One of the wonderful things about cottaging in Fall and Winter is that you can spend all day outdoors in the crisp air, hiking, skiing, icefishing, or snowboarding, without overheating or being swarmed by insects. However, there are days that are too rainy, too snowy, or just plain uninviting to spend outside. Cozy up indoors with the family and spend a fun afternoon creating your own personal boardgame. Draw the board, make the rules, and before you know it, you’ve created cottage memories as well as a new family game.

How to Make Your Own Board Game in 7 Easy Steps

  1. Choose a theme for your boardgame. This will inform the content, rules, and/or decoration of the board. Good options for kids include: fairies, gardens, a favourite movie or book series, cars, animals, Egypt or Ancient Rome, dragons, or a favourite sport.
  2. On a large piece of poster board, draw the “path” for your boardgame. Have a start point and an end point, but beyond that the shape of your path is up to you. It could be a winding path from one side of the board to another, or a spiral design where the goal is to reach the middle. Once you’ve draw the outer edges of the path, divide it into squares by drawing vertical lines through, evenly spaced out.
  3. Fill in the spaces with fun comments and “moves”. If your theme is “garden”, for example, you could write things like “Your favourite rose is in bloom. Move ahead 3 spaces” or “Oh no! The birds ate your blackberries! Go back 2 spaces”. Every 4 – 5 spaces, write “Chance Card”, which means the player has to pick a card from a deck you have made…
  4. Make your Chance Cards! They could have simple instructions like “Skip two spaces” or “Miss a turn” or, if your kids/players are a little older, your Chance Cards could be trivia questions relating to your theme. For example, if you’ve chosen a favourite movie like Harry Potter, your cards could have questions like “What is the name of the Hippogriff that Harry sets free?” or “Who plays Professor McGonagall in the movies?” The rule could be that getting a question right means the player has another turn, while getting it wrong means staying on that space until the next turn.
  5. Once you’ve drawn your path, filled in the spaces with fun instructions, and made your chance cards, decorate your board! You could draw and colour in the empty space on the paper, or cut up old magazines and paste on relevant pictures.
  6. Write down the rules of the game so that there are no arguments about “cheating”. Keep the rules simple; it’s very tempting to come up with lots of confusing rules, but the simpler it is, the easier it will be for new people to play.

Now that your board is made and the rules are clear, grab a pair of dice and start playing. And make sure to save all the game pieces afterwards, so that you can pull out your brand new family boardgame on the next rainy cottage day. Patent pending!


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