Volcano Board

A 5x5 Divided Gameboard

June 2001

horizontal rule


Volcano is a turn-based strategy game played with Icehouse pyramids on a five by five grid. The game was designed by Kristin Looney, and she had a game board prototype made out of plastic so that she could play her game. The plastic board is very cool, and has raised dividers between the squares to keep everything perfectly arranged.

I wanted one of these boards to play Volcano and to test a game I was designing that also used a 5x5 grid. Since Kristin wasn't producing the plastic boards yet, I decided to make my own out of wood.


I started with:

The Process

  1. First, prepare the wood.
    1. Cut a square out of one end of the 1/4" plank. Don't worry too much about the measurements, you'll be trimming this later. In fact don't trim this to size.
    2. Cut the following lengths of 1/8" x 1/8" strip:
    3. Lightly sand everything, including the ends of the strips.
  2. Begin by gluing a long strip along one edge of the square. Make sure the strip is pushed all the way over into one corner of the square. This corner is your starting corner.
    When you're gluing strips, make sure to use little enough glue so that none squirts out when you press the strip in place. I like using wood glue because it's non-toxic, so I can smear a thin layer of glue on a strip with my finger. (This is strip "1" in the diagram below.)
  3. Glue a second strip along the other edge that intersects with your starting corner. (This is strip "2" in the diagram.) Make sure that this strip is butted up against the first strip. This completes your starting angle.
  4. Put a 3-pointer in the starting corner. (This is piece "a")
  5. Glue a 1-inch strip down along one edge of the 3-pointer. (Strip "3")
  6. Put a 3-pointer on the other side of this strip. (Piece "b")
  7. Glue a 2-inch strip along the side of these 3-pointers. (Strip "4")
  8. Continue building outward from the corner, one piece and one strip at a time. The final pattern looks like this:

    Please believe me that you want to build this out from one corner with 3-pointers in place. The second diagram shows the order of pieces and strips. For those of us who need explicit instructions, the full order is: 1, 2, a, 3, b, 4, c, 5, d, 6, e, 7, f, 8, g, 9, h, 10, i, 11, j, 12, k, 13, l, 14, m, 15, n, 16, o, 17, p, 18, q, 19, r, 20, s, 21, t, 22, u, 23, v, 24, w, 25, x, 26, y, 27, 28.
  9. When all 25 3-pointers are in place, cut the initial edge strips to length, and glue down the closing edge strips.
  10. Trim off the extra wood. I used a band saw, and made sure that the base square wound up exactly flush with the edge strips.
  11. Sand everything you can reach.
  12. Spray a couple thin coats of polyurethane on the assembly, and allow to dry completely.
  13. Sand the finish smooth.
  14. Spray another couple of thin coats.
  15. Allow to dry
  16. Play!

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