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Create a Custom Catan Board Game

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I really do enjoy board games. They are a great way to spend quality time arguing with your family. Unless winning, my family members and I become very competitive when playing board games. Each member will hotly debate whether the dice roll does or doesn’t count when it falls off the table – endlessly flip-flopping their view on the matter based on who the dice outcome would favor.

And Catan (designed by Klaus Teuber) is one of my favorite games since it involves all aspects that I love in a boardgame: constant interaction, hostile path blocking, pleading others to trade one ore for ten wool -- and it doesn’t suck (I’m looking at you Monopoly)

To honor this board game, I decided to upgrade my basic cardboard components to a more environmentally unfriendly 3d plastic version. I also hoped that the new shiny version would encourage my family members to forgive all of my cursing during the previous gameplays, to play the game with me more often, and to let me win once in a while.

The Game Pieces:
First, I had to print all the pieces. Luckily, my local library has a nifty 3D printer, and they have a process where I can submit my requests through the website.

Although there are now several versions of 3D pieces to choose from, I chose an original version that was created by Moe Zarella. The 3D STL files can be downloaded here at

I then sent these files to my local library to priont all of the primary game pieces:
· 19 Terrain Hexes (Tiles)
· 9 Sea Hexes with harbor (replacing the frame pieces)
· 9 Sea Hexes without harbor (replacing the frame pieces)
· 9 Harbor Pieces
· 18 Circular Number Tokens (Chits)
· 16 Cities (4 of Each Color)
· 20 Settlements (5 of Each Color)
· 60 Roads (15 of Each Color)
· 2 Dice
· 1 Tornado/Robber

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After printing the 3D pieces, I then painted them with a thin layer of black acrylic, and then painted them all sorts of silly colors, like blue, green and yellow.

I still kept several components from the original game: · 95 Resource Cards (19 of Each Resource: Ore, Grain, Lumber, Wool, Brick)
· 25 Development Cards (14 Knight Cards, 6 Progress Cards, 5 Victory Point Cards)
· 4 "Building Costs" Cards
· 2 Special Cards: "Longest Road" & "Largest Army"
· 1 Games Rules & Almanac Booklet

The Board:
Although I liked the concept of magnets holding all of the board hexagons tightly together, I found the small 3 millimeter magnets to the bottom the hexagon tiles did not work very well. The attraction between the magnets were very inconsistent, and they ranged from weakly attracting each other to actively repelling each other. They also sometimes made a mess of the project when they would suddenly decide to stick to the back of another recently painted hexagon and causing paint to splatter across my face.

As a result of my magnet mishaps, I decided to make a board that would contain all the hexagons. I bought a thin plywood board from local hardware shop, painted it, and applied copies of the original board to the base.

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The Storage Box:
The storage box was made from an old wooden box that was given as a Christmas gift box (stapled shut) by my loving sister-in-law. Instead of returning the gift box nailed-shut next Christmas, I decided to take the high road by repurposing the thing into something useful -- and then rub it back in her face that her gift was actually beneficial to me, you jerk.

After priming in white paint, I painted the box using an inexpensive acrylic brick-colored paint that I bought from my nearby craft store.

I added three small brass hinges from my local hardware store to the box. This allows me to slam it shut on the hand of anybody that tries to sneak another undeserved wool card out of the box.

Using the services of my local library, I created and applied a large golden-yellow vinyl sticker to the top of the box and three smaller sticks to the front and two sides. A link to the image logo that I used here.

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Thank you to my local library!
Not only do they provide me free books, movies and 3D CATAN pieces for my tax dollars, but the local library also feeds my crazy board game obsessions by featuring my CATAN Board at their Forge for a couple weeks. Libraries rock!


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