Fabulous Beasts

Clever 3D Printed Board Game Plays Like Jenga in Reverse


Cool idea: This board game plays like Jenga in reverse. It‘s made possible with electronics some clever use of 3D printing.

A start-up company have developed a game that combines the physical interaction of traditional board games with digital gameplay. It’s a bit like Jenga – but you build a tower instead substracting it.

The name of the game is Fabulous Beasts, and the rules are simple. Players take turns to build a tower by balancing 3D printed blocks on top of each other. Each physical piece played has an impact on the digital part of the game, which is playable on a mobile device connected via Bluetooth.

Alex Fleetwood founded Sensible Object, the design studio that created the game, last year. He said: “I think it is a really exciting time to be investigating this relationship between games and hardware.”

Fleetwood hopes to launch the start-up’s first game via crowdfunding platform Kickstarter at the end of January and then onto a commercial release at the end of 2016.

How Does Fabulous Beasts Work?

Bildschirmfoto 2015-11-09 um 14.33.44

“The tower rests on a smart sensing platform, which translates every piece into an equivalent in the connected digital world,” Fleetwood explains. “As players build the tower, it becomes more elaborate and complex and consequently the digital world they are creating becomes higher scoring. The aim of the game is to get the highest score before the tower falls down.”


The pieces of the game are different plastic animals. These are each identified via an embedded RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip and players are able to evolve these animals in the digital game by putting other pieces on top of them.

We now have a set of tools at our disposal that allow us to design, prototype and scale very rapidly,” Fleetwood says. “On the one hand we have electronics prototyping tools like Arduino, on the other we can create and test pieces using a 3D printer and then of course there is a linking software layer that hinges the rest of that together.”

Sensible Object’s product designer Tim Burrell-Saward uses a combination of Autodesk 3Ds Max and Fusion 360 software to design each piece.

“Tim uses 3ds Max to do the surface modelling and then he’s translating that into Fusion 360 to do the solid modelling,” Fleetwood explains. “We come up with an idea for the piece, we print it out, we can then integrate it into the game and play with it very quickly.”

We like this idea. What about you? Would you play Fabulous Beasts?