How to Make a Game Board Based on a Book

Dice tell players how many spaces to move.

The book report is becoming obsolete in some schools as teachers strive to give their students assignments that are creative, hands-on and that require critical thinking skills. Creating a board game is one popular assignment that many students now find themselves doing—sometimes at the last minute. This assignment can be fun, but it helps if you know where to begin and what to include.

Purchase a base for the board game. Buy a piece of white poster board, or for a thicker base, a piece of foam core board.

Write down the sequence of events that occurred in the book, as well as the major characters. Think about the setting as well, and write down the primary location of most of the action in the book. Vanessa Bryce of Las Cruces Public Schools recommends that you choose a clear beginning and end for your game. (See Reference 1) The list of events will help you to do so.

Use a pencil to lightly draw the outlines of your game board. Draw a path of spaces that meander around the board, and fill in the background with drawings indicative of the setting. For example, if you are creating a game board for Homer’s “Odyssey”, you may want to have the ocean and islands as a background, and draw a path that visits each of the islands.

Decide what each point on the path will represent. Make some of the game spaces terrible to land on. Be specific. Instead of writing “Go back two spaces,” write “The Cyclops captured you in his cave. Lose a turn.” This demonstrates that you know specific incidents that occurred in the book. Likewise, create spaces that will advance the player.

Color your game board with markers once you have decided exactly where everything should go. If you have bad handwriting, type the words that go on the spaces and print them out. Then you can cut them out in the shape of the spaces and glue them on the board. Be sure to type in such a way that the words will all fit on the space.

Laminate your game board if you are using posterboard. This will make your game more permanent. You can go to an office supply store for lamination. Lamination typically costs two or three dollars for a posterboard.

Purchase dice or a spinner and some game pieces. You may be able to find these things at the office supply store. If not, a teacher supply store will be sure to have them. Make your own game pieces in the form of characters from the book if you are feeling creative.

Type the instructions for your game. Keep them simple—more than five or six rules will make the game tiresome to learn.

  • Create cards to go with the game if you want to add an extra bit of excitement to your game. The cards can require that the player correctly answers a question about the book to advance, or can reward or punish the player in some manner.

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.