Make Your Own Board Game

Use family pictures to make your own board game. When you design a board game, you'll have wonderful personalized kid gifts and family reunion gifts for everyone on your list.

Have you ever wanted to make your own monopoly game? Or play the perfect lego board game with your kids? Or maybe you're looking for personalized gifts under ten dollars.

When you make a board game personalized to its prospective players, you can combine the best of all worlds!

You'll have a ...

  • personalized
  • easy
  • inexpensive
  • unique and unusual
                                   ... gift solution!

(Plus, it's a fun way for sharing personal photos with relatives!)

Here's one that I made -

Family Trivia Game

This family trivia board game is one that I made, personalized for our family. The "board" is a poster that I designed (based on a pre-existing template), printed and then framed. The draw pile is made from a personalized deck of playing cards. All the trivia answers and game instructions are printed in a 5x5-inch photo book. I ordered the pawns online and found the dice in our game closet.

Each card consists of a picture of a family member and 5 trivia questions. Most of the questions are the same but some are personalized to the individual. There are 3 cards for each person. Because I wanted this to be a learning game for my kids, I focused on our family history and included each member in our immediate family, grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents. Our family has learned a great deal by playing this homemade board game!

A trivia game could easily be personalized for YOUR relatives. And gifts of this nature are sure to be a big hit.

Follow these steps to design a board game.

  1. Think of a Theme
    What do you want your game to be about? Board games are usually based on one of three methods of play: skill, strategy or chance. Decide which you'll use to make your own board game. Develop quiz questions if needed. Make your own board game based on a popular game, such as Monopoly, Candy Land or Pictionary, or start entirely from scratch. It's okay to have an easy game based on a pre-existing one.
  2. Find - or Make - a Board
    This could be a cardboard box from the garage, a piece of foam core from your local dollar store, a digitally designed poster, or even an open file folder. Go green when you make your own board game by using a board from a game you no longer play or have all the pieces to. Decorate your game board with paper, fabric, pictures, and whatever else you fancy.
  3. Create and Gather Board Game Pieces
    In addition to a board, what other game pieces do you need? Consider draw cards, pawns, chips, tokens, play money, a timer, a spinner, paper and/or pencils. I ordered game pawns from (they also sell blank game boards). You could also create board game pieces or moving place holders out of small toys, coins, or pieces from another game.
  4. Determine the Rules
    Playing board games is much more fun when everyone plays by the same rules! It's okay for the rules to vary or change, just keep all the players in the loop. I've found that with homemade games, it often takes several times of playing to iron out the rules. When you make your own board game, it's easy to adjust the rules and length of play according to the players' ages and the number of players, as needed.

Benefits of playing games

Board games serve more of a purpose than to just have fun. They are rich in learning opportunities, build critical thinking and social skills, promote healthy brain function in seniors and teach valuable life lessons to children.

When you design a board game before you play it, you also learn to think logically and further increase communication skills and social development.

Personalized kid gifts, such as these suggested board games that incorporate family photos and casual snapshots, can also be self esteem boosters for children.

Sample Game Boards

Here are a couple more sample game boards that incorporate photographs. Use them to get your creative juices flowing!


The "board" is a poster. The game is based on Candy Land.

Draw cards, front and back



Although not pictured, this game also uses 3 decks of personalized cards.

Enjoy social interaction at the family reunion

Gifts with a purpose have special meaning to me. And what better way to enjoy time with the family than sharing a homemade gift that's about the family?

Make your own board game about your family and then take it to the family reunion to play. Or better yet, give it as a gift and then take it to the family reunion to play.

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