Make a Triangle Peg Game

Deceptively simple in concept, the triangle peg game is vexingly difficult to win — but not at all difficult to make yourself.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
November/December 1978
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Playing the triangle peg game ... and winning!

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"Here's a challenging game for one person to play,” says Steve Chernek of Phoenix, Arizona. And Steve—as you know if you've ever whiled away a rainy summer afternoon or a long winter's evening with this simple little brain buster—is certainly right when he says "challenging." This is one shop project that takes a lot longer to solve than it does to make!

All you really need to whip out the triangle peg game is a 3/4-inch-thick scrap of lumber (softwood is OK, hardwood is better) large enough to cut into an equilateral triangle with 5-inch sides, a bag of golf tees (89¢ will buy enough to make up three games), a drill with an 11 /64-inch bit, and a handsaw.

Cut out the triangle and then drill 15 holes—5/8-inch deep and spaced 13/16-inch apart—into the block of wood. (The easiest way to lay out the pattern is by lightly penciling a smaller triangle 1/2-inch inside the edges of the wooden one, marking off a spot every 13/16-inch along the penciled triangle's perimeter connecting all the marked points with lightly penciled straight lines, and then drilling wherever two of the lines cross.) If you really want to get fancy, you can rout or scallop the upper edges of the wooden block, then finish it off with linseed oil, polyurethane, or the stain of your choice.

To play, just put a tee in every hole but one, then jump the tees like checkers—one at a time, removing each one you jump—until only one remains. That, of course, sounds ridiculously simple until you give it a try. There are only a scant handful of 'winning' jump combinations, and as Steve says, “On the very few occasions that I've won this game, I've never been able to remember how I did it.''

Which makes this a near-ideal Christmas gift for grown-ups and youngsters alike. Or maybe you'd prefer to run off a batch and use ‘em as prizes for a holiday party. Either way, you can’t lose with this one ... unless you decide to play the game yourself!

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