Games with Inside Jokes for Gamers: A Definitive Pictorial List
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Several games contain jokes that are specifically about games or target gamers. Inside jokes, that the non-gaming community just wouldn't catch. Some of us, on the other hand, will catch on right away. That's what this list is about: a pictorial gallery of such "inside jokes".

Note, this list is not about games with jokes or humour in general, but only games that have jokes about games or gaming.

What are some good examples? I've done some research and come up with over 50 entries, but I'm sure this doesn't exhaust the potential games that qualify. Feel free to add to this list, with pictures if possible!

NB: This list is being constantly updated; subscribe to be notified of new additions.
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26. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:125]
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Many of the cards from the Unglued and Unhinged set were jokes and parodies of existing cards, which only experienced MtG players would get.





For an explanation of 100 of the jokes from the Unglued set, explained by Mark Rosewater of Wizards, see here:

http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/...

The card Phelddagrif is an anagram for the creator of Magic, Garfield PhD.



Similarly the name of the creature Maro is based on MArk ROsewater.



The publishers also have a well-known practice of letting the winner of each year’s Magic Invitational help design a card, and use their likeness on the card.
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27. Board Game: TOM: The Origins Metagame [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
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As the description of the game says, "Cards for this CCG were distributed for free at the 2002 Origins convention. Each card depicts a real game, creator/gaming personality or company. (The cards are paid ads.)"

Shown here is Steffan O'Sullivan:

Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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The clever men at Oxford Know all that there is to be knowed. But they none of them know one half as much As intelligent Mr. Toad!
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“The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop, As it raced along the road. Who was it steered it into a pond? Ingenious Mr. Toad!”
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28. Board Game: The Haunting House [Average Rating:5.07 Overall Rank:11038]
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This game was designed by Kerry Breitenstein, and as the back of the game box indicates, is set in "The Old Breitenstein Place".

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29. Board Game: Mosby's Raiders [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:2569]
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The red headed horsemen in the background of the box cover is none other than Eric Lee Smith, the game's designer.



At present it's even used by the designer for his avatar.

Eric Smith
United States
Philadelphia
PA
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30. Board Game: Fearsome Floors [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:698]
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Green haired game designer Friedemann Friese manages to find a way to get himself into most of his games.





Here we see Bonus heros Maura Kalusky (illustrator) and Friedemann Friese (designer)

 


Maura uses similar artwork in his current avatar:

Maura Kalusky
Germany
Bremen
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31. Board Game: Turbo Taxi [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:2700]
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There's no mistaking that green-haired cyclist on the front cover - Friedemann Friese once again!

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32. Board Game: Fische Fluppen Frikadellen [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1420]
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Friedemann again, making an appearance as one of the fetish dealers:

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33. Board Game: Fiji [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:3743]
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Check the comments on the image page for suggestions about who the shrunken heads represent, but there's no mistaking the green hair of the game's designer Friedemann Friese! (third column from left, second from top)



Friese presently is using this as his avatar:

Friedemann Friese
Germany
Bremen
Bremen
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34. Board Game: The 3 Commandments [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:8606]
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The edge of the board has portraits of designer Friese, as well as Lamont Bros and Andrea Meyer. Pictured here is Friedmann Friese, in the artwork of the Holy Circle.

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35. Board Game: Atolla Modulis (fan expansion for Funkenschlag) [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
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This free modular expansion to Friedemann Friese's Power Grid contains city names like Friedemannhattan (after the designer) and Kniziapolis (after designer Reiner Knizia).

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36. Board Game: Swords & Sorcery [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:3089]
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There are lots of inside jokes here and name references. Most well-known is Gygax Dragonlord, a reference to the late Gary Gygax, who together with Dave Arneson created the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).



On the south of the map, on the border of Rhiann, N'Dardia and Ka-Chunk is the Hill of Avalon, a reference to publisher Avalon Hill.



(pictured here is the Cyberboard version)
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37. Board Game: Blitzkrieg [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:5363]
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Lake Pinsky is named after the game's designer Larry Pinsky, and River Zocchi is named after designer Lou Zocchi.



I'm told that the names of the various terrain features in this game represent another "Who's Who" in wargaming at the time.
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38. Board Game: The Longest Day [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:1761]
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You need to study the map carefully in real life, but somewhere you'll find a village named St. Randall Reed - a non-existent place named after the game's designer Randall C. Reed

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39. Board Game: Up Front [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:197]
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Many of the Avalon Hill designers and playtesters appear as soldiers in Up Front, such as Greenwood, Moon, Tresham, Shelly, Allen, Hamblen, Stahler, Maly, Vasey, and MacGowan.

Example shown here is Rodger MacGowan.



Commissar Dottski is a reference to the the Dotts, owners of Monarch-Avalon.



Designer Courtney F. Allen himself:



More names appear here:

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40. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:124]
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Many of the single man leader counters in this game are also named after Avalon Hill personnel. Some examples:

SL: American: Lt Greenwood - Don Greenwood (developer)
SL: American: Cpt Shaw - Tom Shaw (ran Avalon Hill)
SL: American: Cpl Medrow - Bob Medrow (playtester and statistical article writer)
SL: American: Lt. Hill - John Hill (designer)
SL: German: Cpl Uhl - Mick Uhl (playtester)
SL: German: Lt. Stahler - Jim Stahler
SL: Russian: Comm. Dottski - John? Dott (owner of Avalon Hill)



For discussion and more information, see the thread:
Single man counters named after Avalon Hill personnel

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41. Board Game: Antiquity [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:148]
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The grave chits include the names of the game's designers Jeroen Doumen and Joris Wiersinga, as well as playtesters.

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42. Board Game: Freedom in the Galaxy [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1953]
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The character names are anagrams of employees of SPI (Simulations Publications Inc.), the game's publisher.



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43. Board Game: Zero! [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1462]
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Dan Verssen's game uses the names of playtesters for many of its non-skilled pilot and crew counters.





The sequel, Corsairs and Hellcats, saw the names of a few playtesters and others on fighter wingman cards.





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44. Board Game: Nin-Gonost [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:7587]
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Paul A. DeStefano's wife Francesca was the model for the Courtesan.

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45. Board Game: BANG! [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:723]
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The promo card "Uncle Will" is based on Will Niebling, former CEO of Mayfair, pictured in the lower image on the right.



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46. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:2334] [Average Rating:6.02 Unranked]
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The entire Munchkin series is a spoof on role-playing games in general, so it abounds with inside gamer jokes. Many players readily admit that it's appeal is someone limited to RPG fans, because they are the only ones who will get some of the inside jokes!



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47. Board Game: Show Manager [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:664]
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This Queen reprint of the db-Spiele original Premiere features a show called "Queenie"



The smallest city for a show in the game is Troisdorf, which is the home of Queen Games.

One of the performers in the game is “Sid Saxon” - a reference to legendary designer Sid Sackson.
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48. Board Game: Vampire: The Eternal Struggle [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:687]
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Several cards in this CCG have inside joke references - the card "KRCG News Radio" in the original set refers to the initials of its designer Richard C. Garfield. The card "WRMH Talk Radio" refers to Mark Rein-Hagen, designer of "World of Darkness" (the game it was based on).

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49. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:258]
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The Nurnberg card has the logo of the Nuremberg Toy Fair in the town square.

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50. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:11]
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Another reference to Essen, the location of the world's biggest game fair: on the German map of Power Grid. Admittedly, Essen is one of the larger cities in Germany, so including it on a map of Germany is in itself not likely a gamer joke. But could the fact that it is one of the two cities with the cheapest connections (along with Duisburg) be an inside joke, to give it special importance?



Status: Unconfirmed
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