A few months ago we went on a road trip to visit my sister in Lincoln, Nebraska. When we were there, we went to a restaurant called Cracker Barrel. That was my first time at Cracker Barrel and I noticed that each dining table had a small peg game. While waiting for our food, I noticed that people around us were playing the peg game. It seemed intriguing, so I tried. Long story short we passed the peg game around the table and everyone enjoyed playing it, even my children! So I decided to make this DIY Triangle Peg Game board. I purposely made the pegs much larger than the original game. It will be easier to find the pegs if kids throw them into a toy storage or somewhere else.
The triangle peg game is a fun, challenging game that looks very simple at first sight. As you’ll see, this game has a long history and still has many fans today. This would be a great game to make for your family or to give as a gift.
History of the Triangle Peg Game
The triangle peg game is a version of peg solitaire, which is a fairly old game for a single player, which involves moving pegs on a board with holes. The number of holes can vary based on the type of peg solitaire one is playing, but the most common type of peg game in the United States is the triangle peg game, which consists of 15 holes arranged in a triangle, with one empty hole. This game is commonly found in a popular restaurant chain as a way for customers to enjoy themselves while waiting for a meal, and with good reason — it takes both skill and attention to detail to win, and it’s not as easy as it looks.
The first historical mention of peg solitaire goes all the way back to the court of Louis XIV, and it has also been shown in other engravings and art pieces from the seventeenth century. The earliest U.S. patent of the game is from 1891 and was the first known version of the game played on a triangular board, instead of a cross-shaped board like older versions.
How to Play The Triangle Peg Game
The triangle peg game is played on a board with 15 holes and 14 pegs. The empty hole can be anywhere on the board, though it is often simpler to start with the empty hole in one of the three corners of the triangle. You play by moving the pegs, jumping over a peg to an empty spot, and then removing the peg you jumped over. The object of the game is to only have one peg left on the board. Seems easy enough, until you try it!
There are very few winning jump combinations that will leave you with only one peg left, and the jumps have to be made in a particular order.
If you end up with:
- One Peg = You’re a Genius
- Two Pegs = You’re Pretty Smart
- Three Pegs = You’re Just Average
Winning the Triangle Peg Game
To win this game, you need to have only one peg remaining on the entire board, having jumped and removed the rest of them during play. Of course, it is often the case that the game will end before you reach that point, simply because you have “jumped” yourself into a corner and have no other moves to make. In that case, your only option is to start over again.
Keep practicing and have fun!
If you ever wanted to know how to win the triangle peg game to impress your friends, scroll to the bottom of this post for the cheat sheet. Follow these 13 steps to get only one peg remaining.
- 1 1/4″ Dowel Rod
- Wood Glue
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Cut Two Triangle Boards
First, download and print the 11×17 template. Then cut out the template with succors and trace it over on to the 1×12 board. You will need to cut two of these triangle boards. If you don’t have a template then take 1×12 board and layout two triangles per provided dimensions in the cut list. The length of each triangle side should be 12 7/8″. Cut both triangles using a miter saw that has a sliding blade. Otherwise, you could just use a skill saw.
Step 2 – Mark Center of Holes with a Nail
Tape the paper template on one of the triangles. Then place a regular nail over the center of the circle and hit slightly with a hammer leaving a mark on the wood were to drill the hole. Do this for all of the circles.
Step 3 – Drill 15 Holes in the Upper Triangle Board
Clamp one of the boards to your workbench so that it doesn’t move. Then using a 1 3/8″ hole saw bit, place the bit over the nail mark and drill through the board. Drill all 15 holes.
Step 4 – Glue Boards Together
After all of the holes are drilled, take the second triangle and glue it on the bottom using just wood glue. Clamp the boards together and let the glue dry.
Step 5 – Cut 14 Pegs From a Dowel Rod
Take 1 1/4″ wooden dowel rod (typically used in the closets for coat hangers) and using a miter saw cut 14 pieces to 1 1/2″ in length. You only need 14 pegs because one hole is always empty. Sand the edges on both sides of each peg to make then rounded.
Step 6 – Stain or Paint
Sand the board on both sides to remove any rough edges and dry glue. Then you could stain it or leave it as is and only apply polyurethane for wood protection. I used Classic Gray stain on the pegboard and Dark Walnut on the pegs. You’re done with this simple DIY triangle peg game. Have fun!