Etchtober Gallery: Tabletop Games on Etch-a-Sketch

For the past few years, Ive participated in Inktober, a month-long drawing challenge started by Jake Parker that encourages you to make one drawing a day. Theres always an official list of prompt words for each day, though now a lot of people come up with their own themed lists. (One of my favorites this year was the A.I.nktober prompts that were generated by a neural net.) I havent always made it all the way through the entire month, but its a fun exercise that gives me an excuse to do some drawing each year even if Ive set it aside for a while.

Last year, I decided to do my own spin on it: Etchtober! I did each drawing for the month on my Etch-a-Sketch, and had a lot of fun. This year, I did it again, but with an additional feature: every drawing would be based on a tabletop game. I wanted to highlight games I liked, and it was fun to think about what games fit each prompt word. I shared these on social media during the month; heres a look back at the whole set of drawings!

Etchtober: Ring

Day 1: Ring

Several games have rings in them, but I decided to go with one the 5-point artifact inClank!, one of my favorite games. The ring is actually the least valuable artifactyou can see the 15-point golden bananas down in the corner. I was a little rusty and had trouble getting proportions right, but it turned out all right.

Etchtober: Mindless

Day 2: Mindless

I thought at first about drawing a game that didnt require much thought, likeChutes & Ladders, but I really wanted to focus on games that I actually enjoy. So I went with the concept of zombies instead. This is from the cover ofGood Dog, Bad Zombie, a cooperative game where dogs fight off zombies and rescue the hoomans. I love how the zombie turned out, and the top two dogs are pretty goodthe dog at the bottom ended up with kind of a short neck.

Etchtober: Bait

Day 3: Bait

I considered fishing-themed games, but I dont have a lot of those that I felt would make a good drawing, so instead, I decided to draw Fireball Island. Theres a big gem that sits right next to Vul-Kar, and to get it you have to cross over a rickety bridge thats very likely to get hit if Vul-Kar explodes. I have to confess that after drawing the main features: the woman, the gem, the bridges, and Vul-Kars mouth, I got tired and didnt put much detail into the lower right part of the screen.

Etchtober: Freeze

Day 4: Freeze

There were a few options for freeze, but I decided to go with an ice cream truck fromRocky Road a la Mode. Straight lines are always nice on an Etch-a-Sketch, though round wheels are a little tricky. This particular truck is driven by two kids.

Etchtober: Build

Day 5: Build

Build is one of those words that can fitso many games, so the hardest part was deciding which one to go with. I decided I liked the idea of drawing Rhino Hero, a game about building a tall tower using folded card walls and flat card floors. This illustration is from the coverI decided to just draw Rhino Hero and not the brickwork (or the cat looking out the window) on the building.

Etchtober: Husky

Day 6: Husky

Thereare games that actually feature the dog version of huskies, but not games that Im very familiar with myself. I decided to go with the other definition of husky instead, andVillage Pillage had several good options. I love the range of characters in the illustrations: lots of different ages and ethnicities and body shapes. This husky guy is from the basic Wall card.

Etchtober: Enchanted

Day 7: Enchanted

Youd think enchanted would also be really easy to find in a game, right? Well, it turns out a lot of games that have magical things dont actually use the word enchanted, so I kept looking until I found the Enchanted Bow in Vast: The Crystal Caverns. The card only has a drawing of the bow, so I put it in the hands of the Knight on her player board illustration. Ive always liked Kyle Ferrins artwork for the game, though my reproduction of it gave the Knight a big head.

Etchtober: Frail

Day 8: Frail

Spirit Island is a colonization-themed game in which players cooperate as the spirits of the island to drive out the colonizers, who spread across the land and erect villages and towns. Its an interesting twist on the usual narrative, and makes you look at things in a different light. The invaders are tiny plastic miniatures that are extremely skinnyI thought they would be a good example of frailty, both the physical model and their significance in the game.

Etchtober: Swing

Day 9: Swing

This is the only game in my Etchtober drawings that I actually havent played myself, but Im fascinated by it.Stonehenge and the Sun is a game from the Japanese publisher Itten, and it involves a steel ball suspended from the ceiling that you swing through an increasingly crowded structure, trying not to knock things over.

Etchtober: Pattern

Day 10: Pattern

Pattern felt like a perfect fit forCalico, a tile-laying game about making quilts that was on Kickstarter during October. It turns out that drawing fuzz is tricky on the Etch-a-Sketch, and I had a bit of trouble drawing the hexagonal tiles in perspective. Id originally entertained the idea of drawing in the patterns on the hexes, but decided that (1) it would make the drawing too busy and might make the cat harder to see, and (2) it was going to take way too long anyway.

Etchtober: Snow

Day 11: Snow

When I was in Taiwan this summer, I picked up a game called Yukidama Zombie thats about knocking down the advancing hordes of zombies using giant snowballs. (The actual game has you rolling steel ball bearings down a tilted board at the zombie meeples.) You can also put pegs into the board to redirect the balls, pachinko-style, which explains the rabbit with the mallet and the big wooden stake in the top corner.

Etchtober: Dragon

Day 12: Dragon

Ah, another word with plenty of game choices! I really love the dragon inVast, but since Id already usedVast earlier, I got this boss from5-Minute Dungeon: A Freakin Dragon! The unfortunate thing is that parts of the body are covered up by game text and symbols, so after I drew the head, I kind of had to fudge parts of it.

Etchtober: Ash

Day 13: Ash

Unfortunately, some of the obvious suggestions for ash that Id gotten (likePokemon) were games that I hadnt actually played myself, so I went in a different direction: the Scoundrel fromRoot has a scorched earth ability that lets him burn down an entire clearing and makes it useless for the rest of the game. Presumably, thered be a good amount of ash there. I also figured this mask-wearing, jack-o-lantern carving vagabond would be a nice fit for Halloween.

Etchtober: Overgrown

Day 14: Overgrown

I had a game that was a perfect fit for overgrown:Skulk Hollow. There are giant creatures made up of rocks and trees and plants, so I got both meanings of overgrown at once. This one is Grak, the giant bear.

Etchtober: Legend

Day 15: Legend

Id recently reviewedTime of Legends: Destinies, so that seemed like a good fit for the prompt. But I wasnt sure what from the game to draw: one of the miniatures? A card? I finally settled on the cover, and decided to do an experiment. The background shows a huge Abbadon towering over a castle, somewhat shrouded in mist and smoke, with figures in the foreground in sharp relief. I drew the background first, and then erased it lightly before drawing the foreground so there would be more of a contrast.

Etchtober: Wild

Day 16: Wild

This is Nepeto the Gardener, one of the leader cards fromMystic Vale: Vale of the Wild. Hes a tree person, and I really liked all the lines and branches on his face.

Etchtober: Museum

Day 17: Ornament

I wasnt sure what to draw for ornament, but then I rememberedMuseum, a game about collecting various items from around the world to put in a museum. (Yeah, there are some colonizing problems with how collections are built, but the game doesnt really get into that.) I went through the whole stack of cards and found two that were called ornaments, a jade ornament from China, and this one: Tiki Vaka, Boat Ornament from 3rd Century Polynesia. The game is illustrated by Vincent Dutraite and looks amazing; it was hard to capture the color details in a line drawing.

Etchtober: Misfit

Day 18: Misfit

I debated whether to draw a misfit character from a game or to go with the idea of a piece that literally doesnt fit, and decided on the latter.Silver & Gold is a new flip-and-fill game where youre filling in map cards using polyomino shapes. The card on the left is the piece that will need to be Xd out on the map; the card on the right shows a map that doesnt have any room for it.

Etchtober: Sling

Day 19: Sling

This is the slingshot fromFire in the Library, a press-your-luck game about rescuing books from a burning library. The slingshot is kind of nasty: it lets you fling a book that caught on fire at another player. They get the book (if they survive), but they start with more fire.

Etchtober: Tread

Day 20: Tread

When I saw the word tread, there was one game I thought of immediately:Wasteland Express Delivery Service, with its Mad Maxinspired armored vehicles. Choosing one to draw was difficult, but I picked Zeros tank-like vehicle because it was a good shape for the Etch-a-Sketch screens proportions, and also because it had those big chunky tires (plus a couple of spare tires)!

Etchtober: Treasures

Day 21: Treasure

Treasure is another word that could fit a lot of games, but the cover ofWreck Raiders had a nice big treasure chest with a waving tentacle and it was sitting right there. When I do a drawing like this, I start seeing a lot more details that I gloss over otherwise, so it makes me appreciate the game artwork even more.

Etchtober: Ghost

Day 22: Ghost

For this day, I drew ghosts from three different games:Ghost Fightin Treasure Hunters,Ghost Blitz, and Shaky Manor. The Ghost Blitz one was the hardest because its a face on a white cone, so its hard to get to those features in the middle of a surface with a connected line, but I think it turned out all right.

Etchtober: Ancient

Day 23: Ancient

Carcassonne isnt actually ancient, but its one of the games that first drew me into the hobby, and its one that I still play regularly (albeit usually on my phone rather than on the table). So its definitely part of my early personal tabletop history, even though thats only about 16 years ago.

Etchtober: Dizzy

Day 24: Dizzy

I wasnt sure at first what to use for dizzy because even the real-time games I play dont usually involve a lot of spinning around. Then I thought ofLoopin Chewie (a Star Wars version ofLoopin Louie), in which Chewbacca rotates around and around, knocking over Stormtrooper tokens, and you try to protect your own Stormtroopers as long as possible. Okay, hes not actually spinning fast enough to get dizzy, but thats the closest I could get. I do wish Id left enough room for Chewies meaty paws, but I wasnt going to draw the Millennium Falcon again.

Etchtober: Tasty

Day 25: Tasty

There are lots of games about foods, too, but the first one that came to mind for me is a family favorite:Go Nuts for Donuts! Though once I started drawing it, I realized how many of the faces were just floating in the middle of a space, so I had to get creative with where I put the lines. The sprinkles on the bottom right were a particular challenge, which is why the strawberry frosted donut (top left) doesnt have any dot sprinkles.

Etchtober: Dark

Day 26: Dark

Nyctophobia is the fear of the dark, and uses blackout glasses so that the players cant see and have to navigate the board by touch. The cover is black, with a lit silhouette of a vampire, so I reproduced that by coloring in the entire screen and leaving the silhouette. It wasnt actually as hard is it might sound, but was pretty tedious.

Etchtober: Coat

Day 27: Coat

I really love the player pawns inVillainous, which represent various Disney villains using just a few iconic parts. Captain Hook is a plumed hat, ruffled collar, and swooping coat.

Etchtober: Ride

Day 28: Ride

For ride, I had to drawTiny Epic Zombies, which includes two meeplesa police car and a motorcyclethat the meeples can actually ride! Though, as I discovered, its a little harder to do if the meeple is also holding two items, so in my drawing the meeple is armed with a shotgun, and headed toward a zombie meeple.

Etchtober: Injured

Day 29: Injured

Yet another term that works for a lot of games: injured. I pickedRobinson Crusoe, a cooperative game about being stranded on an island: you have a health tracker on your player board, but theres also an illustration of your character where certain body parts might get injured: your head, arm, leg, or stomach. You really hope you can get rid of that injury before the corresponding event card is drawn, or bad things will happen! (Okay, bad things will happen regardless, but it gets even worse) This is the carpenter, currently with an injured arm.

Etchtober: Catch

Day 30: Catch

I always love Ryan Goldsberrys illustrations for Tim Fowers games, and Sabotage is no exception. The game involves hidden movement, with the spies trying to disarm doomsday devices, and the villains trying to catch the spies. I really like how this one turned out.

Etchtober: Ripe

Day 31: Ripe

The last prompt of the month was ripe, and I struggled for a while. There are plenty of games that involve fruit or vegetables, but in most cases, you just collect them whenever you want, and theres no sense of waiting for them to be ripe. The Aquicorn Cove Board Game, a cooperative game aimed at younger players, does involve planting vegetables, which you dont get to harvest until the fall, so I thought itd be a good fit. Unfortunately, Lanas facial features are small and in the middle of her face, so thats why she has no nose (or freckles!) in my drawing.

Well, thats it! I had a lot of fun with it, and Im considering doing something similar again next year, though whether I stick with board games or maybe try comic books is still up in the air. Hope you enjoyed the drawings, and watch for Etchtober next year!

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