Board games are a staple of family get-togethers, providing plenty of laughs and fun memories. So what can you do if everyone wants to play, but no one remembered to bring a game? Have no fear! Making your own DIY board game is easier than you think, and can actually provide some fun and hilarity all on its own.
Here we will outline five of the best DIY board games for your next impromptu game night. With a little ingenuity and some minor crafting, you will have a classic game with your personal touch to make it even more special.
Best Ideas for DIY Board Game Projects
Many board games can be turned into DIY projects. Which one you choose will depend largely on a couple of factors. Namely, which games you actually enjoy playing, and how much time you are willing to put into making it.
A simple game such as Chutes and Ladders is a much easier DIY project than something like Monopoly, for example. Still, if you enjoy arts and crafts, both can be quite a fun time, and the feeling of doing it yourself can be quite rewarding as well.
Think Outside “The Box”
Usually, with a traditional store-bought board game, the game box holds the pieces and everything needed to play. For these DIY projects, however, you are not limited to storing everything in a box. You are free to let your creativity shine. Our first idea is a perfect example of thinking outside the box and is especially a hit for younger children or anyone who has a sweet tooth.
Based on the classic Tic-Tac-Toe (Noughts and Crosses), this an easy and fun DIY version of the popular paper and pencil classic. There’s a lot of options to personalize this famous childhood game.
For Tic-Tac-Snack, step one is to actually choose a snack. Depending on your time commitment and what the players like to eat, this could be anything from small chocolates and candies to cookies or doughnuts. Players take turns placing their specific snack on a 3×3 grid, the same as regular Tic-Tac-Toe. The difference here is that the winner gets to eat their opponent’s pieces!
You are not limited to just the player pieces, either. If you are baking-inclined, you could create the entire playfield from a dough sheet and icing for extra sweet time! The best part of Tic-Tac-Snack? There’s no cleanup! After the fun is over, you simply eat the game!
Chutes and Ladders
As we mentioned, Chutes and Ladders is one of the easier DIY board games, and there’s a lot of room for creative design here as well. If you’re not familiar with Chutes and Ladders (sometimes called Snakes and Ladders), the goal is to reach the top of the board first.
All you really need is a sheet of paper, something to draw with, and a couple of player-pieces. You then draw the game board onto the paper. You can even have people take turns drawing different sections. There really is no limit to how big of a game board there can be. It’s possible to tape several pieces of paper together for a larger board if desired.
Once the board is ready to go, you need some game pieces. These can be almost anything, from salt and pepper shakers to pebbles from your garden. Designing custom pieces from play-dough or clay is also an option. Your imagination truly is the only limit here.
The last thing you will need is a die to roll. But if you don’t have a spare die, don’t panic! There’s plenty of alternatives. For example, you could place a deck of cards into a hat or bag, and the drawn card is the number of spaces the player moves. Or, as a super-simple solution, any smartphone can be used to pick a random number, which can simulate a dice roll.
The great thing about Chutes and Ladders is the variety. It’s definitely fun to see all of the different designs that people create, and then play those out in a live game.
This one has the potential for a lot of laughs! If you have a stash of family photos, print out sets of the same size, and you instantly have the makings of a classic memory game. You could even take selfies specifically for use in the game – or any other type of picture you can think of. Just be sure there are no distinguishing marks or other features on the back of the photos, or they will be too easy to tell apart.
The rules of Memory (also called Concentration) are simple. Arrange the pictures face down in a grid pattern on the table. Each player then takes turns flipping over two pictures, trying to find a matching pair. When a pair is found, you remove it from the grid, and the player can take another turn. When all pairs are found, the player with the highest number of matches wins. It’s a simple game that’s easy to set up and play without too much crafting work.
Some Work, and More Play
The following DIY board games in our list require a bit more crafting and time but can provide an amazingly memorable and fun experience. You don’t need to follow the instructions exactly to make the game work. Feel free to substitute materials or steps, be creative, and have fun with the experience!
One of the most well-known family board games is Monopoly. Everyone is accustomed to the board, the pieces, and the play money. But have you ever thought about creating your own version of this classic game? It’s not quite as far-fetched as you might think, and it could even become a family staple or heirloom to pass down. Monopoly began as a home-made game during the Great Depression, and it is more suited to a DIY project than you might expect.
The main things to craft here are the game board itself, the chance and community chest cards, and the player pieces. The board itself is obviously the most important aspect here, and where most of your creative energy can shine. Of course, you can start with templates for the various elements, but nothing is stopping you from creating your own versions entirely from scratch.
Consider that this is your Monopoly board. You are not limited to the places on a standard board (or even real places at all)! You could make some of the destinations outer space, or anywhere you can think of. Don’t limit yourself by your recollection of the standard game board. You can place things wherever you want to on your board. The same goes for the cards as well. If you want to have a card that gives or takes a huge sum of money from a player, go for it! Try new things, experiment, and if something doesn’t play the way you’d expect, you can always change it later.
For the cards’ material, it’s best to print them on a heavier stock of paper, since it’s easier to handle in a deck. You can buy stock paper at any office supply store for relatively cheap.
Speaking of expense, for the money itself, this is where you can really get imaginative! For example, if you use an outer-space Monopoly theme, you could have completely alien money. Or you could paint pebbles and use them as gemstones. The key is not to limit yourself. This is your game, so make it your way.
The final game on our list is the famous murder mystery game Clue. This is another game that started as a home project during World War 2, and so lends itself well to DIY customization. And oh boy, you can have some fun with this one!
For starters, instead of the regular Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, or Ms. Scarlett, you could use photos of the players themselves for a more engaging experience. Similarly, you can take pictures of various items around your house for the weapons. This is your chance to get hilariously silly if you want to!
Since the Clue game board is the floor plan of a fictional mansion, there’s nothing stopping you from printing out any floor plan you find online. You can even use your own home’s floor plan!
The only other objects needed to play home-made Clue are sketchpads to record notes, and a numbered die for movement. As mentioned earlier, you can use a deck of cards or a smartphone as an alternative to rolling a die.
If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It
Designing your own DIY board game can be a fun and rewarding experience. With a little time, creativity, and imagination, you can have your very own unique version of a classic.
The possibilities don’t end here either. Who’s to say that you can’t create a completely new game? The very next bestseller could be on its way to being fashioned in your home, just as Monopoly or Clue was back in the day. Someday, your DIY game may be sitting on the table of millions of families around the world. So get crafting, and have a blast at your next family game night!