A Game of Goblins

You know those days when your wife asks for new picture frames, but you decide to poorly cut a checkered board instead?  I know, I know, “you mean, every single Thursday night, Shawn?”  It’s a common thing, totally.  

I cut the parts of picture frames and thought, “well, the miter and table saw are already out.  And there’s some long neglected MDF in the corner…”  So I poorly cut a 10×10 board and turned it into a checker board.  “Poorly cut” comes from my neglecting to ensure the board was not actually 10 x 10 x 10.4 x 10.4.  It makes cutting equal 1 inch squares on a table saw difficult.

Thankfully, MDF is pressed together in layers which makes it very easy to pry off when the fourth and fifth swipes over the table saw blade overlap.  Good learning experience though.  Next time I’ll run all four sides of the piece of wood through the table saw.  Good to know that only doing so with two sides does not guarantee a square board.  Who would have guessed?!

The mis-cut tiles were chipped away and the checker board became odd looking.  The quick solution?  Make it a river for goblins to cross.  Bam! Game is made.

In the ever present quest to provide the five year old with something to do when he’s too tired to either move or sit still, I thought for sure a board game featuring goblins carrying swords and shields would be a good way to keep him entertained.  Throw in some dice (puns!) to add a math element and life is good.

The river added some flavor to the board.  I kept the four small squares in the center of the board for visual appeal (symmetry!).  Sharpie was used to fill in the river and I worked all my pattern recognition skills to fill in the red squares properly.

I explained the rules of the game as such:

Goblins start in the far row.
Every turn the player rolls the dice.
If the dice add together to be greater than or equal to 7, a goblin is defeated!  (remove the goblin from the board)
Remaining goblins move one row closer.
Keep rolling until all the goblins have been destroyed.
If the goblins reach the nearest row they have taken over the castle!


The kid did not like any of that.  He rolled the dice and moved the goblins, but goblins moved in their own way.  He added Mulgarath in honor of the master of goblins from The Spiderwick Chronicles.  A Dalek showed up.  The goblins had to reach their weapons stowed in the center boxes.

But he sat and played.  Simple wood working project with immense results.  Hurrah scrap lumber!


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