‘Mensch ärgere dich nicht’: a special DIY version of the classic board game for up to eight players

A wooden board game sits on a grey rug surrounded by pillows. Several persons are gathered around, rolling dice or moving coloured counters.
Why limit yourself to four players? In our DIY version, up to eight persons can test their patience at the same time

  • Difficulty
  • Cost
    < 50 £
  • Duration
    3 - 8 h


‘Mensch ärgere dich nicht’ (similar to ‘Ludo’ or ‘Parcheesi’) is an all-time classic among board games. In fact, you’ve probably played it so often that the old board in your games cupboard is falling to pieces. Time to revive the classic: Now you can build your own ‘Mensch ärgere dich nicht’! Our wooden DIY version looks fantastic, and now you can have up to eight players testing their patience at the same time.

You need
  • scissors
  • adhesive tape
  • ear protectors
  • safety glasses
  • g-clamps
  • hammer
  • wooden board (40 x 40 cm)
  • 24 wooden balls
  • 24 pins
  • polystyrene
  • oil or paint
  • nail or screw
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 8

Using the template

There is a work surface with a square wooden board, a hammer, some adhesive tape, scissors, a screw and a template for marking out the game
To ensure everything is in its right place on your game board, you will need to use a template

You need: colour printer, scissors, adhesive tape

For your version of ‘Mensch ärgere dich nicht’ to be a success, you need to ensure that the game layout is absolutely precise. We’ve made a template just for this purpose, which you can download here. Print out the four pages in A4 format, cut them to size along the guide marks, and tape them together as shown.

Place your template on top of the wooden board, making sure it is centred, and fasten the edges using adhesive tape. You don’t need a lot of tape, but make sure the template doesn’t slip.

Step 2 8

Mark the positions of the game elements

A child holds a hammer in their right hand. The left hand holds a screw in place centred over a drill mark on the template; the child is tapping the screw with the hammer to mark the board.
Using the template, you can easily mark out all the elements of the game

You need: template, hammer, screws

On the template, you will find that each of the circular game elements has a small cross at the centre. Place your nail or screw right on top of this cross and lightly tap it with the hammer to mark the game board. Make sure to do this very precisely and to mark out every one of the little crosses.

Step 3 8

Pre-drill the game elements

A child holds a cordless drill in their right hand and drills small holes into a wooden board.
After you have marked out all the game elements, you need to pre-drill them

You need: Wood drill bit 5mm, Cordless Drill, safety glasses, ear protectors

Before you can drill out the spherical holes for the game elements, you first need to pre-drill them. For each hole, place the drill exactly at the centre of the marking you made with the nail or screw. Careful: Only drill very lightly and only for a second or two – the hole mustn’t be too deep.


To make sure the holes don’t go too deep, you can use a drill depth stop. If you don’t have one of these, you can also place some adhesive tape on the drill to show you where to stop.

Step 4 8

Drill the spherical holes

A countersink drill bit is used to drill spherical holes on a wooden board.
Now you can use a countersink drill to produce the spherical recessed holes

You need: Cordless drill/driver, Countersink, ear protectors, safety glasses, work gloves

Now, take out the wood drill bit from the drill and replace it with a conical or countersink drill bit. With this, you can easily cut out half a spherical hole for each game element. Again, the key is to drill very lightly and not too deeply.

Step 5 8

Cut out the centre hole

An adult holds a cordless drill in both hands, cutting a hole into a wooden board using a holesaw drill bit.
The centre of the game board is an ideal place for rolling the dice. To cut a circular hole here, use a holesaw drill bit or a jigsaw

You need: Cordless Drill, HSS bi-metal holesaw 73mm, Jigsaws, g-clamps, safety glasses, ear protectors, wooden slats

The next step is to cut out the dice hole at the centre of the board using a holesaw drill bit. Before you do this, construct a mount for the board using wooden slats, ensuring that the board no longer touches the work surface. In order not to fray the cutting edges too much, half-drill the hole from the top down, stopping as soon as the centre drill has passed through the board. This centre guide hole will be necessary when you turn over the board. Next, turn the board upside down and drill the remainder of the saw hole from the other side.


The harder the wood, the more difficult it will be to saw it. Hold on to the drill very tightly to avoid any kick-back. If the wood is too hard, use a jigsaw instead (pre-drilling the centre guide hole first).

In either case, make sure to clamp down the board tightly before sawing. Don’t forget your protective goggles and ear plugs.

Step 6 8

Colour spraying

An adult sprays blue paint onto a wooden board with a paper template attached.
The start and end positions for each of the players need to be spray-painted in individual colours

You need: work gloves, face mask, safety glasses, template, sprayable wood paint (eight different shades)

Any game board for ‘Mensch ärgere dich nicht’ needs to feature a range of colours. That’s why you will need to colour in your game board. The fastest and most efficient way to do this is to use spray paint. Using your existing paper template, roughly score out the colour bits for each player and refasten the template to the board. Now, simply cover the exposed wooden holes with spray paint, matching the shades needed for the individual players.

If you prefer not to use spray paint, you can also just use a paintbrush instead. In total, you will need to use eight different shades of paint – one for each player.

Allow the board to dry well

Step 7 8

Dyeing the counters

An adult is spraying a small, round wooden ball with blue paint. The ball is being held on the end of a thin pin.
Using the same paints, spray the game’s counters as well

You need: work gloves, safety glasses, face mask, 24 wooden balls, sprayable wood paint (eight different shades), 24 pins, polystyrene

Up to eight players can join in on our special version of this classic board game – each player has three counters to move from start to finish. That makes a total of 24 counters needing to be colour-matched to the game elements on the board. Make sure to use exactly the same colours that you used in Step 6.


To spray the wooden balls evenly, stick them on pins. In order for the balls to dry smoothly, stick each of the pins into a polystyrene base.

Step 8 8

Sand off excess paint

An adult is using a multi-sander to sand down a painted wooden board.
After you have sanded down the game board, only the recessed holes will still be coloured.

You need: Multi-sander, Sanding sheet for multi-sander G120, safety glasses, g-clamps, ear protectors, face mask

If you chose to paint the game board by spraying, you will have noticed that the paint not only went inside the holes, but everywhere next to them too. Luckily, you can simply sand off all of that excess paint, leaving behind just the paint inside the recessed holes. As a first sanding stage, use a coarse sanding sheet with a grit of 120. If you want the surface to be completely smooth at the end, you can sand the board again using a finer sanding sheet.

While sanding, make sure to also go over all your cut edges, especially the centre hole. Whenever you are using a powered tool such as a sander, make sure to protect yourself adequately. Once you are done sanding, the only paint you should still see on the game board is the paint inside the recessed holes.

There’s only one more thing you need now – and that’s seven co-players. Once you have these, let the fun begin! And always remember the name of the game – ‘don’t get angry!’