Spirals By Steve

"Dirty Marbles" is a popular game similar to Aggravation that is played with cards and marbles.  Many people make or even sell their game boards, so I assume there aren't any copyright issues.  I have made several boards to give as gifts.  My version is made from a piece of 1/2" baltic birch plywood, and is double-sided for different numbers of players.  Game rules vary, but here are the rules that I play by:

Each player is dealt 5 cards, and a sixth card is drawn from the stack when it's your turn.  Marbles travel clockwise around the board.

An Ace, Jack, Queen, or King can be played to put a marble on your starting position.  When you have a marble on your start position, no others can go past it.  

A 7 can be split between two marbles, but the total spaces moved must total 7.  You can not use a 7 to bring a marble from reserve to start position as if it were an ace.

An 8 can only move a marble backwards by 8 spaces.

A joker can only be played when your marble is on your start position to take the place of any other marble on the board except for other marbles in their respective start positions.  The displaced marble goes back to the reserve.

You can not pass your own marbles.

I have designed a template to locate the position of each space on the board.  It requires a central hole through the board as a pivot for the template.  The inside corner spaces overlap as the template is moved to the next position.  The template is glued to a thin piece of plywood using spray adhesive, and each position is drilled through with a 1/8" (3mm) brad-point drill.  Be as precise as you can especially on the center holes and the inside corner spaces.  Use a drill press if you have one.  The template is now used as a drill guide to quickly and accurately make pilot holes for each space.  The drill bit end should extend 3/8"(9mm) past the end of the chuck if using 1/4" (6mm) plywood for the template.  It helps to reduce wear on the template to use a dull drill bit.  Drill a larger diameter hole through the template to draw a circle around the game board, or to fit a router guide bushing if you'd like to route a ditch around the board to catch marbles that try to escape, these inevitably will roll underneath your china cabinet and dare you to move it to get to them!  

Start with a square of plywood for the game board and locate and drill the center through with a 1/8" (3mm) drill.  This will be the pivot hole for the template.  Push a nail or drill bit through the hole to use as a pivot.  Place the template over the nail using the hole that corresponds to the number of players you want.  Place a pencil through the larger hole whose edge is at the radius you choose and lightly draw a circle around the board.  Remove the template and pivot, and use a straight edge crossing the center hole to make 2 marks where the straight edge crosses the circle.  Make a single mark on the edge of the large hole to align with the marks you made crossing the circle.  This will accurately locate the template for two positions that are 180° apart.  The template positions that are between can be located by placing a nail through one of the 2 inside corner locations, and use it to align with an inside corner hole you already drilled in the adjacent template position.  Clamp the template in position, and drill the pilot holes.  The various center hole positions on the template are located to form the correct angle with the two inside corner positions.  Finally, use a counter-sink bit to make a conical depression at each of the pilot holes.  This will make the perfect shape to hold the game marbles.  Paint the start, home, and reserve positions to match the color of the marbles.  Game marbles are sold in 6 colors, for game boards with more than 6 players, you might consider using clear or cats eye marbles - or chrome plated ball bearings if you have some around.  Or you could make your own wooden beads in exotic hardwood colors to replace the marbles.  Click here to download the free PDF template.  

You might want to change the size of your game board, printing at 100% will make the spacing 3/4" which fits nicely on an 18" circle for an 8-player game.  The template can be scaled by using the printer settings.