Make Your Own Pieces

Sometimes it’s nice to have actual physical pieces on an actual physical board, rather than a piece of software. I’ve used the following technique to make dozens of crumble sets:

First of all, don't try to make all the pieces at once. Use the following steps to minimize the amount of work you have to put in:

Step 1: Buy some poster board that is black on one side and white on the other.

Step 2: Carefully measure and mark with pencil 108 squares, 32mm to a side. Cut out the squares with as much precision as you can. Of those squares, 72 will be further cut down as described below in steps 4 and 5.

Step 3: On another piece of poster board, carefully measure and cut out a square that is 194mm to a side. Keep the empty cut-out, and glue it onto another piece of poster-board, so that together they create a square playing field with a raised edge around the sides. This is your game board. Set up the starting pieces inside the empty square, it will hold the game position in place during play.

Why 194mm instead of 192mm? You want to have that extra 2mm to give the pieces a little room to shake around. During play you’ll be picking up and putting down a lot of pieces, and it’s easier if there’s room to get your fingernail in between them.

Step 4: Start playing. Seriously. Playing the game is an actual step in constructing the pieces.

Step 5: During play, when you need a game piece that you don't already have available, take an unused piece twice the size of the one you need and very accurately cut it in half. Repeat as needed. After playing a few games, you won't need to cut new pieces very often.

Keep some poster board handy, in case you ever do a join to a non-standard size and want to cut a special piece for that.