Introduction: Putting Sound, Light and Movement in a Board Game With Magnets

About: Hobbyist in woodwork and electronics.

This project is an attemp to put eletronics components in a board game. Magnets were glued to pawns and hall sensors were glued under the board. Every time a magnet hits a sensor, a sound is played, a led lights up or a servomotor is triggered. I made a Pokemon board game as a Christmas gift to my nephew and niece because they love Pokemons, but the project can be suited for any kind of board game especially RPG.


- Arduino Mega 2560

- Buzzer

- Servomotor

- LEDs

- HAL sensor 3144

- USB breakout board

- plywood

- wires/hot glue/tools/etc

Step 1: Designing the Game

This is a simple game for childs where the pawns (Squirtle, Charmandar, Pikachu and Bulbassaur) need to cross the field and get to the other side. In their path they could battle other pokemons, get cards to increase the attack or to low de enemy's defense and get cards of money to buy another cards.

I didn't think ahead about how to play the game because I know my nephews will made up their own rules :)

I put for A4 papersheet together and sketch the position of the spots on the field. I put a HAL sensor beneath every pokeball drawing, when the player put the pawn on the spot, a LED will indicate what pokemon you will need to battle and a sound of battle will play.

When the player reaches the point to battle with Jolteon or Vaporeon, two LEDs will blink and another music will play, same thing with Zapdos, Articunos, Moltres and Meltwo.

When the player faces Snorlax before the bridge, a token need to be placed to remove Snorlax from the way. This token and Snorlax itself also have a magnet and another magnet attached to the axis of a servo under the board will interact with it to make him move away.

Step 2: Construction and Electronics

The electronic involved is simple, but the routines of code can be very tricky because many scenarios need to be assumed. For example: if three or four players hit spots to play sound at same time? Or the kid moves the pawn slow and the arduino thinks its places on the spot?

The debounce routines took me some time to debbug but i hope the code could help others makers. When the magnet in the pawn trigger the HALL sensor, the LED will light up imediately, but it needs to stay for 0.8 seconds for the sound to be played.

In my opinion, the sound is the best part of this project. I was able to identify every note of a MIDI file to reproduce in a buzzer. In the future I will make an Instructable just to show how do identify the chords on a music software and transfer to arduino code.

The structure is just a sheet of MDF with scraps of wood as a frame. All the components were hot glued to stay in place.

Snorlax and the bridge were 3D printed, the STL files are available on Thingverse:



Step 3: Playing the Game

Its a game for kids, there is no estrategy to win, just needs to be colourfull and with the right theme.

I let an example in the arduino simulator on Tinkercad to listen the sounds I put in the project.

When the player hits a pokeball, a sound of battle (like in the game on the Gameboy) is played.

When the player reaches a point where need to challenge Jolteon or Vaporeon, the sound is a part of the 1812 Overture from Tchaikovsky.

When the Snorlax moves away from the bridge, the song is Habanera from the opera Carmen (Georges Bizet)

In the end of the game, when the player faces Meltwo, it plays the Queen of the Night aria from Amadeus Mozart.

Concluding, the kids love it. And they didn1t even break it yet.

Magnets Challenge

Participated in the
Magnets Challenge