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Wood, colours, time, creativity & fun to work with – you don’t need much more to make this special board game yourself. These are the detailed instructions with templates for my homemade Nepalese board game Bagh Chal!.
To play Bagh Chal you need a board and pieces. Originally, Nepalese goatherds simply carved the game board into the sand and played with different coloured pebbles. We enjoyed this strategic game so much after a short time that I decided to finally get creative again and make a Bagh Chal board game myself and give it to my best friend..
You can also find extensive game instructions for the Bagh Chal game including variations.
You can buy foldable game boards on the internet – but I decided to use plywood boards from the DIY store for my version, as I wanted to start on the same day. So that you can fold and store the board practically, you also need two nice decorative hinges.
For the game pieces I used luminous stones made of Tiffany glass and covered the motifs with a thick plastic foil.
To play Bagh Chal you need 2 different token designs: 20 goats and 4 tigers. In my design for the board game, I designed 10 billy goats and 10 goats each, as I liked that better.
I drew 3 animal heads in pencil, blackened them with Stabilo and coloured them. Then I scanned them and coloured circle as background of the tokens with the free image editor Gimp. I then reduced each of the 2 x 10 goats and billy goats and 4 tigers to 1.5 x 1.5 cm, the appropriate size for the tesserae, and printed out the motifs.
Do you like my motifs? You can print them here as a .pdf download and print them out!
For my 3 different designs I also chose 3 different coloured tokens: Orange for the tigers, midnight blue for the billy goats and turquoise for the goats.
Then cut out the 24 circles with the motifs and place the 24 coloured tokens ready. Measure the square pieces of the self-adhesive foil generously – you can cut them off perfectly all around at the end and seal the front side of the tokens waterproof.
Now you have to place a motif in the middle of each tile, peel off the protective foil from the adhesive surface of the foil and stick it on. Cut off the excess foil.
Your 24 pieces are ready! I packed them in a seed bag and gave them away as a practical gift.
First you need to prime the wooden boards from both sides with dispersion paint. This prevents the paint from melting when you paint it onto the absorbent wood. The paint dries quickly- I applied 2 coats of paint to each side and let the boards dry through overnight.
Now I placed the two boards with the long sides together and marked the place where they meet at a distance of 4cm from the edge. I drew two lines parallel to the edge of the board. Inside these lines you draw the lines of the board game: a square playing area with 4 playing fields, each measuring 5.4 x 5.4 cm. Finally, connect the corners of the squares with diagonal lines.
Then you can apply the pattern. For my game board I chose Nepalese patterns from a highly recommended template book. You can simply scan the motifs, reduce them to the desired size and print them out. Now transfer the patterns with carbon paper onto the white game boards.
Bold colours are typical for Nepali motifs. For painting I used acrylic paint, which has a great luminosity and dries quickly. I painted the playing fields with vermilion and crimson alternately and outlined the playing field and the patterns in black.
I coloured the patterns outside the playing area with strong juice green and the already used red tones.
I painted the back of the board with a black decorative border and stuck special motive cardboard to the middle of both halves of the board.
Here you should definitely make sure that the edges of the cardboard are glued flush and do not stick out, otherwise it can lead to unsightly discolouration during painting.
A board game is a commodity and should be waterproof and wipeable. Therefore, I simply painted the wooden board with a matt wood varnish on both sides 2 times. Through the varnish, the acrylic colours unfold their full luminosity – that alone makes it worthwhile :-).
The varnishing itself only takes 5 minutes per layer – however, you should let the varnish dry for at least 4 hours before applying a new layer.
The only thing missing are the hinges that make the board fold up. I have worked two beautiful decorative brass hinges into the centre of the ornamental border on the right and left and simply glued the hinges on with all-purpose glue.
I simply stowed the pieces in a matching coloured velvet bag.
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