Introduction: How to Make a Altoid Tin Diplomacy Set.

This instructable was originally inspired because I got a diplomacy set for Christmas, and I wanted to play a game of it with my friends. Unfortunately, the diplomacy board was huge and diplomacy takes forever, and there was no where to store the board with the pieces on it when not in use. It is a pain in the butt to set up and clean up, but it is really fun. So I began thinking about this, and after revising it quite a few times in my head, I finally made it. Diplomacy has 357 pieces (7 European powers, and 17 fleets, armies and supply center markers per power). This set solves a lot of those problems because it is easily transportable, you don't have to remove the pieces when transporting, and it is small so it is easy to find a place where it won't be disturbed. Also, they are magnetic so you can carry it around in your pocket without it being messed up. This instructable can also serve as inspiration to make other pocket board games. If it has cards you can stick them down with larger magnets.

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

  • 225 1mmx3mm neodymium magnets (I got mine on amazon)
  • 34 0-80 size screws (I got mine from a local ace)
  • A light and dark color of polymer clay, and then 7 separate colors
  • Sacrificial pencils
  • Razor blade
  • Ice water
  • A ferric (has iron in it [a magnet will stick to it]) tin
  • Another tin
  • Superglue
  • Normal glue
  • Tweezers that are not magnetic

Step 2: Make the Board.

The first thing you will need to do is scan the tin in the setup above. Then, download the image of the map, and follow the video tutorial. Before you print it, click on the wand tool and set the tolerance to zero, click on the background layer, and then click on the white part and then the white part on the other side. Right click and then click invert selection. Then go to the image tab, and then click crop, and THEN print. You then need to print and cut on the outside of the black line. Brush glue on the bottom of the tin and glue it in.

Step 3: Make the Screw-magnet Things (for Lack of Better Term)

The screw-magnet things are basically just a screw super-glued to a magnet. Take a stack of tiny magnets and put a bunch of the tiny screws on one end. Take a screw off and hold it like in the first picture, using your fingernails to hold the threaded part. Just barely dip the head of the screw in super-glue, or put a tiny little bit on the end and then put it in the center of the magnet on top. Wait a few seconds, pull it off, and then repeat for all 34 screws. Make sure that they are all glued on the same side of the magnet, or they will stick together when you put them on the board. After you are done stick them to the inside of the storage tin lid.

Step 4: Make the Army Canes.

This step is probably the most complicated one. A cane is just a long stick of polymer clay that when cut reveals a pattern. First I will show you how to make the army canes.

The army canes have an A for army in them. The first thing you will need to do is make a triangular stick out of light clay. Roll out the light polymer clay into a round log, and then push in the sides to make a triangular stick. Next, push down on the the top with your razor blade to make it flat. Flatten out the sides so it is a trapezoidal stick. Then, make a triangular stick that, when set on top of the trapezoid, makes it a triangular stick. Then, make a dark stick, and then flatten in into a EVEN THICKNESS sheet. Drape this sheet so it covers the top sides of the trapezoid, and the top sides of the triangle. Stack them and sort of push them down, creating a triangle. If you look at the end you should see an A like in the second picture You are not done yet. Take 3 smallish sticks of the light clay and place them on each side of the triangle, and then wrap it in a sheet of the light stuff so it is a circle. Now you need to reduce it. Reducing it is a bit difficult to explain in words, so watch this video if you do not know how. Reduce it to about the same diameter as the magnets.

Step 5: Make the Fleet Canes

The fleet cane has an F in it for (wait for it) fleet! Make a rectangle stick of light, and then cover the two larger sides in a dark sheet.Stick another identical rectangular stick on one of the dark sides of the rectangle, and then cover the newly formed area with a purple. If you look at it from the side it should make an F. If you are lost(you probably are), look at the pictures. Now, add a light stick to each side and cover in a light sheet just like before to make a round cane. Reduce to the same diameter as the magnet again.

Step 6: Cut Cut Cut, Glue Glue Glue

In this step you make the things that hold the colored rings on the screw magnets and say whether they are a fleet or an army. Take a bowl and fill it with ice water. Before you cut, dip the cane you are cutting into the ice water for ~10 seconds. If when you cut you look at then end and it is blurry and the lines are not crisp, rechill them. Cut the army cane into a few lengths (about 4). Look at the ends, and start cutting which ever end looks the most like the A. Every cut you do rotate the cane 90°. This will prevent distortion. Try to make it so when you cut each of the bits is about the same height. You will need 34 bits, but make a few extra. Redo this whole process with the fleet cane, and then bake them all according to the instructions that came with your clay.

After you have baked them separate the ones that stuck together. Then, take a stack of magnets and one of your screw-magnets. Put the screw magnet in your tin so it sticks. Put the stack on top of the screw magnet. If it tries to flip, flip it and stick it to your tin. If it doesn't, just stick it to your tin. Now you need to do the tedious job of glueing them. I recommend tweezers, or your fingers will get so covered in super glue you will not be able to feel the things you are glueing. Not fun. Anyway, put a tiny itty bitty little dab of super glue on the top of the magnet, place on one of the things you cut from the cane, and then wait a few seconds and pull it off. Make 34 with and "F" on them and 34 with an "A" on them. After you are done, stick them to the inside of the lid of the storage box

Step 7: Colored Rings.

Now you will need to make the rings, which say who owns a unit. Take a pencil and sacrifice it. Slowly carve away the wood to reveal the lead beneath. Make a sheet of one of your seven colors, and wrap it around the pencil lead. Put the razor on it and roll it to make a cut. Do this so you have seventeen segments that are slightly shorter then your screw's threaded part, and then bake it. Once it comes out immediately begin separating them, but be careful not to burn yourself. Once it has cooled a bit, put your razor blade in the cuts you made, and push and roll just like you did before to separate them. You will get a bunch of colored rings that (should) fit on the screws. You will need to make them in 7 different colors, one for each country. Put them in the storage tin.

Step 8: Supply Center Markers

Now it is time to make the supply center markers. These show who owns what supply centers. If you want to be really fancy, make a cane of each flag of the countries and reduce and cut them out and glue them like with the army and fleet canes, except you only need 17 and not 34. If you don't feel like doing all that (Italy, Austria-Hungary, and turkey have tricky flags), just make them the same color as the rings. Roll out a log about as thick as the magnets and cut little circles from it. Bake them and then glue them on just like you did before. It will make little markers just as before

Step 9: How to Use?

The screws represent the units. The little magnets with the A and the F on them go on the top of the screw to keep the ring from falling off, and to tell what unit it is. The ring says which country owns it. When moving the units, push down on the ring and move by applying pressure to the ring. When adding units put them in away from the rest or the magnets will stick and it is bad. As they are magnets you can walk around with them and they will not fall off or mess up the board.

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