I've recently been introduced to a two-player game called Onitama, which has similarities to several other games but uses a move mechanic that I've not encountered elsewhere. Each game uses a set of five cards, two for each player and one pending, which show the allowable moves for that turn. All the cards are open, so you can see not only your own permitted moves, but also those of your opponent, as well as the pending card which they will get next. As they're used, the cards circulate around.

Each side has an Emperor piece and four Soldiers, and the game is played on a 5x5 grid. The centre square on each side is the Throne for that player. The game is won by either taking the opposing Emperor, or by having one's own Emperor occupy the opposing throne.

Anyway, it appealed to me enough that I thought I would make a set of my own. The pieces shown here are turned from oak, and at least one side will need to be stained to distinguish them; the Soldiers are about 50mm tall, and the Emperors about 75mm. I'm in the process of making a board from kwila (and some other timbers for inlays). The turn cards are the trickiest bit; I'll probably have to print and laminate some.

Next day...

I've finished the Onitama board and pieces, and now all that remains is to do the cards. I think I might do them as woodcuts on 450gsm card, and fill in the coloured bits in watercolour.

The board is made from kwila planks laminated together, and I've inset a little block of the appropriate colour for each side. The tabs are made from ash, so the dye looks quite a bit brighter than it does on the playing pieces, which are oak. To be honest, I much prefer the tone that the oak gives to the dyes.

The board has had its coat of finishing oil, and when that is well and truly cured I'll give it a coat of wax, just as I did with the pieces.

All in all, I'm fairly pleased with the way it's turned out.

Next day, the cards

In the end I piked out with the cards and just whipped them up in CorelDraw, and printed and laminated them. I might get around to doing the fancy-schmancy hand-made versions at a later date. Maybe.

A bit later

I made some boxes to hold all the bits.

If I had thought ahead a bit more, the cards could have gone into the same box as the pieces, but I did not. It's not quite deep enough.

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