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DIY Risk-like Board Game (like a Pro)

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Pour les francophones, voici le tutoriel en français.

Hi there,

Here you will learn how to make your own board game, and more specifically a Risk-like game. Through this instructable, you will read about how my girlfriend and I designed the map, the cards, the pawns, the boxes, and how we made and assembled everything to create our own game: Rixe Marseille.

I have always wanted to make my own board game. And I have always wanted to play a board game with cities I know well. So two years ago I decided it was time to do it myself. The first part of this project consisted in designing the map, collecting information about how to make a board game, and gathering ideas. This took approximatively 2 years. Then, we started making the game, and it took approximately 2 months to finish the project.

If you decide to read and follow this instructable, the game will probably be done over a weekend (if you want to use our designs for map, cards, and pawns). If you want to design everything, it will take much more time according to your skills.

Why did we call it Rixe Marseille?

  • Rixe is actually a wordplay. In french, "risk" and "rixe" are respectively pronounced [ʀisk] and [ʀiks], and this is a funny mistake that kids (or even grown-ups) usually make, and called a phoneme inversion. Also "rixe" in french means "fight", so that is a good name for a war inspired game board.
  • And Marseille is the city in which I currently live. I have been living here for almost 5 years now, so I thought it was time to pay tribute to this beautiful city which has been built about 2600 years ago. Remember, I talked about Marseille in the following Instructables about the Petanquemeter , and about the bone conduction bike helmet !

References:

This project would not have be possible without the help we found on the internet. The references are cited in the instructable when we needed them. And the youtube channel Dining Table Print & Play, has been one of the most helpful we found for doing this game, so you should definitely go check out this channel!


Step 1: The Map

I will not describe in detail how I designed the map, because I am still a beginner with Inkscape, and also because it would take a full instructable. However, I will describe the tips I found very useful.


1 - Inspiration & original ideas

First of all, we looked for ideas and inspiration for our game. As an example, we have the game "Risk: Game of Thrones", and we decided to make our game with similar rules (at the bottom left of the map you can see the army reinforcements). We also decided to use the same design for the territories, with fuzzy borders.

We also used our own original ideas. For example, we added a rule which states that castles from the same color can be reached directly by any team of the same color, standing on a castle of this color. If I am the yellow team, I can attack the territories "La plaine" and "Bonneveine" from "Les riaux" (top left corner).

And we added multiple references to Marseille in the game. For example, the design of the pawns corresponding to local symbols (see step 6), the places of the castles/ports are real places on the Marseille map, and we even created a youtube channel called "Rixe Marseille" with a playlist to play songs related to Marseille while playing the game (more info in step 9)!


2 - Background

Adding a background to the map makes it much nicer. We used this free image found on Pixabay, and cropped it so it fits a A2 sheet. We have selected A2 because we planned to print the map on two A3 sheets (which corresponds to one A2 sheet). We imported the image, increased its size so it is bigger than the A2 sheet, drew a rectangle with the rectangle tool with a size of 420x594mm (A2 format), selected both and clicked Object → Clip → Set. More info here. And we get a background with the perfect size!


3 - Layers in Inkscape

We used a lot of layers in Inkscape to create the map:

  • The background
  • The sea
  • The continents (x6)
  • The names
  • The army reinforcement
  • The castles
  • The ports

This is a good help if you don't want to get muddled up!


4 - Territories and borders

Adding the continents and the territories (actually here it is better to talk about arrondissements and neighborhoods), is another important step. In Inkscape, it is better to draw each territory independently with closed loops, making sure the edges are overlapping with adjacent territories (you can copy/paste the edges and use the Enable snapping tool to make sure the edges are correctly overlapping). I think there are 3 main possibilities to create the territories:

  • Find on the internet a vector image of your city. As an example, I found mine on Wikipedia as an .svg extension: this is the map I used. I removed the background and the names, and... that's it!
  • If the map is not a vector image you can create one. Upload it in Inkscape, and click Path → Trace bitmap, to create a vector image. Make sure No paint is selected in the Fill tab and select Flat color in the Stroke paint tab. If the image has a "double line", you can click on it then Path Break Apart, and select and delete the object you don't want.
  • Finally, you can upload any image, and use the Draw Bezier curves and straight lines tool to draw the territories.

But before to modify anything on your territories, make sure they are placed correctly on the background, with a correct scale.


5 - Fuzzy borders

We also decided to create fuzzy borders for the territories, just like the game Risk: Game of Thrones. Here is the link where we found how to proceed.

To summarize:

  1. First, duplicate the territory 4 times. You can either duplicate it (ctrl+D), in this case, the objects are overlapping; Or you can copy-paste it (ctrl+C and ctrl+V), in this case, the objects are separates. For more clarity, I have used the second method below.

  2. On the first territory, set the background (decrease the opacity, remove the stroke paint); On the second one, don't fill it, add a stroke with a large width (5 mm), make it blur (5%); Then leave the 2 last territories as they are.

  3. Overlap the 3 first territories using the tool Enable snapping, so they perfectly overlap.

  4. Select all these 3 territories and click Object → Clip → Set.

  5. Finally align the last territory with the new one, and group everything.

AlinaK14yesterday
Interesting. I wanted to have property in Spain. Got to site property for sale in Spain https://tranio.com/spain/detached but there are too costfull. So I will start with making Spanish map.
AlinaK14yesterday
Thanks
Magnifique travail, propre et pro... et explications très claires et détaillées. J'ai voté pour ce jeu! J'espère qu'il remportera un prix car il le mérite amplement!
brlittle15 days ago
Any tips for a good brand of PVA glue?
Matlek (author)  brlittle14 days ago
It is actually the first time I use PVA glue, so I can't help you much. But the brand I use is called "Flexiplé", and seems to work fine! :)
Excellente idée.
Matlek (author)  lebiosphere5614 days ago
Merci!
mcien16 days ago
I subscribed to instructables many years ago. I can not remember if there was already a tutorial on Marseille. And France is littlely represented, but I am proud to see that our beautiful city still inspires our friends around the world.
You respect my city with enough humor and It works ! It’s wonderful!
Thanks for that.

Magi, un marseillais.
(Please, be nice with my words, my English is poor... as a Marseillais!)
Matlek (author)  mcien15 days ago
Merci Magi, je suis content qu'un Marseillais aime cette version du Risk! Nous avons un peu modifier la taille et la forme des quartiers et des arrondissements pour qu'ils aient des tailles à peu près similaires entre eux, et nous avons aussi changé quelques noms pour que la carte soit plus facile à faire. Mais nous avons passé du temps pour essayer de rendre hommage à cette belle ville! Qui est quand même la plus belle ville du monde, non? ;)
mcien Matlek15 days ago
Oui, le travail réalisé est impeccable. En terme d’hommage pour « la plus belle ville du monde », c’est réussi.
Du moins, pour ma part, je plussoie.
Matlek (author)  mcien14 days ago
Merci encore! :)
AndreuCG15 days ago
Great job, thanks! I'm giving it a rough try, following your ideas -so far, in my screen only, nothing printed yet-.
Basic questions, as I don't have the original Risk to check it out:
- How do you distribute the army icons in your cards? How many of each? Should there be a proportion?
- How may pawns of each kind per colour?
Thanks a lot!

(Pictures: work in progress, quite rough, I know)
Screen Shot 08-06-19 at 05.52 PM.PNGScreen Shot 08-06-19 at 05.56 PM.PNG
Matlek (author)  AndreuCG14 days ago
Thanks!
Wow, you already started making your own game! It looks awesome!
The army icons on the cards (sun, moon, and star) are theoretically equally distributed (but I just found out we made a mistake and there are actually 14 stars, 13 moons and 12 suns... while we should have 13/13/13).
For the pawns (for 1 team):
-1 army pawns: 30 pieces
-3 armies pawns: 15 pieces
-5 armies panws: 1 piece.
StuffC17 days ago
Superb job! Congrats.
Have you thought about posting it in the bbg?
Matlek (author)  StuffC16 days ago
Thank you very much!
I did not know bbg. I am guessing you refer to BoardGameGeek. What is it, and how does it work?
StuffC Matlek16 days ago
Yes, I was referring to the BoardGameGeek. (I'm just amazed by the fact you managed to put together such a top quality boardgame without ever knowing the Geek's existence! Not that the facts are necessarily rekated, though but since you mentioned you had done extensive research, I guess I just assumed the BGG would be an obvious stop. Reality has proven me wrong, one more time :D).

You may add a new game entry (you'll need to register for that), making sure to note it's a "self [and/or free] published/distributed" game, and adding it to the "Risk" family (it should all make sense once you're in the "add game" form) for better exposure. You may share as much as you want to (pictures of the board, the rulebook, statistics, strategy tips, whatever. The site is primarily and specifically designed as a boardgames DB, so there's a field for everything).

If it all sounds like too much, I'd be glad to add the entry myself if that's ok with you, though I'd still recommend you register yourself there, so you can see what comments/questions your game eventually receives.
Matlek (author)  StuffC15 days ago
You're right, I don't know how I missed this website. And I love playing games in general, so I am glad you talked about it, it seems great! I just created an account, and once I'll be a little more familiar with the site, I think I'll upload Rixe Marseille on BGG.
Thanks again :)
StuffC Matlek15 days ago
I'm glad you've liked it! Loooking forward to meet you on the Geek, then! Take care.
RayJN15 days ago
You did a great job, very professional.
For people like me that want to do less of the work Amazon has these:
folding game board and blank cards.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005T3NWOY/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_5?smid=A31EVTLIC13ORD&th=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1572814993/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_3?smid=A1KUFZLJ107W44&psc=1


Matlek (author)  RayJN15 days ago
Thanks!
Hey, this is really interesting!!!
It looks so professional ;)
Nice Job!
Matlek (author)  monsieur_bob15 days ago
Thanks a lot!
riddletom16 days ago
This is just brilliant!
Matlek (author)  riddletom15 days ago
Thanks!
BriyanS15 days ago
interesting.

DeanS216 days ago
Wow that is an amazing effort. Looks professional !
Matlek (author)  DeanS216 days ago
Thank you very much!
antonius16 days ago
An Excellant Instructable!
Matlek (author)  antonius16 days ago
Thanks a lot!
frarugi8716 days ago
This is awesome.. Looks like a "professional" game
Just a question: did you use "normal" paper to print the map and cards? Or you used glossy paper or added a protection layer to make them more "time-proof"?
Matlek (author)  frarugi8716 days ago
Thank you!
Good question. Indeed, we used normal paper for both the map and cards (probably 80 gsm). And we printed on a laser printer, which has a glossy finish.
We did not add any protection layer. In the video from The Dining Table Print & Play I am referring to for the cards, he uses a clear lacquer to protects the cards. We decided to try without because cards are not that often handled when playing Risk, and also because it can be bad for both health and the environment. I'll update the article about the aging of the cards and the map!
depotdevoid16 days ago
This is very cool! I am now inspired to try something like this either for the state in the US that I am from (Oregon) or perhaps for my city of Eugene!
Matlek (author)  depotdevoid16 days ago
Thanks!
I can assure you, you won't regret if you make one ;)
dollywild17 days ago
As I am the last member of of the class who took Cartography, i am planning on drawing my map. However, it occured to me that many Maps are to be found on the cheap. The generation of GPS users may not recollect the glove box of the car being stuffed with maps, but they were, and maps are still widely available today. ( Auto clubs, tourist book sections, etc)

Taking a photo of an historic map is another nice way to get a starter map to embellish for those who want to use software.

As a former teacher, I just wanted to point out paper maps as a nice option for groups or class rooms. Wooden pawns are found on ebay, junk stores as part of demolished chess sets , craft stores, and I have seen a lovely chess set hand drawn that uses pre Euro coins as the pieces.

I am very excited about this project. Many popular games have been criticized for being colonial- this project could be the cure for that. I hope some wildly creative fruit is born from this extremely solid tree of a project. Well done!
Matlek (author)  dollywild16 days ago
Thank you!
Great ideas, I am curious to see a game with an old map, and upcycled chess pawns! That could be awesome!
Pelerin7317 days ago
I played to Risk before, and when i saw your game i was impress. Congratulation your creation look like perfect. I would like to do the same for the kindom of Savoy ;)
Matlek (author)  Pelerin7316 days ago
Thanks!
You want to make one with both departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie? That'd be great, I grew up in Haute Savoie! So I'd be happy to help! :D
misko1318 days ago
I did the same with my province and my friends don't want to play the world version anymore. We all get very angry when another player wants to attack our home territories. It really funny...

Your instructable is awesome! It gave me many ideas to improve my homemade version, specially for the pawns. Thanks for sharing!
Matlek (author)  misko1316 days ago
Thanks a lot!
I think we will also exclusively play Rixe Marseille now, and forget about our Risk: Game of Thrones. It is so much fun playing with our neighborhoods!
Can you post some pictures of your version? I am curious, and maybe I can improve mine!
homemade10116 days ago
interesting!