Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Building Dune

I've been meaning to get this post out for a while now, so here goes.

I made my own copy of the 1970's era Dune board game. This is not a post about why it's awesome. If you don't know already go play it.

This post is a how-to, including links.

Step one was to hit Board Game Geek. There is an amazing community surrounding the game, with many fan-made re-skins of the board game. I chose the one made by a user named "Ilya77."

Ilya Baranovsky's redesign of the Dune board is light and sandy. It looks like something you would find in a cave along with some sleepy Fremen commandos. And it's circular. It was exactly what I was looking for.

I wandered over to my local FedEx Kinkos and had them print out the game board for me as wide as they could make it on regular ass plotter paper. Cost me maybe $30.

Then, I went to Menards and bought a pre-made circular end table top, the kind you might screw three legs into and then call it a day. Another $30.

I sanded it down and carefully glued the game board down using Mod Podge Hard Coat. $18.

Then, I applied 8 coats of the same Mod Podge evenly to the surface of the board, including the bare wood area around it, to create a robust play surface. I and then sanded it down with fine grit wet sand paper. I applied 2 more coats, sanded that with steel wool, and my board was mostly done. It looks pretty much like a nice bar top now.

I spent maybe another $20 on sand paper, steel wool and this Mod Podge tool kit.

I wanted to go a step further and make the board spin. So, I picked up a set of lazy-susan casters at Menards ($12), drew a few chords on the back of the game board, dropped some perpendicular lines to find the center, and screwed it in with machine screws.

Not everyone was as big a fan of the spinning action as I was, mainly because tokens and cards tended to get lost under the board during play. Your mileage may vary.

The easiest part, by far, was printing the cards. Create an account at and then to to this link.

User hellectric (Peter De Bruycker) has pre-made all the decks on's site, saving you the trouble. Place the order and walk away.

(I should mention that is having a 50% sale on playing cards right now. What would normally be $80 is about $40. Use code KEYNCARDS at checkout now until 10/10/2013.)

The real pain in the ass was the tokens. I want to say there's close to 200 of them.

I found the larger tokens at my local Michaels. They're 1.5" wooden disks. Two bags cost me about $20.

Unfortunately, the smaller 3/4" disks were crazy expensive for the 150 or so that I needed. Instead I ordered a gross of them from this seller on Etsy named Cindy for about $23.

Next step was to bring the tokens with me to FedEx Kinkos so they could get the size right, and have them print me out sheets of stickers. $18.

Then, back to Michaels for 1.5" and 3/4" circle punches. $30. I spent weeks, on and off while watching TV with the wife, using the circle punches and a push pin to gently lift off and then apply each of the nearly 300 stickers I had to place.

I wish there was an easier way, but man are they gorgeous when they're done.

Also, the spice must flow: $22 at Boards and Bits for about 200. If I had this to do over again I would have bought blue spice, then washed them with a bright orange paint because spice glows blue. Not sure how that would look though.

Finally, I needed a way to transport it all. I found a nice little wood chest at Michaels ($15) and then went to Hobby Lobby and picked up some jute drawstring bags ($15) in black and light brown. One army for each bag.

And that my friends, is how you make Dune.

Total cost: $303.

Less $40 if you get your cards with the code above.

That's a lot, I know, but it was a passion project for me. I spent a little over a year making it.

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