Anyone who’s ever played Settlers of Catan knows how tricky it is to remember to collect all of your resources each turn. That’s probably why this guy built a custom board that automatically rolls and highlights the resources owed each turn.
Sam March is the mastermind behind the board—unofficially dubbed “Fancy Schmancy Settlers”—and its beautiful wood and acrylic details really bring the whole Catan experience to the next level. March CNC milled the top and bottom of the board, which was made from birch plywood, glued in the 19 custom PCBs (each with colorful LEDs), and then covered each with an acrylic top that would let the lights shine through.
That’s an important choice, too. In the standard version of the game, terrain tiles are randomly shuffled and laid out for each new game. March bypassed that in favor of only lighting up the terrain spaces to match the corresponding resource colors (red for brick/hills, for example). What’s more, the board doubles as a dice roller, displaying a number across the hexagonal tiles and then lighting up the corresponding resource tiles for collection.
March has made all of his custom designs and open-source code available for free on GitHub, so they’re available to anyone who’s interested. Although he makes the process look easy in the above video, it’s worth noting that this is not a one-day project and that the costs could add up. You’ll need to factor in material sourcing, soldering, acquiring the custom PCBs, getting access to a milling machine, and more.