Games Grown Up! Make And Play These 12 Life-Sized Board Games
What we love about board games is how even the smallest ones can lead to larger-than-life emotions.
From a tiny Jenga block leading to the whole room roaring in laughter to a roll of a Monopoly die leading to a bankruptcy breakdown, board games are a blast.
But after a long time cooped up inside – maybe it’s a particularly cold winter or a rainy spring – the temptation for kids and adults alike is to go outside to play. That often means leaving the board games behind for games more typically associated with the outdoors, like basketball, soccer, or baseball.
For those game aficionados who want to keep the dice rolling even when the weather turns nice, we have a solution for you: life-sized board games!
As passionate board game players ourselves (why, we’ve even invented a few games of our own!), we understand the year-round urge to play.
To help you indulge your inner board game aficionado even during the most outdoorsy months, we’re sharing 12 life-sized board games you can make and play at home.
For the wordsmiths and Scrabble-fiends amongst us, Bananagrams is an easy sell. Instead of waiting patiently to form words, players get straight to work laying out their words horizontally and vertically, rearranging all the while.
One of Bananagrams’ other selling points is how compact it is, with a normal Bananagrams tile being a 3/4" square.
With life-sized Bananagrams, though, you’ll be building squares that are 12” x 12”. You’ll have the same word-assembling scramble and fun, but with a lot more physicality as you run back and forth to arrange and rearrange your now foot-long and yard-long words.
Tic Tac Toe
While Tic Tac Toe by its strictest definition is a pencil-and-paper game, we’ve seen our fair share of physical sets (including this casual set for almost $800), so we’re putting it on the list.
Traditionally, this game is one of wits, of pure strategy, of, as the sportiest of coaches like to say, the X’s and O’s.
By taking Tic Tac Toe outside and supersizing it, you add a level of physical skill to the mental strategy. That’s because this game board includes bean bags.
For your first round, try standing right at the board. Then for each successive round, take another giant step back as you begin to enjoy the challenges of Tic Tac Toe mixed with a splash of Corn Hole.
One of the quintessential board games, Checkers is particularly well-suited to being played outdoors.
In the normally indoors board game version of Checkers, you’re playing with pieces that are 1.5 inches in diameter.
In this supersized Checkers version, you’ll enjoy playing with 24 frisbees that are, on average, 10 inches in diameter.
Chutes & Ladders
If there’s a board game that’s primed to be made more physical, it is Chutes & Ladders.
After all, the main premise of the game is that there are moments where you’re either climbing a ladder or sliding down a chute!
As fun as it is to play make believe with a few small game tokens, the life-sized version – made with ropes, cones, hula hoops, and scooters – is all the more engaging.
Jenga is always a guarantee to get your heart-racing and fingers shaking.
As you construct a leaning tower of blocks on an increasingly unstable base, everyone awaits the final moment when it all comes crashing down.
With Jumbo Jenga, the fun gets supersized with blocks that are 10.5” big. You’ll follow the same rules – only use one hand, turns are limited to 45 seconds, committing to the block you start to move – as inside, while enjoying an even more satisfying finale!
“Do not pass Go. Go directly to jail.”
When we play the traditional Monopoly game, these directions mean we don’t maneuver our little hat or our little thimble fully around the board.
With life-sized Monopoly, though, this ruling takes on a whole new meaning as you have to change how you walk around the board.
Another fun feature of supersizing this classic board game is how variable you can make it. Maybe the car becomes something you can ride in! Maybe the top hat becomes a full-on costume! Maybe jail becomes… Well, an actual jail!
While Pac-Man itself is not a board game, it just so happens to lend itself to a surprisingly fun life-sized adaptation, so we’re letting it pass.
With this Glow-in-the-Dark Human Pacman game, you’ll have plenty of ways to level up your game-making experience. From glowing characters and designing a game board to incorporating the music and sound effects, this is one of the more interactive game projects.
The considerations that go into making a life-sized board game are similar to the ones you might have for any DIY project: how durable do you want it to be? How much are you willing to invest into it? And who’s going to help you do it?
Though bigger projects necessarily involve more people, the payoffs can be well worth it – and ones that friends, family, and neighbors can enjoy for years.
If you’re looking for a life-sized board game project worth investing some time into, consider Candy Land.
Is there a more triumphant board game yell than “YAHTZEE!”?
While other games like Uno may have their game-defining cheers, Yahtzee’s – whether because the word is just so fun to say or for some other intangible reasons – is seared into the memories of many young gamers.
With a life-sized version of Yahtzee, you get to take that verbal excitement and add onto it a more physical level, too. Given that Yahtzee hinges on the all-important throw of the dice, the primary project here is to build a life-sized die. In addition to being fun, they’ll also serve you well for any other life-sized game projects, like Monopoly.
Like the opposite of Jenga, KerPlunk is about carefully removing single straws from a tube full of marbles. While it’s okay if a marble or two drops through, you want to avoid letting too many burst through.
With some wood, some plastic balls, and a whole bunch of chicken wire, you can supersize KerPlunk and enjoy the game outside.
Twister is one of those indoor games that always felt like it should be played outdoors.
With the chaos that comes from interlocking arms, legs, torsos, and everything else in between – alongside that flimsy mat that always seems to slide around – taking the twisting, contorting fun away from the furniture is probably a good idea.
Since that mat is part of the problem with Twister, making it life-sized is all about creative use of the ground outdoors.
In addition to having more room to involve more players, a larger-than-life Twister can also be designed with the colors you want, making it perfect if you’re pulling together a themed party.
If you’ve ever taken on Memory – or any of its many variations – you know what it’s like to have your short-term memory pushed to its limits.
In this writer’s experience, it always helps to have everything right in front of you. When it’s quicker to flip, it’s easier to remember just where those darned matching cards are.
Making a life-sized version of Memory is a surefire way to make your brain sweat. With these larger pieces, you’ll spend more time moving and flipping, which gives the deceptively simple game a whole new degree of difficulty.
Another delight to doing this yourself is you get to choose what the tiles feature. Channel your kids’ latest interest by using stencils of dinosaurs, planets, animals, and more. Plus, you can even make your own stencils to turn this into a half-art, half-game project for the whole family.
Challenge Yourself To Play More Games
If you enjoy playing games as much as you like making life-sized versions of them, you’ll like our Tabletop Gaming Challenge. You’ll unlock beautifully designed medals for earning certain achievements like hosting a game night or playing a real-time game.
ROLL THE DICE ON THIS ADVENTURE
Turn-by-turn, role-playing, strategy, and more - when it comes to games played among friends, there may be categories, but there are no limits. Each of these IRLAs celebrates the roll of a die, the casting of a spell, and every dungeon mastered. Gather your friends and family for game nights and lose yourself in the magic.
A game night to remember.
And for those of you with recurring game nights, check out our Traveling Tabletop Gaming IRLA. Reward the winner of game night with the coin – and then have them return the next night to defend their throne!
ONE COIN TO RULE THEM ALL
It began with the playing of the great game… and the gamers, all the gamers were of the race of men, who above all else desire victory. For within those gamers was bound the strength and will to read all of the game’s many fine-printed rules and to play late into each night and to each lay claim to victory. But they were all of them deceived because only one gamer could win the One Coin…
One Coin to Rule Them All…
One Coin to the Game Night’s Victor…
One Coin with the Power to Select the Next Night’s Game…
And In Between Game Nights, the Power to Blind Friends with the One Coin’s Shininess, Showing Them Once and For All Who’s The Best (Until Next Week, Same Time, at Sean’s House).
Get the One Coin for a traveling trophy that showcases your game night’s true champion (and, hopefully, doesn’t make you disappear).