Malefiz (Barricade) Boardgame




Introduction: Malefiz (Barricade) Boardgame


May peace and blessings reach you all and find you all in good health.

This is my first instructable. Please bear with me as i take you through the process of making this fun board game that any age can play. Das Malefiz Spiel was first published by Ravensburger in 1960. It was part of my childhood growing up and thought it would be fun for my kids to play.

Step 1: Game Setup and Rules

This is a race-type game and is for 2 to 4 players.

The following information was taken from Wikipedia:

Malefiz requires the following items:

  • 1 gameboard
  • 20 pawns (5 in each of 4 player colors)
  • 11 barricade pieces
  • 1 die

At the outset, each player's pawns are placed in their respective houses at the bottom of the board. Barricade pieces are placed at the eleven colored spaces on the board.

First play may be determined by a die-roll or another manner of the players' choosing. At the beginning of each turn, the active player rolls the die. That player selects one of their five pawns to move the number of spaces shown on the die. During the course of a move, the pawn may move in any direction and continue through corners in the path, but it may not double-back along its course and it may not forego any steps. The spaces within the players houses are not counted against the die-roll; the first space counted by each pawn is the space immediately above the house. A pawn may pass other pawns of any color, but only one pawn may occupy a given space. In the event that a pawn finishes its move by landing on a space occupied by another pawn, the pawn occupying that space is captured. Captured pawns are returned to their respective houses and may rejoin play on their owner's next turn. Unlike pawns, barricade pieces may not be passed. In order for play to progress past a barricade, the barricade must be captured by a pawn. A player who captures a barricade must relocate the barrier to an unoccupied space on the board. Barricades may not be placed in the four houses or any of the 17 spaces in the bottom-most row. A pawn may not be moved if doing so would cause it either to pass a barricade or to overshoot the final, uppermost space on the board. A player may forego their move if and only if none of their pawns may be moved.


The first player to land a pawn on the uppermost space is the winner.

Step 2: Materials

  • Wooden dowels (for board pieces) - $3
  • Acrylic paint (red, green, yellow, blue, white, black, gloss) $14
  • Small paint brushes and palette $4
  • Poplar hardwood board (3/4" thick) - $30
  • Pre-stain conditioner - $10
  • Wood stain - $10
  • Polyurethane - $10
  • 1.5" hinge set - $3

Total cost: roughly $80

There was, however, almost enough material to make another board game!

Cost may vary depending on what materials and tools you already have on hand.

Required tools i already owned:

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Center punch
  • Paint brushes (for stain/finish)
  • Rubber mallet
  • Heat gun
  • Drill press
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Forstner bit
  • Jigsaw
  • Electric sander and sandpaper
  • Router
  • Router bit (straight with guide)
  • Plexiglass - had spare from a previous project i did
  • Rubber feet - yes, i already owned these :)
  • 2 washers
  • 2 screws (of raisins. what?)

Step 3: Measuring and Marking

Two boards were cut with a jigsaw each to 350mm long and 182mm wide. I then printed off the design i wanted to use to help mark my holes. I found the centers of each square by X-ing them on the paper, taped each paper half to the two wood boards and used a center punch and a rubber mallet to make a mark on the board to let me know where i need to drill the holes.

Step 4: Drilling Holes

The hardwood was 3/4" (19mm) thick. I used a forstner bit on the drill press to keep a smooth bottom and measured to drill 15mm deep (and leaving 4mm of wood under the hole). The dowel size you use for your pawn/barricade pieces may vary, but you should ensure you use a slightly larger hole size than your game piece as you will need to paint the game piece and inside the hole, giving you less room to wiggle. I would suggest to do a test on a scrap piece first by drilling the hole to the depth you like, painting inside, and painting a dowel piece and ensuring you have the right fit. After your game pieces and inside of the holes are painted, there should still be roughly 1mm to 2mm of wiggle room for the piece in the hole. I also ensured there was ample room on the back of the board for storage of pieces, as you will see in the next step.

Step 5: Making Your Pieces and Storing Them

Measuring, Cutting, and Sanding your Game Pieces:

I cut the dowel to make 25mm-high pawn pieces and 35mm-high barricade pieces. This would give me 10mm and 20mm of game piece above the board game for each of the two piece types, which should be comfortable for a hand to pinch/pick them up. I created a rig consisting of two pieces of stacked spare MDF to get the exact size for all pieces and to ensure i had a flat top/bottom on each piece. I stacked two pieces of scrap MDF wood and drilled 15mm deep for the pawn rig and 25mm deep for the barricade rig; this depth drilled through one piece of wood and partially into the 2nd. I placed the game piece inside, and used an electric sander with 60 grit paper in it, flipped it around and did the same until its height matched the stacked wood. The picture showing this has a painted one, but i would have obviously done this before i painted.

Game Piece Storage:

I wanted to have a full storage-solution inside the board itself for all the pieces so decided to leave a little bit of room on the bottom of the board. On the backside, i measured out a gap that didn't interfere with any holes on the other side to store my game pieces. It was 36mm long, 302mm wide, and 12mm deep. Using a combination of hole drilling, a router with a straight edge bit, and a chisel, i was able to cut out a hole as deep as my pieces were wide. I ensured all my pieces, including a die would fit into the space.

Painting your Game Pieces:

Before painting, give your pieces a good sanding. Dowels are generally smooth to begin with so i gave a light sanding all around and primarily focused on the tops and bottoms using 220 grit sandpaper. I then drilled a bunch of half-deep holes in spare wood and began my painting process. I painted half a piece, placed it in the half hole in the spare wood, and let it dry (which only took about 30 minutes as i was using water-based acrylic paint). I did this for each piece (5 red, 5 blue, 5 green, 5 yellow, 11 white). Once dry, i painted the other half and let it dry. I did this process 3x to ensure proper coating and was happy with the colors. I then used a clear gloss finish on all the pieces to give them a bit of a shine.

Step 6: Painting Inside the Holes

A discretion. If i could reverse time and just stain the whole thing first before i did any painting, i would do so. The reason being is that i had used water-based paint to paint the pieces and the holes, while the stain and polyurethane were oil-based; those two things do not mix very well. I knew this going in and thought i could outsmart the mixture with some intuition which half-worked. I am describing my instructable on how i actually built my board game, and not necessarily how i should have built it.

Moving on.

Using acrylic paint, i painted inside all of the holes. I did this before staining as i figured any stain would hide any paint imperfections that would have shown on the top of the wood due to my shaky hands :). I let the paint dry and then put another coat in there. Once dry, i filled the holes with some home-made playdough; yes, you heard right.. and i did not list this in the materials list on purpose :P. I figured when they harden, that will give me a decent barrier to protect the paint in the holes.

Step 7: Pre-Staining, Staining, and Poly Finish

This was my first time working with stain and my first time working with Poplar wood so i didn't know what to expect for a finish. There were other hardwoods available but i just stuck to the cheapest one. I began using wood conditioner. I then stained one side of the wood with a brush and wiped away the excess after 15 minutes with a clean rag. I conditioned and stained all sides of the wood and let dry. I was surprised with how dark the wood stained on just 15 minutes of stain time, and i was expecting the grain to stand out, which it didn't. Once the stain was dry on all sides, i popped out all the dry playdough. I then finished with a polyurethane coat. After that had dried, i sanded it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper and added another coat, followed by another light sanding and finally a third coat and sanding. I was happy with how smooth the board felt to the touch.

Step 8: Hinges, Storage Cover, and Feet!

I decided at this point to hinge the two halves together and to drill two holes on the bottom to help prepare for a storage cover. I opted not to make the hinges flush to the bottom wood, just to give me an excuse to have a little space gap when the board was closed to give me options for a cover for the game pieces. I cut a thin piece of plexiglass that was wide enough to fit inside the storage hole i cut out on the back of the board. I cut it long enough so that if i bent its ends, it would fit inside the gap. I sandwiched the plexiglass between 2 pieces of wood and then used a heat gun to bend it to a 90' degree-angle. I did this on both sides of the plexiglass and it turned out ok. High five!

I then attached four stick-on feet that i put on the bottom. I ensured that when closed, they were straightly aligned and did not interfere with each other.

Now, how do i keep the plastic cover in place over the pieces? I decided on making 2 small swivel clips out of plexiglass to hold the cover down; this worked almost like how a picture frame uses turn buttons to hold a picture in. Instead of typical washers, i used four magnets with holes inside i had on hand; one on the bottom of the plexiglass, one on the top (on each end). I then screwed them through the plexiglass wings into the board but didn't tighten too much.

Step 9: Closing

I considered integrating a digital die inside the upper mid-right or left quadrant of the board (as there was some space there), but decided to keep it all old-fashioned with a standard die. I'm also not sure if the stain was supposed to turn out the way it did, but it does beat the way it looked prior to staining. I also really didn't have a plan on how to cover the pieces until the very end. At the end of it all, i am happy with the way it all turned out. In the very end i decided to use a Sharpie marker and a ruler to draw lines between the holes.

I hope you enjoyed reading and (possibly) building this game.

The game is fun and i've had a lot of good memories playing it with friends.

Step 10: The Next Generation of Malefiz Players!

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    Question 2 years ago on Step 1

    Hope to make this game soon. Looks easy enough make. There is a pattern for the holes shown, but no pattern to print. Am I missing something?


    Answer 2 years ago

    See the yellow images in Step 3. These are intended to be printed and laid over your wooden halves to give you a template to drill holes.


    5 years ago

    nice idea! the kids can help sanding and painting

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Interesting. I have never seen this game before. I am going to have to try it out with my kids over the winter break.