All hexagons fit into each space in at least one orientation. Hexes are color coded to their resource, as are the triangular ports. Each player is given a box with their game pieces and a building guide. The boxes are also used to store resources. The resource bank is on the right in the grey box, and development cards (tiles) are kept in the bag to the left.
Used some black walnut from a previous project and cut out a rough square for the base of the board.
Not the best picture, but we were very excited about the color!
After staining the board we began to do some calculations to ensure that each piece would fit inside of hexagon-shaped holes in the board (made from raised sections). We did this because we worried about introducing error in our hexagons that would prevent all of them from fitting.
We decided that although we were going to go with this strategy, we needed a better method of drawing the layout. This part of the project was put on hold until we came up with a solution.
We used a circular drill bit to punch out circular number tiles. To prevent the drill from shaking, we first drilled through a larger piece of scrap wood and used it as a guide for the tiles.
After failing to carve an extra piece of walnut (not the best idea in the first place), we used different woods that were punched out for the tiles and glued them together to make a much more clean looking robber.
First done in pencil to sanded tiles (middle pieces)
Using balsa wood and some trial and error, we designed and copied the town pieces for each player and began to carve them out by hand.
Pictured: beer, cider, coffee, and carving/painting supplies.
Not pictured: Netflix
We used a very basic paint and attempted to then protect them with a spray-on matte finish (the odd looking orange city near the top). The paint and wood were of terrible quality, so protecting them was another problem we would solve later.
We decided that the players would use physical pieces instead of cards. Each was carved from balsa wood and painted.
In this version I clearly forgot what sheep looked like.
Sheep are much better with necks
Sheep were the most frustrating to carve and left a few cuts on my thumb.
With rabbit in the background for moral support.
The player boxes are the only thing that we did not make ourselves
We glued a divider into each box so that the players can sort or store their resources/pieces however they want.
The development cards proved to be an interesting problem. We decided to make individual tiles that symbolized each type out of leopard wood (very interesting grain). Here are the blanks all cut out.
These special cards are also made out of leopardwood, but are twice as large as the dev cards.
Figuring out a pattern for each card was difficult, since it had to convey what it was (mostly) without words. Still not the best for new players.
Probably not the best idea.
Players will draw a card by pulling out a random tile from their storage bag.
Using illustrator to exactly map out the sizes that we needed ended up being our solution to our problems from earlier.
Each side was custom carved to fit its spot in order to prevent errors by trying to make them all identical
The hexagon template fit well, but our test piece did not. We decided that we had to use an adjustable mitre saw to get the angles right.
Outside borders were made of red maple.
It ended up looking better than our expectations
The original idea for the board came from the idea of making the tiles out of woods whose natural color would represent the resources. These are our test stains of the woods we picked out. From left to right we have:
Sheep: Curly Hard Maple
Sheep: Curly Hard Maple
Wood: BocoteOre: Wenge
Remember that red dust; it will be used later.
(note: the board was not finished at this point)
or prairie, or wool, or whatever it's called.
This picture makes it look much brighter than it normally does
This wood was chosen because we felt it had the most woody grain and also has a slightly green color near the darker bands (not that visible in this picture)
After cutting out the hexagons for the resources, there were many identical triangular pieces leftover. We decided to use these as the ports. Shown are the 2:1 ports; the 3:1 ports were made out of red oak (the border color).
We got pre-made cubes of wood and after sifting through the 50 or so, I found a couple that were the most cubical. Here is a test die next to the two final dice. I used small drill to drill out the holes.
The holes in the dice were filled in with a mixture of the red saw dust from the brick hexes and wood glue. After drying they were sanded down.
A major concern was the fairness of the dice. I rolled the standard catan dice and recorded each roll. I then rolled each wood die somewhere between 500-600 times. Lucky for us the included plastic catan dice are horribly weighted, and after >500 rolls we had no statistical evidence that our dice were unfair. I have graphs if any friends complain.
The penultimate project was to make a guide for each player to remind people of how much each game piece cost. I started with thin balsa wood.
We did this to ensure people didn't complain about not knowing what each hex was. Started with extra pieces of wood used for the hexes (left) and extra red oak (right)
This turned out great, though it took some soul searching of whether to "officially" refer to wool/prairie as "sheep", timber as "wood", clay as "brick", and "ore" as "ore and not "rocks".