Introduction: DIY Board Game - Farlander

About: Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.

Farlander, first released in 2002, is a war based strategy game for 2, 3 or 4 players. The game map is built up from 7 hexagon tiles, each containing a number of territories.

Players take it in turns to first populate the map with their military units before invading and conquering neighbouring territories; the player with the most territories at the end of the game is the winner! Some territories are marked with "Garrison" icons which are used in an alternate version of the game. Playing with garrisons offers additional strategy as they provide extra defence as well as additional points for controlling them at the end of the game.

The game has fairly simple rules and lasts about 30 minutes per game and once the game is over, it packs neatly away in an elegant oak box with a sliding lid.

Step 1: Materials

For this project you will need some sheets of Ply wood for the tiles and the box lid and base. The box walls are made from Oak and the game counters are made from painted hardwood. I was originally going to make the game counters myself by slicing up some dowel but I found I could get pre-made counters on ebay for very little cost. It was cheaper to buy 400 pre-made counters (100 of each colour) than it was to buy some dowel and 4 coloured paints. The seller I bought these from can be found here.

Materials List:

Ply Wood: A4 sheets 3 mm thick - x2

Oak: 70 mm wide 4.5 mm thick and at least 370 mm long (I used 2 pieces each 185 mm long)

Masking Tape: The thick kind is easier to use for this project

Paint: Acrylic paint works best on wood

Wood Glue: For making the box

Game Counters: Pre-made from ebay - link - For the game, you will need 36 Red, 36 Blue, 24 Green, and 18 Yellow. (or whatever colours you like)


Saw: There are many ways to cut hexagons, I used a band saw but a scroll saw or table saw would work well too.

Mitre Saw: This is for the edges of the box. Anything that can accurately cut a 45° edge will work fine.

Router: To make the sliding lid for the box.

Sand Paper: A smooth game makes for happy gamers :)

Clamps: You'll need to clamp the box nice and square.

Bonus Tool:

I used a CNC laser engraver to engrave map details onto the hex tiles to give the game a finishing touch. This is only for aesthetics and isn't necessary for playing the game.

Step 2: Cutting Hexagons

To cut the hexagons, I used a band saw but there are many other tools one could use. Powered tools such as scroll saws and table saws would work well but even hand saws can give good results; with some skill. You may have your own ideas on how you would be most comfortable cutting hexagons, but to help things along I've included a guide image.

The SVG file is a 1:1 scale diagram of the hex tiles. The tiles fit nicely onto a single A4 sheet of plywood and the lines are 1.5 mm thick to allow for the kerf of the blade. The 1:1 scale means you can print this SVG file and stick it directly to a sheet of plywood to use as a guide.

The SVG image also shows the recommended territory shapes in red and a number of blue dots that represent garrison locations. This is the default layout for the game but it is not mandatory to stick to this layout.

Step 3: Paint the Tiles

Now that we have our map tiles, it's time to mark out some territories. You can use the guidelines in the provided SVG or you can make your own territories using masking tape and a pencil.

If you're using the guide, you can either stick it directly to the hexagon tile or cover the tile in masking tape and copy the guide. If you're making your own territories, then simply cover the tile in masking tape and draw your design on with a pencil.

Next, cut away the making tape to reveal this tracks of plywood that will be painted. It's best to use a really sharp knife or scalpel for this so be careful!. Try not to score the wood too much but it's not a big problem if you do.

Paint your design, I used acrylic paint which seems to work well on wood. Once the paint is dry, peel away the rest of the masking tape to leave you with some neat territory lines.

You can paint garrison icons in the same manner. I used a laser engraver to mark my icons which is why they are not shown in this step.

Step 4: Making the Box

Ok, so now we have the basic game! We made some map tiles and marked out some territories and garrisons on them, combine this with the game counters and you have everything you need to play. But we need somewhere to keep all those bits when we're not playing.

I made the wall of my box from two strips of oak. Ideally I would have used a single strip but I couldn't get hold of a single strip long enough for all four walls.

I started the box by using a router to make a groove cut about 5 mm from the top of the strip, and a rabbet cut along the bottom edge of the strip. I used the same router bit for both cuts, which had a diameter of 3 mm. The depth of each cut was about half the thickness of the strip.

Next I used a mitre saw, set at 45°, to cut the strips into box panels. Be careful when cutting the strips as there are two orientations possible for the angled edges, and only one will result in a box ;) make sure the top cross section looks like a trapezium and not a parallelogram; check out the diagram in the photo to see what I mean.

The dimensions of the box are tailored to ensure the hex tiles can fit but also don't rattle around too much. My box ended up being 91 mm x 86 mm but it really depends on how big you make your hex tiles.

I also used the second sheet of plywood to cut a base and lid. I found it best to cut your box walls first, and then use those to measure how big your base and lid need to be.

Step 5: Making the Box - Continued

To make the sliding lid, I sliced off the top of one of the wall panels, about 5 mm below the groove cut. I then assembled the box in a band clamp for box making, including the base, and glued it all together.

While the glue was drying, I glued the lid panel into the wall piece I had cut away previously.

NB: If you intend to make any kind of engraving or design work on the box, do it before you glue anything! it's a lot easier to work on a flat panel :)

I also added some oak strips I had left over to the interior of the box the make a kind of "pocket" for the game counters to sit in, I then finished the box and hex tiles with a coating of linseed oil.

And that's pretty much it :D

Step 6: Rules of Gameplay

Now we have built our exciting new game... How do we play??

I've included a PDF copy of the rules for you, but a summary is written below.


Set up

The board is set up by randomly placing the 7 hex tiles in the pattern shown in the photo.

Each player receives a number of counters of a single colour. 36 counters each for a 2 player game, 24 each for a 3 player game, and 18 each for a 4 player game.

Game Play

Players take it in turns placing one counter at a time into map territories. The territories do not span across multiple tiles. You can't have more than 5 counters in a single territory and a territory may only contain a single colour.

Once all counters are placed, players take it in turns to conquer territories. This is done by adding together the number of attacking counters bordering the target territory to get an attack score. If this score is higher than the defence score (the number of enemy counters in the defending territory) the attack is successful. The enemy defenders are removed from the game and the attacker moves between 1-5 counters into the newly claimed territory. However, no territory can be left unoccupied!! The attacker must leave at least one counter behind in each territory.

If a player cannot conquer, their turn is skipped.
You may only conquer one territory per turn.
If conquering is possible, it is compulsory.

Game End

The game continues until no player can conquer. At this point, the player with the largest number of territories is declared the winner!

Garrisons - Optional Rule

It is recommended for 3 and 4 player games, to use garrisons. Occupying a territory containing a garrison give and additional +1 defence point if under attack, but give no additional attack points. Controlling a garrison also gives and additional +1 to the final score!

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and have lots of fun with your new game :D

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