Design Your Own Board Game

Design your own board game, complete with pieces, cards, everything!

Bored 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!

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 chose 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!

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