pdzoch's Microbadge Gallery and History
Patrick Zoch
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Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
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As of 1 September 2017, I produced my 50th microbadge. It is but a small achievement compared to the great microbadge artist on these forums. It will be a long time before I join the ranks of the great microbadgers. The experience has often been rewarding, occasionally lucrative, occasionally frustrating, and always a challenge.

First, to my fellow microbadgers who may happen to grace my geeklist -- my hat's off to you. Crafting fine art in 16x16 pixels is a rare art form that I am humbled by many of the exquisite work submitted by the talented microbadgers out there.

Second, to any new and budding microbadger, I hope my gallery and self reflection is useful for your own growth as a microbadger.

Third, to microbadge fans, thanks for requesting and displaying microbadges. I am greatly pleased when I see a microbadge I design being displayed. I am sure my sentiment is echoed by other microbadgers. Keep requesting them, and we will keep making them.

To all, comments are welcome.

113 badges to cover on this list. 89 are covered so far. More to follow (slowly catching up)
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Series: Be A Better Game Master
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 GM for Generations
 GM Kid
 GM Parent

Approved 29 December 2016.

Requested by: myself

These were the first microbadges I made.
I love gaming with my family. I also love role play gaming with my family. I noticed that there were many microbadges about gaming families on the BGG side, but there were next to none on the RPGG side. There is still lots of room for more RPGG family related microbadges. I wanted to make one that reflected my RPG relationship with my family. Not only am I a game master to my kids, but also my spouse and father-in-law. Additionally, both my sons have been game master for the family games.

Initially, there was reluctance on the RPGG forum for all three badges. They were kind enough to approve all three badges once I explained how all were applicable to me. However, they were right in that nearly a year later, the GM Parent has been a best seller for me (25 as of this post) while the other two still sit below 4.

I made several attempts at these badges before getting them approved. I was very happy to finally get them approved after nearly a month of working on them. When I look back on them now, I wish I had done a better job. But for a first badge, they are good enough, and they mean a lot to me. I love seeing them displayed as I know it means there are families sharing their love of RPGs.
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2. RPG Publisher: EN Publishing
RPG Publisher: EN Publishing
Patrick Zoch
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Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 EN World fan

Approved: 3 January 2017

Requested by: myself

Before I landed on the RPGG, I spent most of my time over at En World. I still spend some time there, but not as much as I used to now that I have found a new home here. EN World is primarily a Dungeons and Dragon site and there are a lot of good people over there exploring and explaining the game in very astute ways. I have produced a number of products that I have provided for free there (The products I have included on my other geek lists and they are extremely popular on EN World, commanding some of the top downloads on the site).

I think the EnWorld logo is beautiful, a D20 Earth. Knowing how popular the site is and that the EnWorld awards, the Ennie, is occasionally cited on RPGG, I thought it would be an obvious choice for a microbadge. I was a little surprised that it did not exist already.

I contacted Morrus (the site owner) and got his permission to make the microbadge first. With his blessing, I proceed to craft this beautiful microbadge.

At first, I thought I would take a shortcut by using their favicon, but the microbadge forum quickly reminded me that much more work was needed to bring out the image properly in the badge. I had to hand craft the letters, and then re-color the world map on the die. It was extremely challenging for me especially when using the semitransparent colors to craft shapes that are next to impossible to see close up but appear almost magically at regular size. I learned TONS about pixel shading and semitransparent pixel building this microbadge.

Overall, it is still one of my favorite microbadges and I think it is beautiful.

This microbadge received a nominations for best microbadge of the month, but it did not make the cut for the final vote.
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3. Board Game: Time of Legends: Joan of Arc [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:1568]
Board Game: Time of Legends: Joan of Arc
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Joan of Arc - The Maid of Orléans

Approved: 18 January 2017

Requested by: ctimmins

Feeling confident, I decided to attempt fulfilling a user request. When ctimmins requested Joan of Arc, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I've studied medieval history for meany years. I specialized in the 100 Years War and Joan of Arc was at the very end of it. I very much admire her character and spirit.

At first, the best image I had of her was Ingrid Bergman's portrayal of her, which I thought was iconic. However, using an actor for a historical figure was not considered an acceptable design. So back to the drawing board I went. There were several artistic representations for her. Ultimately I decided on Albert Lynch's 1903 painting of her.

This is when I learn that changing contrasts is a very important tool in making microbadges. When an image is shrunk to a small scale, colors get much darker and they have to be brightened in order for the represented colors to properly appear.

One of the biggest challenge with this badge is that most historical personalities are mircobadged (yes, I just made that a verb) with just their face (forehead to chin) so that the person can be recognized at that scale. But even the painting of Joan of Arc is representative and no one would recognize her that close. Her armor really needed to be included in the microbadge. So adding enough armor, but leaving enough room for her face, at the small scale was a real challenge.

I am especially pleased with how I crafted the wiki entry for the badge AND the mouseover. I loved Joan of Arc's quote about her destiny: "It was for this I was born." It is still the best mouseover I have ever included.

In the end, it turned out really nice, and Clark almost always has it displayed on his microbadge row, which really makes me happy.

As of this posting, it is my third most popular microbadge (only recently slipped from #2 slot)


This microbadge received a nominations for best microbadge of the month, but it did not make the cut for the final vote.
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4. Board Game Artist: Scott Kurtz
RPG Designer: Scott Kurtz
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Table Titans fan

Approved: 14 February 2017

Requested by: myself

I first encountered Scott Kurtz through his participation as a member of Acquisitions Incorporated and watched him play D&D with DM Chris Perkins since the beginning of the video and audio podcast. While PvP webcomic was not my cup of tea, the group was hilarious to watch. I later discovered Table Titans as Scott Kurtz branched out from PvP into D&D gameplay experience. I fell in love with the comic.

The microbadge is a simple design, using only the letters of the webcomic title. Title letters are common in microbadge design, but it does not always mean it is an effective choice. While the letters are accurate, the design seems to be missing something. Microbadges of the primary characters would have been a more interesting choice, but the cast of characters is too large to narrow down to one.

Despite the quality of the comic, this microbadge currently only has one owner: yours truly.

My next microbadge for Scott Kurtz's work will be better. Stay tuned for Binwin's Minions.
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5. Board Game: 12 Days of Christmas [Average Rating:5.99 Overall Rank:8635]
Board Game: 12 Days of Christmas
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
Microbadge: The candle of Hope Microbadge: The candle of Peace Microbadge: The Christ Candle Microbadge: The candle of Joy Microbadge: The candle of Love
Microbadge: On the first Sunday of Advent, we remember to hopefully look for the coming of Christ. Microbadge: On the second Sunday of Advent, we remember the Lord of All who brings peace surpassing all understanding. Microbadge: On Christmas Eve, we remember God has come in the Christ Child. Microbadge: On the third Sunday of Advent, we remember the Spirit who breathes joy into our lives. Microbadge: On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we remember God is Love.

 Advent Candle, Week 1
 Advent Candle, Week 2
 Advent Candle, Christmas Eve
 Advent Candle, Week 3
 Advent Candle, Week 4
 Advent Candle, Week 1 Lit
 Advent Candle, Week 2 Lit
 Advent Candle, Christmas Eve Lit
 Advent Candle, Week 3 Lit
 Advent Candle, Week 4 Lit

Approved: 21 February 2017

Requested by: rainbowrose

Rainbowrose originally requested an advent calendar microbadge. During her discussion of the request, she mentioned the advent wreath. The concept of building a series of five badges to represent an advent wreath sounded like a fantastic series to create and I ran with it. She still wanted a simple advent calendar microbadge, which another microbadge created for her. But she indulged me in my efforts and we worked together to come up with a series of badges that would make sense.

Admittedly, this was an ambitious badge design, mostly because it was the creation of 10 microbadges for convey a holiday tradition. I wanted to include lighted and unlighted candles for the advent wreath. While three of the candles were the same color, they had different meanings. The sheer number of the badges for one idea is probably not a well received concept and probably has not ever been done before (for good reasons -- I do not recommend it).

The candles were fairly easy to make (though the wick had to be exaggerated to make visible. I used a standard flame design on all the candles. The hard part was tying the candles together in a unifying design. The wreath was the natural choice to act as a transition and unifying art design. However, the wreath laying flat on the bottom became unrecognizable or consumed too much badge space. I tried a large arching wreath and that looked even worse. Finally, I opted for a simple wreath design behind each candle. this made the set consistently design and thus unified, and made it look good enough to stand on its own.

rainbowrose chose the mouseovers for both the lighted and unlighted candles. I think her choice of mouseovers are great, especially as I was struggling to come up with short but meaningful phrases.

The lighted candles have outsold the unlighted candles, and are a good choice to buy when all ten can not be afforded. These were produced after the Christmas season, so I expect that more will be sold when the season come around again.

I'm looking forward to displaying them for the first time this year.
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6. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:155] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Board Game: Magic: The Gathering
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Magic Set Editor fan

Approved: 27 March 2017

Requested by: myself

My most popular download on ENWorld was made using the Magic Set Editor software. I use it heavily to help manage spells, treasures, monsters, Player Characters and non-player characters. Given the popularity of the game, I assumed the Magic Set Editor software would be a popular badge for those who custom design their own cards. The software has many templates for games other than magic: the gathering, and there is a huge community who maintain the software and provide tips and guidance on designing new cards. I have become a much better programmer and script writer thanks to my interest in designing D&D products using this software.

This is probably one of my most lazy designs. I downloaded the favicon for the software, did a small touch-up to make sure the colors were clear and submitted it for approval.

Alas, this software must be too obscure for the community as I am the sole owner of this microbadge.
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7. Board Game: NOIR: Deductive Mystery Game [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2533]
Board Game: NOIR: Deductive Mystery Game
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Tracer Bullet fan

Approved: 27 March 2017

Requested by: yetikeeper

I'm a big Calvin and Hobbes fan. And there are more than a few Calvin and Hobbes microbadges out there. The request for Tracer Bullet tapped into my love of Calvin and Hobbes and the film noir genre. Tracer Bullet was wonder representation of that genre. Bill Waterson is a masterful artist.

The challenge with this character was the black and white image and harsh/stark contrasts. Line drawings are difficult to capture at microbadge scale. Semi-transparent pixels could not be used for blending when hard lines were needed. Moreover, shadows were an essential part of the style. Unfortunately, the Tracer Bullet character usually hid his face under his hat or in the shadows. The hat was iconic, so that had to be in there. Getting the right crop to start with was a large part of the challenge. The second part of the challenge was fixing all the details in the shadows so that Calvin's distinctive nose showed and the barrel of his character's magnum showed as it was being drawn.

I really like the mouseover. It is an Tracer Bullet's monologue in classic film noir style. It is probably my longest mouseover. I'm glad it fit.

This microbadge received a couple of nominations for best microbadge of the month, but it did not make the cut for the final vote.
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8. Board Game Publisher: Dwarven Forge
RPG Publisher: Dwarven Forge
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Dwarven Forge fan

Approved: 28 March 2017

Requested by: myself

I'm a big Dwarven Forge fan. I have way too many Dwarven Forge pieces, and I still want more.

The Dwarven Forge iconic logo is the dwarven smith in the circle, and it used to adorn all their earlier products. It is still a primary logo on their website. I thought this would be an easy microbadge to do because I would simply use their favicon as the microbadge. I cleaned it up and submitted it for review, but it was soundly rejected. It was not recognizable to anyone who had not seen the logo before. The microbadge must be recognizable on its own. So there was much more editing to do.

This was a painful microbadge to design. The original image was difficult to work with. The iconic shape was too complex to suit a microbadge. I tried zooming in on the dwarf, zooming in on the arm and hammer, zooming in on the hammer, but ultimately the best acceptable image was the dwarf and hammer without the golden circle.

For some reason, the microbadge feels empty without the circle. I do not think this was my finest effort and I wish I had done a better job representing the company whose products I enjoy so much.
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9. RPG: Murders & Acquisitions [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
RPG: Murders & Acquisitions
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Acquisitions Incorporated fan

Approved: 7 April 2017

Requested by: myself

As previously mentioned, I became a fan of Acquisitions Incorporated. Given the number of years they have been recording gameplay, I was surprised that there was not a microbadge for the group.

It wasn't until their later year that they developed a logo for the group, and it was the ideal symbol for a microbadge for them.

That hardest part was the dot in the very center of the logo. Getting the multi-tone gold shading on the symbols was hard enough. Adding JUST enough shadow to make the letters stand out was a challenge of trial and error (I eventually cheated by layering layers on top of each other, with the bottom layer being a shadow layer that shown thru the semi-transparent top layer to create a slight shadow). But getting that single dot to show up was practically a miracle and most likely a result of accident over design. It required layering semi-transparent pixels around the center that when adjacent created the slight dot in the center.

I was REAL pleased how this one turned out. It is a crisp design using gradients and shadows on a complex lettering design.
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10. Board Game: Radio Ramble [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Radio Ramble
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Bob Elliott fan
 Ray Goulding fan


Approved: 14 April 2017

Requested by: Westie

Westie requested a microbadge for a classic radio comedy team: Ray Goulding and Bob Elliott. Unfortunately, few people have even heard of them. I've enjoyed radio comedy in the past and knew a few act, and I am sure I have heard them once before. Because they were in the business so long, photos of them changed over the years. There were not really any famous photographs of the team and none that were suitable for a microbadge.

Because they were a team and not known to have a career separately, a single microbadge was the expected design. One face on a microbadge is hard enough; putting two on one is a herculean feat.

The most famous pictures of Bob and Ray are their caricatures. There are actually several caricatures of the duo. But as I experienced with the Tracer Bullet microbadge, converting a line art to a microbadge is a challenging task, and putting two line art portraits on one badge proved impossible.

I eventually had to change source image to a full color caricature, which allowed me more flexibility with semi-transparent pixels to blend colors for a coherent and recognizable image in microbadge scale. I also had to break up the team and give each one their own microbadge. Going this route did allow me one addition to the microbadge I am pleased with: The microphone. The comedy team often used the interview trope to delivery their routines, and having Bob Elliot holding the microphone in the microbadge works very well when the radio team is displayed side by side.

The mouseovers are the comedy team's signature sign-off, slightly modified. Normally, Ray signed off first, and Bob last, but the images were designed so they would be should in reserve order. So the sign-off had to be modified slightly so their mouseovers would flow when read in order.

For some strange reason, one of the microbadges is outselling the other. Nevertheless, I am pleased to see that Westie has sported the duo in his microbadge row ever since they were approved, which is very cool.
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11. Board Game: Cartography [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:12570]
Board Game: Cartography
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Gerardus Mercator

Approved: 14 April 2017

Requested by: Mavis101


I started looking at the old requests that had not been fulfilled. I noted one from a RPGG regular who hosts the question of the day. I was surprised that a request from such an active member of the community went unanswered. Almost six months had past and no one had taken up the request. So I stepped in to fill the request for this pillar of the community.

Most of the pictures I found of Mercator were portraits on stamps. The good news was that these were already close to scale. that bad new was that they were either very pixelated or covered in extra lines to prevent stamp forgery. This required a lot of editing to clean up the edges to find a good portrait. I wanted to make sure I captured part of his clothing, his hat ideally, to better place the face in time and culture.

I ended up scrapping the first two images as they were too blurry and dark to be recognizable at microbadge scale. The image finally selected was the lightest one. Almost too light as the beard almost disappeared into his face. Fixing the color was one of the challenges to make sure his face and beard were distinct and separate.

the other challenge was finding the right crop to show enough of his clothing while keeping his face recognizable. While I would have liked to keep more of his hat, there was no way to include enough of it to be recognizable for the period it was in. So only the indication of the black hat remains while his full beard is shown.

Mavis101 was the first to purchase the microbadge. He was also kind enough to send me an small gift for my efforts, which I keep on my shelf in my office next to the other wood carvings in my collection.

It is not the most popular microbadge I have created, but I am very glad to have done it for a friend.

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12. Board Game: The Gong Show Game [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Gong Show Game
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Gene Patton fan

Approved: 14 April 2017

Requested by: LennyS

I remember watching the Gong Show as a kid with my family. It was a silly fun show. I remember few interesting acts on the show, one of which was the Unknown Comic. One of the regulars on the show was Gene Patton, famously known as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. He was an amusing regular who I always enjoyed seeing on the show, even if it was only to dance the bad act off the stage.

The best badge for Gene would have been an animated gif of Gene dancing. But such special consideration would not be accepted for a regular badge. I also wanted to include the trademark green jumpsuit that Gene usually wore. Unfortunately, it was impossible to really capture the entire outfit and still be recognizable as Gene. I had a real hard time finding good face photos of Gene Patton, and the best I could find was a black and white photo. At least he was wearing his trademark cap.

There are good and bad aspects when working with black and white photos.
The good is that the semi-transparency colors are very simplified and working with shading is easy to do when only two colors are in play (shades between black and white) The more color something has, the trickier it is to find the right shade and gradient of a color so that it creates the effect needed where it is needed yet does not mess up the other areas adjacent to it.
The bad is that there are only two colors and controlling the shading contrast is much harder as a picture can become too dark , too bright, or too indistinguishable.

Gene's photo was really dark, and it was a real challenge to bring out the joy in his face. It did not help that Gene was wearing dark clothes in the photo.

In the end, I think I was able to preserve the details of Gene's face, especially his smile, given the dark tone of the picture. I wish I could have done a color picture for Gene. It seems fitting for such an endearing act on a colorful show.

I toyed with making a microbadge for the Gong Show itself. The circle logo is very recognizable icon of a Gong Show. I was not able to get the letters readable enough so I tabled the idea and stayed focused on the original request to honor Gene.
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13. Board Game: Koi Pond: A Coy Card Game [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:5753]
Board Game: Koi Pond: A Coy Card Game
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Koi Pond: A Coy Card Game fan

Approved: 14 April 2017

Requested by: maho

This turns out to be the first microbadge I worked on for a board game. I have not played the game, but the artwork is beautiful. I have always liked koi fish and I find the Japanese Sumi-e art fascinating. Maho is a regular on BGG and I often find in her the forums I am participating. When I saw her request and the subject of the microbadge, I jumped at the opportunity.

The koi fish was the primary subject and there were several versions within the card game to choose from, with different colors, sizes, and art.

Ultimately, the singe long red koi was most iconic. I had to angle the fish to allow for the maximum size to fit into the badge, which is a little unfortunate.

I also had to rebuilt the image. I eventually build two layers, one for the red body, and another for the black sumi-e lines that define the accent edges. This allowed me to exaggerate the portions and retain visibility of the colors when I scaled them down. When I tried to scale it as a single layer, the black lines kept disappearing as they were so fine and the images distorted as the program tried to sort how to scale the original.

Overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out. Slender images are always a challenge because the artist is giving up a large portion of the microbadge canvas which is already very limited.

Maho purchased it immediatly and displayed it for a short while. As a microbadge minimalist, Maho typically showcases one microbadge at a time and rotates them out. I look forward to when the koi returns to her showcase again.

It did received a nomination for the best microbadge of the month, but it did not make it to the final voting.
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14. Board Game: Earthquake [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:12651]
Board Game: Earthquake
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Aftershock Comics fan

Approved: 14 April 2017

Requested by: BrokenMnemonic


Many years ago I collected comics. I've never heard of this publisher before, but nowadays there are lots of new comic publishers that I have never heard of before.

This request sat unfilled for quite some time, but that should have been a warning to me. The icon for the company is graphically appealing and very fitting for the company's title. The challenge is that it is filled with dozens of triangles in radial arrangement. Drawing one triangle with square pixels is hard enough. Drawing dozens of them at a microbadge scale required a skill far beyond my capacity. This badge was developed mostly through trial and error, sharpening filters repeatedly used, followed by color overlays to preserve the gradient and colors of the badge. I see many microbagders, even the well-established and prolific ones, struggle with keeping sharp edges and proper lines on microbadges. And there were plenty of these lines in the source image.

In the end, I was able to get it to "good enough" and the requester was please to see it completed. I wish I was able to make the shards sharper, but there was so many in the image. The best part about the badge is that it did retain the proper radial gradient and all the shards are still present like in the original logo. But this experienced provided me some lessons that I was able to use later on.
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15. Board Game Accessory: 7 Wonders: Metal Coins
Board Game Accessory: 7 Wonders: Metal Coins
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Metal Detector enthusiast

Approved 20 April 2017.

Requested by: BrackAttack

This was another old request that was languishing in the microbadge request list. It seemed a simple request and I was trying to help reduce the backlog of microbadge requests.

I cannot claim there is any originality to the badge as this icon is the same icon used for a variety of apps available for metal detector enthusiasts. There was some touching up required, as there always is recommended by the microbadge community, but it was a fairly straightforward design easily adopted for the microbadge.

The only owner of the badge (besides myself) is the original requester. There may never be a large demand for this badge, but it was simple enough to produce and I was glad to fulfill a request for a Geek.
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16. Board Game: West Point Cadet [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Unidentified Game
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 United States Military Academy

Approved: 20 April 2017

Requested by: myself

Hail, Alma Mater dear, To us be ever near, Help us thy motto bear.

West Point did have a microbadge already, but it was the sports logo, which has since changed. Though it was a popular logo, I felt something more enduring and more iconic was needed. So I made a microbagde of the United States Military Academy crest.

It was hard! But I learned a few things in the process.

The first thing was hand-recoloring. When an image is reduced, it often looses it color. Sometimes this due to the stroke bleeding into the main color. Sometimes it is due to adjacent colors of minor objects that disappear in the reduction. And sometimes it is due to the color simply not looking same at scale even thought the color is identical. I had to go back and properly color red, white and blues. Especially the white which tends to become more grey at times.

The second is sometimes representation is better that exactness. The West Point crest has red striped on the shield, 6 to be exact to add to the 7 white stripes for the 13 original colonies. However, when reduced, it turned the entire portion pink instead. The entire lower shield had to be redrawn white and red striped added by hand, which only four could fit. It is an exact image of the crest? No. But is it clear that there are red and white stripes in the crest? Yes.

This is a complex image and one I am VERY pleased how it turned out.

It did receive some nominations for best microbadge of the month for April 2017, but it did not advance to the final voting round.
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17. Board Game: Coast Guard in Action Shooting Gallery Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Coast Guard in Action Shooting Gallery Game
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 United States Coast Guard Academy

Approved: 8 May 2017

Requested by: myself

Most of the US Service Academies were represented with microbadge, even if they were sports logos, except for the US Coast Guard Academy. I have deep admiration and respect for the work the US Coast Guard does. While I was working on all the service academies, I focused on the USCGA. The problem with the academy seal was that is was so busy that it would be impossible to use at a microbadge scale. The academy did have a school logo, though not a crest like West Point, that was a nice image for a microbadge, so I used it instead. What was nice about it was that it had its trademark stripes that were seen on their boats. The double stroke outline for the lettering was impossible to maintain at microbadge scale, so they were converted to a single stroke. Additionally the individual lettering stroke had to be changed to a overall lettering stroke and had to be made much darker for the white lettering to make the letters crisper and more visible, especially on the forum backgrounds.

I am really pleased how this one has turned out, though it does not appear to have attracted any Coast Guard fans. See, I knew they worked so hard. Maybe one day a few Coast Guards will come to BGG and be glad that they have a microbadge waiting for them.

I am still working on their Bear badge for their sports team, but I haven't put a rush on it while the academy badge sits with only one owner for now: Me. Coast Guard, I salute you.
 
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18. Board Game: Dashing Donkey [Average Rating:4.86 Unranked]
Board Game: Dashing Donkey
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Game Mule

Approved: 8 May 2017

Requested by: yetikeeper

This is second microbagde I've created for yetikeeper.

This was a fun microbadge to create. It was also another one languishing in the request backlog for quite some. While the term mule is typically applied to smuggling, I understood the concept of someone hand carrying a game within their suitcase to avoid paying shipping charges overseas, which can be very expensive given the hefty weight of some premium games. I decided to run with the literal "mule" for the badge.

I had a couple of ideas how to approach this. The first was a donkey silhouette, which would keep the design simple. The other is to use a cartoon or cute donkey icon I had seen elsewhere on the web and convert it to microbadge scale. In both versions, I would need to add game boxes to the donkey back.

While the donkey silhouette was a clean and simple image, it was also a little bland, looking more like a road sign image instead of a microbadge. The cartoon version that became the final version was too cute. However, even a professional rendered image needs tons of editing when it is reduced to microbadge scale. The grey needed adjustment all over, and the face had various shades of white that made it difficult to recognize. Even the eyes had to be redrawn. Funny thing about pupils, even though they are only a single black pixel, the eyes never are lined up so that the pupil pixel fits neatly in the eye. The eyes are always just a half pixel to the left or right of center, making a simple placement of a pupil frustrating.

I eventually had to simplify the game load, too. I originally had many games of different sizes and colors, but they were indistinguishable at microbadge scale so I reduce them to three boxes only. I originally intended to use three primary colors, but at this scale, the yellow cause the tow adjacent colors to blend and blur and the three boxes on the donkey looked more like a single box colored in a gradient rainbow. So yellow became green so avoid that effect.

This microbadge was nominated for microbadge of the month for May 2017 and went to final voting, but it did not place.

There are a few fans of this badge, but it is nice to see that yetikeeper was the first to purchase it and still displays it on his microbadge row.
 
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19. Board Game: The Forest Ranger Game [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Forest Ranger Game
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Park Ranger

Approved 8 May 2017.

Requested by: Maddest Hatter


As a kid, one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up was a forest ranger. I happened to be online when this request was posted. Originally, I started looking at the forest ranger badges, but my experience with government style seals led me to believe that none of the many badges for forest rangers would be any good.

I decided to focus on the hat, which was somewhat unique to the occupation (except that Drill Sergeants also wore them). I tried several variations and a couple of different colors, but they were not quite turning out right.

So I went back to the drawing board and decided that more than the hat was needed. Perhaps part of the uniform. I had found several occupation clipart that included rangers. A face and hat was one consideration while a waist up uniform was another approach. The clipart of the full uniform was too large for the standard microbadge, so I had to decided where on the waist to clip so that it would still reduce in scale well. Sometimes, changing one row of pixels completely changes how it reduces. I try to keep it in multiples of 16 which reduces smoother lines than an odd number in between.

Only minor touch-ups were needed to polish the badge. I did not think there would be many buyers, but there are a couple of rangers who have purchased the badge, and the requester still sports it.

Maddest Hatter also created the mouseover, a little quote from Thoreau's Walden Pond "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...”

This microbadge was nominated for the best microbadge of the month in May 17. It was my first microbadge to make it to the final voting and was tied for second place.
 
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20. Board Game: Music Mystery [Average Rating:5.47 Unranked]
Board Game: Music Mystery
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Name That Tune Geeklist fan

Approved 24 May 2017.

Requested by: Maho

This is the second microbadge I've created for Maho.

This is the first microbadge I have done for a geeklist community. The Name That Tune geeklist is a pretty neat activity using board games as clues to the music quotes on the geeklist. Marion's request brought the geeklist to my attention and now I participate!

Marion offered several ideas for a microbadge, most involving a musical note and a question mark. I tried to copy them as best I could, but none of the ideas really resonated. I attempted a different approach by offered a colorful jukebox, a microbadge that I REALLY like, but it did not suggest that there was any sort of quizzing or contest involved. Adding a "?" made the image too crowded or was unnoticeable.

So I shifted design ideas again and went back to the note and "?" concept, this time adding a record as a background. That worked for the group. The color scheme required some adjustments, but I eventually decided to use red and white in the same color hues as the avatar for the geeklist author: Juxtatype.

The microbadge was well received by the Name That Tunegeeklist community.
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21. Board Game: Hammer & Nails [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Hammer & Nails
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Carpenters fan

Approved 24 May 2017.

Requested by: pete belli


I remember that the Carpenters were big when I was younger. Karen had a lovely voice. The Carpenters has a distinctive logo and I originally wanted to use that as a source image for the microbadge. Unfortunately, their logo was their full name and that was not going to fit. I tried to focus on just their first letter, the large curving "C", but it was just another letter microbadge and simply did not represent the singing duo.

I was presented with a challenge of a singing duo again and trying to figure out how to make one microbadge. Putting two faces on a single badge is very difficult. I could not do it earlier with the Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding comedy team, so I was concerned if I could do it it the Carpenters.

However, a couple of things happened that worked in my favor to make a single microbadge. First, the Carpenters are a brother and sister team and were very close, so there are several photos of team in intimate proximity. This places both their faces close together in a photo. Second, those photos are in black and white and the shades of gray are easier to work with than color (sometimes). My first attempt at the duo portrait in a microbadge turned out very well. While it polled well, Richard was not as clear so I adjusted the contrast a little so that Richard was more distinguishable.

I count myself lucky that I was able to put both of the Carpenters on a single badge. But I do not think I want to try it again.

pete belli was kind enough to update the microbadge wiki to tell more about the Carpenters.



 
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22. Board Game: Krull [Average Rating:4.97 Overall Rank:18030]
Board Game: Krull
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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 Krull fan

Approved 24 May 2017.

Requested by: Uphill gamer


Krull is a iconic movie, and the glaive is the iconic weapon from the movie. Unfortunately, it is a very tough object to convert to a microbadge. It has multiple thin lines, arranged in a symmetrical pattern, there are multiple curves in fine angles as part of the shape, and the colors are pale colors (silver and gold with a blue gem in the center). Given only 16x16 pixels to represent the image is a serious challenge.

The source object was fine, but scaling it down resulted in too thin an image. I had to "fatten" the image to make it more visible. Shape exaggeration is a common technique to make features stand out at microbadge size.

I increased the contrast so that the gold stood out, but the silver tips where lost in the background because they were so small and pale. I tried a drop shadow and stroke, but these overpowered the colors and distorted the shape. I had to change the white silver tips to a grey silver tips by hand so that the blade tips would show up. Likewise, I had to hand color the center gem.

I went through many iterations of this design and it took almost a month to get it right. The microbadge community was unforgiving, but it was necessary to get a badge done well enough to properly represent the Krull glaive from the movie.

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23. Board Game: Countryfied [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Countryfied
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Dwight Yoakam fan

Approved 8 Jun 2017.

Requested by: DerTroof

I waited a week to see if anyone else would work on this badge. Faces were a challenge to do right and I was not sure I wanted to try one again. First, because he is a country music singer, his hat is an important part of his persona, so it has to be part of the picture, which leaves less room for his face to be recognizable at microbadge scale. Second, Dwight has some unique country poses that would be great as an image, but might be too hard to depict well at the scale.

I worked up five different options -- full color portrait, B/W portrait, and a couple of the country poses, full and upper body. I liked the full color portrait, but the preference was with the b/w photo or one of the poses. I cleaned up the images and submitted them for review. They did not poll great and I had a hard time making them look better. The body pose of Dwight was simply too small to be recognizable. Part of the problem I think is that unless the image is VERY famous (well known by all) then the representation at a smaller scale is harder to mirror. The black and white portrait included Dwight's white hat, which washed out the image somewhat and was hard to see was a hat instead of a cutout in the image.

I had to change to a fifth source image, one from his first best selling album that changed the angle of his face and hat. The image came in b/w, color, and colorized. The colorized version was the worst to work with because when it was scaled to a smaller image the colors became too bright and distorted the image. Full color and black and white were easiest. However, because of the bright white hat, the b/w image became unworkable. I still had to adjust the contrast and vibrancy of the image to get it to come out properly at microbadge scale.

The lesson here is that sometimes you will have to change your source image several times to find one that will provide for a good microbadge image. Even then, you will still have to make more adjustments than simply re-scaling them.

I'm not sure there is a big country-music fan base on the Geek. Only owner of this badge is the requester and myself. And I notice that many of the country music trivia on the name that tune tends to be hard fro many to get, especially the contemporary country songs.

DerTroof, a true fan of Dwight Yoakam, kindly provided a detailed description of the singer in the microbadge wiki.
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24. Board Game Accessory: 7 Wonders: Metal Coins
Board Game Accessory: 7 Wonders: Metal Coins
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 My Two Cents

Approved 15 Jun 2017.

Requested by: myself

Originally, I wanted to add "my two cents" as an emoticon to add at the end of a response. Unfortunately, getting emoticons added to the geek is not as easy as getting microbadges added. Some suggested simply using the but I thought that could only cause confusion. is gold and valuable. The Microbadge: My Two Cents is saying that you are humbly offering your perspective to a conversation.

I tried to use images of a penny and shrink it down to microbadge scale, but that proved difficult as old Lincoln became unrecognizable at that scale. And I needed two pennies to convey the thought. The someone suggested I use the stock circles. I did not know there were stock shaped to be used!

So I made the image from scratch. I opted to label the pennies 1C for simplicity. And I added a slight metal gradient, which required some fidgeting to get the angle and colors to line up just right to provide a metal sheen but not wash the image in a color too dark or too light.

I do not use it as often as I like. That is probably a good thing. But when I do offer a humble perspective to a question someone asks, I will usually add the microbadge at the end of the post. Sometimes I will add it to my microbadge row.

If it ever gets adopted as an emoticon, I still think that would be best.

This badge received a couple of nominations for the best microbadge of the month, but it did not advance to the final voting.
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25. Board Game: Ants in the Pants [Average Rating:4.27 Overall Rank:19397]
Board Game: Ants in the Pants
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Microbadge: United States Military AcademyMicrobadge: EN World fanMicrobadge: Golden Session ReporterMicrobadge: Golden CamelMicrobadge: Master Bannersmith
 Ant Lab Games fan

Approved 15 Jun 2017.

Requested by: labaran

When I struck by how fantastic the logo was for the Ant Labs Game playthrough channel and when the request showed up on the request geeklist, I quickly dashed out two options: the beaker and ant or the ant head.

I offered the red ant head only because it enable me to present a clear image of the ant in the vibrant red of the logo in the microbadge. However, it does omit the beaker (and the lab aspect) of the logo.

The beaker and ant was the best choice as it best represented the logo. Typically, microbadges have transparent backgrounds, and it would make sense for the beaker to be transparent also. But I decided to keep the beaker white so that it could act as a contrast color to bring out the red ant, which was much smaller in microbadge scale, and the black lines of the beaker.

I was really fortunate in that as I scaled the image down to microbadge size, I was able to preserve much of the ant image and did not need to make any further adjustments. It is one of my favorite badges, but the original logo was really well designed.

I was really surprised that it did not get a single nomination for best microbadge of the month.
 
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