Who doesn't love to make something fun? Today, I'm going to show you how to make a Quoridor game to add to your family game collection. Quoridor is a fun strategy game that my family has become a huge fan of. Let's have some fun!
- 1/2 inch x 5 1/2 inch board at least 2 feet long (I used oak)
- 1x4 at least 2 feet long (I also used oak)
- Or 1x2 at least 4 feet long
- 1/4 inch board, likely 5 1/2 inches wide, at least 1 foot long (I used poplar)
- Table Saw (easiest, but can be accomplished by other means)
- Dado Stack (also easiest, but not only option)
- Miter Saw (optional)
- Random Orbital Sander
- Finish of your choice (I used Tung Oil)
- Wood Glue
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Step 1: Cut the Board Pieces to Rough Length
The board is going to be made up of two pieces of 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch oak (or type of wood of your choosing). You'll ultimately create a board that is 11 inches by 11 inches by gluing two pieces together. If you want to live life on the edge, you can cut two 11 inch pieces from the 1/2 inch material. However, the safer route is to cut the pieces slightly long and give yourself some wiggle room during glue-up, then cut it to size in a later step.
I'd recommend cutting two pieces at roughly 12 inches long.
Step 2: Glue the Board Pieces Together
Apply glue to the edge of one of the two board pieces, then clamp them together. If you went all in and cut the pieces to 11 inches, you'll need to be very careful to line them up perfectly. If you gave yourself some extra length with the previous step, you don't have to worry too much about getting then to line up exactly, we'll get them perfect in the next step.
I recommend using cauls to hold the two pieces in position. You can easily make cauls by wrapping plastic wrap or packing tape around a couple of 1x2s, to keep the glue from sticking to them. Then clamp the cauls down across the board pieces to keep them from buckling under the pressure of the clamps.
Give this plenty of time for the glue to dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Cut the Board to 11 Inches Square
If you're a daredevil and already cut your board pieces to 11 inches long, then you should already have an 11 inch square board and you can skip this step. If you played it safe, like I did, then go ahead and cut a clean edge on one end of your board. I used a cross-cut sled on my table saw, but you could use a miter saw here instead.
Once you have one clean edge, measure out and cut the board to 11 inches.
You should now have a square board ready to become your game board!
Step 4: Sand Your Game Board
Before we start cutting dados in the game board, you'll want to sand it. If you wait, there's a good chance your sandpaper will keep getting caught by all the edges and make sanding more difficult. So trust me on this, and save yourself the hassle by sanding it now. Sand it to 180 grit, or whatever grit you prefer for your chosen finish.
Step 5: Cut the Dados for the Walls
Now it's time to get down to business! The game board is made up of a 9 x 9 grid of spaces, with 1/4 inch dados separating each space.
The easiest way to do this is to use a table saw with a dado stack set for 1/4 inch dados at roughly 1/4 inches deep. This is the method I used and it worked great. Each space will be 1 inch square, so set the rip fence for a one inch gap to the inside of the dado stack. Run the board through, then rotate the board 90 degrees and run it through again. Do this for all four sides. Then move the rip fence over 1 1/4 inches and do it again. Rinse and repeat this process three more times, at which time you should have all the dados needed for the board cut.
If you don't have the luxury of a dado stack, you can accomplish this same thing with several incremental passes on a table saw for each dado. If you don't have a table saw, consult your friendly neighborhood YouTube for options to create dados with your tools at hand.
Once you're done with this step, it's a good idea to soften the edges of the dados with some sandpaper. It will feel better to the touch.
Step 6: Cut the Walls
For the walls, I used 1/4 inch by 5 1/2 inch poplar. The walls are each 2 inches wide and 1 inch tall. When I cut mine, I cut them to 2 1/4 inches wide, to fully account for two 1 inch spaces and the 1/4 inch dado. But, I ended up regretting this because the pieces fit too snugly at times on the outsides. So learn from my mistake and cut yours to 2 inches wide.
I again used my cross-cut sled on my table saw. However, this can instead be miter saw work, if you prefer.
Start by cutting several 2 inch rows. How many is dependent on your material. The 5 1/2 inch material I used yielded me 5 walls per row (with one being slightly shorter than the rest). You'll need 20 walls to play the game. Since my family is exceptionally good at losing things like this, I cut 5 of the 2 inch rows.
Next, take each row and rotate it 90 degrees, then cut 1 inch strips. Again, my poplar yielded 5 walls per row, once the saw blade ate a kerf-width for each pass. The 5th wall was slightly shorter than the rest, but it's a game and nobody will care if one is a touch too short.
Step 7: Cut the Pawns
The pawns will come from the 1/2 inch off-cut from the board in step 1. The pawns are going to be 1/2 inch square by 1 inch tall.
Cut the off-cut to 1 inch wide, which should allow for the grain to be oriented along the length each pawn.
Next, turn the 1 inch piece 90 degrees and cut 1/2 inch sections. The game can be played with 2-4 players, so cut at least 4 pawns (and some extra, if you like).
After this step, you should have a fully playable game setup. If you are happy with what you have, you can skip ahead to the finish step. However, if you want to keep going and add a nice frame for your board, stick around!
Step 8: Cut the Short Frame Pieces
The frame is going to be made up of two short pieces and two long pieces butting together. You can get fancy with your joinery here if you want, but I kept it simple.
For the short pieces, cut them to slightly longer than 11 inches. This will give you wiggle room again when you glue them to the board. We'll trim them flush in a later step.
For my frame pieces, I had some 1x4 oak laying around that I put to use. I cut slightly to more than 11 inches long, then ripped it in half. You could easily use 1x2s for the frame and save yourself a rip cut.
Step 9: (Optional) Cut Dados in the Short Frame Piece for the Player's Walls
For a nice little touch, cut some dados for each player to put their wall pieces in on the short frame pieces. I cut mine at 45 degrees, but found it to not be worth the extra hassle. I recommend cutting yours at 90 degrees, like in the Sketchup image.
Each dado should be 1/4 inch wide and about 1/4 inch deep. Space them 1/4 inches apart, or whatever you feel works. Just remember that you cut this piece long, so your dados won't be centered on the piece yet.
If you plan to space them by 1/4 inches, you can start the first dado 3 1/8 inches from one end to have them end up centered in the end.
You'll also want to ease the dado edges with sandpaper before moving on to the next step.
Step 10: Glue the Short Frame Pieces to the Board
Using the same clamps and cauls from your earlier glue-up, go ahead and glue the short frame pieces to the game board. Apply wood glue to opposite ends of the board, then position the frame pieces. Clamp it all in place with clamps and cauls.
Remember that you cut this piece long and used one side as the starting reference for your wall dados. So make sure to position that side as close to flush as you can here.
Be careful to clean up any squeeze out with a wet paper towel. It won't be easy to clean this glue up once it dries, so try to get it while it's still wet.
Give the glue enough time to set before moving on to the next step.
Step 11: Trim the Short Frame Pieces
In order to give your final frame pieces a nice place to attach to, you'll want to trim your short frame pieces flush.
I set my table saw's rip fence such that the blade took a hair's width off the board too. This provided a very smooth surface to glue up, but it's also why my wall pieces ended up being a snug fit. Since I recommended you cut yours shorter than I did, you're safe to trim the board a tiny bit in this step too.
Step 12: Cut the Long Frame Pieces
Now that the short frame pieces are attached flush, you can measure and cut the long pieces. Again, I would cut these long and trim them up after gluing them on.
Cut your long frame pieces to slightly longer than 14 1/2 inches.
Since I again was using 1x4 material for this, I had to rip it down the middle to yield the two long pieces. 1x2 material will work just fine for this as well. Whatever you use for the short frame pieces, you should match it with the long frame pieces for uniformity.
Step 13: Glue on the Long Frame Pieces
Go ahead and glue your long frame pieces in place. In order to make it easier to flush it up in the next step, I tried to position both ends on one side as close to flush as I could get them. That will keep it from sitting funky against the rip fence in the next step.
Again, use your clamps and cauls to hold the pieces in position. And clean up your squeeze out with wet paper towel.
Step 14: Trim the Long Frame Pieces Flush
This is the last cutting step. Trim your frame flush to clean up the outside of the joints.
I set my rip fence to take a hair's width out of the short frame pieces as well, just to make sure I had a nice and flush final cut.
Step 15: Sand the Frame
To make sure your frame looks good before you apply your finish, you'll want to sand it to 180 grit, or whatever finish grit you prefer. Also, ease the edges and corners in the process. The game will have some pretty harsh edges otherwise.
Step 16: Apply Your Finish
You're on the home stretch! To give your game a nice final appearance, apply your finish.
I used Tung Oil and am very happy with the result. I'll be honest, getting the oil in all the dados was a pain. But, being able to leave the oil to soak in was a nice bonus. If you were to use stain, it would be a lot of work to soak up the excess stain in the dados.
Also, in order to tell the pawns apart, I applied a stain to one of my pawns. We also tried using permanent markers on the ends of two of them, which worked fine too. The goal is to give a visual difference so you know which pawn is which.
Step 17: Play the Game!
Time to play! Here's the rules:
Quoridor can be played with 2-4 players, though it seems to be best with 2. Each player starts with their pawn on the center space on their side of the board. In a two player game, each player gets 10 walls. In a 3 or 4 person game, each player gets 5 walls.
The objective of the game is to be the first player to get their pawn to any space on the opposite side of the board.
For each turn, a player can either place a wall or move their pawn one space horizontally or vertically. The pawn cannot be moved diagonally.
Walls must be placed such that they block two spaces completely. Once a wall is placed, it can't be moved. Walls cannot be placed such that a pawn is completely prevented from getting to the other side.
When moving pawns, they cannot jump over the walls. They can jump over the opponent pawns, though we allowed our pawns to just both occupy the same space.
The rules are simple, but there's a lot of strategy that can be applied to make for a really fun and interesting game.
Have fun with it!
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