Game Ideas: How to Make a Game Board Based on a Book

Dice tell players how many spaces to move.

Book reports are becoming obsolete in some schools as teachers strive to give their students assignments that are more creative, hands-on and that require critical thinking skills. Creating a board game is one popular assignment that many students now find themselves doing. Some popular board games students can model their game after are monopoly, checkers, scrabble, candyland, catan, or any other classic board game that they used to play during family game night. Even new board games are a good option for finding inspiration. This assignment can be fun, but it helps if you know where to begin and what to include.

  • Poster board or foam core board
  • Markers
  • Dice or spinner
  • Game pieces
  • Index cards (optional)

1 Prep

Purchase a base for the board game. This could be a piece of white poster board, or for a thicker base, pick up a piece of foam core board.

For prepping what elements you might need, 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. The list of events will help you to do so.

Something else that can be helpful when planning your board game is determining gameplay rules. Since this is your own board game, even if you model it after a popular game that already exists, you can customize the rules.

2 Creating the Board

Use a pencil to lightly draw the template 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.

Looking on amazon or in local stores for game pieces and decoration may help you add more color and even game components to your board as well.

3 Design it

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.

You may also choose a game that requires stickers or playing cards to be made along with it. When designing these, be sure to use matching colors that are relevant to the book you chose. It is also best to make these pieces out of cardstock or pieces of a cereal box so they don’t easily rip. Your board game design is important and will definitely affect your final grade.

Laminate your game board if you are using poster board. 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.

4 Extra Steps

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.

5 Bonus

Make it a card game using notecards injecting more fun game play.

Game development is a fun and lucrative career to explore. Often, comic book stores or online platforms provide creative dice games and even game templates to create your great game and explore a potential career.

  • 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.