Create a board game using a 3D printer!

Create a board game using a 3D printer!

This was our second competition under this title in Hungary.

Our primary goal was to introduce and popularize 3D designing and printing among students, teachers and head of educational institutes and to make them aware of the range of possibilities a 3D printer opens up in a school.

Phases of the competition:

First phase: Selection

We were seeking out high schools that were keen on participating. To indicate their intention they needed to fill in a short questionnaire. After that we’ve selected 10 of them, whom we thought, would be ready to complete this complex task and we lent them one CraftBot Plus printer of each.

Second phase: Preparation

The selected schools’ representatives participated in a webinar outlining the many advantages of having a 3D printer in a school where we also gave them instructions on how to set up and use the device and taught them the basics of 3D designing in TinkerCad design tool.

Third phase: Project work

During the project the teams had to use several digital technologies.

The teams have to come up with an idea and prepare a unique board game. At least 25 per cent of the game needs to be created with the 3D printer.
The participants have to create a written specification of the rules of the game and include photos and videos of their teamwork on the project.
Create a feature of the actual game play.
Set up a website that shows the creative process of the preparation of the board game
Contact local media and coordinate free media appearances

Originally three of the best schools had been offered to keep the printer but due to the tight competition and the niche entries we decided to select five of them as winners.

From their feedback it has turned out, that participants were not only having a good time but also learned a lot and made some significant progress in their knowledge of 3D modelling and printing. The teachers mentioned the following areas in particular:

  • 3D printing improved: creativity, problem solving skills, stereopsis and, teamwork
  • By combining the knowledge they acquired in various subjects (mathematics, physics, history, local knowledge, literature etc.) participants were able to work more effectively during the design phase and later their motivation came from the fact that the new skills and knowledge could be put to practical use,
  • 3D printing improved participants verbal communicational skills and students learned how to work in projects together; each of them could fit in the team based on their skill and found their own place within the team so they could focus on aspects they were good at and what they were happy to work on, while remaining highly motivated – many of them stayed long after school hours or even went to school on weekends.

All team members were very proud of their work. They caught the attention of their fellow students who realised that the teams were involved in something really exciting and were learning things in the process that were useful and interesting and could be of practical use even after they finished their studies.

  • 3D designing
  • 3D printing
  • Integrated, complex project management
  • Teamwork
  • Website design and editing
  • Documentation
  • Video creation and editing
  • Presentation techniques

We must admit that we were a little afraid that the project would be a bite too big to chew for the students and it was undoubtedly a little unconventional, too. Hungarian school system is geared towards measuring individual performance and teaching separate subjects, while this project focused on putting teamwork to the test and required complex knowledge and a holistic attitude.

The following schools participated:

Karolina Kindergarten, Elementary and Secondary School, Elementary School and Boarding School of Art

Keszthely Secondary School of Economics of the Zalaegerszeg Vocational Training Centre

Álmos Jaschik Secondary School of Art

King Béla III Vocational and Secondary School of the Technical Vocational Training Centre, Szombathely

Imre Bródy Secondary Grammar School and Elementary School of Art

Kindergarten, Elementary School, Vocational Training School, and Integrated School and Boarding School of Learning Difficulties for the Hearing Impaired

Friedrich Schiller Secondary Grammar School and Boarding School, Ajka

Janus Pannonius Secondary Grammar School, Pécs

Zöldmező Utca (Zöldmező Street) Kindergarten, Elementary School, Development School, Vocational School, Skills Development School, Boarding School and Integrated Methodology Centre of Learning Difficulties, Keszthely

Saint Ladislas Secondary Grammar School, Kőbánya, (Budapest)

1st place

Saint Ladislas Secondary Grammar School, Kőbánya (Budapest)


„The theme of the board game is set in the counties of the 11th century, the age of Saint Ladislas’ Hungary. Feudalism in the Western sense of the word is still a novelty in Hungary, a significant part of the population is still pagan, and the king is facing invaders, conspirators, schisms, and the intrusion of nomadic tribes from the East. Players impersonate county reeves (“várispán”) whom manage the county, i.e. the king’s property. They compete against each other but occasionally, e.g. when an intruder is invading the country, they join forces to avoid their common demise. Therefore, the game comprises both competitive and cooperative elements. Each game card deals with a characteristic problem or famous event of the period and they all describe the historic background at the bottom which players find instructive and interesting at the same time. The reeves’, i.e. the players’ task is to bring prosperity to their respective counties: they must build a castle and four ancillary buildings. The buildings feature various joints to enable connecting them. We found that while they waited for their turn, players kept playing with the building components: they were intrigued by the many possibilities and used their creativity to come up with new designs.

For me, teamwork posed the biggest challenge. My students who were specializing in IT had to cooperate with others for this project. Initially there was some chafing but they got on quite well in the end. Students who used to be outsiders could increase their popularity during the project period. Their fellow students listened carefully while they were delivering presentations. This does not happen by itself – you need projects like this to achieve such results. While I am typing this I am still surrounded by students in the IT classroom, whom after several hours of 3D editing, are still not playing Minecraft but work on their TinkerCad projects or wait for their print jobs to complete.”

Attila Molnár
2nd place

Zöldmező Utca (Zöldmező Street) Kindergarten, Elementary School, Development School, Vocational School, Skills Development School, Boarding School and Integrated Methodology Centre of Learning Difficulties, Keszthely


What are the competencies developed in the course of a project like this?
„Overall awareness, analysis-synthesis, association skills, auditive perception, auditive attention, speech perception, task persistence, task awareness, attention, fine motor skills, thinking, cognitive skills, creativity, logical thinking, mathematical skills, observation skills, memory, communications, improvement of self-assessment, systematization skills, planar and spatial orientation, compliance, verbal text and sentence creation, social skills, vocabulary development, tactile perception, visual attention, digital competence.”

About the board game “KEKI”:

„The game is meant to be played by players between the age of 10-18 living in the suburbs of Keszthely or in the city of Keszthely. It may provide an exciting primer also for those who are planning a stay in the area or, having concluded their visit, would like to assess how much they learned about Keszthely and Lake Balaton.
The information covered by the game is so comprehensive that even adults or pensioners may find it novel or interesting. The game also offers a way to brush up the players’ knowledge while having a good time.”

Knowledge required

Famous places and touristic sights of Keszthely and the surrounding area, famous artists, scientists, sportspersons etc. of Keszthely and the neighbouring area, wildlife and famous places of Lakes Balaton and Kis-Balaton.”

Imre Szabó
3rd place – tie

Janus Pannonius Secondary Grammar School, Pécs


It was a completely different experience from our everyday work. As a result, students started competing on who gets to school first. The 3D printer obviously motivated students to work as a team which resulted in an improvement of their cooperation skills. We can say that the project made average schooldays more fun and it was something to look forward to. We enjoyed seeing how well the “little ones” (aged 13) could work together with the “big ones” (aged 17) while they were coming up with so many good ideas that were inspired by the creative process of the game.

The game itself is based on hexagons, hence the name “Hexa” and players need to build roads, hence “Path”.

Game Concept – what is the game about? Whom teaches the game and what?

The goal was to create an innovative board game that can be extended at any time. We did our best to create all its elements using the 3D printer. Our plan was to use the originally received white filament and then paint it. Luckily one of the parents donated coloured filaments which we eventually have used.”

Péter Dlusztus
3rd place – tie

King Béla III Vocational and Secondary School of the Technical Vocational Training Centre, Szombathely


„We had an opportunity to show the kids something new that made them stay after school hours voluntarily, gladly and enthusiastically, and that also made them want to learn and work. We were able to keep up this motivation all along, which is of course a credit not to me but to the 3D printer and the products students could create using it. Apart from the models needed for the competition entries were allowed to print their own gadgets and take it home as a real treasure.

3D – Since the cubes can be rotated, the six faces on the side allows players to compete in six topics (school subjects) within the same game.
Pathfinder – The goal shall be reached through a changing labyrinth at every turn.
Game Concept – what is the game about? Whom teaches the game and what?

The basic version of the game revolves around six subjects of the lower and upper secondary level curriculum (art history, history, mathematics, music, geography/civic education and German as a foreign language). The structure of the game allows the addition of supplementary cards/images so a little creativity goes a long way towards creating new game modules (e.g. for elementary schools: illustrations that help improve learning spelling and reading skills). Therefore, the game is suitable for players between 9-99 years of age and the topics that can be covered are endless.”

György Papp
3rd place – tie

Friedrich Schiller Secondary Grammar School and Boarding School


„I know from personal experience that every student can be motivated with the right tools, one only needs to find what they are. 3D printing does not motivate everybody but this project gave me new push in finding the right motivating tool for them. Project work always creates a relationship among participants and brings new knowledge. The main appeal of this particular project was the opportunity to actually create an object in which came from our imagination. It offered a little gift for everybody, and apart from the memories of the well spent time they now even have a small 3D printed keepsake that they can put on their books-shelf at home. And, last but not least, we also enjoyed interacting with the other participating schools and following their progress.

The game is structured around thinking in three dimensions and geared towards the development of stereoscopic vision. The question cards can be replaced with different ones as necessary, improve competencies and assist in learning the syllabus of the various school subjects.
This way, students tend to realize their strengths and create a suitable winning strategy.”

Ildikó Zoltai-Jantó