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3dp_ten3dpthings_games_piecesWhen I think of the many happy family memories that I have, a lot of them involved playing board games with my family. Be it my sister and me playing Connect Four or Clue, my mother teaching me card games and Scrabble, or playing Risk or Life with my father, in many ways I bonded with the people in my life I care about most while playing a board game of some kind. As with most kids from my generation I come from what could only be called a board game family. And realistically, mine is probably the last generation that will be able to call itself that in any significant numbers. It isn’t that there are no board games now, or that families don’t play them, but video games have replaced board games for a lot of families, and sadly those games are far more solitary.

Mind you, I’m not looking down at video games, I am also from the very first generation that had them, and I also have fond memories of my mother and me trying to beat each other’s scores on the original Atari Pitfall and squaring off against my father on the family Intellivision. Much bonding ensued over games of the electronic variety. But board games are just different, and engender more socialization and communication. While playing board games I would hear stories about my grandparents and our family history, learn all the top gossip from my mother’s office and get lectures from my father on staying in school. Despite not knowing it at the time, I was also learning how my parents dealt with the problems in their lives, learning how to react to the good and the bad and ultimately being imparted with life lessons that my parents probably never even knew they were teaching me.

We just live busier and more chaotic lives these days, which means that families don’t get to spend as much time together as they used to. I think board games are simply a casualty of the way that our modern lives are structured. And while I doubt that board games will ever go away, I don’t think that they will ever have as prominent a role in family life as they did while I was growing up. When I think of everything that board games taught me, I do find that a little sad. So I put together a list of the best 3D printable board games that I could find in the hopes that you’ll maybe try playing a game with your family.

Here they are, Ten 3D Printable Classic Board Games.

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_games_banner


BATTLESHIP

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_battleship_1Battleship Board Game by Simone Fontana

Found on: MyMiniFactory
Cost: Free

Battleship was a classic board game while I was growing up, and until the day that i die I will probably remember the iconic “you sank my battleship!” line from the TV ad. This 3D printable version may not look as battleshippy as the original, or make sounds and explosions, but the mechanics are the same, and it is nice and portable.3dp_ten3dpthings_games_battleship_2


ROCKETSHIP VS ASTEROIDS CHECKERS

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_checkers_1Rocket ships vs. Asteroids Draughts Set by Paul May

Found on: MyMiniFactory
Cost: Free

Many people consider checkers a game for children, because ultimately the rules are straightforward and simple. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any skill involved, or that the game can’t be challenging. Yes, even small children can play checkers, but it is a great way to develop, and eventually keep sharp, basic strategy and problem solving skills.

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_checkers_2This awesome Rockets versus Asteroids version of the game is a great way to modernize the game, and personalize it. The files include the board, the basic pieces and then some larger pieces to use when a game piece is “kinged”. You could choose to paint this set, or another option is to 3D print them using an exotic filament type, like a metallic or a wood.


SUPER TIC TAC TOE

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_tictactoe_1Super Tic Tac Toe by Mizonu

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

Tic Tac Toe is one of the earliest games that I learned to play as a kid, and I was obsessed with it. Sure, once I realized that the game, when played by two older players, was essentially unwinnable it got a little boring, but as a kid I was hooked. But Super Tic Tac Toe takes that basic game and changes it up just enough to bring a whole new level to the game. The goal is to play a mini game of tic tac toe in each square, when you win that, you take the whole square. The added aspects of the game make it a lot more sophisticated, reliant on more advanced strategy and ultimately make it more complex and easier to actually end up with a winner.3dp_ten3dpthings_games_tictactoe_2


POCKET POOL

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_pool_1Pocket Pool by Povhill

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

While pool isn’t really a board game, I did have a very small table top version of pool as a kid that I just loved. No one else in the house really liked it, so I tended to play it on my own, but it was still a blast. This mini, pocket-sized version is a great way to bring a time-killing game with you on the run, but is also a fun project.

In addition to the 3D printed parts, the project requires a few additional components, including chopstick pool cues, a felt cover for the mini table and of course an Altoids tin to keep everything pocket-sized. While the designer suggests using beads as balls, they do actually sell very small marbles that look like pool balls that would work quite well for this game. And of course, another reason to make this game is for all the great, and probably inappropriate and unfunny, pocket pool jokes that you’ll get to make.3dp_ten3dpthings_games_pool_2


MASTERMIND

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_mastermind_1Mastermind by Simone Fontana

Found on: MyMiniFactory
Cost: Free

Don’t tell anyone, but what many of us growing up thought of as a fun child’s game was really a smart way to teach the basic concepts of code breaking and pattern recognition. As with most strategy games, Mastermind was far more than a game but was more of a skill building exercise. This simple, 3D printed version can have you breaking codes on the go. And as with many of the games that I posted here, the parts are super easy to 3D print and won’t require any supports.3dp_ten3dpthings_games_mastermind_2


MINI MAGNETIC CHESS

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_chess_1Micro Staunton Chess Set by CMB27

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

I don’t know what kind of board game fan i would be if I didn’t include the granddaddy of all strategy games, chess, on this list. While the game wasn’t as commonly played in my house as say, Clue, I did learn quite a bit playing it once in awhile. Especially when i would have my clock cleaned by my grandmother. As I grew older I did became better at the game, but I was still never able to beat my grandmother.

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_chess_2There are tons of 3D printable chess games available, many of them with cool and unique themes, but I loved this classic, magnetic travel version that can be taken and set up anywhere. And the classic Staunton chess pieces are pretty easy to 3D print, with only the knight needing some support.


TAFL BOARD GAMES

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_taflTafl Games by tyraindreams

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

While I was growing up my grandmother had a big box of old board games, and among them was a Tafl board and what I thought were a bunch of weird chess pieces. I never knew the name of the games that we played with the board and pieces, but I did know that the game could be played multiple ways. We primarily played a version of the game called Tablut, and now I find myself really wanted to print out this game set and try some of the other game variants.

I’m actually a little sad that I never kept that old Tafl board, it was hand painted and made from wood, and it was absolutely beautiful. My grandparents are long gone, sadly, so I’ll never know where the board got off to. But I can remember every raised square, inlaid design and knick and scratch that came from heavy use, even to this day.


CONNECT FOUR

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_four_1Four In A Row by Cristiano Maci

Found on: MyMiniFactory
Cost: Free

Connect Four, or as the designer here calls it Four in a Row, was a very commonly played game in my house growing up. It can be surprisingly challenging, especially when you play against a cheating sister like I had to, but there was nothing more satisfying than winning and getting to release all of the pieces at the bottom of the board.

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_four_2While this 3D printed version lacks that far too enjoyable feature, the game is the same, and the fun to be hand is the same. Despite the complexity of the board, it won’t require any supports and should 3D print out quite nicely. Naturally, games like this are where the ability to 3D print using any color or type of material really allows you to customize the game any way that you see fit.


SAIL FAST (RUSH HOUR) PUZZLE BOARD GAME

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_sailfast_1Sail Fast Puzzle Game by Simone Fontana

Found on: MyMiniFactory
Cost: Free

Growing up I knew this game as Rush Hour and was made with cars and trucks, but the game mechanics here are the same. You need to get the tug boat through the boat traffic, and it can only be done while moving the pieces one square at a time. There are tons of Rush Hour rules and logic puzzles available online, just do some googling and you’ll turn something up.

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_sailfast_2These game pieces designed by Simone Fontana, who has a ton of great, quality 3D printable board games on his MyMiniFactory profile, which are simply beautiful so make sure you stop by and check out all of his work.

Here are the rules for Rush Hour:


TETRIS

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_tetris_1Tetris IRL by Fjodor van Steenis

Found on: MyMiniFactory
Cost: Free

Tetris is probably the most successful and well known single player video game ever made, and it would probably be hard to find anyone who hasn’t played it these days. But back when it was first released in the ’80s, did you know that it was so popular that they made a board game version of it? While the board game lacked the sense of urgency and need for quick reflexes, it was still quite challenging and required a fair bit of skill. This 3D printable Tetris IRL game can be played just like that old board game just by using a couple of dice and printing out the rules.

3dp_ten3dpthings_games_tetris_2Of course this is a really well-designed Tetris game, so even if you have no desire to play, it would look fantastic on your bookshelf as a decoration or conversation piece. And again, using more exotic filaments would make this model look amazing. I could see using translucent filaments for the game pieces and a metallic filament for the board, but there are a million combinations.


Okay, there you go, ten of the best 3D printable board games that I could find. I really hope that at the very least this list inspires you to get out some of your old board games and play a few rounds with someone that you care about. You may not believe it now, but I guarantee you that any time spent playing board games with friends or family will never be wasted. And who knows what lessons you’ll learn and what lessons you’ll teach while doing it.

As always, I love it when I get to see your own 3D printed versions of any of the models that I share on my lists, so please feel free to drop me an email or Tweet me @SJGrunewald and show me what you’ve got.

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