I had a request last month to build a wooden carnival style game for Alpine Canada for an event to encourage people to come to their tent and learn more about the athletes on the Canadian Ski Team. Alpine Canada sent me a drawing to describe the game since none of us knew exactly what it was called. After a bit of research I found more information about the game and what it is called.
Jeu Gruyère is like an enhanced, three-dimensional version of Chutes and Ladders mixed with Milton Bradley’s Operation game. But it’s more than that: when you add the ability to control the ball carrier using a pulley system, you get a game that’s a challenge to both mind and body. The game consists of an inclined wooden board with holes placed at intervals and a wooden ball carrier that the facile Gruyèrist glides over the board via a system of ropes and pulleys that works just like a two-axis X-Y plotter. If the player is good, he or she can guide the ball to the top of the board without the ball falling.
I found a few DIY tutorials on how to build a the game (I found this tutorial the most helpful - Thanks Chico and Jo for sharing your design!) and started to plan out the build. I'll admit that my husband did most of the actual build. I love designing and prepping but I trust his attention to detail and proper use of power tools more than mine. After a few days we (he) had the game built. I sewed the ball catching blanket and added the painted mountain details and painted cradle and it was ready to go. We tested it out on family and found that even my young nephews could play it.
After delivering the game I got some photos sent to me of the game in action at the event. I think it was a success!
Welcome to the Insane Game!
With my niece and nephews in town for a visit we thought we'd make a new version of last summers The Impossible Game.
Using one sheet of Bristol Board we laid out a basic snakes and ladders style game board and added in all kind of traps and bonuses. We added in a special Wheel of Insanity (a circular track that you have to land on a specific square to get out of as you go round and round), some squares that require you to do things like an improvised rap or dance to move ahead, smell someone's shoe or sing the alphabet backwards. We also brought back the Vortex squares to jump ahead in the game and the Instant Death square. One new feature we added was a Complete Restart square that sends everyone back to the start.
There are a few squares that also allow a player to use more dice for the rest of the game upping their chances of winning by moving them more quickly.
Everyone helped with ideas, colouring, doodling and working out game play. It was a great group activity for the whole family and everyone was excited to play the game they had a part in making.
The best part of the game is the game token my niece designed in polymer clay. I told her they could be based on anything, the more random the better, She ended up making a rag doll, an orange slice, an eyeball, a chicken foot, a nose, a cactus and a toothbrush. So very random.
There is no strategy, no reasoning, no skill. It's all just insane luck. A no-brainer, semi-frustrating, 5 minute to five hours board game that may or may not drive you insane.
Minecraft. It seems to be the most popular game...ever. My children all love it. My students talk about it in a language non-Minecrafters can't even understand. I find it fascinating.
I got to thinking about how to make a board game version (to of course give us a Minecraft fix without having to be on a screen). With the kids expert help with the correct language and game play we cam up with BOARDCRAFT!
We designed the game board, the rules, the cards (both good and bad cards), the rewards (eyes of ender and armor), the chest, and the game play. It is a dice rolled game where you move about collecting the armor and eyes of ender while fighting Minecraft mobs along the way.
I painted a wood box to resembled a Minecraft chest and laminated all the game cards. I ended up making several sets to give as gifts to family and friends who like both board games and Minecraft.
I think it might be one of my favorite board games.
This years Hallowe'en challenge was to make a costume for a character from the game Undertale named Gaster.
My daughter loves this game and wanted to come up with a costume for this character. I am always up for a costume challenge.
The costume was pretty simple except for the face and hands. We needed to make a mask out of paper clay that would still allow her to see through.
I was pulled back into the world of Minecraft again when I saw the kids using an online skin editor to make their own unique Minecraft skin. I thought how could we make something like this in the real world.
Using my computer I designed a paper template in the correct proportions to a standard Minecraft character. From there I printed it out, folded and glued it to see if it would work. Once I had my template successfully built, I printed out several more and got the kids to use their personalized Minecraft characters and colour their paper characters out using markers or coloured pencils. We even used brads to make the arms movable.
The kids love having a real world paper model of their own Minecraft skin.
Here is a catalog of my creative adventures and experiments