Layouts and Design
This page contains information about the way we develop layouts and designs.
Q1: How much does artwork cost?
The first hour of basic artwork, mock-ups and computer-aided hole layouts, is free and included in the cost of the board.
Most boards can be completed within this hour and no further artwork is needed.
Q2: How many tracks should my board have?
Our boards come with 2, 3 or 4 tracks.
2 track boards are ideal for regular games, between two people. 2 tracks also work well for two teams of two. We also recommend 2 track boards for engagement and wedding gifts where the accent is on two people!
3 track boards add the option of an extra player in a three hand game. It can more difficult to fit in the extra track on some layouts though.
4 track boards are the most flexible of all, suitable for 2, 3 or 4 players, individually or in teams. If the track has curves, it can be very hard to bend them and still maintain good spacing on the insides of the curves.
Choosing between these options is largely a matter of personal preference, but is sometimes influenced by the board shape and track layout.
Q3: Which lettering fonts can I use on my board?
We usually start with Lucida Handwriting when designing a board. This has a friendly, personal look to it and engraves very well. The method of engraving we use lends itself better to fonts that have bold lines as the wood has to be engraved and then hand-painted.
Tiny serifs (the points at the top and bottom of letters) and thin lines can easily get lost during the sanding stages of board preparation.
If you have a particular font you would like, please let us know as soon as possible and we'll see if we can work it into the design for you.
Q4: Do I need skunk lines?
The Skunk line is an option placed at the 90 score point. In tournament or gambling play, it counts for double, making for a two point win or double stakes.
A double skunk line is an option placed at the 60 score point, and counts for triple!
Getting "skunked" can be a point of embarrassment for a good player and is part of the fun of cribbage.
Some people though see "skunking" as unfriendly and unneccesary.
On a clean, simple design, we sometimes leave them off but are happy to put them in on request. We often use painted dimples or sometimes painted lines.
Q5: What size are the holes on your boards?
Most of our boards are drilled with a standard 1/8" holes. Our giant boards use a larger 3/16" hole.
Q6: How many holes should I have? 61 or 121?
Traditional boards had 61 holes, but more recently, play goes to 121. The longer game is more likely to be won by the better player as a lucky streak is less likely to change the outcome.
Many boards still have 61 holes due to space restrictions or design considerations - simply play around the board twice to make the 121 total!
Below is a picture of a two track 61 hole board.
Q7: What's a lapped layout and a continuous layout? Which is better?
A lapped layout is a board with 61 holes - play two laps to make the now standard 121 total!
A continuous layout has 121 holes in a row - no laps needed.
Both designs are quite capable of scoring a game of cribbage, and the preferred method is an individual choice. Some people have trouble remembering which lap they are on - a continuous board may be the answer. Sometimes the design just can't be made with a continuous track.
Below is a picture of a continuous two track board with 121 holes.
Q8: What about scoring holes?
Scoring holes are a separate set of optional holes provided to keep track of the number of games won. They are useful if you have a habit of playing "first to 5 games" or such although many players simply keep a mental count.
From a design perspective, sometimes they fit well, but often make for a more confusing and clumsy design.
Below is a two track continuous folding board with 5 scoring holes on the left hand edge.
Q9: Do you do numbers between holes?
On mass-produced boards, numbers are often placed between each set of 5 holes to help people count. We feel that they are unneccesary as most people can count out the holes perfectly well without them and they do clutter the design.
Our engraving method, using a router and v-bit, is not at all suited to making the tiny numbers needed between holes. Most numbered boards are screen printed instead of engraved as the wood often can't hold such detail when engraved. The time taken to hand-paint each number, once engraved, is quite considerable. Except in rare circumstances, we do not add these numbers. If we do include them in a design, please expect the price to increase significantly.
Q10: Do you have an overall style for your boards?
We try to keep our designs clean and simple, uncluttered as far as possible. Tournament boards are, of course, a little more formal in nature, but the rest we like to think of as casual-play boards, designed to look nice, but still play well.
All of our boards have well-placed holes, in straight lines where they are supposed to be straight, and with smooth curves when needed.
Q11: How are you restricted in your designs?
Our drilling and engraving takes place in dust cabinets to protect us from the fine particles. This restricts us to boards 23-24" long.
Hole-wise, we strive to leave a good gap between holes, even in the corners. Too far apart and players can become lost. We use traditional methods of engraving, with a router and v-bit, so that limits the engraving somewhat. We don't use lasers or screen printing so half-tones and tiny text are out. And we hand-paint the engraving, so full color illustrations are not possible.
Even with those restrictions, we manage to make so many beautiful boards that people love!
Q12: Can I store pegs and cards in your boards?
All of our boards include peg storage pockets sufficient to hold enough pegs to fully use the features of the board. Nearly all of our boards use a pocket with a sliding brass plate for closure except for our travel folder and 4ft split boards.
We use 3/4" inch thick planks to make our boards. A deck of cards is also 3/4" thick, so we can't put card storage in a single layer board. Solutions include our folding boards and also boards with two layers, held together by magnets or hinges.
Below is a folding board that stores 2 decks of cards and the pegs (brass cover not shown)
Q13: Do you make wood inlays or laminates?
We used to make inlays, but in some climates the humidity and temperatures reduce the life of the board considerably. We have decided to not offer inlays any longer. We do still make laminates, where the different species are glued together and clamped until dry. All woods change shape throughout the year due to climate changes and some movement should be expected of all our boards. So far we have had an excellent record with our laminates, but as all species move at different rates and in different ways, laminates should not be expected to last as long as a solid plank from one species.
Below is a maple-padauk laminated board.