/ Cory Doctorow / 12 pm Sun, Dec 12 2010
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  • Boardgame Remix Kit makes inspired new games out of old Monopoly, Clue, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble sets

    Boardgame Remix Kit makes inspired new games out of old Monopoly, Clue, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble sets

    The most insanely clever Christmas gift idea of the year must be Hide&Seek's inspired Boardgame Remix Kit. Having observed that the four most common household boardgames -- Monopoly, Cluedo (AKA Clue), Trivial Pursuit, and Scrabble -- are often tedious and frustrating and overlong, the game designers at Hide&Seek set about to create a whole book's worth of variant rulesets and tweaks that use some or all of the pieces from some or all of the games. After exhaustive playtesting, they've arrived at a set of games that are insanely fun to play, treating the wicked bits and pieces (all those green houses, exciting little murder weapons, handy letter-tiles, question cards and pie-wedges) as infrastructure on which new, better games may be built.

    Some examples: a Monopoly-based solitaire where you have to lay out the property cards in a grid while following certain rules (each card must touch another from its set, railroads need to be in the same row but not adjacent, etc); a Scrabble-meets-Balderdash word game where you have to make words that "beat" other words (e.g., Robot beats Twig, Twig beats Wasp) and then convince your fellow players you have the winning word; a full-blown zombie-combat tabletop strategy game made out of the Clue board, the lead pipe, and some Chess pawns; and "Dadaist Trivial Pursuit" where players are read out an answer and have to come up with odd questions that suit it.

    It's fun, it's beautifully designed, and it will save the sanity of anyone stuck indoors over the holidays with nothing but Christmas reruns and stale boardgames. You can get it in book (coming soon)/ebook (now available) form, as a deck of cards, or a mobile app. Here's the sample PDF.

    Boardgame Remix Kit


    / / COMMENTS


      1. If you check your copyright law, you’ll see there are still areas where copyright does not apply. Fashion designs, tattoos, and rules of games are some such categories…

    1. Trivial Pursuit is never tedious because I always win. Scrabble is always tedious because I always lose.

      But if I were to combine the two, what would happen…?

    2. Google cache and Paypal cooperate to provide an ebook purchase and subsequent working download link. Whee!

    3. Just this morning (okay, early afternoon), I sat in a coffee shop with a half dozen other people reading Trivial Pursuit questions at each other. At one point we joked about Scrabble and about how unfun Monopoly actually is. So imagine my delight upon seeing this a few hours later. I suppose we’re their target market.

    4. One of my favourite games from, ooh, years back was “Trivial Pictionary”. Pick any Trivial Pursuit card, flip over to the answers section, and try to get your teammates to get as many as possible in a couple of minutes based only on your frenzied drawings. I remember “He raised his left arm in a one-handed salute” being a particular challenge. Beats the hell out of normal Trivial Pursuit, anyway.

      Some of the people behind this Boardgames Remix kit are old roommates of mine from years ago and oceans away (not the same people I used to play Triv Pictionary with, strangely). I’m very proud of them!

    5. I agree that the games listed are tedious and frustratingly simple, but overlong? Perhaps overlong for their entertainment value, but if you were playing a good SPI or AH game instead, you’d get higher return for your time.

      1. This summer I played a game of monopoly (four people total) that lasted seven hours. By two and a half hours in, all the properties had been bought. Three of us had acquired one monopoly each and built it up to all hotels. The fourth had almost no money and no property. He managed to stay in the game for an entire hour without landing on anything expensive, just by bouncing among jail, chance, community chest, free parking, and go to jail. By the time it finally ended, we’d had to draw up an extra $15,000 in monopoly money to keep the bank solvent (we didn’t invent that, it’s in the official rules that the bank never runs out of money, and you should make your own as needed). It stopped being fun after all the properties got bought and built up, since we knew the person with the most expensive monopoly was almost certainly going to win, eventually.

        1. Since you mention Free Parking as part of that loop, you do know that putting money on Free Parking is not in the actual rules of Monopoly, right? Doing so is the #1 way of making the game last seven hours.

    6. I think the best part of this is that it lets you use all those board games with missing pieces. After about 20 years, I don’t think anyone can still find all the Monopoly pieces or all the Scrabble tiles.

    7. I wish the print edition was available for Christmas. I know it’s silly, but I feel so bastardly providing files or links to files. It feels worse, to me, than giving money or–God forbid–a gift card. I know, I need to just get over it. :-D

    8. Back in college, a friend of mine invented variant rules for Monopoly that he called ‘Mafia Monopoly’. You needed two boards and at least four players so that you could have ‘turf’ and ‘mobs’. The rules were posted on his website, and within days Hasbro sent a C&D. So even if modifying the rules of the game is allowed, apparently publishing them still isn’t…

    9. Our old variant of Scrabble, Silly Scrabble, was to make up words pronounceable in the English language, and provide a definition. I’ve also wanted make a Scrabble game where you can buy and sell letters, demolish old words and recycle them, etc. I have a feeling, though, that it would make an already long , tedious pair of games even longer.

    10. My sibs and I used to play Tag with our Clue characters, ie. chase each other around the board with dice rolls, and steal the weapons from each other Risk style in order to beat off attacks from the person playing It.

    11. Trivial Pursuit is never tedious because I always win. Scrabble is always tedious because I always lose.

    12. Now I need to come up wit ha rule variant for clue that turns it from ‘who dunnit’ to ‘you’re locked in a mansion full of murdurers.’

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