About a year ago my brother and my parents told me about a game they had just discovered. My brother and his girlfriend had played it with friends and ordered their own right away on the same evening. I was curious to say the least so I talked to my wife and we invited us over for dinner and some boardgame action.
After the first rounds we were completly hoocked and needed our own board so that we too could play with my parents and other people.
It's played cooperatively in pairs (there are also rules for odd number of players) and with cards instead of dice. Very tactical and exciting.
The version my brother got is called Brändi Dog and manufactured by a Swiss social project. It's rather pricey but really good quality and you can also order spare cards and marbles for your own board if you like the original version.
Just have a look at their Website and Shop if you like.
There are some variations of the rules played all over the world, we play the Swiss rules which can be found here.
My brother got the original 4 player version with the 6 player extension set. I had a look at the website and really liked the Kings Dog version best. What I don't like about it are the marbles (and for 200€ I rather build a sailboat), so I decided to change that.
There are also cheaper versions of the game available. Some also introduce new rules like a moving board (Dog Royal)
Step 1: My Personal Version. Bamboo Dog Is Born.
I always loved bamboo, even built my own bamboo bike, so the decision on the wood (well, technically its gras) was easy. For the first board I built I used 6mm steel rod for the pieces, a nice but rather laborious idea.
For the cards a standard Rummy deck will do (2x54 including 4 Jocker...though we play with 6 Jockers). I knew I'd do ore than one games so I ordered 12 Rummy decks for very, very cheap on Amazon. There is always one blue and one red deck per pack, I like to switch one to match the backs.
The bamboo board I use is a cutting board from Ikea. I have done 3 games so far and might use the offcuts for a folding board next.
We also use a dice to see who starts and how many cards to deal. You'll lear to appreciate that once you start playing.
Step 2: Materials and Tools
- Wood or other material for the board
- Material for the pieces (I used shelf board pens for my last 2 games)
- Something for the colors...paint, heat shrink tubeing or stickers.
- Playing cards
- A dice (optional but highly recommended)
- You can make the homebase color interchangeable by using colored washers.
- Drill bit matching your pins and washers
- A benchtop drillpress is ideal, a simmple drill with a guide would suffice. Would be a fast CNC project too.
- Table saw or any kind of saw if you need to cut a board.
I also provide my template here in PDF format. It will fit the Ikea cutting board or any 27cm*27cm board.
The second file is just a printable game plan if you want to try the game before building.
Step 3: Building It.
Just set the right depth at your drillpress and start drilling. It will take 30-60 minutes to drill all those holes.
The rounded steel pins with the shrink tubing are a lot of work (unless you got a CNC lathe maybe.)
Cut them off with a jig. I let a class at school built the game and they used simple wooden blocks with a cut and a hole in it to get cutoffs of repeatable length. Stick the rod in on one end, stop it at the other end, cut, shove the rod in again, repeat until you got all 16.
I got no radius attachment for my lathe at this point so I just put the pins in the drill press and rounded them with a file. Not good practice sind a drill is not built for side forces. I also let my pupils do it that way with a hand drill and a quick chuck mounted to the table. They didn't round them over completly but only filed off the charp edge.
Shelfboard pens can be had in 100pcs packs for some bucks...much easier.
At school we also did a board in 4 parts. Here you can drill through all four parts at once and save some time at the drill press.
Please let me know when you find any better options for the pins. I was pondering HDPE pins done on the lathe but I just like the feel of the steel pins. Some kids did wooden pegs instead when they saw how much work the steel pins were. I just find those too light and not very tactile.
I had to hammer the washers a little on the anvil so that they don't fall out of the forstner bit holes.
I found that some paint is better than others. Nail lacquer works surprisingly well but is rather costly. You could always go and paint some pins with the tester at the store I guess :)
The ring hole reinforcer stickers are the fastest and cheapest way to do it. They also got the hole for the homebase washer in it already. There are hundreds in a pack also.