Wooden Settlers of catan board build

Wooden Settlers of catan board build

Finished product!

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.
Cutting the Walnut board for the base

Used some black walnut from a previous project and cut out a rough square for the base of the board.
Board glued and clamped

After sanding, testing the final color after staining.

Not the best picture, but we were very excited about the color!
Math and planning

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.
Planning out the inner and outer borders

Testing out some inner borders

Close up of an inner border piece

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.
Punching out pieces for the robber and number tiles

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.
Robber v1.0 vs Robber v2.0

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.
Marking the number tiles

First done in pencil to sanded tiles (middle pieces)
Number tiles were wood burnt and sanded again.

Beginning to make the player 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.
Carving the components for the cities

City pieces glued together awaiting sanding.

Our carving work station.

Pictured: beer, cider, coffee, and carving/painting supplies.

Not pictured: Netflix

Beginning to paint the player town and city pieces

Finished painting!

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.
Resources trial run

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 v2

Sheep are much better with necks
Carving the flock.

Sheep were the most frustrating to carve and left a few cuts on my thumb.
Almost there.

Carving and sanding the wheat (grains)

Getting some help painting the ore.

With rabbit in the background for moral support.
Various stages of progress with making the resources.

Brick, wood, wheat, and ore painting finished!

Flock of finished sheep near a pile of wood

Painting the player boxes

The player boxes are the only thing that we did not make ourselves
Player boxes finished, and starting on the roads.

The longest road

Painted roads for each player!

Player box close up

All the player boxes painted (but without finish)

We glued a divider into each box so that the players can sort or store their resources/pieces however they want.
Development cards

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.
Largest army and longest road.

These special cards are also made out of leopardwood, but are twice as large as the dev cards.
Sanded and ready to go

Drawing out the patterns

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.
Wood burning on a couch

Probably not the best idea.
Designs laid out and a couple already wood burnt.

Testing the color of the finish

Dev cards all wood burnt, sanded, and ready for finish!

Finished dev cards inside their pouch

Players will draw a card by pulling out a random tile from their storage bag.
Our solution to the inside/outside boarder problem: going digital.

Using illustrator to exactly map out the sizes that we needed ended up being our solution to our problems from earlier.
Carefully cutting out the borders.

Finished borders fitting perfectly on our board.

The borders were drawn on the board and we began carving and gluing each side

Each side was custom carved to fit its spot in order to prevent errors by trying to make them all identical
More gluing and carving

Finished inner border!

Very, very close to our template.

An extra hexagon cut out from the template and our first test piece.

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.
Cutting out the outside borders.

Outside borders were made of red maple.
Each outside border piece had to also be custom fit.

More borders

Glue, clamp, repeat.

Finished borders glued into place. Finally time to cut it to the final shape!

Board cut out!

It ended up looking better than our expectations
Board with polyurethane finish!

Testing out the wood for the resources

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
Wood: BocoteOre: Wenge
Brick: Redheart
Wheat: Canarywood

Cutting out the brick tiles.

Remember that red dust; it will be used later.
A few pieces down, all fitting so far!

(note: the board was not finished at this point)
Ore (left) and Wood (right) with polyurethane brings out final color

Protecting the rest with polyurethane.

Finished Wheat

Finished Sheep

or prairie, or wool, or whatever it's called.
Finished Ore

This picture makes it look much brighter than it normally does
Finished Wood (tiles)

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)
Finished Brick

All the tiles (including desert in top center) in the board.


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).
Since we wanted it to be all wooden, that also meant the dice had to be wood

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.
Remember the red dust?

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.
After polyurethane.

Finished dice!

Last thing to do was test the dice

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.
Player guides.

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.
After cutting and sanding, the guides were (horribly) painted on.

Finished painting

Painted and glued into place!

The last project was to make a guide for the hexagon pieces.

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)
Carefully gluing together

All glued together

After a lot of sanding and some cutting to size

Finished guide after wood burning and staining.

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".
Finished game overhead!