Louis Michel has been making game boards for just over a year now, though his love of ‘Jokers and Marbles’ stretches back a bit farther.
“I was visiting a buddy in Saskatchewan and we played a bit, and I really liked it,” he said. “He also made boards and that gave me a bit of a push.”
‘Jokers and Marbles’ is played on a wooden board with cards and marbles. Players work in teams to try to take the other pair out, and – as a result – have to start the process of getting all their marbles to the end safely all over again.
Michel likened the game to ‘Sorry’ or ‘Aggravation’, adding he had been an avid player for about four years before he started making his own game boards.
“I hadn’t been especially interested in woodworking before,” he said. “But these boards got me right into it.”
Michel retired last year and has since turned his time towards crafting game boards for sale, among other things.
Plus, he joked he does a lot more cooking.
“I manage to keep busy,” he said.
Michel sells his boards directly to interested buyers as well as at the Hay River Winter Market, where The Hub caught up with him on the weekend. The entire kit, including card decks and marbles, goes for $60.
“It looks like they’re very well done,” said Joyce Hinson, a shopper at the Winter Market. “And I’m a game person. Anything you can think of, I play, but especially cards.”
Michel said he isn’t looking to expand his operations, just to sell what he makes in his own time.
“I’m really enjoying the seven-day weekends,” he said, laughing. “But it’s still nice to have something to do and to focus on sometimes.”
— Sarah Ladik