Friday, March 18, 2016

DIY Nancy Drew board game! How you can make your own with ANY theme!

In a previous post of mine, I talked about my favorite reads in honor of World Book Day (click the link to read it), where I mentioned the Nancy Drew series. Now, I have to admit I didn't start becoming an avid Nancy Drew book fan until my 20's, BUT I've been a fierce Nancy Drew video game fan since 1998, when the first Her Interactive game "Secrets Can Kill" was released. I fell in love from first click and have played every single game created since then, which in total is 32 (33 when they release the newest one this year-2016). 

If you aren't aware of Miss Drew, she's a young detective with a lawyer for a father, and Hannah as her lifelong, live-in caretaker/nanny. Her mother died at a young age, and she's grown up to solve mysteries of all kinds. She sometimes uses the help of her two best friends, George and Bess. Nancy also has a boyfriend (more well known in the games) named Ned. She goes on all sorts of adventures around the world to solve crimes and mysteries such as theft, hauntings/"strange happenings", disappearances, arson, missing valuables, and murders. Nancy has made quite the name for herself and in the games, you are able to play as Miss Drew to solve the crimes. Each book has it's own mystery/crime as well, which are very easy reads, but enjoyable nonetheless. 

After becoming a mom and getting used to being up at all hours of the night, I eventually had an increase in insomnia. Even after my son starting sleeping through the night. Using books as an "escape" has always been a pleasure of mine, regardless of what was going on in my everyday life. So, when my insomnia started to get worse, I took to my "escape", but this time I decided to implement the readings of my favorite detective, Nancy Drew. 


I also collect Nancy Drew items. Granted my collection is a tad small, but I'm not in a hurry. Most of her books I can find at Goodwill, Ebay, or used bookstores to avoid high prices. I was also able to find an original Nancy Drew cookbook, and "purse", on Ebay for a total of $8! One of the many things I had also been interested in collecting at some point, was the original 1957 Nancy Drew board game by Parker Brothers. My son and I absolutely love playing board games and even at a young age, I would always try to get friends and family to play them with me. I've also gotten my son into Nancy Drew, so trying to obtain the original board game was a huge goal of mine, but alas I quickly extinguished that burning desire as the hefty price that the collector item was given, wasn't something I would EVER bring myself to spend. Obviously many "professional" collectors would never dare to pass on an item just because of the price, but I am not one of those people. I take pride in my thrifty ways and because I'm also an avid DIY-er, I decided making my own Nancy Drew board game would be ultimate satisfaction for me! Including my son in the design and creation made it that much more special.


Now, when it comes to creating any board game, you want to have some sort of set theme, layout, and idea of how to actually play the game. You should also remember to either gather items for the game pieces or create your own, along with a set of rules for everyone to easily follow. You can base your entire set up off of another game, or use a pre-existing board game that is no longer played, to help set up. For my board game, I decided to go with Nancy Drew (obviously). I knew I wanted it to resemble the original board game itself, but with modern twists. For example, in the original game the goal is to "solve" mysteries that are based off of the Nancy Drew books using a dice to roll and following the directions of "cards" chosen when you land on a star. Once all the mysteries have been "solved" with each letter in Nancy's name covered by tokens, the winners are tallied. The person with majority tokens on any given mystery, is the winner for said mystery. The person who has "solved" the most mysteries, wins the game. My game has the exact same principles, except I decided to base our game off of the Her Interactive video games. I made the same "design" as the 1957 board game, as seen in the pictures, but I added different traps, created my own game pieces that weren't cars, and instead of 9 mysteries, I only created 6. Also, be sure to have a place to discard the playing cards (if that's part of your game), to keep things put together. Another tip is to add "traps" or "obstacles", making the game a tad bit more challenging. Oh, and don't stress when making your game. It's meant to be fun, during the creation process and playing the game as well. It doesn't have to be perfect. Mine certainly isn't, but I love it even more because of it. 

First, my son and I made a trip to our local Dollar Tree for any and all supplies needed. We ended up picking up:
-1 project board (large cardboard that's folded into 3 sections) $1
-1 large poster paper $1
-1 pack of colored paper (small like post-it's but not sticky) $1
-1 glue stick $1
-3 large laminating sheets (comes in a pack) $3
-1 pencil box (we already owned one, but they're $1 at Dollar Tree)

We also used Sculpey oven bake clay , which we already owned, but you can purchase at Michael's for as little as $2.

After having my son pick out his favorite Nancy Drew games, I decided to draw my own sketches based off of each one he had chosen. (You can always print out the designs from google image, based off of what your theme is.) I proceeded to cut the project board, removing off one of the flaps, and shortening the middle section, creating even sides. You should place your poster paper on top of the cardboard, but DO NOT glue it down yet. You only want to double check the size and where the crease will lie when folded, avoiding any of your pictures to land of the crease. Then, I wrote out each card individually (again you can easily type and print) basing each action off of actual events that occur in each game. We then sculpted our own game pieces - a magnifying glass, a locked box, a key, and a fingerprint. We also spread the clay out flat and using a small ring, cut out a bunch of game tokens for 4 players, in total 120. You can always go to a thrift store, use old
toys, or go to the Dollar Store to find some "game pieces" and use old coins or stones. Again, depending on your theme. Once, all of the pieces were put into the oven for a quick bake, I started to laminate each playing card. Each laminated sheet held 4 cards, so I simply cut the cards out after laminating 4 on one sheet. When the game pieces and tokens were done baking and cooled down, my son and I painted not only all of them, but the mystery drawings as well, gluing the drawings onto the poster paper when completed. We drew the path and placed our "stars", on the poster paper. The last and final step was gluing the completed poster paper onto the large cardboard. 

All in all, it took us about 1 hour, drawing time included, to complete the game. Like I said, this can be a lot quicker if you decide to NOT create your own game tokens and pieces, NOT write out each card individually, and NOT draw the boards pictures. I decided to go this route, because it was the cheapest. Plus, I like artistic crafts and so does my son, so it was a win-win.

A couple ideas for board games are Monopoly games based on a favorite movie or toy collection, use an old Candyland game and make it into a mathematical learning game, or perhaps a very simple game of "who drew this", as a gift for the grandparents. It could include scanned and re-sized photos of your kids paintings and drawings, with your kids pictures as the game pieces. Really, the only thing you need is a little creativity, which goes a long way. 

I hope this post was simple enough to understand and helps you get into a creative mood! If it doesn't make sense, you seem confused, or maybe you would like help and/or ideas, you can always contact me through Email using the logo links provided towards the top right of the screen. Happy playing.

What game will you make? Show me on Instagram!

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