Concept: Using some extra board game pieces and aluminum foil, we can create a simple, visually responsive board game in which each piece on the board can complete a switch corresponding to an LED.
- 1 red, 1 green, and 1 yellow LED
- 12V DC power supply and 5V regulator
- 220 ohm resistor
- 7 open switches, each made by wrapping two sides of a small cardboard square with aluminum
Other materials (from the junk shelf):
- 4 pawn-shaped game pieces, wrapped in aluminum foil
- 2 eight-sided dice
- Cardboard chips to label each switch from 2 to 8.
- Cardstock to create rule cards (see Rule Card section below)
- 2–4 players, turn order clockwise.
- Shuffle the switch labels and arrange them beside each of the 7 switches.
- Player rolls a pair of 8-sided dice, each labeled 1–4.
- Player moves their piece to the position corresponding to their dice roll.
- If the position is already occupied by another player, swap with the other player if the current player’s piece is on the board.
- If the player rolls a double, e.g., (1, 1), (2, 2), (3, 3), (4, 4), then swap the labels of any two spaces on the board.
- Player’s score changes corresponding to the color of the LED after moving their piece to the new position. Any player whose piece is moved as a result of the current player taking their spot must update their score as well.
- RED: -5 points (the lowest score a player can have is 0)
- GREEN: +1 point
- YELLOW: +3 points
- (Optional) Player may trade 2 points for a rule card from the draw pile, or play a rule card in their possession. Any score calculation after applying a rule card is completed before the next player’s turn.
- If a player has at least 10 points, they win!
- An optional addition to the game through which players can add rules to make the game more competitive (or just confusing).
- Rule cards are purchased at the end of a turn for 2 points. They are drawn from a pile and can be applied the turn after they’re drawn by laying them face up on the table. A player cannot purchase a rule card and play it in the same turn.
- Example rule cards:
- Remove a rule card.
- Immediately gain 3 points.
- …Add your own!
Possible next steps:
- Though I call it a board game, it’s more like a bunch of squares attached by wires – a nicer presentation of the game could go a long way towards its playability.
- I could include different switch operations so that players can also change the number of spots connected to colors.
- What other sensory experiences can we add to the game? How can we mechanize some of the in-game interactions, like tallying points?