My sister is a big fan of the board game Settlers of Catan. For her birthday, my mother and I made her a giant version of the game to play out on the lawn. Each hexagon is 3 feet across, so the island of Catan is 15 feet from edge to edge. We decided to make just a basic four-player Settlers set for now; maybe we'll consider making additional components later. Scroll down for component details.
|The hexagons measure 20 inches on a side, or 40 inches from corner to corner. They're made
out of various kinds of fabric, mainly upholstery fabric for its weight. Most of the fabric came from the clearance aisle
at JoAnn Fabrics. I painted on them with acrylic craft paint, also from JoAnn.
We considered putting weights on the corners, but ultimately decided not to, partially because we didn't have time. In practice, some rocks were needed to keep the hexagons from curling over, so we might try to add weights in the future. I have also considered making some clips to tie the hexes together.
|The forest fabric is green, with wavy black grooves. I sponged on little circles of dark green, light green and yellow-green to attempt to look like trees. They don't actually look particularly tree-like, but do provide a splash of color.|
|The hills are made from a cool red leathery fabric with crinkly wrinkle patterns that you can't see in the photo. I sponged on a brown wash to darken the color and bring out the wrinkles.|
|The pasture is astroturf, of course, after my friend James Hopkin's suggestion. I used a sponge roller to add another shade of green for a mottled effect. I should have used lighter green.|
|The wheat fields are tan fabric with a weave like carpet, on which I sponge-rolled School Bus Yellow acrylic paint. Most pleasing.|
|The mountains are made from a gray "marine vinyl" material akin to Naugahyde. I painted some mountain ranges using various shades of gray. They don't look that great, but the original drawing on the mountain hexagons didn't look so great, either, and the paint breaks up the monotony of the gray vinyl (which did already have a very slightly mottled finish).|
|The desert is a pretty plain-looking tan-gray fabric with a very subtle pattern.|
|We made Seafarers-style ports for later compatibility. You'll note that there aren't any ocean hexes at the moment, since that would have doubled the number of hexes required. Maybe later.|
|Each port uses a circle of the appropriate fabric glued or stitched onto a triangle of neutral fabric. My mom printed out computer labels saying "3:1", to avoid having to spend a lot of time embroidering or stenciling.|
|My mom had the clever idea to use CDs for the numbers. They're a good size, and heavy enough not to fly away in a breeze. She printed out labels on the computer and applied them to some old junk CDs we had lying around.|
|And they come in this handy carrying case!|
|My mom made the dice by sewing white fabric around a foam cube. Not guaranteed to be statistically fair, but in the game we played, we got a pretty reasonable distribution. Except that my 6 ore hex never seemed to produce. Just like the regular game.|
|The piece de resistance. My friend James Hopkin made the robber out of a bowling pin on a wooden base, sprayed black and accessorized in leather cape, mask and doo rag.|
|The settlements and cities are made out of balsa wood birdhouses that we bought on sale at Michaels Arts and Crafts. We sprayed them with clear primer/sealer from Home Depot, painted the roofs in the player colors, and spray-sealed them again.|
|The road segments are lengths of wood flooring left over from my parents' remodeling. After we spray-painted the tops, we had to sand them down, because the paint raised the grain. Then another coat of spray-paint. The bottom and sides are sealed with the same spray sealer as the settlements.|
|The cities are distinguished from the settlements by gold accents on the roof. They also have more than one bird hole.|
|We all agreed that the blue buildings look nicest, which is good, because my sister always plays blue.|
|My dad checking out the initial setup.|
|My sister's friend Michaela gets her son started early on the path to being a Settlers shark like his mom.|
|My sister, the Queen of Catan.|
Shameless plug! Play my mom's acrostic puzzles on your computer or iPhone at Crostix.com.