Growing up in Pennsylvania, long winter afternoons meant Monopoly, with a set of extra rules we'd devised. Why not design your own board game, something unique for your family to play?
- Develop a concept - ours was based on our favorite movie.
- Devise an idea - what actually happens - this drives drives the design of the board.
- Design the board with a rough sketch. Our game was a path where you used cards to move forward or backward and you could be sent to good or bad places based on the card that you drew or where you landed. This was a twist on games like Candyland, Monopoly and Careers.
- Figure out what supplies we'd need to bring the board to life.
- Gather supplies. White foamboard (the type used for presentations), Mod Podge, double sided tape, cardboard squares, glitter glue, Sharpie markers, dice, game pieces, paint samples, a pack of playing cards, alphabet stickers, gesso.
- Make the board. We Mod Podged paint samples to cardboard squares and taped them in a path around the white foamboard. We sectioned off some good places and some bad places and decorated them with Sharpies and glitter glue.
- Make playing cards. I painted some playing cards with white gesso, because it is difficult to adhere to a glossy finish. We Mod Podged paint samples on some of the playing cards and letters on the others.
- Make game pieces. Use things from around the house, buy unpainted pieces at Casey's Wood (click on "Game Pieces") or make pieces from FIMO clay.
- Document the rules. This required a lot of discussion and negotiation! I typed the rules into Word and printed them on heavy paper. Just plan to tweak the rules each time you play, as you see how the rules "play out" in the game.
- Name your game... and Play!
A number of sites recommend keeping homemade games simple. It really depends on your kids and also their ages. We like that we can make the game complex yet personalized.
- Check out the Game Design Project.
- Making Your Own Board Games focuses on making your own version of existing games, but has good advice on the process, storage, things to consider.
- How to Make Your Own Board Game discusses making a game from felt or fabric.
- Let's Build a Board Game includes strategies for the design of the concept/rules.
- Playing games is good for all of us, no matter what age. Per the New England Journal of Medicine (June 2003), in a study of Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly, stated, "Among cognitive activities, reading, playing board games, and playing musical instruments were associated with a lower risk of dementia."
- The Benefits of Playing Classic Games include use of critical thinking skills, logic and reason.