Anyone who has ever played Settlers of Catan know how hard it is to remember to collect all your resources every turn. That̵
Sam March is the mastermind behind the board – unofficially dubbed “Fancy Schmancy Settlers” – and the beautiful wood and acrylic details finish it all off Catania experience to the next level. March CNC milled the top and bottom of the board, which was made from birch plywood, glued into the 19 custom PCBs (each with colorful LEDs), then covered them with an acrylic top that let the lights shine through.
That is also an important choice. In the standard version of the game, terrain tiles are shuffled randomly and placed before each new game. March bypassed that in favor of only lighting the terrain spaces to match the corresponding resource colors (e.g. red for brick/hills). What’s more, the board doubles as a dice roller, showing a number across the hexagonal tiles, then illuminating the corresponding resource tiles to collect.
March has made all of his custom designs and open source code available for free on GitHub, so they are available to anyone who is interested. While he makes the process seem easy in the video above, it’s worth noting that this isn’t a one-day project and costs can add up. You will need to consider material sourcing, soldering, purchasing the custom PCBs, accessing a milling machine and more.