is defective, you will have a replacement immediately.
Selection and Printout
The search bag is made of high quality organic cotton, 4.5 on. heavy. They are produced in India by a company with audited high standards of ethics : Norquest Bags. These standards ensure that no child is used in their fabrication and that employees have good salaries and working conditions. The softness of the fabric played an important role in their selection. They also had to have a rustic look to match the other elements of the game. The bags are identified by a blue version of the Conversion logo. The bag was originally designed for monochrome printing to control costs. Although Norquest bag digital printing would allow colour printing, the blue-tone design has stuck for its visual effect. This is the most useful element of the game, as it happens from one player to another in each round for most secret hiding places searches.