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This is a instructable on the remake of the game Tsuro.

This is my first instructable. Please let me know of any necessary improvements to ensure that it can be well understood by all readers.

Tsuro is a game for 2-8 players. Players take turns placing tiles on the board. These tiles have four pathways interconnecting eight points around their perimeter. Game playends when only one player remains on the board as all other players' paths have led them off of the board. More detailed instructions can be found here.

The purpose of this project was to design and build a more durable, aesthetically pleasing and personalized version of the original. This instructable will demonstrate how to go about creating this game yourself. 


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Step 1: Supplies

Any wood will work for this, and some woods are more preferable for wood burning. I usedpoplar because it was readily available and relatively inexpensive. These came in four foot sections at 3 1/2 width.

3 - 4'x3"x1/4" ----- (~10 linear feet of wood for tiles) 
so much for box
Save scrap for border
Scrap for pawns/dragons
Small can of stain

General shop equipment (Saws, sander, etc.)
Wood burner
Safety equipment (glasses, gloves, etc.)


Please use caution while working with wood. Saw blades are sharp, and they spin fast! The wood burner gets hot ; it can, and will burn you! If you are unsure of your safety, err on the side of caution!

Step 2: Cutting Tiles

I made my tiles 3"x3", so I had a small strip needing to be ripped off of each board. This strip was used later.

I ripped enough boards for 36 tiles ~ 9 linear feet. These were ripped at the 3" width. 

The chop saw was rigged to cut all tiles to 3" length. [image 1]

36 tiles were cut: 35 unique tiles with paths, and one ''dragon tile.' The dragon tile is explained in the included link. For simplicity, I left it blank. I am no artist, and my dragon drawing would look like a cloud or rock instead.

Step 3: Blazing the Trail

We are ready to put the paths on the tiles now. This is where your creativity can be implemented to personalize your game! 

The included document [image 4], with all tiles drawn out, was used for reference only. I set up a piece of wood to equally mark the path ends on each tile. [Image 2]

I planned the paths to be equal distance from the next, whether on the same tile or adjacent. By this, I mean that the distance from one line to the next was twice the distance from one line to the edge of the tile. I would advise against this after some actually game play, because it confuses new players when they try to place the tiles in the wrong spot... Instead, I would move them slightly closer to or farther from each other; this way, their can be no confusing the possible placement of the tiles. The sample document shows them closer together.

Once all tiles' path edges were marked, the sample tiles were reproduced in pencil. [image 3]

Some problem tiles came up where two paths crossed in a manner which was difficult to discern appropriate path. [image 5]

Once all paths were traced out, burning of the paths began. [image 1]

This is how I did this, but I would suggest to trace out 5, then burn those. This way, your time spent using the wood burner is much shorter at a time: a bit of information I would have loved to know! My hand was dry, cracking and yellow by the end of each burning session. It took a week to get all of the yellow out and get rid of the cracking. Perhaps gloves? Ah, forethought, where were you?

Step 4: Borders

The original game comes with a board on which the tiles are placed. I was troubled in my desire to contain the entire game in a smaller than standard enclosure. I stumbled upon my scrp from th eripped strips. These were nearly perfect square dowels, so I thought they may prove useful. 

I cut these into 9" strips. Lines were traced around each strip at each potential starting point by laying three tiles side by side and marking paths. [image 1] These traces must then be burned.

These strips are now used to trace out the border of the game board. With these peices, the entire game can fit into an enclosure much smaller than the original box.

Step 5: Dragons

The dragons or pawns were, similarly, cut from the scrap ripped pieces. I was running very low on time and completely out of creativity (I was born with a limited supply.)

I cut small chunks from the strips. I sanded them down to different shapes. [image]

Players can now choose from, rounded triangle, pointy triangle, or the ever famous, rectangle! 

Step 6: Sand and Stain

I wanted the game to look a little imperfect, so I rounded corners and edges more than 'standard' Everything was sanded with a cheap rotary sander and a light sand paper around 220.

I then used a can of stain we had laying around, but I wish I had used something much lighter now. The burnt paths and the stain are still of a great enough contrast to easily discern, but I feel they'd look better otherwise. [image]

Step 7: Enclosure

At this point, I was running low on time (seems a running theme!) and my images became more sparse.

I designed the enclosure to fit all of the tiles, borders and a gap in the front for the dragons.

The dimensions are:
Front:          3 3/4" X 3 3/8"
Back:          3 3/4" X 3 3/4"
2 Sides:       11" X 3 3/4"
Top:            3 1/2" X 10 7/8"
Bottom:      3 1/2" X 10 3/4"

With everything cut to size, the four sides were then notched to provide a channel for the lid to slide and for the bottom to lock in.
These channels were cut < 1/8" (Blade width) wide and about 1/8" deep. They were cut about 1/8" from the edge

On one side of each side piece, a notch was cut to give the lid a resting location. [image 2] This was done by hand with a chisel, as it was a small notch.

The bottom was notched by 1/8" X 1/8" around the entire perimeter. [image 3]

The top was cut similarly, but not along one short edge and only up to 3/8" from the end. [image 4] This allows the lid to slide into place, but not show the notch when closed.

The four sides were cut at a 45° angle on both ends.

Stain all wood prior to assembly.

The four sides and bottom were then glued together by running a bead of glue through the channels and edges and clamping together. Slide lid in place to ensure proper shape of box **Do not glue lid!

Once dry, the lid was removed. Edges were sanded smooth. Gaps were puttied and sanded when dry again. Some touch up staining was done where sanded and puttied.

Rubbing a bar of soap along the edge will act as a wood 'lubricant' Mine, with much sanding slid very well, with no need for soap.

A hole could be placed on he lid to act as a handle to ease opening. Mine slides very easily, so I saw no need.

Step 8: Enjoy

You are now ready to play! Enjoy showing off your creation. 


Step 9: Final Thoughts

After completion, I have a few alterations that I wish I had thought of during building.

-Move paths inward or outward for distinguishable correct placement [image 2]
-Add a hole or handle of some sort on the sliding lid to ensure the enclosure can open if it becomes jammed
-Improve dragons with use of lathe.

<p>Well done. I love wooden recreations of board games. The hand-feel is so warm and alive, compared to printed cardboard.</p>
<p>Thank you! I agree. Now to tackle Catan!</p>
I've wanted to buy Tsuro for awhile now, but after reading your instructable I totally want to make my own like you did. Thanks for sharing!
You're welcome! I'm glad that I inspired you. Please share pictures, if you do!

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Bio: I was raised a general handyman's son, so I have a decent amount of building and repair experience. I have experience with wood working ... More »
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