I think this was probably my first homemade game, when I was 14 or so. I got a book called Games for Two (?) from the library with the rules. My board was a piece of plywood I found in the garage, and I drew the lines in with markers. For pieces I used red and blue Lego bricks in various configurations -- the king (was he called a king?) was a minifig.
It was a fairly fun game. Sort of like Chess with more action. I still have it up in my games closet, but haven't played for a couple years.
Risk must be my most inaccurate homemade game. When I was 16 I played for the first time at an acquaintance's house. Even though I lost miserably, I loved it. When I went home I drew up a rough map of the world on 8 pieces of paper taped together. I played with my brother using Lego bricks as units. I had forgotten about the Risk cards, and I think I might have gotten the reinforcements rules wrong (we had *huge* stacks of units!), but it was fun.
Upon discovering "designer" games a couple years ago, this was the first homemade of my gaming renaissance. Wizards of the Coast (www.wizards.com) has a great webpage up for it, with complete rules. There's a Robo Rally map making program somewhere else on the web that includes the original 4 maps, and I found a website (which I have since lost) that listed all of the Option cards, including their full text.
I haven't played this for a couple years, but I'm hoping to make an upgraded version sometime soon.
This Cheapass game has full info on the web. I bought $20 worth of dice and printed out some Button Men. I made my own characters using official Button Men stats, but with various characters from some Windows icons I had: Batman, Bullwinkle, Papa Smurf, Gumby, etc. The game was OK, but a little too math-y for my group. Not that it was brain-burning, it's just all about probability, which most don't find very fun all by itself. The strength of Button Men seems to be in its collectibility, and I'm not into that.
Ah, CE... a triumph of homemade gaming. There's all sorts of great CE info on the web, so this was pretty easy to piece together. For the boards I used heavy black cardstock (with sort of starry looking white speckles) from a scrapbooking store, one sheet for each player, with five bright circles of cardstock as the planets. I used silver letter-stickers to give each planet an alien sounding name, and then laminated the boards. Each players sits the playmat in front of them, kind of like Puerto Rico or Princes of Florence, rather than having a central board. I used Lego for the ships and mothership (of course). Rather than a pile of destiny disks, I use a cloth bag with Lego bricks (of a different size than the ships) in each player color. The cards are playing cards with printed Avery labels stuck on them.
CE was a great project. We played it to death when I first made it, and it still sees the table fairly often (4 plays so far this year). I am still quite pleased with the look of my copy. Plus, it's very easily expandable -- I can print out new powers or other cards, and they perfectly match the other cards in the deck!
Additional Note: After playing my copy, my brother made one of his own, out of wood(!) -- all the player boards and units are thick chunky wood, and the mothership is gargantuan. Mine is much more portable. (And I think it looks nicer... but I have a bit of a soft spot for Lego.
This was a bit of work to make. I did a Google image search to find pictures of each card, so I could see what the different bean-meters were. Once that was done, I put together the cards in MS Word, using a cute dingbat font from Pizzadude for the bean pictures. I printed the cards out on cardstock and sliced them with a paper cutter. Ended up looking pretty good. I didn't like the game as much as I had hoped, so I gave my copy to my younger sister, and they still play it. Later I ended up printing out another copy, which I eventually gave to some kids that begged for it after I taught them the game.
Another Cheapass. I used to like them a lot. Or I wanted to, anyway. So I tried out Brawl. Stuck Avery labels on a couple old decks of cards. Was a bit of fun, but not too compelling. Playing Nerts or Speed with regular cards is a similar (actually, probably more fun) experience.
Played my local game store's copy with my wife, and we thought it was interesting, but not worth $30. Now we just play with a regular deck of cards. Not technically "homemade," but I'll include it anyway. There are 4 suits instead of 5, so I lowered the hand size from 8 to 6. Aces are markers for the discard piles (they function as the game board), and face cards are Investment cards. It ends up playing quite well.
I made the gameboard with one 8.5x11" sheet of sea-blue cardstock, with yellow and green islands pasted on at one end, and laminated it. Little Lego pieces for the boats and sailors. Instead of a voting wheel, each player got a set of Lego bricks, one of each color (plus three Captain's Hat tokens -- easier to remember how many have been used this way), for voting. Rules from the Game Cabinet. I kind of had to guess at what the scores for the different islands would be, but I think I got it close.
Only ended up playing this once or twice, but we might play again sometime.
Didn't actually make a homemade copy of this, but I made my own expansion set. I found some cardstock of a similar weight and printed out a bunch of cards. I think I printed more cards than the original game had, so there are many, many more combinations now -- some of them quite funny.
Turns out my wife doesn't like this game so it hasn't been played lately. But I'm still quite proud of the cards.
Note: The reason my wife doesn't like The Big Idea, oddly enough, is that it doesn't have enough control! Basically, it's not hardcore enough. She prefers stuff like Tigris & Euphrates (which she has only lost once, her first game -- since then I can't beat her) and Puerto Rico. Heh. None of this "all I can get my wife to play is Carcassonne" from me.
Another Note: Rather than the "honor system" way of secretly choosing stocks that the rules suggest, we use Lego bricks to pick, kind of like we did with Rett Sich Wer Kann. Each player gets a large brick of each other color, and everybody reveals the color they picked at the same time.
Very simple to make. I did the board up in MS Word, patterned after the pictures available here (and funagain.com). I printed it so it fit on one sheet of heavy paper, which I fold in half. It's quite portable, and if it gets too worn, I can just print another off. You also need 4 Lego blocks per player, and at least one die. I keep the rules (with all those great variants) in my Palm.
I printed this up after drafting some player boards in MS Word. Used Lego as the resource chips. Didn't really like the game much, so I ended up leaving it at my brother's house. I don't mind bluffing, but this game seemed a little nebulous. There didn't seem to be any structure to base anything on. Is he bluffing? Probably. Should I call him on it? Maybe. Doesn't matter really. Not as fun as it sounded.
Rules available at hasbro.com. Board layout available here. Another game of bluff that I couldn't quite get a handle on, I'm embarrassed to say. I dig the structured sort of bluffing that goes on in Cosmic Encounter, Citadels or You're Bluffing, but this game just doesn't make sense to me (or my game group). I bet there are six 4's out there. No, I bet there are seven! Are there eight? Should I call the bluff? I don't know.
Does anyone else agree? Am I just missing some crucial element? Does it not play well with three? Were we just not drunk enough?
I made a version of this small enough to fit in my wallet (the game consists of 12 (?) cards, and some very short rules, which I managed to fit onto another card). Only played a couple times, but it was amusing.
One of the reasons I like to make my own games is so I can "re-theme" them. Sometimes the theme is potentially offensive, so I change it so family won't mind playing it. Sometimes it's just kind of boring.
In the case of Union Pacific, trains didn't do much for me, so I ditched that theme and made up a bunch of silly fictitious companies to invest in. I found a great dingbat font and used it to make the cards (printed on Avery labels, mounted on regular playing cards, naturally). Now we have Radioactive Toilet Paper, U-Shaped Magnets, Obsolete Cassette Tapes, Disposable Fire Hydrants, and instead of Union Pacific, Angry Robots!
I couldn't find a decent graphic of the board, so I got rid of that element, and we just have stacks of Lego bricks for each company in the centre of the table. I'm sure it loses a small tactical layer, but it's still a very satisfying game.
Note: This is another game my wife is very good at. We have played five times (four 3-player, one 2-player) and she has won four. The last time we played (3-player) I *tied* her score. There didn't seem to be a fair means of breaking the tie, so she is still undefeated. Now she jokingly says she doesn't want to play anymore, 'cause she's afraid it'll ruin her record.
Not quite a re-theme here, but almost. Instead of using artworks for the graphics, I went to a website selling skateboards and used graphics of the decks for the cards. Now, instead of artists there are different manufacturers: Alien Workshop, Habitat, Element, Girl and World Industries. I had to deduce the number of each auction type for each artist/manufacturer, but I'm pretty sure I got it right.
We used Monopoly money as currency. (No, I don't own Monopoly. I went out and bought a pack of money for this game.) Each player gets a book to use as a "wallet" -- it hides the money in the front cover, and we use the back cover for the secret simultaneous bids.
Graphically, I'm very pleased with this one. Very nice looking. And, of course, it's a terrific game!
Made up a deck using a silly dingbat font. Seems a little more fun to trade sharks and elephants than corn and flax, especially for the younger folk. I think I might be able to convert my copy to play Wheedle also...
I didn't like the theme of Atlantic Star at all, and even making fake plays with fictitious actors seemed a little lacking. So I did a complete conversion: my Showmanager is with real actors making Superman, Batman, James Bond and Star Wars movies. Instead of releasing them in different cities, they are released in different seasons. The real actors make it very funny: "Starring Mike Meyers as Darth Vader. 'Luke, I am your fahza. Isn't dat veird?'"
Why did it take so long to make? Funny you should ask. I was just thinking about that... It was very difficult, because I wanted the cards to be correctly balanced, but I didn't have much to go on. Basically, I knew there were 4 shows, with 18 roles total. I knew there were 120 actor cards, so I assumed there were 30 "extras" (the provincial players -- did I get that number right?). Then I had to assign the 90 remaining actors appropriate names and roles. I knew each actor had 1, 2 or 3 roles adding up to 9 points. I wanted each role (Chewbacca, Lois Lane, James Bond, etc.) to add up to the same number of points. Plus I had to take into account the gender of each actor and role, as well as the suitability of the actor for the role. Then I had to fit actors up to roles, making sure they added up, that they weren't in the same movie more than once, and that they were using up a number/role that had already been used.
Anyway, it was a monstrously huge logic puzzle. I tried several methods of solving it before I finally got it, but it was interesting. One learns a lot about game design doing this sort of thing.
I'm using this item as the conclusion for the list, though I have not yet made this game. Here are some games I am considering making:
Schotten Totten - The existing game looks kind of ugly and the theme is nothing special, so I'm making my own. The different suits will be different teams of characters: Star Wars good and evil, Star Trek good and evil, Marvel comics and Cartoon Network characters. Should be amusing: Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup beat Wolverine, Mace Windu and Darth Maul!
Res Publica - I'll eventually make cards for this up. I've already established my new theme. Instead of tribes forming cities to gain civilization advances, it will be pirates launching ships to find legendary buried treasure.
Borderlands - Some kind soul has uploaded complete information on this game: rules, tokens, the map, etc. I quite look forward to making this some day. Daring hypothesis: it seems to me (from reading the rules) that Borderlands is game everyone wishes Mare Nostrum was.
Sometime soon I'm going to try this 2-player. All that's needed is a bunch of Lego for the tiles and a checkerboard.
Looks like a clever little auction game. I'm going to re-theme it to building either a zoo or a theme park (like Rollercoaster Tycoon), not sure which.
Settlers of Catan
The game is fun, but it's just so ugly! I'm kind of interested in casting the hexes in resin, as described on Dan Becker's (?) site, but that's pretty expensive.
Top Secret Spies
Looks very simple to construct. Just have to toss a board together.