Introduction: Creating Board Games With Makey Makey

About: I am an Edtech consultant who loves all things maker but has a serious problem with the amount of cardboard I collect for my coding projects :)

Let's take all those old Board games that have missing pieces, broken parts and lost interest into a brand new game that combines your imagination, storytelling and possibly a Makey Makey with Scratch.

Although this Instructable goes with a Makey Makey, if you don't have one, this can easily be adapted into a game board that goes with a Scratch program without the wired connections to the physical board game. All you have to do is let the player know what button to push to activate the Scratch game that goes with your board.


  • Old game board
  • Paper fasteners
  • Copper tape or tinfoil
  • Drill (to make holes for paper fasteners)
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Makey Makey
  • Extra alligator clips
  • Makey Makey
  • Ruler
  • Scissors/Exacto-knife
  • Decorations/labels/paint to design/adapt your game
  • homemade game pieces (I used lego figures)
  • Dice or cards (if needed for your game)
  • Computer
  • Scratch online (free)

Step 1: Supplies and Game Board

  1. When you are designing your game, sometimes the game board you find can help direct the type of game you are going to make, or maybe you have a storyline/instructions idea that you want to explore and adapt to the gameboard.
  2. For this Instructable, I designed a story idea in Scratch where if you land on a special square, you activate a button to launch a storyline designed with Scratch.
  3. Choose the squares where you are going to have something to activate the story in Scratch. Use the drill and a small bit to drill a hole in the square.
  4. Take one of your paper fasteners, and push it through the hole.
  5. Before you open the prongs on the bottom, put a little dab of hot glue under the head to keep stuck to the board, then spread the prongs from the bottom.

Step 2: Setting Up Your Game Board Part I

  1. When you eventually hook up the Makey Makey, you will need to have two connections for each button to activate. One connection is the ground/earth, the other will be any one of the Makey Makey keys Up, Down, Left, Right, Space, W, A, S, D, F, G (if you aren't using a Makey Makey, you can program the entire keyboard for spaces!!)
  2. When you're planning out your space, keep in mind that we will be connecting alligator clips onto your board. I left a whole corner open so all my connections are in one place (just keeps it clean without wires everywhere).
  3. I have 4 areas on the board on the edges that work as the ground/earth. To keep it simple, I connected all four of them by taking the copper tape and running a line to all four. I suggest keeping the prongs open and running the tape directly over top of it for the best connection. Make sure you leave an open space on your board for the other buttons and to connect the alligator wires.

Step 3: Setting Up Your Game Board Part II

  1. Once you have your initial "track" of copper tape for the Earth connections, it's time to add all the other touchpoints on your game. Be aware that you are eventually going to be running Copper tape over them so you may have to angle the prongs so they face a certain direction.
  2. Once the paper fasteners are ready, start taping down your track. Just like Ghostbusters or Tron, "Don't cross the streams!". All the tracks must be independent of each other as each one is a different button on the Makey Makey. You may have to get creative and curve/bend tracks to get to the area of the board where you will attach the alligator clips (see the picture).
  3. Leave a bit of tape overlapping to the front to secure a connection on both teeth of the alligator clip.

Step 4: Decorate Your Board & Game Pieces

  1. Its time for your creativity to shine and decorate your Board Game. Do this before we start hooking up your Makey Makey to make ist easier to turn around, move and glue.
  2. I printed out little pictures on Avery shipping labels to easily decorate my squares.
  3. For the game pieces, I just used lego characters, but I added a piece of copper tape to the bottom and side so I can use this to activate the Makey Makey when I touch it to a contact point (paper fastener).

Step 5: Hooking Up the Makey Makey

  1. For this game, we will be using all the inputs on the back of the Makey Makey
  2. Insert the jumper wires into the WASDFG inputs and attach an alligator clip to the end of each wire.
  3. Add alligator clips to the holes Up, Down, Left, Right, Space by opening up the clip and clamping it on the two small holes
  4. The hard part :)
  5. Connect your alligator clips to the specific copper tape touch points on your game board. As you attach each one, I recommend adding a piece of tape to the wire and designating what input on the Makey Makey it will activate (see picture).
  6. Now it's time to program your storyline in Scratch

Step 6: Programming in Scratch

From here, all our games are going to look different. If you are new to Scratch coding, I suggest you start with their amazing tutorials. Scratch Tutorials This will get you started to create stories, animation, sounds, and interaction. You can make your game as simple or as intricate as you can as Scratch has an amazing low floor-high-ceiling platform to accommodate all coding levels.

  1. Create a Scratch account to save all your work at
  2. On the bottom left where all your Code scripts are, click the ADD EXTENSION button and choose Makey Makey extension. This makes it easier to see what inputs you are using in your Scratch program.


From here, you take over the instructable for coding your game design. Here a few tips on things you can add or consider.

  1. What will the key input trigger on your board? (Costume change? Audio? Animation?)
  2. Are you going to create a storyline for your game?
  3. Think about creating events or scenes for trigger points.
  4. Remember, if you don't have a Makey Makey, you can still just press a key on your device to activate the Scratch program

Step 7: Sample Scratch Program for My Game

Here is part of the Scratch Program for my game, LT Fozzbottom's Zeppelin Escape. Part of making a fun game is creating the storyline. My game involves a Steampunk Zeppelin adventure that has scenes, battles, and choices to make depending on what gameboard square is triggered

Here are some of the ideas that I added in my Scratch program

  • Green flag hides all sprites and plays the game intro
  • There are a lot of hide/show scripts based on Makey Makey key presses broadcasting messages
  • Broadcasting messages are a great way to trigger events
  • Using the sensing blocks and if/then statements allow sprites to interact with each other
  • Variables during a battle keep track of how many attacks occur and can trigger new events

Remember if you add movement, change costumes, use a Sprite multiple times, always have a script to change it back to the original form when replaying or creating multiple scenes.

Step 8: The Finished Game

Here is a sample of the Scratch game

Enjoy the snippet of video from playing the game.