Introduction: Let´s Play Ball ! Build Yourself a Heirloom Tabletop Game!

About: Hobbyist, part time college teacher regarding industrial design topics.

The idea was very simple, find an activity that my family, my friends and myself could use for hours inside our homes.

Baseball is a global phenomenon as there are over 50 professional leagues, thousands of professional players, hundreds of thousands of amateur players and millions of fans around the globe.

After some research I found a 1903 baseball tabletop game, 1903!! I did my homework and looked for the new fields design and I found the NFHS Baseball rules and decided to use some reglementary distribution to start with the field design.

Part of the concept was to have a carry on design that I could take easily with myself.

IMPORTANT; for this project I used some not so common tools. The good news is that I also present an alternative so you can get a finished board with just a few tools.



1) 3/16 Plywood or double face MDF 9"x12"

2) 1 inch cedar or any other wood lumber board, 4"X 30" long

3) Wood glue

4) Varnish

5) 8 Neodymium magnets 6×3mm (optional)


a) Table saw

b) Desktop router CNC

c) Desktop laser engraver

d) 6 mm wood/metal drill

Alternative equipment

i) Hand drill

ii) Marble Drilling Bit (Rockler item 41463)

iii) Wood/Metal 9/32 drill bit

iv) One additional 3/16 Plywood or double face MDF 9"x12"

Step 1: Step 1: Cut Plywood

Get or cut 2 9"x12" plywood sheets.

Step 2: Step 2: CNC the Main Board

I used a 5/8 ball nose for the marble cavities, the depth was set to 1/8". For the linear marks I used a 60 deg V-Bit, and the depth was set to 1/16".
You can use the attached DXF file to machine your own board or as a reference. Keep in mind that I used 9/16 marbles to define the board distribution.

ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Print the layout and stick it to the 3rd plywood sheet. Drill all the way using a 9/32 bit each single circle. Then you must use a Marble Drilling Bit using the drilled plywood as a reference, as a result you will get all the marble cavities with the same depth. For the rest of the board lines you can use a permanent marker to draw them.

Step 3: Step 3: Engrave the Baseball Rules

For the design I used a couple sports fonts: "Beantown" and "Playball"

You can use the attached file or you can edit it to define the board game rules as you need/want.

I used a 40W engraver laser set at 10% using a 3.5mm/second speed.


Just print the rules in a separate sheet of paper et voila!

Step 4: Step 4: Cut the Frames

In order to have a board game that I can carry with myself, I decided to use a box like design. Just check the dimensions on the images and modify them as you need.

To prepare the frame you need to cut four lumber 3/4 squares 30" long. Using a table saw cut the board grooves (double check it's thickness with the plywood). Each frame side must have a L shape with a groove, see the attached images.

Step 5: Step 5: Cut Frame Components and Glue

Cut the frame slides at 45 deg and glue up.

Step 6: Step 6: Add Magnets (optional)

In order to close the board game I had some options. Hinges, jewelry box locks, etc. I decided to use small Neodymium magnets as I think it's a nice feature.

Use a scrap part to ensure the proper drill depth so the magnets are flush with the wood.

VERY IMPORTANT, double check the magnet side before applying superglue and locating the magnet in its pocket so the boards have magnet attraction and not repulsion!!

Step 7: Step 7: Personalize and Apply Finish

You can personalize as you want the main cover. I used wipe on polyurethane as a finish.

When the board is closed it can even be standing up by itself due to the magnets attraction.

I have made this board in different languages for my friends as baseball is a real global sport!

Step 8: Step 8: Play and Enjoy!

You just need a couple of dices and 6 color marbles per player and of course, you need the basic Base Ball rules!!

I think this could be a beautiful heirloom tabletop game that can be used for a couple of generations adding nothing but good memories to the family and friends.

Toys and Games Challenge

Second Prize in the
Toys and Games Challenge