The creation of an original board game is as entertaining as playing the game itself. If you want a personalized game to give as a gift, use for a specific classroom activity, or keep the family occupied on rainy days, LTK has a game board template and tips to get you started.
Printable Board Game Templates
If you've already got rules in mind and want a pre-made game board, try one of these free, blank printable board games. These games come in multiple formats. Look for one to meet your playing needs or fit your favorite style game. Customize the template of your choice with special spaces, decorations, and embellishments before or after printing. If you need help with the printables, check out these helpful tips.
Random Game Board
The random board is ideal for a tricky game. The arrows increase difficulty for players to reach the end or work to a player's advantage.
Ideas to customize include:
- Make challenge cards coincide with arrows on the board to send players backward or forward.
- Allow players to use the arrows as shortcuts to pass other players.
- Create cards with trivia questions where players give a correct answer and take advantage of or avoid the shortcuts and setbacks.
- Allow players who land on the broad end of an arrow space to send an opponent to the square at the tip of the arrow.
Snaky Game Board
A snaky game board is similar to a traditional one with more twists and turns.
Suggestions for use:
- Create a game where players take a detour before they reach the end or reward players with a shortcut for exceptional game play.
- Create spaces on the board where players go back a space, move forward a space, or change places with another player.
- Start players from both ends of the game board and use the shortcut across the board as a way to race toward the finish line.
- Give the board a theme such as a historical event or popular TV show. Include events and scenarios on the spaces, each with rewards or consequences related to those scenarios.
The square board has a traditional feel, but features spaces to place game cards.
To make it your own:
- Make themed review questions and use the game for a study group.
- Make each card pile a different topic and create color-coded cards with questions or instructions related to those topics. Color a few squares to match each card color. When a player lands on a square, she draws the correct color card and answers a question or performs a task. Players collect cards as they travel around the board and end the game when the player has a set amount of cards.
- Place a deck of playing cards in the middle of the game board. Use the playing cards instead of dice to tell players how many spaces to move. The first player to round the board once is the winner.
The windy board has a clear start and end point, but features two paths for players to take.
Ways to customize the template include:
- Design a game where players get sent back to the beginning of the windy path.
- Use the triangle space as an extra obstacle. For example, if a player rolls a 6 at the start of the game, he must go to the triangle and can only move on his next turn if he rolls an even number.
- Make it a two-player game and assign each player one of the rows to start on. Add challenges when the two players cross paths.
- Turn it into a travel-themed game and add detour spaces with travel-related instructions, such as, "Stop at a red light," "Lose a turn," or "dead end."
- Designate special squares where players morph to another square when they land on it.
Board Game Creators
Websites and software help you create a printable board game. Some are complicated and designed for those who want to make professional board games while others offer templates and easy-to-use formats for the recreational or younger board game designer. Take inspiration from popular family board games or use your own unique concept.
Board Game Maker
The Board Game Maker from Tools for Educators lets you create game boards with images or images and text. Choose from a variety of categories including animals, question words, places, and science. Board games have 15 to 20 picture spaces where you choose which pictures and text to include. Once you select the pictures and text, click "make it" to create and print your board game. Look at the sample board games to help you get ideas or to print and use.
Use Microsoft Office to create your own game board or find pre-made templates by others to help you design board games and playing cards. Dr. Jeff Ertzberger offers seven free Microsoft Word templates, including a racing-themed game. Watch this tutorial video and create a custom game in under 15 minutes.
DLTK's Custom Bingo Cards
If Bingo is your favorite board game, create a custom board with DLTK's custom bingo cards. Choose from a 3x3, 4x4, or 5x5 picture card, or a 5x5 number card. From there, choose a theme, black and white or color, and whether to include vocabulary. Print out blank Bingo cards to add personalized information. The downside to this creator is the images and words are chosen for you.
The Game Crafter
The Game Crafter allows you to create a professional-looking board game and have a prototype of the game built. To use The Game Crafter, download the templates then upload your game information. The company provides the cost of creating your game, and you buy it at that price. The website allows you to sell your manufactured game if you want.
Ideas for Board Games
It helps to have a few ideas before you create an actual board game. Ask yourself these questions to guide the process:
- What is your game about?
- How do you win?
- Is the purpose fun, education, or both?
- Is your game a straight dice roller where players move on a linear track or do players need to role play, complete mini games, or follow another format?
- Do you need dice or a spinner?
- How do players move across the board?
- Do you need to make special game cards?
Once you have created your new board game, gather family and friends to enjoy a round or two. Don't be afraid to alter the rules, add new components to the game, or completely change how the game is played. After all, you want your game to be as enjoyable as possible.