Games that you wish had a different theme
Katja Heetland
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Inspired by this thread and since it really would be better as a geeklist, lets see what games could benefit from a different theme.

Keep it nice, folks. Just because you might happen to disagree with a newer theme suggested, doesn't mean that your sacred cow has been in anyway compromised.

This is about creativity and sharing ideas, not right or wrong.

Anything otherwise will be reported as off topic spam.
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1. Board Game: Krosmaster: Arena [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:926] [Average Rating:6.90 Unranked]
Katja Heetland
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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I'll start the list with this:

While I adore the cutesy little chibi things, I have to begrudgingly agree with my friend who rethemed it into a kaiju game that it fits the kaiju theme so much better.

Since the terrain is destructible, and you are rewarded for destroying it, it just makes sense to make this into giant stompy monster robot combat arena.

Those little cars were also a great idea too as they replace the money just scattered all over the board in krosmaster. Now you have to stomp the cars to gain fury (money) to spend when you reach hazmat sites to mutate your monster.

Im not a fan of that sort of thing even though I thought pacific rim was a fun movie, but it is a lot more fun now with this monster theme. Super fun obviously or I would not be posting so eagerly about it. While I love having creative friends, I really wish I could buy this at retail.



 

 
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2. Board Game: Merchant of Venus (second edition) [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:580]
Rollie Olson
United States
Arizona
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My wife and most of my gaming group are not big into scifi. If I got this it would never hit the table. If I could find a game in this ilk that has a different theme I would be all over it.
 
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3. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Adrian V.
Germany
Freiburg
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Agricola is a train wreck of a thematic misconception. But underneath a super-dull farming game, I think we can find some viable elemets that could turn this into something more acceptable.

I like the aspect of breeding creatures, with those nutrition aspects and all such stuff. But let's consider for a moment a different scenario that's not 17th century family farming, but something more sinister... Why not breed evil minions who dig corridors through dungeons for evil lords of the underworld? Let's maraude villages and prepare for the annual raid of paladines who come to take your stuff! Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Hm, well. I guess you're right. What a dumb idea.
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4. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
P B
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Seattle
Washington
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I think this game could have received a much bigger audience if it didn't have the kiddie fantasy theme pasted all over it.

The problem with fantasy/Sci-fi/zombie themes in general, is that most people outgrow it. A good game should also have a lasting theme that can withstand the ages.

There, I said it.
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5. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:811]
Kevin Jeffrey
Canada
Surrey
British Columbia
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I enjoy the theme of Castle Panic, but I think it gets dismissed as being too easy and for kids. I could come up with numerous re-themes of Castle Panic with the Wizard Expansion:

Star Wars Panic - The Empire Edition
Castle is replaced by the Death Star and the Wizard is Darth Vader able to use the Force to affect the Rebels. Archers could be Star Destroyers, Barbarian could be Boba Fett, Swordsmen are Turbolaser turrets, and knights are Tie Fighters.

Star Wars Panic - The Rebel Edition
Castle is replaced by the Rebel base on Hoth.

Evil Panic
Army of Darkness inspired re-theme. With the Castle being attacked by demons and deadites.

Bug Panic
Starship Trooper inspired re-theme

White Tower Panic
Lord of the Rings inspired re-theme. The Castle replaced by the tower at Isengard being attacked by Ents and Hobbits.
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6. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Julian Meynell
Canada
Toronto
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Apparently, Puerto Rico was originally themed with a colonizing planets theme, but the publisher said "That will never sell. How about 17th century Caribbean plantation farming."

The original theme made a whole more sense with the mechanics and I also wouldn't have to feel guilty about putting my slaves, oops colonists, hard to work in the indigo fields.

Space farming is cooler!!

Oh well. To disagree with an above poster, I'm glad it is not all historical farming these days and we can have the occasional fantasy theme or whatever Euro instead.
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7. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:50]
Julian Meynell
Canada
Toronto
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On this one I go the other way. It could really lose its fantasy theme. There is something about the idea of collecting coloured cubes, that so profoundly does not feel like putting an adventuring party together that it ruins the experience.

Also, the whole point of D&D and all its imitators is that each hero is a unique adventurer with a personality of their own. Wizards are not a fungible resource.
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8. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Julian Meynell
Canada
Toronto
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Finally there is this one. I don't know how the mechanics could have less to do with lost cities or how it could fail to evoke the theme more completely. I remember once reading an interview with Knizia and he said that he always started with the theme, and I thought of this game and thought "LIAR! Liar! Liar! Liar!

I wish that this had any theme at all, other than what it has. It would have been best if he just invented a fifth suit and used a regular pack of cards. Really anything. It sort of killed the game for me, quite frankly.
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9. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:463]
Gene Moore
United States
Missouri
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Mentioned in the earlier thread by:
Allan Third
United Kingdom
Milton Keynes
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This is a game that I could play with my kids if not for the Lovecraft elements. A kid-friendly horror theme (like Scooby Doo) would be perfect for it.
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10. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:527]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Man, I SOOO wish this was more of a standard fantasy setting, with orcs and bows and spells and stuff. Then my wife would play it with me, and it'd go from being the one of the best solo games I own to one of the best co-ops!
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11. Board Game: Prêt-à-Porter [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:989]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Note, this is not for me. My wife and I both really enjoy the theme of running a successful fashion agency. But so many people foolishly dismiss this game because of its theme, and thereby miss out on a really fantastic economic business simluation, it's heartbreaking.

If the game were about designing cars, or filming tv shows, or developing videogames, or just about anything else, I suspect this game would find a MUCH larger audience, which it very much deserves...
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12. Board Game: Chaos in the Old World [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:95]
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
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My ability to get four players for this is near nil. Put in a different theme and the ease of which this would get played would go up dramatically.
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13. Board Game: Puzzle Strike [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1368]
Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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And all it's descendants. Come on, do I really need a game, a fantastic game that is a perfect gateway for certain kinds of personalities, to look like it's for little girls?

Give it any other theme. Tetris. Straw. Hell, make it about aristocrats at dinner who secretly hate each other and are surreptitiously throwing food at their opponents to stain their expensive clothing....... Actually, that sounds AWESOME

Games that I don't buy for a very long time because of how they look are in desperate need of a retheme. Sirlin is fortunate Rodney from watch-it-played put out such a great video that I happened to watch or he wouldn't have received a penny from me!
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14. Board Game: Tanto Cuore [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1329] [Average Rating:6.89 Unranked]
Jay Reigns
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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I feel like this has to be the poster child of these lists. From what I understand this is a solid deckbuilder with some interesting mechanics, but you won't catch me playing it. I even like anime, but the maid stuff is creepy to me.
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15. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:238]
Scott Kovatch
United States
Pleasanton
California
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First of all, I don't have a problem with the theme of this game. I think the idea of growing vegetables, running a market stand, satisfying regular and casual customers, and having events that make it easier or harder to do all of that is a great idea. But in 1000-1200 A.D. China?

Re-theme this in modern-day California or New York, put the farmers in a Saturday morning farmers' market with community vegetable plots, make the regular customers restaurant owners, the casual customers farmers' market 'tourists' and change the vegetable set to, say, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots and celery. Or, argula, baby spinach, kale, and whatever other trendy vegetables you can think of.

Yes, I'm putting a decidedly American cultural bent to the game, but so what? I would argue you would get far more people to buy that game in the US than the current theme, and you'd have an interesting but not too challenging and accessible game.
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16. Board Game: Finca [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:534]
Scott Kovatch
United States
Pleasanton
California
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Again, to be clear, this is an awesome game, and one of my family's favorite games. See my comments above about At The Gates Of Loyang, as I think you can make a similar argument with Finca.

Base the game in the California central valley (or some other modern setting) and make the fruits oranges, lemons, strawberries, peaches, almonds, and... walnuts? grapes? Replace the donkey carts with trucks.

More North Americans would likely buy that, I think.

Again, nothing against the current theme, but with some modification you could have a bigger hit on your hands.
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17. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:288]
Tony Go
United States
New York
NY
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It's been accused of having a "pasted on theme" which often means the theme is meaningless, but this is one instance where it hurts it for me.

I like over the top games and ridiculous themes. I wish this one was scientists collecting data or something...
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18. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:50]
Max Lampinen
Finland
Espoo
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Great game, terrible theme.
Would be easy to change too..
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19. Board Game: Relationship Tightrope [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:2966]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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I have several friends who like the mechanics of this game, but refuse to play it because of the sexist stereotypes. If it had a different theme, I'd get to play it more!
 
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20. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:368]
Ryan
United States
ATX
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This one goes along with the previously listed Agricola.

I'm not sure what theme would make it seem fresher, but the idea of being a bean farmer just doesn't really do anything for me...
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21. Board Game: Busen Memo [Average Rating:4.81 Overall Rank:15126]
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
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This would be better with pictures of animals.


You had to expect this one.
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22. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:108]
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One of my favourite games, but the theme is dull and barely fits with the mechanics. But change it to interstellar trade and suddenly all the game elements are thematic: Cities = Jump Gates, Offices = Trading Stations, Houses = Fuel Depots, Bonus Chips = Ancient Artifacts; all the different Privileges = Advanced Tech and so on. I really like the current board but a sweeping space scene (the "Pillars of Creation" Hubble image?) would be even better.

And if the game featured different alien humanoids races, trading across the galaxy, the bizarrely deformed fellow on the boxlid might make more sense: have you looked at his withered little arms?.
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23. Board Game: Elfenland [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:795]
Alexander Portland
Germany
Worms
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I always imagine that all players could be elven actors or rock stars and plan a large tour through their Elfenland realm. But no player can´t afford a tour bus for driving through the county and playing at the stages in the evenings. So they have to tramp with sail-cycles, unicorns, boars and blue-clouds through the towns and city and the best of them become a juke-box hero!
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24. Board Game: Targi [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:150]
Tony Go
United States
New York
NY
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As leader of a Tuareg tribe, players trade goods from near (such as dates and salt) and far (like pepper), in order to obtain gold and other benefits, and enlarge their family. In each round there new offerings are made.

snore
 
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25. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:205]
Nick Smith
Netherlands
Helmond
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Not a bad theme, imo, but my wife finds it so boring she won't play more than one game at a time every couple of weeks at most.

If only they were zombies, it would be her favorite game ever...shake
 
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