Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 7: Downtown: Raleigh Edition

1792 plan for Raleigh, NC
   How well do you know the city where you live? Sometimes it seems one never really experiences their town until out-of-town guests arrive. Then, when homebody things like Monopoly and backyard badminton have become boring... when cabin fever is starting to take hold of a somewhat over crowded house... then museums, theaters, gardens, parks, and other tourist attractions are suddenly at the top of the To Do list. The book-of-the-week for Week 7 is a game that will help folks in Raleigh, North Carolina navigate and become acquainted with the area... It's titled, Downtown: Raleigh Edition.. and is dedicated to my Philadelphia transplant friend F.L. who is always getting lost but never stops going!

the bookish box that holds it all...
   The game is housed in a box that resembles a book. Black bookcloth stretches along the spine and a red and gold collograph print (titled Lyon Street) of a nearby Raleigh neighborhood surfaces the box lid and base. The title plate is printed on a replica of a vintage Raleigh large letter postcard, circa 1940.  Inside the box is the game board, a lifting board with a red satin ribbon pull, and a partitioned 4-section tray holding the other components of the game. The 4-section tray has a compartment for the tiny Where is it? cards listing every major street in the downtown area of Raleigh, many restaurants, and the major government and tourist attractions. There is a compartment for the rule book and two reference maps... for finding the places if memory doesn't provide the answer. There is a compartment for a Greetings from Raleigh N.C diary.... which is used to write any stories or anecdotes about places on the Where is it? cards... and there is a compartment for several writing pens.
the open box... tray with all the parts and game board underneath
   The map was hand drawn in pencil, outlined with Sharpie Marker, and then cut into 4 parts. Each image was burned onto a photopolymer plate so it could be letterpress printed onto Italian mouldmade paper. An edition of 5 maps were printed using the Vandercook press at Penland School of Crafts.

the 4 pages of the game board image
Identification of the streets and buildings was purposely left off the map so the Where is it? cards could be matched with their location on the map as the objective of the game. The cards are very small (about 1" x 1/2" at most) so they can be placed on the map as the game is played. The background of the Where is it? cards is the large letter postcard.
front side of the sheet of Where is it? cards... ready to be cut
Where is it? cards.... places on the map
All sorts of places are on the Where is it? cards.. The image below is one of the two artesian chocolate factories downtown... Yum! The diary is for writing about each place.. a visit or perhaps some urban legend about it... Did you know that three buildings in downtown Raleigh have nicknames? They are "Gotham," "Emerald City," and "The Starship Enterprise" ...these are also three of the Where is it? cards. The diary is great for keeping track of that sort of well as personal impressions and memories, too.
Escazu Chocolate on N. Blount Street... 
No game is complete without a set of rules.... and how to win.
These are the rules...

1. Pick a Where is it? card from the pile.
2. Find it’s place on the game board. Get 5 points.
3. or, Go there and visit the place in person. Get 15 points.
4. or, Tell a story about the place and write it in the Greetings from Raleigh N.C. diary. Start the story  with the words: “Once I went...” Be sure to include your name. Get 25 points.
5. After all the cards are placed on the map (or whenever you set the stop time) the person with the highest points wins.
6. When not playing the board game, the Where is it? cards can be turned to their image side and put together as a jigsaw puzzle.

Where is it? cards; 
Greetings from Raleigh N.C. diary;

Downtown Raleigh map; 

Downtown Raleigh Restaurants & Dining map; 

Writing pen

...the Downtown Rule book
After the game board was constructed, its measurement was used to make the tray. The tray base was cut first. It was sized to fit exactly on top of the folded up game board. Once the side walls were glued onto the base,  they were covered with a strong, but flexible, asian paper. Next, the placement of the compartment partitions was determined by placing all of the items inside the empty tray and making a pencil mark at the optimum partition points. After the three partition boards were cut and covered with the asian paper, they were glued into the tray.

Measuring the tray for the partitions placement...
The compartments' size were tested for accuracy, and then the inside bottom of the tray was covered with the decorative asian paper.
the tray in progress... with diary inside it's partition
After the tray was completed, its size was used to determine the size of the book-like box used to hold the entire game. The base of the book-like box was cut about 1/2 inch larger on all sides than the base of the tray (and folded game boards). The box sides were cut high enough to cover the stack of 1. tray, 2. game boards, and 3. the lifter board. Once the box was glued together and the cover paper glued on, the case for the book-like box was covered with bookcloth and the collograph print. Next, the box was glued to the back side of the case. Then, weights were temporarily placed inside the box to press the box onto the back board of the case and ensure there was a strong adhesion.
Making the book-like box case... weights inside the box
Finally, everything was placed inside the box for safekeeping and ready retrieval... when it's time to play Downtown: Raleigh Edition.

the open box with the gameboard folded up inside and the full tray laying beside it
The Raleigh skyline... which one is Gotham?

Raleigh skyline looking north from Hwy 401 across MLK Blvd. bridge


  1. Can't wait to play. What a wonderful creation.

  2. This book makes me nostalgic for my own Kathy-led tour of Raleigh. What a great time!