Introduction: Ultimate Blacklight BattleShots!

About: We spend our youth trying desperately to fit in, and then the rest of our adult life doing whatever we can to stand out in the crowd.

Beer Pong is overrated and has become a bit passé.  I have been searching for a drinking game with a bit more strategy and panache.   Although  I only recently learned of the drinking version of the old Battleship board game, it has apparently been around for a while.  However, all of the adaptations I've seen have left a lot to be desired. And so I set out to create the Ultimate Battle Shots game!  Portable, Black-lit, magnetic, and spill resistant.  Enjoy!

Step 1: Materials, Supplies, and Tools

1) 4'x8'x.5" sheet of plywood
1) 2"x12"x3' plank of pine
1) 2'x4'x1/16" sheet  of transparent Acrylic (Plexiglas)
OR  2) 2'x2'x1/16" sheets
2) 12"x16" Steel sheets
2) 24"blacklights
4) Small hinges
4) #10-24 x3/4" Machine Screws
4) #10-24 Lock Nuts
1) Door handle
2) Medium U-shaped staples
1) small bungie
100) 3/4"Ø magnets
50) 1 oz neon shotglasses.
9) 1 1/2" wood screws
3) sheets sticky back black felt

Various Fluorescent acrylic paints
3) Cans Grey Primer
1) Fluorescent Spray paint
1) Can Black Spray paint
1) Can Black Furniture paint
1) Package transparent sticky-back paper
1) Tube Clear bathroom caulking
1) Roll 1" Painter's Tape
Finishing nails
Electrical Tape
Wood Glue
Wood Putty
Parchment (or wax) paper
Gin & Tonics

Razor Blades
Drill w/ various bits including a countersink bit
1 1/2"Ø Fostner bit
Wire strippers
Screw driver
Measuring tape/Carpenter's square
T-square or ruler
Table saw
Putty Knife
Band Saw
Corner clamps
Laser Printer

Step 2: Print Out Plans and Templates

Download the PDF files attached to this step.

Print two copies of the Stickyback_8x11.pdf on the Transparent sticky-back paper.

Print two copies of the 11x17Sheets.pdf on (preferably) heavy 11x17 sheets.

Print one set of the Layouts.pdf on regular  8 1/2"x11" paper.

Step 3: Build Lower Boards

If you have a single 2x4 sheet of Plexiglas you will need to cut it in half.  Take your carpenter's square and a razor blade and score it where you want it to break.  Be sure to score it deeply.  Placing it on an edge beneath the scoreline, bend one end of the acrylic down and it should snap. You can see from the photos that I didn't score it well enough and my break wasn't a straight line.  Fortunately I was still able to use both pieces.   

Remove the film from one side of the acrylic only. Take the large grid layout sticky-back sheets and apply them to the exposed side of the acrylic.  Using a sharp razor blade remove all sticky-back sheets leaving only the lines and lettering. 

Using multiple thin coats spray paint all of the exposed acrylic black.  After the paint is no longer tacky, but before it has fully cured, remove all of the remaining sticky-back paper.  You should be left with crisp transparent  lines/lettering.

Choose the fluorescent colors you want and begin painting over all the transparent areas.  It's rather difficult to paint on Plexiglas.  At first I had to use multiple coats, laying down as much paint as I could with each pass.  Later I discovered painting the gridlines was much easier when I used a small syringe.

Step 4: Build Upper Boards

Take the two smaller grid layouts that are printed on the heavy 11x17 and place them on the steel sheets face down.  Align them as accurately as possible and secure in place using tape.

Set the iron to the highest setting, with steam turned off.  Begin ironing the paper to the metal applying even pressure and heat.  Check it periodically to see which areas need more attention. A perfect toner transfer isn't necessary, just enough to help align the tape we will be using to build the grid.
Lay down strips of 1" painter's tape following the grid guidelines on the metal sheet.  Next, using a t-square and razor blade, cut lines through the tape at the horizontal guidelines.  Remove the excess tape and you should have a grid made up of square pieces of tape.  Next, lay down the remaining stickyback pieces aligning them with the tape grid.  Using a sharp razor blade remove the black lettering.

Next it is time to paint it.  Lay down a very thin coat of primer first.  After about 15 minutes you can start laying down your next few coats of florescent spray paint. I had originally planned on using white spray paint for the upper boards since white usually reacts very well to blacklight.  I learned that for some reason most spray paints don't react well to blacklight unless they are florescent. ( I had to completely redo my first white metal sheet! )  Again, before the paint has fully cured, remove all of the tape and sticky-back material.

Step 5: Build the Enclosure

All of the enclosure pieces are made from a single sheet of plywood per the layout sketch.  When you buy the wood, see how many of the cuts you have made at the store.  The rest will have to be cut with a circular or table saw. 

Mark a centerline on the 4 side pieces, and drill three evenly spaced, counter sunk holes.  Using the corner clamps, align the center piece with the middle of one of the side pieces.  Drill guide holes into the center piece, run a bead of wood glue between the pieces, then affix with screws.  On the top and bottom corners, hammer in a few finishing nails  to keep the edges from separating.  If you have a centerpunch or something similar, it's usually a good idea to recess the nail heads a bit.

Locate the door handle on the center of the top piece and install.  Drill a 1/2" hole (for the power cords) located on one of the side pieces about 1-1/2" down from the top.  It should be centered and should cut into the center board at least 3/4".    Next install screws as needed for mounting your black lights.

Take the two metal sheets, and line them up, back to back.  Drill a hole in each of the corners to accept the #10 screws. (It helps to secure the pieces together at each corner with tape)  Position one of the metal sheets on center sheet of the enclosure and then drill through the wood at each corner hole.

Using a router and a 1/16" round bit, router all edges of the box and lower boards except for the joint where it will be hinged. (see photo)

Patch all screw and nail recesses with the wood putty.  Paint with two coats of Primer.  The first should be very light.  After the second coat dries, give it a light sanding with 100 grit sandpaper.  Then paint with at least two coats of black latex furniture paint.

After the paint has dried install the blacklights.  You will need to cut the cords and then rewire them together so one plug feeds both lights.  Next install the metal sheets.  Finally attach the lower boards using the small hinges.  Ensure these are as straight as possible so it will close properly.  I had originally planned on putting small latches on top to hold the lower boards closed, but since I was unable to find exactly what I wanted I settled for a lower-tech solution.  (Two staples and a small bungie)  Drill small pilot holes for the staples so the wood wont split when you hammer them in.  Locate as shown in the photo. 

Finally, attach the plexiglass sheets to the lower boards using the clear caulking.  Try to keep the caulking near the edges so that liquids can't seep underneath and damage the paint.

Step 6: Paint the Markers

Take all of the magnets and  paint with two coats of the primer.  I found a long steel post that made painting these much easier.  After the primer has fully dried, paint 36 of the magnets with red or orange fluorescent paint. (HIT!)  Paint the remaining magnets with blue or white. (Miss!)  If you are brushing on the paint, it helps to lay a sheet of wax or parchment paper over a metal cookie sheet and place the magnets on it.  It will keep them from sliding around when you try to paint them.

Step 7: Build the Boats

Using a table saw cut as many 2" wide pieces from the 2x12 board as you can.  Due to imperfections in the board, many of your pieces may be unusable.   Cut the boat templates from the remaining stickyback sheets.  Starting with the larger boats first find suitable pieces and affix the templates to them. 

Take the 1-1/2"Ø Fostner bit and cut out each of the holes on the templates.  Drill down appx. 1/2" (the depth of the bit)

Next, using a band saw, carefully cut out the shape of each ship.  My band saw skills are sadly lacking so I had to smooth them out a bit using 60 grit sandpaper.  This is also useful for rounding all of their edges.

Paint with two coats of primer. Once the primer dried I decided to add a little glow-in-the-dark pinstriping.  Using the painter's tape mask out the lines you want to paint.  Once the pinstripes are on, remove the tape, then cut out pieces of felt to attach to the bottom of each boat.

Step 8: ATTACK!

Turn off the lights, plug it in and you're ready to play!  For the shots I chose to go with Gin & Tonics.  They aren't overly strong and glow under the black light! Mix one part gin with two parts tonic water.  It's also a good idea to announce the rules before the game begins.  Ships can only be places horizontally or vertically. NOT diagonally.  Have fun and be safe!

"You Drank my Battleship!!"

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