Introduction: A Game With a Purpose!

About: I've been an artist all my life. Probably nothing I couldn't accomplish according to my grade school teachers who said "I would make a perfect student if I would just stop drawing all the time". I'm …

I wanted to create and do something very unique for my staff for the Wood Badge Course I was directing. Since I'm a big board game lover (and for all you Scouters out there who know Baden Powell who said "Scouting is a Game with a Purpose") made me think what a perfect tie in for what I decided to make: A customized original board game centered around the Wood Badge experience here in our local council. Plus I personalized them for each staff individual (more on that later).

Step 1: Create Artwork and Components

I set about researching old scouting board games (a few exist). I found an old original English board game called Scouting. I took this as inspiration for my board game track, but altered it to look more like a tied knot. From that point on I took the Wood Badge syllabus and broke down daily events (unique to our local courses) and spaced them through out the game board track. Adding custom elements along game play.

Step 2: Finalize Game Board Artwork

As I developed the board itself I kept writing down ideas for the other components, such as game pieces, spinners, and other pieces needed for game play. I finished all my artwork on the computer using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and other various software to give the board a professional look.

Step 3: Assemble Game Boards

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the game boards being assembled. But it was pretty straight forward with the following steps:

  • A: After printing out the board art prints then trimmed to size(using any standard game board size such as Monopoly that folds in half).
  • B: Cut cardboard to finished open board size. I scored the center of each board so it could fold down (again like most other board games you've ever seen)
  • C: I mounted the art print to each sheet of card board with spray glue.
  • D: I then backed the card board game boards with sticky contact shelf paper. IMPORTANT: Being sure to fold the board as I contacted the second half of the board. (This will allow for foldability of the game board).
  • E: I had purchased 8 different colored rolls of duct tape (for each Critter) which I then used to cut and wrap the edges all away around the game board. (Personalization tip): Each staff member has a unique critter that they are associated with depending on what patrol they were in when they first went through Wood Badge. Because of this, one of the unique things I did on my course was to assign a color to each of the 8 critters that are common to the Wood Badge program.

Ax & Log Spinner: This posed to be one of the more challenging aspects of the game. After designing the spinner base I decided the Ax would be a perfect pointer for the spinner part. I had to manually cut theses out by hand. These were all mounted to card stock. Now to get the ax to spin freely. I had to experiment with several different methods. But the best option was taking my manual rivet punch, I punched an outer ring in the center of each Ax. And the same for the spinner base. Then using wood craft dowels with ball cap on the one end to piece together. I wood glued the dowel to a round disc that I drilled a hole thru for the dowel to fit in. Flipping the ax handle around the spinner board freely. I personalized each spinner base with the same colored duct tape as the game boards.

Step 4: Create Game Pieces and Acquire Other Game Components

Game Tokens: I took an 1/2" dowel rod and cut it down to 3/8" tall pieces and using my band saw cut a notch out of each piece. The individual game playing pieces are card stock with each staffers' personalized critter totem printed on opposite sides for when folded down to fit into the notched dowels. To help with making the game parts more assembly ready, after I printed them, I scored the center for folding and took a perforating tool, I ran along each side of the game piece for easy separation when ready to use.

Tickets sheet: One aspect of the game is to collect tickets to be able to finish the game. I simply designed a full sheet of tickets perforating the edges again for easy separation.

Die: Other than materials these were the only thing I actually purchased and didn't make (given my time frame I thought about making out of wood but decided it would be quicker to buy dice). However this proved to be a challenge finding the colored dice that I wanted again to help personalize each game for each staff member. I had to compromise on one of the colors as it was near impossible to find turquoise color, so I went with a light blue.

Step 5: Develope Written Game Instructions & Assembly Instructions

Once I had all the basic components of one game made: Game Board, Playing Pieces, Spinner, Tickets, I did a trial run of the game to see if my concept was playable or if any elements of game play would be an issue. I did this at least 5 times playing various numbers of players. Once I was happy with game play I wrote up directions and created a sticker for inside the lid of the game box.

I also created an assembly instruction sheet to be included with each game so players would know how to separate, fold and attach tokens in dowel bases. I took photos to be included on this sheet.

Step 6: Design Game Box

Now what good is a board game without a box? Well lucky for me I work for a packaging company(I may have mentioned that before). And double lucky for me one of the structural engineers help me flesh out the design for my finished board game. Done with simple Clay Coated News board stock (similar to what you all get when buying goods at the grocery store) he cut out the number of cartons I would need. I then using a glue gun did final folded assembly of them.
With the box finally done, I designed a art for the cover, back and four sides. The cover a simple representation of our councils silo'd backdrop and verbiage regarding the game. For the back side I pulled photos from previous courses and featured my staffers at the top of the box. Along with a breakdown of the games philosophy and contents, plus other features that accompanied our course. For the sides and kept it a simple game name plus my personal "Knot Sure" productions logo.

Once I had enough printed I then glued the front cover, back cover and all 4 side graphics to each box.

One other personal trick I did was to print out color circular stickers with the staffers totem and listing it as that Person's Edition of the game and placed it on the front of each box.

Step 7: Finalize Game by Packing All Components

After assembling the multiple boards with custom colored boards, along with custom trimmed spinners, game pieces, ticket sheets, colored die, assembly instructions, & boxes assembled and decorated. I began placing all the parts together for each individual staffer.

Step 8: Wrap Finished Assembled Games for Presentation

I wrapped each Custom Personalized Game with brown kraft paper and using the circle stickers on the outside to know who's was who. Now since these were presented at the night before our course,

I made each staffer sign an affidavit stating they would not share or show this gift to any of the participants or attempt to sell said items on eBay or they would be subject to legal action by the renowned law firm of Dewy, Cheatem, & Howe.

They all signed and as of this posting I've yet to see any of the games show up on eBay. LOL
I've said this before, but you really can't appreciate manufacturing until you make several of the same thing at the same time. I hope this inspires others out there to make their own board game or games.

I searched for pics of them being presented but guess I was too excited giving them out I didn't take any.

OH PS: After all that I didn't even make one for myself. LOL But I did one for my son since he was my course photographer, so I know at least one will stay in the family.

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