Making a Train Yard for Ticket to Ride

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Making a Train Yard for Ticket to Ride

I’ve been playing a lot of tabletop games recently and one of the things I’ve been noticing about modern games is that there are a lot of components. I guess modern manufacturing and the low cost and ready availability of small-run printing and plastic-casting means tons of (often very lovely) cards, game trackers, tokens, playing pieces, miniatures, and dice. The upside of this to a devoted gamer is the joy of playing with all of these components and the richness that they bring to the gaming experience. The downside is that game set-up can become a significant chore, storage becomes an issue, and keeping all of your components organized during gameplay becomes something you need to consider.

To address the issue of keeping all of the plastic trains organized for the wonderful Ticket to Ride train adventure board game, Imgur user Nathan Pryor aka “hahabird,” designed and CNC routed a set of wooden “train yards” so that each player can securely store his or her trains while not in play. Not only do the train yards serve to organize the trains but the walnut material he used fits perfectly into the vibe of this popular German “eurograme.”

trainThe first thing that hahabird did was to make impressions of the trains in clay to mimic the final design of the board and to then use a pair of calipers to take measurements.

trainFrom there, he used Illustrator to lay out the board and then imported that file into CamBam to generate the tool paths and G-code for cutting on his CNC router. The walnut is 1/2″. The router is a 12″ x 12″ model from Zen Toolworks.

trainOnce cut, it was simply a question of cleaning up the route, sanding everything, and applying a finish.


You can see more pics of the build and find out more about the project on Nathan’s Imgur page.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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