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How to Make a Board Game From the Book "The Westing Game"

You can use traditional game pieces or household objects for game pieces.
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"The Westing Game," a Newbery-award winning children's book by author Ellen Raskin, was first published in 1978 and remains popular with children today. The book is a mystery in which the residents of an apartment building are paired up to gather clues to try and track down a large inheritance. As the title suggests, the book itself is sort of like a game, as both readers and the characters must try and solve the puzzle of the mysterious clues.

Design a game path that your pieces will follow. The easiest is a simple path of boxes that the playing pieces move through to advance in the game. This style is used in classic games, such as Candyland or Life. Games can also use a grid-style path with different spaces presenting different challenges or obstacles. Paths can also branch off into several different tracks. Spaces along your path can have different requirements, such as requiring characters to complete a challenge, lose a turn or take a card.

Draw out your game path on paper and then transfer to the cardboard or cardstock you will be using for your game board. Use markers, paint or colored pieces of paper to add color to your game board design.

Create an objective for your game. In "The Westing Game," the characters' objective is to solve a puzzle to win money. Your players can have a similar objective. Like the characters, they will collect clues to win the loot, or in this case, win the game. Use bingo chips, checkers or cards as clue pieces and have the players collect these to win the game. The player to reach the end with the most clues or the first player to collect all the clues can be the winner.

Add challenges to your game to give players chances to earn clues. Players can earn clues by answering trivia questions about "The Westing Game" or by correctly answering riddle questions. Print these questions on cards and players can have the chance to answer the questions when they land on certain squares on the board.

Make playing pieces to go along with the book. There are 16 characters in the book, but they are paired in groups of two to solve the mystery. You can have eight pieces for your game, with each piece being used to represent one of these pairs. Draw the pairs on paper or cardstock and glue or tape them to the game pieces. Use game pieces from old games, checkers, empty thread spools or other small objects as your game pieces.

Things You'll Need:

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Cardboard or cardstock for game board
  • Small items to use as game pieces
  • Tape or glue
  • Dice, spinner or some other method for characters to advance on the board
  • Cardstock or playing cards for making game cards
  • Markers, paint or colored paper
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