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How To Make Homemade Board Games

How To Make Homemade Board Games

Everybody’s favorite night of the week is always family game night. However, there is usually just one thing missing, personalized board games.

One very fun game is collectively designing a personalized homemade board game. In today’s article, we’re going to help you get the best out of family game night by creating a homemade board game.

How To Make Homemade Board Games
Image by lopaker from Pixabay

What Do You Want From Your Board Game?

We know you are already excited to start building something. Well, the first step isn’t to start building, but to think. You first need to decide what you want for your homemade board game.

Things like how many players can play the game, the rules of the game, how many board game pieces will be used. All these tiny details are what you need to first take care of, and even write down before you start building any board game.

There are over a thousand different board games already existing. You can always draw inspiration from these other games.

So, maybe there are two or three board games that you love to play, you can pick stuff from those games and use them.

Most times, picking the stuff you’d change in those board games if you could and making those changes in yours helps a lot.

This step is important so that you aren’t confused about your objective along the way. If you like, you can make room to allow changes and adjustments along the line. Nonetheless, these changes should not be major.

A Few Things To Take Note Of Before You Begin Making Your Board Game

1. Rules

This is the most important part of any board game. First, decide what rules will guide and govern the game play of the board game you are creating.

The rules of the game can be adopted from other board games. But ensure that they aren’t too biased for anyone playing the game. Try having an opinion from someone else before letting it fly.

2. The Objective

You also need to decide what the objective of the board game you are about to will be. You are not just going to start playing a game without an end.

So, take time to think about what the game should be about and the players’ objective. This will, in turn, affect what the structure of the board game will look like.

3. The Theme

This is the final thing you need to decide on before entering the design phase. It is one thing, but it encompasses a lot.

The theme will determine the number and type of gamepieces the board game will be using. It will determine the colors that will be used. It will determine the design approach of all the other game features.

So, decide and write down everything you want for this board game from the three sub-headings above. Now, we can enter the design mode.

Designing Your Board Game

1. Create A Draft

Now, that you have decided what kind of board game it is you will be creating, one more thing before you jump to paper and glue; create a draft first.

You can make use of markers or whatever. Consider this step the architecture of the masterpiece you are about to build.

Just draw out a rough sketch of how the board game will look like when its finished. Apply the rules you have already written down and see where they could go wrong.

This will also be a great guide for you when you start building the game proper. Whether you want the draft to be detailed or simple is your choice to make. The important thing is that the basic idea of the board game is laid down.

With this, you can be sure that you won’t be having mistakes when you start using the main materials.

At this phase, you can make all the mistakes and corrections you want. When that is out of the way, you can now move on.

2. Make Your Own Board

This is another area where the decisions you made in the first step will come to play.

Before this step, you ought to have already decided what you want the game board to look like.

There are a lot of options for the creation style of your game board. It could be from just regular stuff around your house, or some more complex stuff.

Here are a few basic, intermediate, and advanced ideas you could use.

a. Drawing

Doing art is always a fun activity. So, to create a board for your board game, you can pick a cardboard or paper — depending on the game board size you have in mind for your board game.

You can now make use of creative pens, markers, colored pencils, and even glitter to design the game board.

This is why the draft is important, it gives you a guide for the design you are about to do, ensuring that you make less mistakes.

If this is the approach you intend to take, especially with friends and family, you can be sure that you will have a lot of fun creating the board game.

However, you already know that the work will not look as professional as regular board games, and that shouldn’t be a problem.

b. Making A Print

If you (or someone you know) dabble in graphics design, then that could also be another great choice. Making use of graphics design software to create your game board will also be fantastic.

Using software to design the game board helps you create better complex designs with ease. Also, once it is printed on paper, the look and feel will be nothing short of your expectations.

So, if you have access to design software and understand how it works, this is also a board game design option you could use and be satisfied with.

c. Machine Cuts

This option may not be your regular DIY board game style. It involves using laser cutters and carvers to make inscriptions on materials.

This is another reason you need step one and two. If this is the kind of board game you want to create, then that must have been decided at step one.

Also, to avoid making cut after cut because of mistakes, drawing the draft before starting is important.

With the two steps sorted, you can decide to use wood, fiberglass, plastic, literally anything you think is cool. Making laser cuts will look very cool for your board game.

The material you use here is also dependent on the kind of game you are making.

As much as all these options sound great, you can’t just use any of them for any type of game. Some will look better on certain kinds of games. Again, his is why you need to decide all that before you start building and designing.

One last thing is that, since these are DIY board games we’re talking about, pick something that can be easily achieved.

If you are good at making art, or know someone who is, then feel free to create a board game and game board that works around that theme.

Same goes with all the other options. If you are good at graphics or have a laser cutter in your garage or basement, then you can also make designs based on that.

There are a lot of other ways you can design a nice game board, so, if these don’t hit your idea yet, you can search out other options.

3. Game Pieces

Now that you are done designing the game board, you can keep that aside and now look at game pieces.

To avoid getting confused at this stage, you need to have completed it in step one.

There are different ways to come up with gamepieces for your DIY board game. Some options are:

a. Pieces From Older Board Games

For DIY board games, the first option will always be to use things you already have around the house.

So if you don’t want to have to spend, you can make use of pieces from older board games you have gotten bored of. 

If this is what you plan to do, then, whatever style of DIY board games you want to create should be playable with your old board game pieces.

b. 3-D Prints

If you happen to have a 3-D printer lying somewhere around the house, this is also a great option for designing your gamepieces. If you are also willing to spend, you can pay someone to design and print the pieces for you.

What’s the fun in that? You might ask. Well, when you begin playing your DIY board game, seeing your personalized board, with your personalized gamepieces, that’s definitely fun. It also just adds more color and uniformity to the board game.

If you don’t have a 3-D printer, you can create the design for the pieces and order the prints online.

You could also download design templates online. Just make sure everything fits your preferences and the board game you are making.

Still though, like we mentioned in the last step, DIY board games shouldn’t cost too much. So, if it is challenging to access a 3-D print or design, then just make use of old game pieces.

4. Dice?

If the board game idea you have created involves the use of dice — the majority of board games around the world — you can also take the same steps mentioned in the previous section.

You can make use of dice from your old board games. However, if you really want to go all out for your DIY board game, then that is totally fine.

You can also make use of a modelling or design software to create your own special die design and have it printed.

Furthermore, there are online resources that allow you to download already create designs for such things, make use of them.

One last option, which will also get the job done with relative ease is a smartphone die. Fortunately, there are now mobile applications that allow you to use your smartphone as a game die.

This is probably what we might call the best option for various reasons; the first being that you don’t have to spend.

Smartphones have become very common nowadays, you surely have one. You can take game night to a whole new level by using smart dice.

However, all these won’t matter if the use of a dice isn’t in your plan for the board game. But if it is, pick the option that works best for you and the design you have planned for your DIY board game.

5. Playing Cards

This is another – if not the most – common feature of board games, and it’s always fun to use.

How you design the playing cards is dependent on the design and style of the board.

There are a few easy-to-do options that could help you add playing cards to your DIY board game.

a. Handmade

Like drawing and painting your game board yourself, you can also use simple art tools like to create your own cards. This will be fun to do and also give you a satisfactory feel; that is, of course, if you are good at art.

b. Printed Cards

There are very easy ways to design simple playing cards and get maximum satisfaction.

For this, you could make use of Microsoft Word to do something very basic.

If you have graphic design skills, even better! You can make use of graphic design software to create stunning cards that will fit into your board game just fine.

The playing cards are said to be the fastest board game piece to get damaged or lost. With this option, you don’t have to worry about not being able to find a card. All you have to do is print another one.

c. Mobile Flash Cards Designers

You probably didn’t know this before, but there are different mobile apps that allow you to design your own playing cards from different templates.

You can download the mobile app, choose a template, customize it, and print on paper. With this, you literally have nothing to do or to worry about.

All these are great options once you know what you are doing. Like we said earlier, as much as you want the best, it is important that you pick the option that will be easiest for you.

And of course, this is only if you intend to use playing cards in your board game.

Conclusion

As much as you want to get the best out of doing this, don’t forget to do the things that come naturally to you.

If you are creating this board game for a game night with friends and family, make sure you get the opinion of others before starting your design.

Also, your board game doesn’t have to contain every game piece we talked about in this article. Just stick to what you love about board games.

Well, if you are feeling a little lazy or you don’t have the luxury of time to make a board game yourself, click here to see where you can buy really nice board games.

Steve Jackson Games Munchkin Pathfinder Deluxe

Click here to check this out and buy on Amazon.

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