Board games are one of life’s truly great pastimes, a way to bring family and friends together through competitive fun. However, if you are a particularly zealous board game enthusiast, there may come the point when you have played every game in your rotation so many times that you need to concoct your own blend of strategy and luck to keep things interesting. But how can you go about making a board game at home?
It is important to note that access to a 3D printer can be handy when making a board game at home, especially when it comes to designing pieces. However, even if you do not have 3D printer access, there are still many ways to create your own board game if you are willing to get creative and commit a little extra time. We’ll cover all of these methods and more below.
How to Make a Board Game at Home
While some complex game ideas may require more materials and a few extra steps, the following six steps should be taken when designing a DIY board game of any type.
Make the Rules
Just as nobody likes reading through the rules before playing a board game, you likely want to jump right into designing your game without worrying about a rule set. However, you do not want to get the last square on your board colored in by the time you realize that you overlooked a critical “what-if” scenario in gameplay. Therefore, the rules should be the first item you start with.
When making the rules, play out every possible scenario in your head. While the rules should be thorough, try to keep them concise. Numbered lists and bullet points work best so that players can quickly identify the answer to the question they have.
After you have a draft of the rules, have several friends read through them to see if there are any major points that you have failed to cover.
Sketch the Game
Even though the rules are in place, you are not quite ready to start building the game. You should next make a sketch to serve as your game’s rough draft.
A sketch can be made in a notebook or on a piece of scratch paper, but it is best to make your sketch as similar to the real thing as possible. An easel pad is a great product to use because it allows you to sketch the game in its actual dimensions.
Build the Board
Once you are satisfied with the rules and your sketch, it is time to start building the board. Cardboard or railroad board are strong materials to use as the board’s surface, as they are sturdy, lightweight, and easy to create on.
- Starting with a pencil and ruler, draw the spaces onto the board. Go over the pencil lines with a marker once everything looks good.
- Use a fine tip marker to label spaces as needed.
- Color the board to help distinguish between the spaces, ensuring that the color does not conceal the labels.
Make the Pieces
If you want to keep things simple, you can use old board game pieces, coins, or generic game tokens for the pieces in your board game.
However, it may not feel like you have created a board game of your own unless you make everything yourself. This is where a 3D printer comes in handy. You can either design pieces of your own with 3D design software or choose from any existing designs that serve the purpose of your game and print them at home.
Cast the Dice
Most board games require at least one die to advance pieces. As with game pieces, it is simple to purchase some dice or use dice from another game. However, dice are very easy to create using a 3D printer if you want to keep total control of the game design.
Although not all board games require cards, your game will likely require players to draw a card and follow instructions when landing on select spaces. It is advisable to make rough drafts of your cards on regular paper before making the final cards on poster board for increased durability.
You can also purchase a pack of blank playing cards to customize if you want to give your cards a real board game feel.
When you get bored with the board games in your rotation, designing your own unique game can be a fun activity to keep things fresh. Starting with creating a concise set of rules and a detailed sketch of what the game will look like, the six steps mentioned above can help you blend components of your favorite board games into one or create something completely new and unique for friends and family to enjoy.