I drew my nephew's name for our family's Christmas gift exchange. It's a challenging thing to make something that is supposed to compete with modern toys these days. I mean this 5-year old has been playing Wii, surfing the web and IM'ing me since he was three! I decided to pull from a memory of a game I played back in middle school. I remembered it kept our attention even as avid players of the glorious NES.
I call it a Wooden Flip Game due to the fact that I can't find any information on the webs to tell me what it is actually called. The best I can figure is that the concept came about during the depression since it takes advantages of scrap material laying about. The few examples I was able to find had a crude border with obstacles of randomly placed short nails loosely tacked into the board. Not that I don't want to be authentic but I decided against giving my nephew a board with a bunch of small nails sticking out of it in all sorts of directions!
There are no set rules or standards on the board layout so I just made it up as I went. I made the boards proportions based off of a NCAA soccer field dimensions since my original idea was to try to create a soccer theme.
I kept the rails and obstacles at about 3/4" tall and cut dowels to form the pucks. I had to play around with different height to width ratios so it wouldn't leave the table that much. The base is just a hardboard that gave me a super slick surface to play on.
Once I had the perimeter walls up I spent a few hours with different shaped obstacles trying to find a good location for them. I wanted the player to be able to clear their side of the field but not be able to bank it directly into the goal on a kick off. I created corners for traps and round goalies for creative bank shots. Once I had a layout I nailed and gorilla glued the pieces to the board. I'm not sure if it can hold up to the physical use of a 5 year old but I hope it lasted at least a few games for him. I can always fix or replace it if they want.
I also used a fornster bit to create the puck storage areas on the side rails for when pieces go astray. I also saved a puck back at home in case I had to crank out another 4 of em.
I made up a few rules for them but they are free to make up their own. A player puts the puck in the "barn" the 1/3 of the board closest to them. Then they get to serve the puck by flipping it with the finger nail side of a single finger. They take turns flipping the puck back and forth playing the bounces until someone scores. I always liked the game since it taught me a little about geometry and physics even though I didn't know it at the time.
Hardboard, glue & scrap wood = cheap and enjoyable game.