14 Days of Adventure – Day 13: Design Your Own Board Game

14 Days of Adventure – Day 13: Design Your Own Board Game

Wow! Only one day left of the 14 Days of Adventure Challenges! You know what that means? Almost time to go back to school! But there is still time for two more challenges! Today . . .

Day 13: Design Your Own Board Game!

Board-GameBored with all those old board games? Why don’t you invent your own? It’s easy to do and you’ll have something you’ll actually want to play when you’re done!That’s right! The regular games are way too old and stuffy. No one wants to play those games. Besides, the rules are way to boring and hard to understand. Why don’t you use your old board games and/or cards to make up your own game!

Start with an idea. What sort of game do you want? A skill-testing one like Trivial Pursuit? A chance one like Sorry? Once you have that in mind, design your board. Draw out a rough copy on a piece of paper. You can have the entire board comprise of squares like a chess board, or squares around the edge like Monopoly, or you can create a wavering design like Candyland. Of course, there are many more options, shaped boards are fun and your squares can be any shape you like.

Now, take an old game board or a piece of cardboard large enough to be a game board and decorate it according to your design. You can paint it, glue on shapes made of felt, colored paper, or foil, or use markers to fix it up. Anything goes.

Once you have the board, you will need pieces. You use virtually anything for playing pieces. Pennies, beans, or small toys work well. Of course you can always use playing men from other games. If you want pieces that are completely unique, try making your own out of light cardboard, the sort of stuff you would get from cereal boxes. Draw out your playing piece design and add 1/2 inch rectangle at the bottom. Now, cut the whole thing out and fold the rectangle under. You will have a piece that stands on it’s own.

Another way to design standing pieces is to cut the rectangle out seperately from the piece and cut a slit in the middle, halfway through. Now cut a slit in the bottom of the playing piece the same length and fit the two bits of cardboard together so the slits are joined. Voila! Another standing piece. This one will stand a little straighter, too.

For really personal playing pieces, take a photograph of yourself and anyone who will be playing the game and cut it out and make a base for it with the slits. You can be yourself or take turns being each other.

Now, depending on your game, you may need cards. Index cards work very well for this purpose. If you prefer, you can cut them in half for smaller cards. Decorate the back with a chosen design, something simple like a star, because it will be repeated a lot! Using a stamp makes the whole process much easier.

Now write the question or statement on the front of the card. You might need to look up some stuff on the computer or in an encyclopedia to write challenging questions. Or you can randomly write, ‘go back 2’, ‘go to the next green square’, etc. Stack all the cards on the board and trace a line around them. That will be the special card square.

If you cho0se not to have cards, you might want to write some directions right onto the board. For example, you might design a hiking game where you have a trail of squares winding across the board. You might put a paper tree across one square and write, ” A fallen tree, you must wait. Skip a turn.” Or you might write, ” You get chased by a bear, run ahead three squares.”

You can add photos and pictures clipped from magazines to your game as well. Play it a couple of times and adjust the rules to work the best. And then, play away!

Or just create a fun/funny game with cards. Take your index cards and write funny directions on them or the other players. As each player picks up a card, they have to do whatever is on the card.

If you haven’t played this type of card game before, you’ll need to have 60 blank index cards for 3 or 4 players. Any more players and you’ll need 80. The number of cards usually determines the length of the game, and the game gets bogged down with over 6 players.

Before the game begins, you’ll need to pass out 6 cards to everyone if you have an odd number of players, and 5 to everyone it the number is even. All players create cards out of their index cards and shuffle them back into the deck (I’ll cover how to create a card later). Then the game begins.

Once the deck is shuffled each player is dealt a 5 card hand (the deck has pre-made cards and blank ones). The person on the left of the dealer starts and turns go clockwise. To take a turn, a player draws a card from the deck and then plays a card (or passes). The played card is used and then discarded unless the card has instructions that need it stays on the table. Once a card is discarded, it is gone. It’s effects don’t work anymore. Cards in the deck also don’t work until they are drawn (yes you can work in somebodies hand).

If a player has a blank card, they may write on it at anytime. They can’t rewrite or add to existing cards. In the event that someone creates a card that must be played immediately, or can be played at any time–that card overrides any cards and you must follow that cards instruction before any others (unless someone else plays a card ontop of that).

Play stops (but the game isn’t over) when someone needs to draw a card and there are none left. When this happens, count up the score (preferably tallied on a notepad) and determine the winner–and count the total points. Once the winner is determined, set out all of the cards so that everyone can see. Going in turn order, each person picks a card to keep until each person has 5 cards. The author of the most cards picked also wins! Players keep their 5 cards and the rest are either thrown away or kept for later games.

Card Creation Guide

Here are some simple guidelines for creating cards:

-Make a title for the card

-Draw a picture (it doesn’t matter how good an artist you are, everyone ends up drawing doodles and stick figures in the end anyways).

-Finally, write the instructions on the card. This can be: “I get 100 points!”, or “Skip your turn”, or “Dance like a chicken,” or even, “Your name has been changed to Vegeta. -100 points to you or anyone who calls you anything else.”

-Cards cannot say “I win”, or “you lose”. Also, cards can’t take cards from the deck (if you need more cards, you have to pass after your draw). On top of that, cards can only take one card from another player’s hand (you can’t just take other players cards). You can’t give yourself more turns, or skip more than one person’s turn. Finally, cards can’t affect who can write, or how people can write cards.

-Cards can only do one thing each (cards can’t gain points, skip Joe’s turn, and make Joe discard his favorite card all at once).

-I suggest you set a limit to the number of points players can gain or lose in one card per turn (I use 100 as a max).

Beyond that, anything is possible (at least as far as I know)!

Have lots of fun and be creative! Bring your game to school on Monday and show us what you created if you make your own game!



2 thoughts on “14 Days of Adventure – Day 13: Design Your Own Board Game

  1. It may not be available anymore as it is an old article. However, if you do a search for space board games you will find lots of resources for making your own. You can also print out the image of the solar system board and use it. Just right click on the image and go “save as” and save it as an image on your computer. You can print it from there.

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