There may come a time when you have to make a board game for a school project, be it for English, math, science, or even history! Despite the subject it’s for, the first thing you’ll want to do is think about your goals with this game. Are you looking to present information in a new and exciting way? Are you looking to test players’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills?
It’s easy to make a board game that entertains people. It’s harder to make a board game that serves as a learning tool. Continue reading to learn more about what games you can make and how to make each.
Materials You’ll Need to Make a Board Game
If you’re not the creative type, you can buy a board game and simply repurpose its parts. For instance, if you’re teaching sight words to young children, take Candyland, and on its colored cards, write some un-decodable words. The repetition during gameplay will help them memorize terms they could not otherwise “sound out.”
However, if you want to make a board game from scratch, consider how a template like the one offered by Madanar could help you. This kit comes with:
- A board
- Six “players”
- Two die
- Two stacks of blank cards
- A spinner
- Eight blank player pieces with stands
- A blank notebook for jotting down rules
- A velvet pouch
The game board also doubles as a dry erase board, so you could reuse it for other projects in the future.
How to Make a Board Game That Teaches Concepts
Suppose that you’re trying to make a board game for your history class. First, you need to ask yourself what the purpose of the game is. Are you testing players’ knowledge or their ability to navigate through a historical era?
Making a Trivia Game
If you are testing players’ knowledge, take a deck of 50 cards (or less, depending on your preferences). On the front of the cards, write down the question. On the back, write down the answer. Try writing in different colors for each side so you understand which side has the questions. Then:
- Assign point values to each question.
- Make it so the game board has you “land” on a prompt that directs you to draw a card.
- Create “pitfalls” on the game board (which delay your progress or otherwise penalize a player).
You can also design your “players,” so they match your board game’s theme. For instance, if you’re teaching the Civil War, your characters could match historical figures from that period.
Making an Immersive Game
For this game, instead of asking questions, you want to put players in the shoes of historical figures. For this project, one deck of cards should convey hypothetical scenarios, like specific battles or events. Then, another deck of cards could be your options.
For instance, suppose you draw a card that says: “Confederate soldiers are advancing at Appomattox.”
Then, your “options”could say things like:
- Order your soldiers to attack the front lines.
- Retreat behind the barricade.
- Advance, but with caution.
This game encourages conversations about actual historical events and how players react to them, similar to how Dungeons and Dragons operates. Using the die, you can control your player’s movements. You can also create special circumstances based on what the players land on.
How to Make a Game That Drills Facts
Earlier, we talked about games that rely on previous information about a historical period. But what if you’re trying to make a game that encourages players to remember facts? This type of project is perfect for classes that require intense memorization, like math and science.
For this type of board game, using the game board we described earlier, the goal is to answer as many questions correctly as possible. So:
- Take a deck of cards with one equation on the front and the answer on the back.
- Assign point values to each correct answer.
- Decorate the game board to either propel players forward or set them back.
This game relies heavily on the use of a timer. The timer that comes with the Madanar kit measures about 60 seconds. You want to see who can answer the most questions in that one minute. The winner will be whoever answers the most questions and reaches the finish line first.
Guidelines to Follow When Making Educational Board Games
If you’re making a board game for a school project, remember: you’re not presenting your project to Hasbro or Mattel. Your goal is to simply provide information in a new and exciting way––as is the point with most educational board games. Your primary focuses should be:
- Gameplay. You want your game to need minimal explanation. Let’s face it; most people don’t read the instructions. When creating your game, ask yourself: could I explain this game in under a minute?
- Purpose. Whether you’re trying to get to the finish line or explain a new concept, your game should have a clear-cut purpose. Your intention should serve as the groundwork for your game.
Making a good game board for a school project ultimately depends on what you’re looking to get out of it. As long as you present information in a clear-cut manner, you should get an A+. For inspiration on making a board game, try thinking about some of your favorites and go from there.