Homemade Board Games

Stacy Zeiger
Craft supplies

Sometimes you want to play a board game, but you don't want to spend the money to buy one. When that happens, just create your own version with supplies that you likely have on hand. Many versions of popular board games are easy to make at home. Not only will you save money, but your homemade board games with have more character and may even be personalized to make them a better fit for your family's gaming style.

Scrabble

Print out a Scrabble board or draw your own on a piece of poster board to make your own version of Scrabble at home. Use an online picture of a board for guidance. Cut pieces of card stock into 18.5mm X 21.5mm pieces and write the letters on them. Hasbro offers a Scrabble letter distribution to make sure you have the right number of tiles and points for each letter.

Monopoly

Personalize your own version of Monopoly to feature streets and attractions you enjoy.

  1. Design a game board with 40 spaces to represent the 22 properties, four railroads, two utilities and four corner spaces on a Monopoly game board.
  2. Cut out small pictures to represent the different spaces and glue them to the board, then write in the property, railroad and utility names. You can also color-code the properties that make up a set.
  3. Use index cards to create the property cards for each space and write the price to purchase each space on the card.
  4. Cut index cards in half to use as Chance and Community Chest cards, writing phrases such as "collect $20" or "Go back 3 spaces" on each card.
  5. Cut paper into strips and label them with $500, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5 and $1. You will want at least 20 of each of the larger denominations and 40 of each of the smaller denominations.
  6. Find a few coins, paper clips or other odds and ends to serve as playing pieces.

To help plan your game, My Monopoly offers a handy PDF board planner.

Mancala

Turn an empty egg carton into your own version of Mancala.

  1. Cut off the front flap and lid of the egg carton. Throw the front flap away.
  2. Cut the lid in half width-wise. Place each half on one end of the bottom of the egg carton so that a "bowl" sticks off of each end.
  3. Tape the halves of the lid to the bottom of the egg carton.
  4. Use 48 beans or small pebbles as the Mancala pieces.

Sequence

Two decks of cards are all you need to make your own version of Sequence.

  1. Take a deck of 52 cards and cut each card in half.
  2. Arrange the card halves in a 10x10 grid on a piece of cardboard or poster board, with the jokers in the corners. When the cards are placed on the board, arrange them so that each half of the board contains the same cards in the same order.
  3. Glue the backs of the cards to the cardboard.
  4. Tear small pieces of colored paper or use different colors of poker chips as the playing pieces and a second deck of cards as the draw deck.

You may have some Jokers or face cards left over, so remove whatever cards you do not use on the board from the draw deck.

Checkers

Make a large version of a checkers game by dividing a large solid-colored tablecloth into a 64-square grid. Paint every other square on the grid black. Use small dessert plates or cardboard circles as checkers by painting them red and black. This can be a great way to entertain kids outdoors.

Dominoes

Turn standard index cards into a set of dominoes.

  1. Use standard 3x5 index cards and cut them in half.
  2. Draw a line horizontally across each card with a black marker.
  3. Take the black marker and make dots to represent the different tiles in a regular game of dominoes.

A standard game of dominoes has the following tiles:

Double Tiles

  • Blank-blank
  • One-one
  • Two-two
  • Three-three
  • Four-four
  • Five-five
  • Six-Six

Other Tiles

  • Blank-one through blank-six
  • One-two through one-six
  • Two-three through two-six
  • Three-four through three-six
  • Four-five through four-six
  • Five-six

Boggle

Instead of the Boggle blocks and shaker, try a different approach by printing out or drawing a 4x4 or 5x5 grid on a piece of paper. Fill each square in the grid with a different letter. Then play the game as normal, setting a timer for three minutes to time the round. Instead of shaking the game to get new letters like you do in a regular game of Boggle, just switch to a new card.

Enjoy Your Games

It does not take a lot of time or money to create your own versions of popular board games. At first they may not have the same feel as the classic game, but in no time at all you may find that you enjoy them even more than the originals. Make up your own rules or find the rules online so that everyone gets to enjoy playing the game.

Homemade Board Games