Throughout the brainstorming of this project, I am consistently struggling to make my artifact something that is time manageable. Continuing with the initial idea of a chess board, I thought of some game boards that are easier to complete such as peg board games. These types of games are commonly found in restaurants, bars, and maybe your grandparents attic. Time permitting, the scale of this project will increase. In the beginning, I wanted to make a chess board that was inspired by my dad. Recently without much to do, he has really picked up chess and will play constantly on He often complains about his tacky poor quality board that he got from target. He hates this board so much, that when I come home, we play together online even though we are in the same room. In an effort to get closer, I wanted to gift him a chess board worthy of us playing on together. Because I have put so much pressure on myself to achieve quality, I think that this project would have been too much of a time commitment for the scope of this class. In addition to this chess board, he also has a game set that includes backgammon, mancala, and peg board games. I thought that I could still follow my original inspiration and still meet time constraints if I slowly build out a game board set, game by game. I think the aesthetic I will aim for will be akin to that of ‘Crakerbarrel’.

I will begin the game set by making a “Tricky Triangle”, a triangular wooden board with 14 holes and 13 pegs. The objective of the game is to only have one piece remaining. The player can jump adjacent pieces as long as there in an open space on the other side. The jumped piece is then removed to open up another space, and so on. This brain teaser type game should be easy enough to complete in a short amount of time, yet it is still interesting enough that it will be fun to manufacture.

For materials, I will make all boards out of wood, about an inch or less think. I will most likely use mostly scrap wood found in the ITLL or Makerspace. If these shops do not have enough material for me, I will buy cheap wood from home depot.

I plan to prep the wood by cutting off or gluing together an 8″ piece of wood. With the correct stock size, I will send the board through the planer. I would prefer the board to be slightly over a half inch, for aesthetic reasons described later on.

I will cut the 60 degree corners on the miter saw. If the angle is too impractical and the pieces is too small I will use the table saw and guide.

After the board is cut to size, I can drill the holes for the game pieces. The layout of spaces follow the same pattern as the pins in a bowling ally. Without much computerized precision, I will use a printed template to drill the holes in that pattern. I am foreseeing the piece to be too small and awkwardly shaped to be practical on the mill, so I will use a drill press or hand drill. Once drilled, I will use the table router to put a chamfer on each outside edge. I think the chamfer fits this aesthetic better than a fillet but still has a finished look.

As for the game pieces, I am still undecided what materials I should use. I think that aluminum/brass/steel rods are most available to me. However, I believe that wooden game pieces, pegs, or golf tees, would fit the traditional theme of the ‘cracker barrel’ aspect much more. I had previously made a baseball peg board game using aluminum pawns. What I likes aesthetically about this method was the ‘knurling’ I could add for texture. In addition, I am for more experienced on a metal lathe as compared to a wood lathe. What I know for sure, is that as the project progresses, I will need a large number of game pieces. I must consider the quantity of pieces when I choose the method of manufacturing and materials. Because the number of pawns I make is dependent on the number and type of bards I make, I will save this task for very last. This being said, I am still undecided if I should finish the wood with paint, stain or leave it raw. Right now, I am leaning towards leaving it as natural wood.

As for the rules, I plan on using the laser cutters at the ITLL to engrave text onto the back of the game boards. This way, anyone can play without ever knowing the rules. By using the laser cutter, I do not have to worry about the the aesthetics of hand written text.

After I make the first board, a ‘tricky triangle’, I will choose which peg game board I should make next. Because I have already made a dice baseball game with these same themes, I want to steer clear of any type of sports game. Once I have a few small, simple peg board games, I would like to make a mancala game for the set. I think that this style of game would also be easy, as it requires the same board prep steps as the tricky triangle and simple ball endmill operations. When I think that I have made enough games, I will decide if I want to build a hinged box for them or not.

This being said, if I have the time I think it would be fun to make aluminum/steel dice for this game set. If this were the case, I would make them tiny, just for the novelty. To do this, I would square a block of scrap metal on the mill. Once squared and milled down to a spec’d cube, I would write a position drill program for the numbers and add a chamfer to each edge.

In all, I have designed this project to be variable in the amount of time that I commit to it. No matter what, I will make a tricky triangle game board fit to sit on your grandparents coffee table, but time will tell how fleshed out this game set is. What is comforting about this project is that each game follows nearly the same manufacturing project so it should be simple enough to repeat the same steps for as long as I could.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Design Preview – Game Boards […]

  • Trent Bjorkman
    March 17, 2024 10:18 pm

    Hey Riley, I like your project ideas! The design inspirations of wanting to make a present for your dad is super wholesome. Are you wanting to change the aesthetic of the secondary game you might make?

    • No I think that if I make a second board, I will make it a part of the same aesthetic as though they are part of a set.

  • This sounds like a fun project, I like that you are giving yourself a flexible scope so that you can work on it according to the amount of time you have. I am excited to see the final product and what sort of woodworking you are able to accomplish. I was curious, what sort of aesthetic are you trying to go for here? Also, do you have any sketches of your ideas for the tricky triangle game?


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