Classic board games. Almost every family has a dozen or so in the closet that get pulled out a few times a year, most often just after holiday dinners. These are usually board games that have existed in one form or another for the better part of a century or even longer. Compared to modern games, many classic board games suffer from a host of design problems. While most will forever have those flaws, a few classic board games have been updated for the modern era. The following are the best modern remakes of classic board games.
Small World (Vinci) – Vinci is a little known classic board game of conquest. The rules are similar to Risk, but without any dice. Additionally, Vinci added a new twist by which you could allow the culture you were using for your conquest to collapse on itself and start again with a new culture, scoring points for your new conquests, while also earning a few legacy points from the previous culture. The name may be different, but Small World is an identical game with one big difference. It has a much broader range of cultures, represented by fantasy races, and each race gains a modifying feature. The combination of this modifying feature and race makes each game very different from the last and adds significant replay value to a classic game that was fun, but felt pretty much the same on every play through.
Risk 2210 (Risk) – The biggest flaw with classic Risk was that the game eventually devolved into two large armies rampaging back and forth across the globe, while the players who had already been defeated simply sat around and watched. Risk 2210 solves this problem neatly by limiting the game to exactly five turns. With only a five turn game, it is rare for any player to be eliminated and nobody has time to create a rampaging army. In addition to fixing that flaw, Risk 2210 added about 20 more spaces to conquer and cards and commanders that significantly impact the flow of the game. These changes increased the number of viable strategies and made the game more than just a race to see who could be the first to conquer either Australia or South America.
Words with Friends (Scrabble) – This modern remake is actually an online game on Facebook. The game play is identical to Scrabble, but the digital aspect makes it a much better game. The game self polices to confirm all words are legitimate and allows you to play at your own pace. Facebook, as a platform, encourages online banter, which is also a bonus. As anyone who enjoys board games knows, it isn’t the game that matters as much as the people you are playing with.
Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It (Trivial Pursuit) – Trivial Pursuit is not a bad game, but it has an incredible amount of down time and many turns are wasted because you gain nothing from answering most questions except for the privilege to roll again. This version of the classic game has solutions to both problems. To combat downtime, whenever it isn’t your turn, you can bet for or against the person answering the question, in order to gain coins. When it is your turn, you are always answering to gain a pie piece, unless you specifically choose to answer a question for coins. This speeds the game up, as does the ability to purchase pie pieces with coins.
Knightmare Chess (Chess) – It is mathematically impossible to solve chess. But, while the game may never be solved, many games of Chess are statistically similar enough to be considered identical. Simply put, two players of roughly equal skill will generally play roughly the same game over and over again. And playing against someone of a different skill level is rarely enjoyable. Nightmare Chess changes that dynamic by including a deck of cards that can alter state of the game or even the way pieces move in the game. As you grow familiar with this variant, you can even build your own unique deck of cards and you can easily handicap one player in order to allow players of different skill to have a roughly even game. It really adds a fun new twist to an otherwise stale classic.