Theme changed by the publisher
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
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Some I've guessed, some I've been told, but there must be many more cases I never heard about... Please add them.

The result seems to be usually bad, so I hope publishers will become more weary of changing the theme of a game for no real reason. If you don't like a game's theme, don't disfigure it and just publish another one.
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1. Board Game: Wongar [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2696]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Mediaeval Japan
Published : Aborigines

Reason : No war in Germany
Result : Disastrous

The original theme made sense, with shogun, emperor, and various military units. The new one doesn't, with oldest and elder, and various shapes of wooden bits with silly names.
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2. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:23]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Trojan War
Published : Renaissance Spain

Reason : already a Trojan War game at Nuernberg this year
Result : slightly bad

As a Trojan Horse, the Castello made some sense. There was no paratroopers base in the Balearics at this time.
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3. Board Game: Himalaya [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:555]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Sci Fi
Published : Himalayan Trade

Reason : Sci Fi don't sell
Result : very good

The original theme was bland. The new one feels fresh, is well integrated and makes as much sense.
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4. Board Game: Mesopotamia [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1224]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : probably Aztecs or Mayas, may be Polynesia
Published : Mesopotamia

Reason : Don't know
Result : Disastrous

It's in Mesopotamia, but there's not a single river and there are lots of Volcanoes...
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5. Board Game: Taj Mahal [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:183]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Mediaeval England
Published : Mediaeval (?) India

Reason : Too many games about Mediaeval England
Result : Don't know

I don't like the game as it is, but I'm not sure I would have liked the original.
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6. Board Game: Iliad [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1111]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Middle Age War
Published : Trojan War

Reason : New theme more original
Result : Not bad

I know, there were no elephants in the Trojan war, and only one wooden horse, but who cares.
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7. Board Game: Die Weinhändler [Average Rating:5.06 Overall Rank:9564]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Carrying Cotton on the Mississipi
Published : carrying wine on the Loire

Reason : Mississipi Queen
Result : Disastrous

Who dreams of carrying wine on the Loire ??? Ever seen a movie or read a book about this ?
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8. Board Game: Ave Caesar [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:810]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Car Racing
Published : Charriot Racing

Reason : Sport don't sell (except for Formula De)
Result : Great

Of course, refuelling made more sense, but the Salute to Cesar is a great idea, and the Ben Hur reference is obvious.
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9. Board Game: The Hollywood! Card Game [Average Rating:5.56 Overall Rank:7952]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Mediaeval Barons
Published : Making movies

Reason : Too many mediaeval games
Result : Neutral

The original theme was already very light.
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10. Board Game: Knock! Knock! [Average Rating:5.50 Overall Rank:8601]
 
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Fairy Wood
Published : Halloween

Reason : No more dwarves and fairies
Result : Slightly bad

The game still makes fun, but why don't girls never stay ay parties?
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11. Board Game: Atlantic Star [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:732]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : See Showmanager
Published : Sea cruises in the thirties

Reason : just change something for the new edition
Result : Disastrous

The original was fun. The reprint isn't.
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12. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:306]
W M Shubert
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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Original: Building resorts on islands
Published: Building camel trains through deserts
Why: Don't know
Result: Game is excellent - hard to believe original theme would have been better

Reinier has mentioned this several times in interviews.
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13. Board Game: Big Kini [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2892]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Original : Space Empire building
Published : Polynesian Island

Reason : Sci fi don't sell
Result : Silly

The new theme is so thin that you can still feel the original underlying it.
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14. Board Game: Torres [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:270]
Steve Kearon
United Kingdom
Cardiff
Wales
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Torres was originally designed around the King Arthur legend, but when the publishers weren't interested it got re-themed to Welsh castles (principally those in Gwynedd).

Unfortunately, the publishers didn't like this either, and decided to go with a Spanish theme.


See the article by Wofgang Kramer:
http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/InventingTorres.shtm...
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15. Board Game: Pizarro & Co. [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1239]
Bryan Johnson
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
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designer
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I remember talking with Tom Lehmann at the airport in Columbus, Ohio back in April and asking him how much control he has as a designer over the theme, artwork and production of his games. He answered in one word,... "Zero". He went on to give me an example with his game Pizarro & Co., which he said originally had absolutely nothing to do with the renaissance or exploration. I don't recall if he ever even mentioned what the original was all about but it was an interesting conversation.
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16. Board Game: Medieval Merchant [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1065]
David Bohnenberger
United States
Swarthmore
Pennsylvania
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I've heard that this was originally designed as an Airline game, but was changed due to three different Airline games being released at around the same time.

I'm not sure that theme would have made much more sense.
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17. Board Game: Balloon Cup [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:640]
Brad Fuller
United States
Virginia Beach
Virginia
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Original : Piñatas
Published : Baloon racing (kind of)

Reason : Not Sure
Result : ?

The designer is a friend of mine and this was his original theme. The cubes represented candy and the players were playing cards to get the candy. Changed by Kosmos
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18. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:304]
Big Woo
Scotland
state:
running out of space...
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The Alhambra's palace ground were replaced for the rather less inspiring setting of Troisdorf, Queen games' hometown for a local promotional campaign by Troisdorf's business community.

Alhambra- The Troisdorf edition hardly has the monopoly as a successful game being rethemed for promotional ends. Nuff said.
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19. Board Game: Dia de los Muertos [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:2106]
Jake Baker
United States
Fishers
Indiana
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Original: Mexican day of the dead
Published: Dragons

Reason: Fantasy sells better.
Result: Don't know

I thought the day of the dead theme was both original and a tight fit to the mechanics. I don't think the new theme works as well...
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20. Board Game: Mall World [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:7087]
Gil Hova
United States
Jersey City
New Jersey
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Original Theme: Redrawing borders after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

New Theme: Building a mall.

Reason for change: The publisher and designer were worried that the original theme wouldn't sell.

Result: I can't stand the current theme. Building a mall seems like such an ordinary, bland, and uninteresting thing, whereas the end of the Cold War was historic. I had such a hard time getting this on the table that I think I'm not the only one.
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21. Board Game: Sword & Skull [Average Rating:5.46 Overall Rank:9374]
Big Woo
Scotland
state:
running out of space...
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Originally "Heroes and Villains", with a standard fantasy setting of goblins, giants and magic items.

Got its pirate theme to appeal to a wider audience.
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22. Board Game: Cave Troll [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1226]
Michael Jordal
United States
Austin
Minnesota
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Ike Clanton painted by me for Wild West Exodus
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Original : Archaeologist searching for lost treasures
Published : Fantasy characters raiding a cave trolls lair

Reason : I assume to appeal more to FFG fantasy fan base
Result : I am a little unsure, but I think it probably plays well either way but appeals to a different crew the way it is.
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23. Board Game: Garten-Zwerge e.V. [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:7504]
Raul Catalano
Italy
Pordenone
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Original : dog breeding
Published : gnome breeding

Reason : ?
Result : ?

The original theme obviously made much more sense; as many fellow BGGers already remarked, there is something very weird about the reproduction of all-male bearded gnomes.
In any case, I still prefer to play with cute gnomes than with barking dogs ...
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24. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:178]
Leonardo Gonzalez
United States
Laredo
Texas
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Original : Greyhound race
Published : Buying and selling art

Reason : Hans in Gluck said the game was too simple
Result : The game was considerably changed but the base mechanism of the greyhound race did not change.

The original theme was a greyhound race game that lasted one round only. Hans in Gluck changed the theme and added more rounds. The whole process from the greyhound race to the modern art theme took 5 years to finish so this was not only a change of the theme.
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25. Board Game: Bucket Brigade [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:2979]
Michael Van Biesbrouck
United States
Mountain View
California
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Apparently Knizia was quite unhappy about the honeybear theme change. Isn't it about to get another theme, too?
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