Real Spongebob Eels and Escalators Board Game!

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ES-KEE-LATORS!!!! If you understand the reference you are now my friend. Today we are a making a real-life version of Eels and Escalators. This classic game made its debut in the Spongebob episode: "Sailor Mouth". It was the game that Spongebob couldn't seem to ever win. Recently, I thought how fun it would be to play that game in real life. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist except for fan-made 2D versions, and sketchy web versions... until today.

On this Instructable, I teach you how to make your very own version of Eels and Escalators. This is one of those Instructables I have been dying to do so "I'M READY!!" - Let's get to it.

Supplies:

Step 1: Assembling the Materials

For this project you are going to need several things:

- Access to 3D modeling software (I used Fusion 360)

- Access to a 3D printer

- Access to Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop

- Assorted colors of paint w/ brushes

- Primer

- Clear semi-gloss spray paint finish

- 18x18 blank game board (Use whatever size you like) you can find them here for cheap

And that is it! Let's get to it!

Step 2: 3D Modeling the Pieces

I have chosen not to turn over the files for this one for two reasons. 1. I have a goal in the coming year to start selling the 3D files I make on some platform like etsy because I took the "Starting a hand-made Business" class right here on Instructables and I want to see what kind of attention my work might get on a platform like that. ( Sit tight - The files should be up for sale very soon) 2. The 3D files for this one are so easy that you could finish all of the pieces in probably an hour or less. I used a screen shot from the episode as reference for these pieces.

First you will want to do the escalators which is about the easiest thing to model on Fusion 360. I drew a couple straight lines and a cylinder for the rail - done.

Next you will want to do the Eels. Using the spline function, I was able to re-create the curvy bodies in a semi-random kind of way. If you play around with it, you will make eels that are one-of-a-kind and to your liking.

*Note* You may be asking why I am printing the when in the episode they are drawn on the board. I wanted this game to have something to come back to. If you played with the same game board every time you will get board (The irony). So to overcome that, I am 3D printing the eels in order to be able to move them around the board. This way you will have a new game to play nearly ever time. (Feel free to make the eels different sizes and shapes)

Next I did the small game pieces. These little guys are just funny to look at. I made 4 of them so you could play this game with multiple people (Again to make it more exciting). The shape was pretty straightforward.

And finally, I decided to make the dice. I noticed in the episode that the dice only had eels and esclators on it. This made the squares on the board useless. So i added numbers 1-3 on both dice with one dice having two eels and 1 escalator on it, and the other having two escalators and one eel on it. This way you can still move through the board normally but could also roll the coveted "escaltors" or the dreaded "eels".

Step 3: Priming and Painting the Pieces

This was one of my favorite parts of the build because the pieces have such vibrant colors.

*Note* I don't think you will need wood filler for this project because the geometry is so simple and looks good with just primer on it*

First, lay down a couple coats of primer. Make sure all of the edges are primed up and the deep corners of the stairs in the escalator. This is one of those hard-to-reach spots and may need some extra attention.

Next, you will want to paint the game pieces / eels / escalators. For the eels, you can use just a basic green - no surprises there. For the 4 game pieces, I wanted to feature the two original orange and white pieces and I painted the last two just a standard red and blue. The escalators are the somewhat tricky part. They have the classic Spongebob Hawaiian flower design on the side which you could either freehand or print off an example and cut out the interior - thus making a stencil. I would recommend painting the entire escalator before putting the flowers on though. Then a little light brown for the rails and you are done with the painting!

Step 4: Game Board Design / Printing

Thank goodness this game board has one of the simplest designs ever. Just a couple of red squares and a blue background - which is even better because before this, I have never even touched adobe illustrator/photoshop. If you are in the same boat as me, I would highly recommend watching some brief youtube tutorials to get you started. This is really just a couple of squares arranged in a game board-like fashion so you shouldn't have too much trouble. Just make sure that you start your "canvas" as an 18 inch x 18 inch square so that once you print out the color board, it will fit perfectly on to your game board. As far as the colors are concerned, pull up an image of the game board on google and use the eye-dropper function to get the exact color that was used in the show. However, if you would like to make your own game board with your own colors, go for it!

Once your game board is completely done, save it as a pdf file and send it to your local print shop. At this point you have 2 options.

1. Print the board on an 18x18 sheet of sticky-backed vinyl ~$25~. This option will last forever and will have little to no fray on the edges. (The guy at the print shop said that it could stop a bullet) -_- smh - doubt it. Also, it is super easy to stick on to the board itself.

2. Print the board on an 18x18 sheet of regular paper / card stock and mod podge the paper onto the board itself. ~Roughly $15~ This is quite the undertaking to save a couple of dollars. Also, I don't know how well the modpodged paper would react over time.

* There may be a better option (cost-wise) than what I have presented here, but if money isn't an issue, method 1 is definitely the easy, quality way to go. I personally went with option number 1 and it looks and feels great.

Step 5: Stick the Print Onto the Game Board.

This step is probably the easiest but the highest stakes step of them all. This stuff is super sticky so if you mess up, the whole thing goes in the garbage. (No pressure right?) With a steady hand and the help of a friend, you should have no trouble getting the print to stick onto the board in a matter of seconds. Peel off the back to expose the adhesive and slowly attach the print to the game board. Take your time and don't mess up :D. There is a good tutorial of how to attach adhesive prints to a game board with finesse (and to make the game board itself if that is something you are interested in doing) here. As you will find in the tutorial, it helps to expose a small section of sticky and attach it right away. Then you can slowly peel the excess away while with your other hand flattening down the printed side onto the board.

You are going to need to cut one side and score the other side. The clean cut is on this side : (Picture 2) And the score (cut but not all the way through is (Picture 3))If you cut all the way through this part you will ruin it and will have to start again. Then if you have done it right, it should quad fold like this: (Picture 4) Once you get the game board in hand, where you cut will become more obvious.

If I were to do this again however, I would probably invest in a higher quality game board because when it folds up into fourths, as it doesn't lay perfectly flat. Just a little nit-picky thing but it would make it perfect.

Step 6: Reference Photos / Painting the Pieces

Thank goodness for such a strong Spongebob fanbase that gives us so many good reference photos. If you type in Eels and Escalators on google more than enough photos will pop up for your use.

Find a comfy spot and throw on some Netflix because this is going to take a while. If you have an airbrush, now is the time to use it because painting with acrylic takes forever - which is what I did. One eternity later...

Escalators: I did a couple base coats of light orange for the majority of the escalators and I did brown for the steps. The color of the steps changed between photos and I thought brown looked the best. For the rails, I mixed brown and yellow to try and create a bamboo look but it wasn't 100% perfect but I think still looks great all things considered.

Eels: This one wasn't too bad. I took a light green and covered the entire eel and added dark green in for the eyes and for the definition of the fins/contour of the body. Also, if you remember from the episode, there is an eel with "You Lose" written on it. That is also included in this game and is the dreaded, deadly eel.

Pieces: Again, if you remember from the episode there were two pieces that were orange and white used by Spongebob and Patrick so I painted two pieces orange and white and included the red mouth things and the black eyes. I also made a light blue piece and a red piece so that this could be 4 player game rather than just being limited to 2 people. Be creative and use whatever colors you want.

Dice: The dice are both orange and green with some purple, light and dark green elements to it. I did include numbers on the dice which I will explain on the next step.

We are all done painting! All hail the magic conch! Alooloolooloolooloo! Again, if you get the reference you are my friend.

Step 7: 3D Pieces Vs 2D Pieces

I included 3D printed pieces rather than just drawing it on the board so the pieces could be moved around. This is to ensure a different experience each time you play. You can play around with the sizes of the escalators and eels and the amount you want to use, but I have found 3 escalators and 4 eels is plenty. Again, you can add more or less if you so choose.

The game follows a chutes and ladders format so making up rules for it shouldn't be too exhaustive. Be creative and have fun! Now let's play!

Step 8: Done! Let's Play!

This Instructable was an absolute joy to make. I found myself laughing and reflecting on my childhood several times while making it. It was really such a neat experience to see something I watched as a kid come to life in front of my eyes. My wife and I played it 3-4 times and laughed the whole way through it. We also changed up where we put the escalators and the eels each time we played. This is a game not only for the young kids but for the whole family to enjoy! I hope this reminded you of your childhood and I hope you get a chance to make it at some point!

If you enjoyed this Instructable, please leave a comment, a like, and a vote for the Toys Contest here on Instructables. I hope this Instructable was as nostalgic for you as it was for me! Thanks for checking this Instructable out and I will see you on the next one!

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    18 Discussions

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    BernardoR22

    2 months ago

    Any chance you’d be willing to sell a copy of the game? I’d buy this in a heartbeat :D

    2 replies
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    Mastering MeBernardoR22

    Reply 2 months ago

    I think I am going to sell the original pretty soon! :D I'll let you know when that will be, but I am also going to start selling the 3D files and the game board file so people can make it on their own! If that is something you are interested in as well, let me know!

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    BernardoR22Mastering Me

    Reply 2 months ago

    I’d honestly like to buy the one made. My schedule gets crazy busy, but I’m a collector of games so when you have developed a price if you can let me know I’ll buy it. Thanks! :D

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    robertbettis

    3 months ago

    Mother of Pearl! I love your taste in board games! Not very coral of you to hold back on those .stl files though :/

    4 replies
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    Mastering Merobertbettis

    Reply 3 months ago

    I know, just making sure that I don't get dinged by an outside source for copyright or something. I'm pretty much dead for this contest as well because Instructables doesn't like it when people withhold the files. I'm hoping to have them available for purchase soon.

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    seamsterMastering Me

    Reply 3 months ago

    Share them for free, and you likely won't get any copyright policing. Charge and you likely will : )

    cough cough cough I speak from experience

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    Mastering Meseamster

    Reply 3 months ago

    Wow I love that Calvin and Hobbes doll! Haha that was a big part of my childhood! So you initially sold them and got approached about it and was told to stop? I mean, there are tons of people on platforms like etsy who are selling star wars, video game, and other TV stuff so why don't they get in trouble? Thank you for the tips btw. I always like seeing the Instructable "higher-ups" around here! You guys give great tips and feedback

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    seamsterMastering Me

    Reply 3 months ago

    No, I posted the plans I had made for that Hobbes doll for free, and have never heard a word about it. But I've seen a lot of projects have to be taken down, and it seems like it's more frequent when people are trying to make money selling plans for characters (or using names, logos, etc) that belong to others. So it's just my 2 cents: I think the best practice is to share plans for free in cases like this.

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    querry43

    3 months ago

    Seems a little strange to share something here if you don't actually want to share the means for recreating it.

    2 replies
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    Mastering Mequerry43

    Reply 3 months ago

    I’m currently in the process of making it available through a online store. However I am just making sure I’m not violating any copyrights or anything before I do so. I fully intend on making it available but I don’t want to get dinged doing it.

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    seamsterMastering Me

    Reply 3 months ago

    If you make homemade creations based off of characters or likenesses of things that are copyrighted, I would recommend absolutely NOT charging for any plans or designs. Sharing for free is definitely the way to go, unless you solely own the rights yourself.

    I've unfortunately seen several pretty great projects have to get taken down because of copyright infringement claims, and things are often policed much harder (by individual copyright holders) when someone is trying to make money using their characters/likenesses/etc. Just a couple thoughts.

    This project is great, and I quite love it! : )

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    jaco72

    4 months ago

    Hey amazing game!! Could you tell me how big and long you made the escalators and eels? Also what do you do personally if you roll an escalator on one dice and and eel on the other? Thx!!! awesome build

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    Mastering Mejaco72

    Reply 4 months ago

    I will have to get back to you on the exact dimensions. But as for the dice, one escalator and one eel is a "negated" move. If you roll each, you don't move. However, when you roll say an eel and a 3, you move that corresponding number - ignoring the eel/escalator all together.

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    jaco72Mastering Me

    Reply 4 months ago

    Hey! Thanks for the quick response!! Ok good idea for the rules. And ok thanks you can pm me or just reply here! I've always wanted to make one of these, thanks again!

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    Alex in NZ

    4 months ago

    This is the funniest game I've seen since I met someone who had produced rules and cards for Cripple Mr. Onion. Thank you for sharing your process and good luck with Etsy when you go there (maybe sell completed parts as well as files?).

    1 reply
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    Mastering MeAlex in NZ

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thank you for the comment! Yes I am still trying to figure out the process of how that will work but I’m excited to give it a go!