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Do-It-Yourself: Make a Brandub Set

Making board games can be a fun, creative and sometimes frustrating adventure. There is something wonderful about playing a game with family and friends on something created by your own hands. This is the first in a series of Do-It-Yourself blog articles on how to do just that and some of the lessons learned in the process. In this first article, we will describe the beginnings steps in making a Basic Brandub set.

The Board

The foundation of every board game is…well…the board. Our Basic Brandub set uses an 8 inch square board. Your best bet is to go to a local lumber supplier to purchase some plywood and get it cut down to that size. There are also some online options. Woodworks Ltd. sells individual 8x8 squares that are 1/8 inch thick for relatively cheap. If you don’t mind spending a bit more, KenCraft Company has a great selection of plywood and if you email them they will cut it down to the size you want for a fee. Be warned you will be spending more on cutting fees and shipping than on the plywood itself.

Once you have the piece of plywood, sand it down to the desired smoothness. Don’t skimp too much on this step. The more time put into the sanding, the better the board will be. Mark out the grid using 1 inch squares and a 1/2 inch border. This will produce a 7x7 Brandub board where the gameplay happens on the squares (in oppose to the intersections).

Using a woodburning pen and a metal ruler, burn the lines in. Unfortunately, the metal will draw heat from the woodburning pen and cause the lines to be a bit inconsistent in darkness. Don’t dismay and just keep going. When all the lines are done, carefully go over the lines again without the ruler to fill in any gaps. Burn an ‘x’ into the corner and center squares. Coat the board with a layer of sanding sealant, let it dry (about 1/2 hour) and smooth with #0000 steel wool (super fine grade). Finally, finish with beeswax. It is also possible to skip the sanding sealant and just use beeswax. The surface won’t be as hard or smooth but the beeswax will produce a lovely finish.

The Pieces

Brandub requires 13 pieces: 8 attackers, 4 defenders and 1 king. This can be easily accomplished with different colored glass gems. These are commonly found in hobby stores for decorative purposes. Hobby Lobby is a great resource with a variety of colors and sizes. The standard size (around 18mm) will fit the 1 inch squares pretty nicely.

You now have a complete and playable Brandub set.


Stay tuned for the next article and upgrade your set by casting a king piece in resin.