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Make Your Own Board Games

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by Emily Burgoyne (subscribe)
Loves all aspects of the written word, both the reading and the creation of.
Published June 27th 2012
With winter school holidays approaching, why not breathe a new spark into those old classic board games and toys by making and personalising your own? Below are several to get you started.

Some of the most common materials you will need for these games are listed below; additional materials could be required in specific games. The materials will also depend on how creative you get. Not all the materials need purchasing; some can be used recycling common household items.

Some basic materials

Light card (cereal boxes etc)
Old magazines / pictures
Coloured Paper
Clay / Dough
Colouring implements: pens, pencils, textas, crayons, paint

Make Your Own Dominos

1. Using light card, measure and cut out card 6cm by 12cm, or any desirable size. Rule a line down the middle (6cm for this size).

2. Traditionally, dominos feature the numbers 1 to 6 resulting in 21 dominos. Divided in half there is a number on each side. Dominos start 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6. From then onwards, they begin with the double number. For example the next in the sequence would be 2/2, 2/3, and so on until 2/6, before beginning the line for three with 3/3. If you 'number' your dominos as such you will make 21 with no two dominos the same.

3. When creating your dominos, you can do the traditional numbers, or make your own. For example, six colours, six shapes or six pictures. See the photo for examples of each. The choice is up to you.

4. A good way to protect your cards is to cover them with contact, or laminate them.

The Rules
The aim of the games is to rid yourself of all your dominos.

1. Place dominos face down and shuffle. Each player chooses five, the rest are pushed to the side.

2. Draw one from the pile and place it face up in the centre, this is the starting domino.

3. Players take turns at playing a domino; matching it to an open end on the board. If a player cannot match a domino, they draw one from the pile.

Make Your Own Snap / Memory / Go Fish Cards

1. Using light cardboard, measure and cut out cards 8cm by 6cm, or any desirable size. The size listed will create cards the size of a normal playing deck. You may however like to make the cards larger, especially for young children.

2. Taking four cards at a time draw the same simple design. For example, a heart, star and other geometric shapes in the same bright colours would be good for young children. Other children may like more detailed designs such as a fish, cat, flower, leaf etc.

Note: You do not have to draw a design, you could use stamps or glue cut out coloured paper. Stencils are great to have here. Use your imagination.

3. Repeat step 2, drawing a different design/picture on each set of four cards.

4. Make the deck as large or small as you like. I recommend you have at least 10 different pictures, which will give you a deck of forty cards.

5. To make your cards last longer cover or laminate them.

6. Now it is all simply the matter of playing your selected game.

The Rules
1. Snap: Shuffle and hand out the cards to all players going around the circle until all cards are gone. Players take turns going around the circle and placing the card from the top of their individual pile into the centre. When the two top designs match players are to slap their hands down and yell snap, with the hand on the cards first wins the pile and the process begins again. The aim of the game is to get all cards.

2. Memory: Shuffle the cards and lay them face down, either scattered or in a grid. Players take turns turning any two cards over at a time. If the pictures match, the player removes and keeps them and turns again. If they do not, the player turns them back over and the next player goes. The game ends when all cards have been matched; the winner has the most pairs. Another way to play is to divide the deck in two with each half having all designs. Create two grids and have players or teams compete against one another to see who can match all their pairs first.

3. Go Fish: Shuffle all cards and deal out five to each player, the remaining cards are left in a pile face down. Pairs are matched and placed aside. Players then go around the circle asking one person if they have a card that matches their own. If they do, the card is handed over and the player asks again for another card. If not, the player must fish, picking up the top card from the pile. If a player runs out of cards, they pick one up from the deck. The game is played until all cards are collected, the winner being whoever has the most pairs. These are just three games that can be played using these cards, library or internet searches may suggest more, or simply create your own.

Make Your Own Chess and Checkers Game.

The Board

1. Decide how large you will like your board. The board will need to be square and divided into squares, 8 by 8. A good size would by a 40cm square. Leaving an 8cm boarder, have the squares 4cm by 4cm.

2. A good idea may be to stick two pieces of cardboard together with tape so you may fold it in half for easy storage. Another way could be to draw a large board on a roll of paper so you can roll it up when done playing.

3. Once you have created your grid, it will be time to paint your squares. Traditionally a chessboard is alternating squares of black and white, but why be traditional? Personalise your board to match your pieces. A good way to do this is to leave off colouring your board until you have made your pieces.

Chess Set
In chess, the pieces are typically black or white. Each side has eight pawns, one king, one queen and two rooks, knights and bishops.

For those crafty people why not try constructing your own pieces out of dough, oven bake clay or plasticine? You could even try making origami pieces if you are so inclined.

For those who do not have the patience to craft 32 individual pieces you could try scavenging items from within your house. Some examples might be small figurines (think Lego people); beads, pebbles painted with different symbols for each piece, or simply borrow pieces from other games.

I am not going to repeat the rules of chess, can explain how the pieces move better than I can.

Two colours with at least 8 pieces each are needed to play checkers. You will also need a way to distinguish between normal and 'kinged' pieces.

Some options include:

1. Bottle lids of two colours or painted

2. Coloured pebbles

3. Squashed marbles

Practically anything works as pieces, even coins and one side already has a crown.

Now it's time for you to get creating and making so you can soon be playing. I cannot think of a better way to spend a rainy day than playing board games, especially when you've made them yourself.
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Why? Board games don't need to be boring
When: Whenever you feel creative
Where: At home or wherever you like
Cost: It all depends on you
Your Comment
Great article! I'm inspired now. Time to get out the laminator!
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 3|1247) 3245 days ago
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