Le Budget Noir - Proof of Concept

CrazyEddie

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Two things:
  • I've been in love with Le Paulson Noirs since I first saw them. A beautiful, ornate, elegant graphic design; a unique and interesting edge mold, bold colors - what's not to love?
  • I've been contemplating making a custom set using Spirit molds; they're cheap, they feel great, they have a unique and interesting edge mold...
A challenge in making a Spirit set is that your selection of colors and edge spots is limited. The good news is that the available colors are pretty good; they're clones of the venerable Paulson Classics - tried and true, basic but functional, simple but satisfying. The bad news is that the selection is even further limited because some of the colors are getting hard to come by these days. So my forthcoming Spirit set will in several ways be a compromise, using the chips I can get cheaply and easily and using them to their best advantage.

The wife and I were sorting through possible combinations of colors and spots and denominations, and have decided on a sequence that we both feel pretty good about. Once that was settled, I wanted to see what they'd look like with an actual inlay[*]... and figured "Well, heck, why not turn these into Le Noirs?"

[*] It's a decal, not an inlay, but "inlay" has become a metonym so deal with it

After a bit of work in Inkscape and Paint.Net I managed to hack together a bad-but-serviceable clone of the Le Noir inlays. I printed them on plain paper because I have no labels, then cut them out with an Exacto knife and stuck them on the chips with a gluestick. So these are presented not as a final product, but as a crude mock-up to get an idea of what the final product might look like, should I choose to pursue it. Without further ado:

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Here's a fixed-limit pot, followed by a no-limit pot:

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And here's a stack of the value chips, which don't usually get tossed in the pot:

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I'm glad I went through this exercise. After doing it, I came to the conclusion that I do not want to use a Noir clone as the inlay for these chips. My biggest issue is that the design is simply too busy to use with the 4d14 spotted chips. The splashed pots have too much fighting between the base color, two adjacent spot colors, the black background, the white letters, and the fiddly little ornate elements in each chip, TIMES TWO just for the limit pot. It's not as bad for the solids, and not really that much of an issue with the value chips, but the effect of the 1 and the 5 together in the pot is enough for me to shelve this idea as a nice try but ultimately a no-go.

I'm happy with the chip sequence, though, even if it doesn't work with this particular inlay design. I like the "negative spot progression" where the first two chips have spots and then the next two chips are solids, bearing in mind that most stacks won't have more than those four denominations. I like the return to spots for the high-value chips, marking them as something extra-special. I absolutely love the colors on the white chip, and I love the way the blue and white chips work together in the pot (that's hard to tell here because of the inlay, but when I made pots with unlabeled chips they looked gorgeous). I love the way the solid green sits on top of the white and blue chips, and I love that particular shade of green; it's so deep and rich.

The next challenge will be to find a workable decal design. Something in the same spirit as Le Noir, but not as busy. Something that cooperates with the 4d14 spots instead of fighting them. I'm looking forward to - hopefully - working with one of our talented resident designers to workshop some ideas. But that's for another day. :)
 

BarrieJ3

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First thought is that's no small amount of time and money being spent on a spirit mold set that as you say is pretty limiting. Then again, look at me an either buffoons spending time and money on all those 8V china clays.

Great idea, but just as an offshoot take a glance at the cards mold chips as well if you're open to a ceramic. Fully customizable at around .30 a pop, and I bet we have some designers that would have a field day with le budget noir.
 

CrazyEddie

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It's a stupid amount of time to spend, but that's what hobbies are for, right? :) I definitely want to make a spirit mold set, though, because I really like the mold. Working within the limitations that imposes is an exercise in creativity.

I'm very open to ceramics, but the cards mold just doesn't move me. I've got my eye out on what the "new PCF ceramic mold" might be if a group buy for such a mold does in fact materialize. Fingers crossed!
 
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CrazyEddie

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Chipsandgames has a limited selection still available. They're on clearance for seven to thirteen cents each.

I had a handful of chips completely disintegrate when I took them out of the package, especially among the solid greys. But only a handful. A few more have gotten chipped edges just from being handled. The rest feel solid.
 
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