YACB (Yet Another Catan Board)


One of the things that sold me on the Glowforge was the picture of the custom Catan board in the video and on the main page. I knew that would be one of the first projects I would attempt. What I didn’t know was that it would take so freakin’ long for me to finally be happy with it. :slightly_smiling_face: I ended up combining two different designs: the one Glowforge released (which is here) and one I found on Thingiverse (here). Anyway, here’s what I finally came up with:

The pieces of paper are covering up the artwork I engraved on the board. To be honest, I have no idea where these images came from, so I decided to cover them up in the photo (they’re all nautical in theme, so picture galleons, kraken, and kraken eating said galleons). This board is for a friend of mine – for my board I plan on engraving the entire board with Diego Gutiérrez’s map of the western hemisphere from 1562 (which can be found here).

I used 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood for the main board, settlements, cities, and roads. The board is stained using a Teak oil finish and is created by using two pieces of BB plywood glued together back-to-back. The top piece has all of the cutouts for the tiles while the back piece is solid (I had to break the board into 4 pieces which fits together like a puzzle). This is probably obvious to anyone who’s played Catan, but the circles on the board are for settlements and cities while the slots in between the circles are for the roads.

Since the tiles and board are each 1/8" thick, I needed something to raise the tiles up a bit so that they would be easy to remove from the board. To do this, I used 1/16" basswood (also stained with Teak oil) in each slot.

I used a different hardwood for each type of tile. For the most part I used Glowforge’s recommendations (I changed up the desert tile), but here is the entire list with some more photos:

Sheep (PG maple hardwood)

Brick (African Padauk, which has turned into my favorite hardwood EVAR!)

Wheat (Yellowheart)

Ore (Wenge)

Wood (PG walnut hardwood)

And finally, the desert tile (Yellowheart)

All of the tiles except the desert tile are Glowforge’s design. The desert tile came from the Thingiverse design. To be honest, I’m not really thrilled with how the sheep and wheat tiles came out, but the other tiles look amazing. That desert tile? People think it’s just a photo, and then they feel the cracks in the ground. (This is them: :open_mouth:)

Rather than engrave the ports directly on the board, I decided to mix things up a bit and create tiles for them instead. This would allow you to add a twist to the game by randomly distributing the ports around the board. You could even flip the tiles over so that you won’t know what type of port you have until you build a settlement there. Most people would probably play by traditional rules, though, so I made sure that was an option as well:

The tile (cut from PG cherry plywood) is on the left. On the right you can see where I engraved the same image on the 1/16" basswood glued in that slot. If you’re a traditionalist, just match the tile with the correct slot.

I used African Padauk for the number tiles. (Did I mention that I like African Padauk? I like African Padauk.) Also a bonus photo of a port tile:

Finally, here’s the last photo:

The pieces are all BB plywood. The holder is PG maple plywood (two pieces glued back-to-back). Everything except for the holder is friction-fit – no glue required. Normally the colors for the basic Catan game are red, blue, orange, and white, but being the rebel I am I decided to replace white with green. Nobody in my household chooses white anyway.

Still on my to-do list – a card holder (which would double as storage when the game is not in use) and a box to put all of this stuff in. If/when I complete that I’ll post it here.

Alignment / Calibration

That is some awesome work and a very nice result. Catan is also on my list from the first video. I haven’t even started though.


This is amazing work! Absolutely gorgeous board.


Very nice work!


One of my favorite games!! :grin: you have done an amazing job with the layout. I agree that the sheep tile looks a little out of place but I do love that tile. I have been working on a board but still have a lot of work to go. I can’t wait to get my :glowforge: so that I can make it.


Absolutely fantastic job! All those wood tiles are just stunning! (Absolutely cannot let the kids see it.) :grinning:


That looks great! Especially love the desert tile!



You put a lot of work in (or at least it looks like it!). It paid off!


This is so cool. I originally pre ordered after seeing the Catan board design on pinterest. Unfortunately, two plus years later, my family hardly plays Catan anymore.


Thanks everyone, I appreciate the kind words.

The design is great – I just need to find the perfect wood for it. I suppose I could just paint the sheep white, but that feels like cheating. :slightly_smiling_face:

Seriously, I think my jaw dropped when I pulled it out of the :glowforge:. You ever read Nine Princes in Amber? There were life-like cards (called trumps) in that book representing each family member, and you could travel to them by focusing on the card. This tile is like that. Sometime I feel that if I’m not careful I’m going to end up in a very hot place.

I learn most by trying and failing, and I learned a LOT doing this. I actually feel bad for the trees that died just so that I could mangle their remains and chalk it up to a “learning experience”.


There have been a couple of things that I’ve made that have come out correctly the first time. Often I get it right on the 2nd or 3rd try. :slight_smile:


Wood for sheep!


Oh yes, do the Amber cards–that would be so cool!

I don’t play the Catan game but I have to say your board and layout with the well thought out upgrades is awesome!


Amazing. Absolutely beautiful. Love your desert selection, what a great idea! Really nice work.


Epic! Beyond awesome. You went to town on the whole setup. While I love my set I’m a little jelly of yours. Well done! I agree on Padauk. I’m just waiting on some magnets for a dice vault I’m making out of it.


Among the nicest boards I have seen! Very well done!


This is amazing!!! :+1::heart_eyes:


Totally amazing! I have been intrigued since seeing this two years ago before ordering our Pro.

Not sure what the game is like, but, growing up we were a games family. Hard to not want to give it a go! With all the gorgeous woods, of course!


Of course you are… right back to the :glowforge:!


You probably won’t be surprised, but I highly recommend Catan. My family has never been big into board games (we’re definitely a video-gaming bunch), but we make an exception for Catan. The #1 complaint I’ve seen about the game is that the game board (made out of cardboard) eventually warps, which is one of the reasons why you see so many lasercut or 3d-printed custom boards. If you’re on Pinterest, just do a search for Catan to see a bunch of examples.