I absolutely love making customized board games, and I got the idea to turn one of the most strategic games into a Harry Potter-themed gaming experience. Why play the same old Monopoly with the same old chance and community chest cards when you could invent your own with some surprising twists and turns taken right from your favorite book and film franchise?
I call it ... Pottopoly! Enjoy!
Thank you all for voting! We won 2nd prize in the Wizarding Contest!
Pottopoly is now ON SALE! Visit my Etsy shop here to score your very own copy of Pottopoly before they're gone!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Here are the materials you will need to construct Pottopoly.
- A sturdy material (thick cardboard, foam poster board, or an unused/old game board) that is perfectly square (measuring the same size both in width and length).
- I used an old Monopoly board (19.25" x 19.25"), but any square game board will do. (I recommend this size, so you can use my templates).
- Tape Measure or Ruler
- A computer, color printer, and/or some graphic designing software for creating the game board design and playing materials. I used a combination of Microsoft Paint, Photoshop (you can download a free trial here), and Pixlr (free online web app like Photoshop).
- If you like hand-designing your work or do not prefer to use a computer, you can do so on the blank templates provided.
- Avery 8.5" x 11" white full sheet labels (available on Amazon) to print your game board designs. These will adhere right to the game board, withstand the game board's folding and unfolding, and make for a clean, professional-looking play space.
- One small package contains 25 labels, which will be more than enough for your game board and some extras, just in case you mess up.
- A precision die cutter or paper trimmer. I picked up a precision cutter for $15.49 at Target, which comes with a built-in scoring implement, which helps you create perfect, clean, straight cuts every single time.
- Playing pieces (or materials to make them yourself).
- Houses (34) and Hotels (13) for game play (or materials to make them yourself).
- Two dice for game play.
- Colored Paper to make your money or pre-made play money for game play.
- I recommend putting each kind of bill (7 kinds--1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500) in a different color to help your players distinguish the bills.
- This will also require a word processing program like Microsoft Word (or similar) to churn out sheets of identical bills.
Step 2: Design Your Center Image
You'll need to pay close attention to measurements when designing your game board. I personally designed the center portion of my game board first (as pictured). The most important features of the main space on the board are the title and your community chest and chance card holder spaces.
As you can see, I have renamed the game Pottopoly (I manipulated the Harry Potter logo on Photoshop) and the action card spaces Potions and Charms. Whatever you decide on calling these cards in this step, you will have to stick with it because you will later use the same name on the action spaces on the board as well as the cards themselves.
I recommend creating your graphics on a canvas that is twice the size of what you actually need it to be, so when you scale your image to size, the quality will remain. Note: The more complex you create your game board, the more difficult the label application process will be.
IMPORTANT: The more complex your center design is, the more important it will become in the next stages that you lay down the images perfectly. If you're a bit nervous about this, try to make your image less complex.
Step 3: Print and Test Your Center Design
Once your image is designed, test out your image size on regular or scrap paper.
- If the center of your board measures 14"x14" (as mine does--this will be the case if you are using a Monopoly board or one that measures 19.25" x 19.25"), we will manipulate your designing program to print the image on as few Avery labels as possible. In Paint (or Photoshop if you wish), access the print page setup menu.
- Once you are in the Print Page set up, set your page orientation to portrait.
- Now, make sure that your printer is set to the following margins:
- .75" on the left and right margins
- .5" on the top and bottom margins
- These margins will print you an image on four sheets of paper. You will notice that more of the image is printed on two sheets (two sheets will measure 7" wide x 10" long and the other two will measure 7" wide x 4" long).
- Print the image.
- Cut these printed images out with your precision cutter and lay them on your board to make sure the sizing looks good for your board. The goal is to have the image centered while also leaving enough room for your play squares (I'll refer to them as pathways from here on).
- Having on old Monopoly board makes this step particularly easy because your measurements are already done for you. If they are not already done for you, see the next step for measurement guidance.
- If your image is too large, you can play with the margins provided above to get it to a size that works for your game board.
Step 4: Applying the Center Image to the Game Board
Once you are happy with the test copies of your center image, it is time to print the final copies onto your adhesive labels. When cutting your labels, it is especially important that you leave white "tabs" (pictured) on the sides of your images. Here's how to strategize where to place your tabs.
- Decide which label you would like to lay down first, and then leave two white tabs (about .5") on the sides where the other corners of the image will be laid down.
- I decided to lay down my bottom left image first, and so I left a tab on the top and right of my image.
- Decide which label you will lay second, and then leave one white tab in the direction of where your third label will be.
- My bottom right label was second, and so I left a tab on top because my third image would be my top right corner.
- Your third label will require a tab in the direction of your final corner.
- Your fourth label will require no tabs whatsoever.
(You may skip this step if you are using an old game board)
Depending on the size of your board, you may want to adjust your outer pathways so that you have enough space for multiple players to land on at once.
The measurements of the play spaces on a typical Monopoly board are 2.75" tall (we'll worry about width when it comes time to design your pathways), but you might want to make them smaller or larger depending on how big your own board is. If your center image has printed to be 14" x 14", this measurement will be perfect for the pathways.
Using a ruler or tape measure, draw straight lines that are 2.75" away (or your selected measurement) from each edge of the board. You will use these lines as guides when placing your labels, so be sure they are parallel to the edges and perfectly straight.
The Avery shipping labels are especially good for this task because their backing lifts off in small sections at a time. This gives you the freedom to hold your image carefully without your hand sticking too much to the label. This step will require a good deal of light, a flat surface, and some patience.
Keep in mind that wherever your first corner is laid down determines the entire positioning. Depending on the surface of your board, you may only get one shot to place these labels down. With that said, here are some things to remember:
- It is more important that the center images are laid as perfectly as possible. It's far easier to hide imperfect outer edges of the center than it is to hide imperfections in the center of the image.
- Remember to lay down your labels in the order that you determined.
- Keep your hands as dry as possible so that the ink doesn't smudge and you don't transfer it from one part of the image to another.
Step 5: Designing Your Play Spaces
It's time to design your pathways (playing squares)!
- Measure the exposed surface area of your game board. This space will be used for the game play spaces. Next, create a template either by hand or on your computer.
- Note: If designing by computer, I recommend creating a template that is double the size to ensure quality images. If your image went down crooked, you might need to increase the size of your borders to cover these imperfections.
- Create a template (or use the one provided) that is twice the size you need it.
- The provided template above is intended for a Monopoly board (19.25" x 19.25"). Because of quality, however, it is double the size needed (38.5"x5.75"). I have also made this template 1/8" larger than necessary to help you accommodate your errors.
- Plan ahead! Take a look at a Monopoly board (or the board shown above) to see what kinds of spaces you need to fill. Some examples include:
- Property Spaces
- Chance Spaces (I've renamed them Potions)
- Community Chest Spaces (Charms)
- Transportation Spaces
- Corner Spaces (Go, Jail, Free Parking, and Go to Jail)
- You must also keep in mind that Monopoly groups properties together in groups of 3 (except for the dark blue/Park Place & Boardwalk segment, which is only 2). You will need to color code these on your board as well as on your property deeds later on.
- For my own board, I made each color group a different theme. For example, my dark purple spaces are places of residence before Harry goes to Hogwarts (Hut on the Rock and the Cupboard under the Stairs). The red block includes locations around the castle (Quidditch Field, Gryffindor Tower, and Hagrid's Hut). The color coding is necessary, but themed color blocks are not.
- Once you have decided what to fill your board with, complete the blank template for all four sides of your board. Here are important things to keep in mind:
- This template spans 11 spaces (the 9 middle spaces and 2 corners). So when designing your first side (let's say from Go to Jail), you can design these two corners. However, when you go to design the next side, remember to keep the right corner blank because you've already designed it (Jail space), and so on.
- You will need to clearly label each property with its name, the price of purchase, and its "color group."
- As you can see with my own project, I have kept the color groups the same as well as the fees (with the important exception of changing dollars to galleons!).
- Go on Google for all of the images you need. There's quite the collection there for you to use!
- Do NOT alter the template provided. Even though you will not need to design every corner cell, messing with the sizing of the template provided will make your printing and sizing step much more difficult.
Once you are happy with your design, move onto the next step.
Step 6: Prepare and Apply Your Pathways to the Board
Time to prepare your pathways. First, you will need to test print and cut them to make sure that they both fit the game board and cover any imperfections that emerged during the center square placement.
If you are printing pathways to fit a board that is 19.25"x19.25" (Monopoly size), these are the printing margins that you will need to use (whether you print my pre-designed spaces or if you use the blank template I provided).
- .25" left and right margins.
- .5" top and bottom margins.
Cutting Your Pathways
Cut your pathways with your die cutter or precision cutter, remembering to leave overlap tabs just as we did with your center image). You'll want to plan the placement of these tabs strategically, though! Typically, each segment of pathway should have at least one tab (except for the final portion of pathway that will be laid).
If you wish to mimic what I have done above, here was the plan of attack I used:
- Lay down the left side first (top piece, then bottom piece)
- Lay down the top side next (right piece, then left piece)
- Lay down the right side after (bottom piece, then top piece)
- Lay down the bottom side last (left piece, then right piece)
Remember that this part of your game board creation is particularly difficult because you will need to make sure that the pathways line up both with each other and their tangent pathways that come in on a right angle.
Apply Your Pathway Labels
This session of adhesion is perhaps the most difficult because it will determine the overall look and feel of your board. You will definitely want to use the edge of your game board to help you place these labels neatly (although if you have cut the board yourself, you might want to exercise a bit of caution. If your board has been cut crookedly, your pathways will appear crooked and overlap each other incorrectly on the board).
Tips for Adhesion: Make use of the conveniently-backed Avery adhesive labels. Take off each section in portions to ensure maximum control over how the labels are adhered.After placing your labels, run your hand over the corners and edges to make sure that the labels are firmly attached. (Beware of sweaty hands during this step, especially if your ink is fresh!)If you have a folding board, fold your board now gently to make sure that your graphics remain in place.If your corners lift, you might want to consider adding a dab of fabric glue (which dries clear) under the edge to further fasten the images to the board. If you find a piece that has not been covered by graphics, such as the remainder of a white label tab, you can simply color in the imperfections with sharpies and/or markers.
Step 7: Design Your Property Deeds
NOTE: I've just been notified that the links to all of my files do not work for some reason. You can access them here.
You will need to create property deeds that match the spaces on your game board. For this step, you will need a Word processor if you wish to create your deeds digitally. I have provided blank templates that are approximately the size of traditional Monopoly deeds for you to create your won.
Each double-sided property card is composed of 3 aspects:
- The title of the property on the correctly colored label (front)
- Rent, cottage, and castle information (front)
- And mortgage information (see the mortgage information step for important details) (front and back)
I have copied the purchase/rent/mortgage amounts found on the regular Monopoly, but if you have changed these values on your actual game spaces, you will need to invent these values. On the provided examples, you can see how I have organized this information.
Note: If you attempt to open the designed word file without having downloaded and properly installed the Lumos font, the deeds' sizing, spacing, and layout may be altered.
Fill in the correct information (or you can simply used my pre-made property cards).
You will see that mortgage information is provided both on the front and back sides of each card. You probably also noticed (when scrolling through the pre-made template) that the order of the deeds is reversed. This is intentional! When printing double-sided images, we have to account for how the printer flips the image. Detailed printing instructions can be found in the next step.
So, you must design your deeds with this in mind. If you are creating a Hut on the Rock deed in the top left cell of the front side template, you must place the mortgage information/reverse side for Hut on the Rock on the top right cell of the back side template. Or, if you're placing property information for The Leaky Cauldron on the bottom right of the front side, you must place its mortgage info on the bottom left of the back side. But if you are working on a deed that is in the top center cell, you can place the mortgage information in the top center of the reverse side template.
Step 8: Preparing and Printing Your Property Deeds
As always, you will want to print your deeds on regular paper to proofread and ensure that they are aligned correctly, both in terms of text on the cell and the alignment of the front and reverse sides.
First, you will need to tell your printer to print double-sided and flip on short edge. Be sure that your document is also in landscape printing orientation. (This step is pictured and annotated above)
Once your deeds are printed, cut them out with your precision trimmer as if you were ready to play with them and thoroughly inspect them again. The black surrounding square encompassing all 6 deeds is a cutting guideline only. Try to cut just inside of this line.
Here are some important things to check for:
- Has the correct mortgage information (reverse side) been printed on the back of each card?
- Is the mortgage information on the reverse side centered on the card?
- How does the spacing of the text and images look?
- Is there enough contrast between the text and the colored property square? You might want to have some titles appear in white to enhance readability.
Printing the Final Copy of Your Deeds
Once you have made the proper adjustments to your cards and are happy with their appearance, it's time to print them for real onto white 8.5" x 11" card stock. The kind I have is a 65 lb. weight paper, which is durable enough for our purposes.
Let the ink dry on your cards for about 6 hours.
When cutting your deeds, be sure to:
- Cut with the front of the deeds facing upward, so you can see what you're doing.
- Cut inside of the major square containing all of the deeds (you don't want this black line to be visible on the edge of any of your deeds)
- Cut each card directly in the center of the blank spaces between each cell. There should be white spaces on the sides of your deed. That black border is intentional and should be shown on your card.
Step 9: Create Your Potter-Themed Money
NOTE: I've just been notified that the links to all of my files do not work for some reason. You can access them here.
Monopoly provides players with seven different denominations of cash: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500. It's a good idea to create your own bills in the same amounts to make transactions convenient. Except for this game, we will call them Galleons!
You may also use any Monopoly money you have laying around the house if you wish.
You will want to make these seven different bills distinguishable to the extent that the players can know what bill they are handling without giving them any more than a glance--in essence, they should be very visibly different.
I achieved this by selecting 7 different colors of paper, one for each kind of bill. I also designed them differently, but the main distinguishing characteristic is their color. I used 24 lb. colored paper for each bill.
Using the provided template, you can customize your own cash to mock the look and feel of your game board. If you want to start from scratch, there is a totally blank template that has cells in the exact size as traditional Monopoly money, but you can also use one of my designs and improve or change it to your liking.
Some suggestions for the design:
- Feature the amount of the bill (1, 5, 10, etc.)
- the title of your version of Pottopoly
- a character or image in the center of the bill
- The bills, if printed on colored paper, don't need to be double-sided.
- If you're using colored paper, you might want to consider using only black text and graphics
Step 10: Prepare Your Money
As always, print a sheet of each of your bills on the color paper that you intend to print them on. Check each bill for the correct amount, the positioning, and other small details that you may have overlooked when creating your bills. If your bills are ready to go, print them!
Please note that the gray outlines are intended to be guidelines. If they do not show up on the colored paper you select, you might want to change their color so you can utilize them when cutting.
Print Your Money
Typical Monopoly games come with the following amounts of bills:
- 40 -- $1, $5, $10
- 48 -- $20
- 23 -- $50, $100, $500
If you have used my templates for creating the cash, you will need to print (minimum):
- 4 full sheets each of your 1, 5, and 10 Galleon bills
- 5 full sheets each of your 20 Galleon bills
- 3 full sheets each of your 50, 100, and 500 Galleon bills
Of course, some of these will give you extra, but that's not exactly a bad thing. You may print extra if you wish.
Note: The template I've included is set for 8.5"x11". The paper I bought was actually A4 size, but as it turns out, it still worked out! (Be sure to check your paper size and set your printer accordingly)
Cut Your Money
Using your precision trimmer or die cutter, print your bills using the gray guidelines printed on each sheet.
Step 11: Design Your Charms/Potions (Community Chest/Chance) Cards
NOTE: You can access templates for these cards here.
Now you'll need Charms and Potions cards to make your game interesting. These templates will produce you cards that measure 3"x1.75".
Typical Monopoly Chance and Community Chest cards incorporate the following actions:
- Go to Go
- Go directly to Jail
- Get out of jail free card
- Pay a fee
- Collect funds
- Advance to a specific space
- Advance a given number of spaces
- Advance to the nearest transportation space
- Pay fees on houses and hotels
- Collect fees from every player
- Advance to utility spaces
Regardless of what you decide to include on your cards, typical Monopoly games include 16 of each. I have created 24 of each, and so the templates are set up that way.
It is also advisable to create double-sided cards that state clearly what kind of card they are (Potions or Charms). If you are using colored card stock, you don't necessarily have to do this.
Previewing and Printing
Once your cards have been designed, print and cut them out to ensure that nothing is cut off (either on the front or back of the card) Once you are satisfied with your design, print them on your card stock!
If you are printing on 8.5"x11" card stock or paper, you will not have to tamper with the margins. I advise printing these cards double-sided so the printer rotates the paper correctly and preserves the spacing specifications.