Cribbage Board #10: The Wedding Board


 Since it's invention in the early 1600's, Cribbage has become a popular 2 - 4 person card game the world over.   Recognizable by multiple arrays of holes, a standard cribbage board is an example of functional elegance.  Each player moves a pair of pegs around the board, with the front/rear pegs showing the current/previous scores--thereby making miscounts and cheating quite obvious.  In fact, cribbage boards often serve as counting aids for other games (i.e.  "Magic").   

In contrast to a board's humble requirements, there is much pride and craftsmanship put into the construction of cribbage boards (kings have even signed their abdication on cribbage boards).  There exist superb historical examples of metal, ivory, stone, and exotic wood cribbage boards. (links to be added)

I have been constructing unique cribbage boards for nearly a decade.  When I sketched my first concept for an LED pegged cribbage board, I had never worked with microcontrollers.  At that time I could not have imagined the final result of years of design and iteration.

"Cribbage Board #10:  The Wedding Board"  (my 10th board started, and a wedding present) is unlike any other cribbage board in the world.  On the surface, the Wedding Board is a functional 3-track, 61-hole cribbage board including a game-counter section and room for cards and peg storage. However, beneath the surface is another story.

Enabled by the smallest Atmel AVR of its time (8-SOIC ATTiny12) each of the Wedding Board's Pegs is a stand-alone embedded device fit within the confines of an "RCA" plug.  Using the AVR's on-board oscillator proved essential to miniaturization and cost reduction.  Additionally, each Peg contains an RGBB LED, four MOSFETS and an ISP connector for uploading firmware. 

By designing each Peg to work independently and selecting standard phono connectors, the challenge of connecting >180 jacks was readily (+5/GND) solved.   More importantly, standard phono plugs/jacks allowed the human interface (the action of "pegging") to remain a pleasant experience.

With a dual circular buffer, the firmware inside each Peg uses the on-board EEPROM for counting power cycles and storing mode information.  A Peg can be placed into any one of 70 unique display modes (10 basic modes + (10 basic * 6 overlay modes), and modes may be "reprogrammed" by applying a number of timed power-cycles.  The Peg firmware makes efficient use of the EEPROM, ensuring a long life for each Peg (corrupt pegs default to a preset mode).

The Wedding Board includes a "Programming Board" to aid in Peg mode "programming".   Due to pin count restrictions, the reset-driven Programmer software recognizes the source of the reset and, if appropriate, outputs the required number of timed power cycles.  

You will also note that the RGB theme is carried throughout the Wedding Board. The three main scoring tracks are (of course) red, green, and blue. The winning peg hole is white. The inner-working jacks (on the pegholder and programmer) are black.

Additionally, you'll notice that all of the hardware is either stainless steel or nickel plated. Yes, no room for brass and nickel in the same place, so the off-the-shelf hardware was nickel plated.

To this date, 3 complete Wedding Boards and over 100 Pegs (in various configurations) have been constructed.  The Pegs themselves have proven quite useful as embedded devices. Their miniature size, ISP sockets and simplicity make them excellent as low-cost development boards and ideal for low-power miniaturized hacks.  Beyond their use in the Wedding Board, Pegs have been embedded into car-lighter sockets, Tickle-Me-Elmo's and TiVo remotes to name a few.


I'll keep it simple. The Wedding Board and this site is dedicated to all those that helped me along the way. They are too numerous to mention, but every single tidbit of help was and will always be appreciated.