How to Make a Game like Life

What is Life?

Game of Life

This classic from 1960 consists of fairly simple rules with the end goal being to retire after you’ve made it through the game of life. It is so iconic that it is actually on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. By applying the SVU model (Simplicity, Variability, and Uniqueness), we can understand what makes this game so successful and learn how to make a custom game just like Life. 

  • Simplicity: the underlying concept of Life – the American Dream – is something that every American is culturally aware of, making the theming of Life very accessible.
  • Variability: though the structure of each game is the same, there are so many card options in Life that no two games are the same – for example, in one round your career could be a pop star, but in the next round, your career is a politician.
  • Uniqueness: Life, unlike many board games, is timeless – it has sustained a following for decades. In fact, Hasbro even introduced a video game version for the more technologically inclined!


  • 6 cars (1 per player) Life Box
    • Orange
    • Blue
    • Green
    • Yellow
    • White
    • Red
  • 60 people pegs
    • 30 blue
    • 30 pink
  • 7 plastic building pieces
  • 250 paper money pieces (50 count of each amount of money)
    • 5 Thousand
    • 10 Thousand
    • 20 Thousand
    • 50 Thousand
    • 100 Thousand
  • 20 bank loan paper pieces
  • 7 Homeowner’s Insurance paper pieces
  • 7 Automobile Insurance paper piecesLife Money
  • 36 Life cards
    • 9 Career cards
    • 9 Salary cards
    • 9 House Deed cards
    • 9 Stock cards
  • 24 Life tiles
  • 1 plastic spinner (2 plastic parts)
  • 3 plastic mountain ranges (small, medium, large)
  • 1 plastic bridge
  • 1 foldable game board
  • 2 piece outer box
  • 3 page instruction sheet

How much does it cost to make?

To make your own version of Life, the estimated cost for 500 units is $18,219.63, or $36.43 per unit.

At Print Ninja, we offer many different options when it comes to playing pieces, game boards, cards, and finishes on these products. To lower your production costs we recommend reading our price reduction guide, which will show you how to do this without sacrificing game quality. Our instant budgetary quote calculator shows all of our available options, making it easy to adjust your costs.

Since PrintNinja specializes in medium to large quantity orders, we have a minimum order quantity (MOQ) of 500 units. To help you make a decision on the types of materials to use in your board game, we recommend ordering a sample pack: this is the best way to experience the types of components PrintNinja offers.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out some of our other tutorials, featuring instructions on how to make games like Life, Clue, and Settlers of Catan.

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