Building a new Tabletop Experience: Zoeya Sinha

You turn a corner and enter a bustling village market square. Timber framed buildings encircle busy market stalls. Villages hurry about on their daily chores, colorful bunting waving overhead. The rough stone town wall towers in the distance. Now, imagine the entire scene is only several inches tall.

Zoeya Sinha has combined her engineer background and passion for tabletop gaming into a beautiful new addition to the hobby. Along with her architect husband Sunil, they’ve introduced I Built It, a laser cut, assemble yourself line of terrain for model lovers and those looking to add flavor to their roleplaying or minis adventures.

What got you started playing games? 
I actually started off playing rpgs on the PC, my first RPG was Dink Smallwood, Diablo and Fallout.  From there I branched off into tabletop gaming. I enjoy playing dungeon crawlers as well as war games such as bolt action and black powder. 

What inspired you to design I Built It?
My partner, Sunil is an architect and has been an avid model maker and gamer for most of his life. He particularly loves city building games and when he joined architecture school he came up with the idea to create a modular model making system that would allow you to replicate an entire city in scale. However this remained a pipe dream until I met him. By the time our oaths crossed he was already stuck in the rat race of working 9 to 9 and his city builder idea was still just a dream. I had to give him a hard push to get him to quit his job and together we started I Built It. Sunil is an architect with a keen interest in mechanical engineering, I am an engineer with a strong interest in architecture, so our work styles and interests compliment each other quite well,  together we conceptualized and prototyped all the models you see in the Kickstarter.

How did you approach the design and what have you liked most about it?
Every design begins with a concept sketch. This concept sketch gets converted into a 3d computer massing model. Once we are satisfied with the shape of the massing model it then gets converted into a fully detailed software based replica of the actual model. This is thoroughly tested for errors before getting converted into a 2d drawing which is fed into the laser machine to produce the first working prototype. This working prototype is tested thoroughly, several times against various parameters before it is finally ready for production. 

What has been your biggest challenge to date and how did you conquer it?
As you can probably imagine, we have had several challenges to surmount. The biggest to date was getting our friction fit system to work. We had failure rates of around 50% ( meaning only 50% of our joints would actually friction fit) in the beginning until we had our Eureka moment and were able to engineer a system with a success rate of 90% . This coupled with ,multiple overlapping joints offers a completely glue and tool-less assembly to all our models. 

What’s next for you in the game industry?
We plan on expanding the medieval line of models to include a huge range of new super modular buildings and accessories, including a new modular road and dungeon system. We already have several sets that are almost complete and will feature in our next Kickstarter which will begin as soon as the orders from this Kickstarter are fulfilled. 

Whats your favorite game?
I love playing dungeons and dragons as well as wargames like bolt action and blackpowder. It’s also all about collecting, building and painting the minis. 

What spurred you to make the jump from the rat race to creating for the tabletop space?
When we started with our table top venture I literally had no clue about it, all I knew was I had an innate love for architecture and design and finally had a way of exploring it. It was my partner Sunil who being the avid scale modeller and Gamer who actually introduced me to this amazing world. 

Is there anyone in the tabletop industry who inspired you? Who and why?
I am a huge fan of Dwarven forge , their models are beautiful and it’s clear that their work is one of passion just like ours. We hope to one day reach the levels they have achieved in terms of brand awareness and reach.

Where would you like to see the game community in 5 years?
The gaming community is already a thriving , lively ecosystem . Advances in 3d printing technology has now made it possible for almost anyone to design a create their own minis . I would love to see these tech advancements lower the barriers of entry to this wonderful and wholesome hobby and attract more young blood, as far too many of them are lost to video games. I myself love video games , but there are almost no barriers to get into a video game, whereas there are considerable barriers to get into table top gaming