Most homes have a closet or a corner stuffed with dented, torn, and decaying copies of classic games, things like Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, and so on. They usually get hauled out around the holidays as a way to spend time with relatives you don’t see for most of the year, but once you’ve played them a few times, they get stuffed back in that closet to be forgotten once more.
According to my friend Mike Gray—who’s the director of game acquisition for Hasbro, the world’s largest game company—most mass market tabletop games are purchased by older female relatives as gifts for the eventual owner. On average, they are then played slightly less than once and put into a closet until the next garage or estate sale. It’s the kind of crime that keeps game designers weeping into their pillows late at night.
The Boardgame Remix Kit promises to breathe new life into those classics by offering up new rules variants and whole new games that use the components from those old standbys. Think of it as a mash-up kit for your old board games. It’s designed by Kevan Davis, Alex Fleetwood, Holly Gramazio, and (my longtime friend) the legendary James Wallis of Once Upon a Time and The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen fame.
Not only is this a mind-shatteringly cool notion, the folks at Hide and Seek Productions took the time to publish the Boardgame Remix Kit in a number of formats to make it as easy as possible to get some use out of it. This includes a PDF and an upcoming dead-tree paperback, plus a limited edition set of cards and even an iPhone app that comes complete with electronic replacements for the dice and sand timers that disappeared under your couch last Christmas. At only $4.99, the app makes refurbishing that old stack of games seem like a bargain.
Even for hardcore tabletop gamers, it’s hard to get family members to try modern classics like Settlers of Catan or Fluxx. A new version of Trivial Pursuit has a chance with anyone from your parents through to your nieces and nephews, though, since it’s based on a game they already know how to play.
Anyone up for a round of Zombie Mansion, Them’s Fighting Words, or Judy Garland on the Moon with a Bassoon?
Matt Forbeck is the author of thirteen tie-in novels, most of them having to do with Dungeons & Dragons or Blood Bowl. Recently, Angry Robot published his first original novel—Amortals—and his second—Vegas Knights—is due out this spring.