[Archive] Quest for the Perfect Blood Bowl Board (pic heavy)


Anybody who has been following my army blog knows I recently pushed some Chaos Dwarfy stuff aside to work on a Blood Bowl board. I consider my prototype a pretty good success as it’s my first attempt, but now I’ve come to the decision that I must design and build the ultimate in Blood Bowl technology. There are a couple things I consider of paramount importance in the design of this:

1) It must be lightweight and compact. If it’s not convenient to carry, it’s not convenient enough.

2) It must be entirely self sufficient (dice, range ruler, team records, team models, rulebook) without having any rattling loose parts.

3) It must be impressive to the eyes while open or closed.

4) It must have clever and interesting ways to showcase the dugouts, reroll counters, turn markers, etc.

5) It must be thoroughly resilient. Gamers are messy inconsiderate folk - if my board can’t survive without my constant attention, it won’t survive. I’ve expanded on this a bit - I want the board to be water resistant, heat and weather resistant, and impact resistant. It also has to be able to sit open or closed on someone’s kitchen table without scratching wood, glass, or lacquer.

6) It has to be cheap, so when I discover the perfect design I can mass produce and create on commission.

With these in mind, I began drawing up my blueprints:

As it is too late to cut some wood to begin the project without waking my neighbors, tomorrow’s edition will be the basic frame of the board. I am hoping to take good enough notes and photographs that any of you CDO readers could duplicate what I’ve done without the messy and expensive errors I make along the way. :)


True I fell a little behind on my goal in terms of time, but most of the delay is the fact that I hate trying to take nice pictures. However, they’re finally uploaded. This is as much a how-to piece as a blog, so I’m going to go in to what I’ve done in as exact a detail as my current mental state allows (mmmm, magic hat seasonal beers…)

Anyway, beginning with materials and approximate costs…

3/4"x2.5"x96" cherry-stained oak ($4 apiece, I had three in my basement from a previous project)

4’x6’ piece of masonite (about 6.50 a few months ago)

Wood screws, most of them 3/4" but at least four that are more than an inch long

3/4" hinges (these are tricky to find, but my local Home Depot had them in the craft section. Four of them come in a package for like $3, I bought all the packages they had on the shelf)

1 clasp, 1 handle (each is about a dollar or two)

First, I cut some things down to size. My blueprints call for six pieces of wood and three pieces of masonite after cutting, so here are the dimensions on those:

4 pieces wood 16" long

2 pieces wood 18" long

2 pieces masonite 19.5"x16"

1 piece masonite 19.5"x5"

After measuring, marking, and cutting, what we have looks a little like this (though hopefully cleaner, straighter cuts than my shaky hands allow!)

The next step is to fasten the wood to the masonite. The four pieces at 16" get fastened along each 16" side of the bigger pieces of masonite. Two wood screws go in, masonite first, wood second (of course) to keep them firmly in place. While attaching I fit the longer pieces of wood at either end to keep things straight and make sure I didn’t cut anything too long or fasten it too far from the edge, because ultimately I want everything as tight together as possible. The longer pieces get fasted on the end like so:

Next are the hinges. The tiny ones look pretty dainty, but they’re actually rather resilient. The screws that hold them in place, however, are pretty pathetic and need some pretty good pilot holes to avoid breaking at the neck. I busted probably about 10 of the tiny craft screws trying to fasten these and the next two later in this post. Once they’re good and tight though, they’re pretty resilient. It seems just the twisting motion is what does it, as I’ve put this thing through a pretty solid stress test and it holds up very well.

Anyway, enough rambling. The two halves of the chassis get stacked on top of each other, and the hinges get attached with the pin facing out like so:

Unfolded, what we now have looks like this:

Next is the bottom portion. This piece could be ignored if you weren’t concerned about things sliding out of your hidden compartments, or accidentally damaging the foam the board is made from when you set down the table, but I’m neurotic about both of those things so here’s what I did. Our remaining piece of masonite has to get hinged to the bottom. Masonite has a polished, flat surface as well as a fibrous rough surface. Generally you want the polished surface out, but I like having the rough one exposed on the bottom piece. Basically you need to set up two hinges to keep this piece attached, and in doing so put 16 tiny craft screws through masonite - a nightmare. Masonite is actually considerably more difficult to drive a screw through than wood, and it requires you drill some pretty serious pilot holes. The hinges are attached with one end on the polished side, and the hinge pin facing up. The other side gets attached to the polished side on the masonite that forms one of the bases on the case we’ve already assembled. If done correctly, you should be able to open the case smoothly as it slides over the polished face of the masonite on the bottom.

Of course, at this point the bottom is only attached on one side, and when carrying the case the bottom will flap around below it. You can fix this with pretty much any method you want - I used velcro, but you could also use a metal clasp, buckle, magnets, whatever.

Regardless, the next step is the pretty hardware. I like having the handle and clasp next to each other because it ensures you don’t accidentally open the case while carrying it. Some people may not, and in such a case just put these two bits off center on opposite sides…

The next step was nervewracking. The field I already built in my army blog thread needed to get fit to this box. The length was just about right (the field was a little shorter than the box, but I don’t particularly care…) and the width was about .5 of a centimeter too big. To solve this I used a combination of hot soldering iron and razor knife to get excess field off and keep the side of the board nice and smooth (and melted foam is significantly more resilient to things than regular foam…)

Once fitted, it actually fit so snugly I didn’t even need to put the braces in below it to take these pictures:

I popped the board back out, and did the scariest part - cutting it down centerfield. I wanted the cut tight enough that when you opened the board, it would be imperceptible even on close scrutiny. To accomplish this, I cut only deep enough to break the glue and paint on the top, and then cut as deeply as possible from the bottom. I broke the board by slowly bending it inwards, and it fractured in an almost perfectly straight line down centerfield, with no cut marks or missing foam on top. In other words, exactly what I was hoping for. I pushed the pieces back in, fit them as tightly together as possible, and gave it an experimental series of closings and openings. It held together perfectly.

One last thing to show, would be the hidden compartments. These are where the dugouts, rulebook, templates, dice, and my team will be hidden. I may also hide a cute little scoreboard here at some point.

You can also see that there’s enough space between the two halves of turf that my longer grasses don’t wind up getting smashed up and bent in weird ways.

Next update will be the scoreboard and dugouts! I hope to have those done and some pictures for you by this time next week. And then my finale (and probably the only part the rest of you will read :p) will be my chaos dwarf team finding a home here. :slight_smile:


Great work TLTG i made one like this a few years ago for a blood bowl tournament at my local gaming club, rather than making the plating field out of foam i made it straight on to the wooden interior, i will dig it out to night and post a few pics , looking forward to seeing the how you do the scoreboard and dugouts


Nice breifcase travel board, kudos on a job well done. A friend of mine is in the process of making a roll-up big buy board. Good to see we are not the only crazy peoples out there. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your portable stadium.

turquois dwarf:

:o and I thought the board by itself was amazing!

it must of taken some guts to cut it in half!


That is awesome!

This message was automatically appended because it was too short.

Kera foehunter:

That is the best ever !!some body should make a stickie out of this


So I have been working on other life projects, but the next step of this board is about to commence. I need to install the re-roll counters and build the dugouts, but something you all might be more interested in is that I’m going to make a second foam for this rig specific to my chaos dwarf team (which just arrived today!)

This current pitch will wind up being my Vampires pitch, but because the foam is only held in by being tightly fitted I will be able to swap it out and replace it on a whim. The new one will be a grimy, rusty, oily riveted metal “field”.