You might have already spotted this one-of-kind token designed for use with X wing™ in some forums…No it’s not gushers, it is Gozu Zone tokens 😉

This article deals with how we came up to make these new tokens and our learnings from what could be some criteria to judge what is a “right” token and what is not and how some ideas change into products.

The decision to create a new generation of tokens

Many times, X Wing players recommended us to make them. However, this was a brick & mortar shop visit a few months ago which convinced us to do that definitively.

For us, the question remains the same: how, as we are the first 3D printing manufacturer, could we bring something to the table to change the statu quo?

So, we wanted to innovate. Great! In order to strike hard, and bring something so new that laser cut could not match with it, we had a sound idea: to make 3D detailed tokens. Wow! Hold your breath ! And who else could have had that idea ? Good bye laser cutting ! The game is over. We repeated again and again how great the idea was in our poor office.

Shortly afterwards, we talked with our favorite 3D artist, Julian, to make the list, the result of great minds. He executed the sketch and we got this:

Photo 13-11-2014 15 58 22

Hold your breath a second time! Yes. As you might have noticed, none of these tokens, except one, survived the R&D phase. The token shield was consistent enough and beautiful, to pass the selection process. Some people in the game industry warned us about showing what should remain in the backstages.

Well, we are not afraid to show that to you. It makes you understand more the design process, somehow. So, on this picture, you are currently watching one of the most “original” and “less relevant” tokens of the never written history of tokens.

This state of grace did not last for long and after a few nights sleep, we realized it was not very convenient for the players. Fortunately, we admited this idea should get some feedback from the community.

Then we decided to start from scratch again, with one exception : the shield tokens. As we needed a global consistency among the tokens, we thought about using the same hexagonal shape. They can be placed adjacent to each other and the hexagonal surface can have maximum details.

 First learning : some assumptions of the search for the token grail

It is a thing to get an idea, and even a concept of a 3D token, but we think you need to follow some requirements to make something relevant. Thus, we thought about what could be « token grail »


  1. Immediate identification of the main symbols
  2. Easy to be read on the game board
  3. Easy to be grasped and stable
  4. Aesthetic quality and global consistency

Cosmetic and/or overkill (or not!):

  • (5) The sound of the token when it is dropped on a table.
  • (6) Easy to be stored and sorted

From all of these assumptions, we can already state the design of the token should save time to the player, and « showcase » the beauty of the player’s game stuff.



  • (1) Immediate identification of the main symbols


Is the icon on the token original and easy to look at? Very well ! Is is universally understandable for an American, European and Taiwanese gamer or a simple dishonest opponent? This thinking is the result of the community’s veto on our first focus token. Feel free to have a look:


When we started, we wanted to give a eyewink to the sci-fi movies so we suggested a robotic eye. Can you recognize the token if we do not tell you it is a focus?



An eye with a humanoid symbol, clearly recognizable:


The evade icon was a little bit more complex than the basic symbol. However, we confirmed the players understood it is the evade token quickly. So we refused to change it, mainly because we loved the idea.




  • (2) Easy to be read on the game board

The items should be spotted clearly. The worst example could be a black colored token on a black galactical play mat. This led us to understand why many players favor flashy acrylic tokens like the litko’s or the corseg, or team covenant’s. Following that principle, we also took out flash colors.



  • (3) Easy to be grasped and stable


The players should be able to take the tokens easily, not only to save time,  but also to give more precision to the player, and make it more comfortable to use the token as a tool for acting (like the poker players who like to play with their tokens).

Below, you will find a test (not successful), of a stackable token. We did not follow the idea because of the instability of the token les uns sur les autres. Furthermore, it was ugly.


  • (4) Aesthetic quality and global consistency



That leads us to the quality. It should be attracting, of course. Some players will look for translucid, flat parts. Some will prefer a maximum of details and immersion, and even to touch and feel the 3D shape.


  • (5) The sound of the token when it droppes on a table

What kind of noise do you hear when the token falls onto a game board? Do you like it? Some high spirited people might have modified the structure to create something nice. We do not know these people right now. Maybe it will be us in the future, who knows? 😉


  • (6) Easy to be stored and sorted

Does the token have a shape which make their storage easier? Or do the designers have a solution for storage and sorting them ? If the principle of saving time is key for the players, then it could be useful to pre-arrange the tokens before the game.

Now that we know what are our assumptions about the « token grail », we can tell the story of the packaging which was changed into a storage solution (the cosmetic & overkill element, remember). Indeed, this story is closely linked with the point 6.

This storage issue is tricky, as it implies for the design to have both the power to change the shape of the token and  the storage, which becomes much more complicated to do with the laser cut technology.

From a packaging problem to a unique « hive » storage for tokens

There, we had the packaging being transformed into a storage because we faced different problems which needed solutions, which led to new problems and so on until we got a storage. What an amazing story?

First problem:

We wanted a neat packaging for the tokens. We agreed that being a 3D printing manufacturer, we were able to create an extra piece just for the packaging. We did it by adding a honey comb shape to place all the tokens.

Gozu Zone presents…the first packaging for tokens…in « radioactive yellow » !

Indeed, the first test was conducted on our mythical test filament, the radioactive yellow… The first buyer of the filament in our company wants to be kept anonymous… in this two people company.


The first try was rather encouraging, disregarding the fact that it was impossible to keep the tokens in place in the honey comb structure. The shells of the blister were used to close the top and bottom sides.


Second problem:

However, it was a real pain to open the blister and realize everything collapsed ! We needed to partition the different slots ! We created a shell between the tokens and closed the bottom side !

Exclu développement tokens

The third problem:

Well, this is great, but when we introduced the starter to the players, we had to place the hive up side down and get a second time all the tokens in a mess! This was not acceptable to waste so much time, like you have for the tokens in sachets.

gozu-zone-3D-tokens-mechanismThen, we found out: we had to create a slot in the bottom side to let the players use choose the tokens one by one. So, we can say that it was everything but a planned and thoroughly thought idea.

To put it in a nutshell, we learned that if you could sum up a few criteria to have relevant tokens, then we assume it could be these ones described above.

We also wanted to share with you how much some new 3D printed products designed from scratch could be adjusted and iterated quickly to lead to genuine (unexpected) innovations.


What do you think about that criteria to evaluate tokens ? Would you add some?

Are they relevant for all the tokens in every subdomain (tabletop, wargames, boardgames…?)

In your opinion, what are the most achieved tokens you know?



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