Breakthru is an interesting strategy game which was part of the 3M bookshelf series. I discovered the game while I was in high school, probably when it was originally issued. The commercially produced set is elegant, with cast metal brass and steel pieces. It was also much too expensive for me at the time - about $50 if I remember correctly. So I made my set own using wood, ceramic tiles, armies salvaged from a Risk game, and a sewing thimble.
Tantrix is a boardless, tile based
game which is packaged in a bag. It's very portable, but
impossible to play on a surface smaller than a table. It's
especially not suitable for playing on planes. I made my own
magnetic set, starting with a photo of the set of tiles, manipulated
with photoshop, printed as an 8x10 glossy by an on line photo
service. The photo was glued to a piece of refrigerator
magnet material and cut up into tiles. The board is
the cover of a 3-ring binder with a piece of steel stuffed inside to
make it magnetic.
toroidal Go board
Go is one of the oldest board games,
which has been played in pretty nearly its current form for 4000 years.
Despite the long history, it's still possible to think of a new
twist. At the left is a "standard" 19x19 Go board
constructed by Ken Clements, in the shape of a
torus. Each intersection of the wire frame is
welded, and each bead (stone) is cross cut so it can be stuck to an
intersection of the board. This is the obvious
solution for those who don't have the patience to study corner Joseki.
standard Go board.
Handmade Soma Cube "Altar"
The Soma cube is an elegant solid
puzzle, consisting of 7 irregular pieces which can be assembled into a
cube or an infinite variety of other interesting shapes. The
standard commercial product is small and made of plastic. For
some, that is just not a large enough canvas. The handmade
version at the left is made of welded steel plates. The
"small" cubes are approximately 60cm on each side. The giant
soma cube set was created by theater professor Thurston James at
Immaculate Heart College, ca 1972. The installation seen here
was not anticipated or condoned by the administration of the college.
standard Soma Cube "Altar"
standard Zèrtz set
At a distant point in the difficulty spectrum from Zèrz, Hive requires a lot of effort. BGG matthew.marquand spent many hours wood burning and hand painting a duplicate set.
Commercially produced versions of Hex are rarely seen, but hexagonal tiles of various materials are not too hard to find. Go stones are the most common markers.
commercially produced Hex
piece. The standard edition is uninspiring moulded
plastic. Wooden editions do exist, but this custom wooden
creation by Derek H. Hunt is miles above anything available
Truchet tiles have a simple pattern which can be used to tile a plane, which yields a pattern of islands and rivers. As implemented here, the tiles are reversable, which reconfigures the board as part of play.
commercial boards exist
Like most games, Cookie Disco started life as a handmade prototype, then graducated to a small batch of handmade games for sale, before going commercial on a modest scale. The thought of cookies made of fine wood doesn't make a lot of sense, but it is pretty!
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