The Grovestead

Farm, Family, Fun.

Category: Games

Sugar Maple! The Board Game

Sugar Maple The Board Game Arrives!

It seemed fitting that tree-tapping season arrived early this year, as I was working on a new board game concept called “Sugar Maple”, a game about tapping trees and making maple syrup. I found myself alternating between designing game pieces and hauling buckets of sap to the evaporator.

Elsie helping daddy get the evaporator started

Evaporating sap over a hot fire

The same day I finished and ordered the prototype, I started up a fire and evaporated 30 gallons of sap. I can truly say that this game is born out of real experience tapping maple trees! The prototype arrived as I was wrapping up evaporating 80+ gallons of sap, making for a perfect way to celebrate the end of tree-tapping season!

Dad shows pieces from the game Sugar Maple

Game cards from Sugar Maple

Sugar Maple - The Board Game

I originally had the idea four years ago after visiting a tree-tapping operation at a Minnesota park reserve. For some reason—I still don’t know why—the idea struck me that this would make an interesting board game.  And for the next few years I worked on numerous concepts until I finally honed in on a good game (with many thanks to my nieces and nephews).

Early concept game board for Sugar Maple

Early concept game board for Sugar Maple

Grandma, sister, and nieces help test out the game board ideas

I’m actually in the middle of finishing three game prototypes which I hope to present at an educator’s conference in April. The other two are Colors & Shapes and Hobby Farmer. All the games are educational in nature. Some will include an educator’s guide complete with curriculum and activity worksheets. The idea is that a teacher or camp counselor or home educator or naturalist can use Sugar Maple to teach students about tapping trees in a fun an memorable way.

I have no desire to be a publisher, my interest is in game design. So my hope is that these games will find their way to an interested publisher someday. Until then, I’ll just keep designing as the ideas come.

Winner of the first game of Sugar Maple

Ivar holds the distinguished honor of being the first-ever winner of the official Sugar Maple board game.


Colors & Shapes

Dad and son playing Colors & Shapes

Creating board games has become something of a pastime for me the last couple of years. Having grown up addicted to video games, I became a board game enthusiast later in life (thank you, Settlers of Catan). For me, there’s no contest. Board games are far more creative, social, and memorable than their flat-screen counterparts.

So I now have several games in various stages of development. Some are educational, like “Sugar Maple” which is a game about tapping maple trees. Others are conquest-type games, like “Patriarchs” an antiquity-themed game with biblical overtones. But the most popular game in this household is one I created on a whim one night to keep Ivar occupied until bedtime. It’s a simple color and shape matching game. Easy enough for a 3-year old, but entertaining still for adults (sorry Candyland).

Colors & Shapes, the board game

I don’t know if Colors & Shapes has mass-market appeal, but I thought it would be fun to share it here. All the pieces (including the gameboard) can be printed right from your home computer.

Color Printer Version Black & White Printer Version
Colors & Shapes Color Printer Colors & Shapes Black and White

So if you have little ones, give this a try and let me know what you think! I’m still working on a more durable version. But the paper-based version works fine. It’s been six months and Ivar still asks to play it almost daily.

Ivar wins


© 2019 The Grovestead

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑