Trouble Game, for Six!




After many years of stalking this wonderful site, I've always wanted to document one of my crazy projects and be able to finally submit an Instructable.

So here goes nothing....

For the past few years, the game of Trouble is BIG with my two daughters whenever the grandparents visit. The four of them a few nights a week, have these Trouble tournaments, and track the winners. One day, the youngest declared, "It's really too bad Mommy & Daddy can't play also!"

So of course I immediately thought, "Hm.. Why not?!?" :)

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Step 1: Getting Started: a Plan...

The actual Trouble Game, is laid out for four players, with the world famous, Pop-O-Matic in the center, with the game pieces traveling around the square board.

I made a quick sketch of the general idea, figuring I can accomplish my plan using 60 degrees to accomplish the needed layout.

Step 2: Creating the Board...

Originally I planned to make the board from some spare MDF lying around, but during my brainstorming trip to the hardware store I found an 18" round for 5 bucks. Small investment for knocking off a ton of cutting and sanding. A bargain in my book!

So I marked out the angles, figured out the needed spacing, and got to work. Ideally a drill press would be best way to go, but since I didn't have one, my cordless drill with a 5/8" Forstner bit was just fine. Just try to stay as perfectly vertical as possible.

Step 3: Game Pieces...

I wanted a similar look to the original, so even though I could have gotten away with some basic holes & pegs, I really wanted to try to recreate the 'sleeves' if possible. So keeping in mind the approximate size of the playing piece pegs, I first found wooden dowels just about right, then found some clear rubber tubing with the perfect interior measurement.

Cutting the pegs was easy by clamping a stop block, all were cut perfectly matching in no time.

The 'sleeve' tubing was another story.... cutting by hand with clippers, I found they come out a bit angled due to the compression. Finally I ended up using the chop saw again, in conjunction with sacrificial dowling left over.

Next, sanding... after trying to round over the tops of the peg pieces, first by random orbital sander, then trying by hand, i found by inserting them directly into the drill chuck and at an angle accomplished it much faster and I was able to keep all my fingertips! I then painted pegs in bright acrylic paint after deciding the two new colors added will be: purple and orange. :)

Most proud of my peg painting assembly line... I stapled one prong of a staple into the bottom of each piece, giving me a tiny handle. After a coat of paint I hung each from it's second staple prong onto a scrap of screen hung from a coat hanger.

24 pieces x 3 coats each, plus a couple coats of Polyurethane for each.... Phew.

Step 4: Painting the Board....

Sanding, a bit of wood filler where needed, and then a nice clean white. Then the proper colors in their respective 'Start" and "Home" spaces. Then 3 coats of Polyurethane for protection and shine. :)

EDIT: be sure to add some felt or cork feet underneath!

Step 5: Epoxy in the Sleeves....

Just dab each into a bit of mixed epoxy then into the board....

Keep them straight! :)

Step 6: Pop-O-Headache...

Pop-O-Matic was a must for me... the game wouldn't be the same without one.

First, I hoped to figure out how to make one (of course, lol). But if it was a possibility, I was stumped. I checked around for ideas online.... no luck. Not even in here! :(

So, Plan B... a used one. I checked eBay and even looked at a few of the local thrift stores. No dice. Literally.

So finally, (and luckily) my timing was right... a Black Friday special, "Trouble" for $4.88, I think it was the new version or maybe a travel version... but now the board is reallycheap, thin, black flimsy plastic. No matter, all I needed was my precious Pop-O-Matic!

A trim, some paint, and epoxy...

Step 7: Finished!

What do ya think?

Step 8: Family Time Success!!!

It's been a big hit! All six of us, together at last. :)

Any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate.... :)

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11 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

Great idea and instructable! I came accross a project on MAKE a while ago to do a DIY Dice Popper. Maybe it could help you on other versions of this.

1 reply

4 years ago

If it looks like an UFO it's cool! º-º


4 years ago

Well done. What a Dad wouldn't do for their babies!!