Re-Theming Board Games: Creativity for Kids, Morals, and Entertainment

Re-Theming Board Games: Creativity for Kids, Morals, and Entertainment

Theme, Theme, Theme: Changing Game Themes for Kids, Morals, and Just Plain Fun

Ah, the almighty game theme. It’s the invisible force that captivates our attention, draws us into a world of imagination, and often dictates whether we’ll be a fan of a particular board game or not. But what about those times when the theme doesn’t quite sit right with us or our fellow players? Need to make a game more kid-friendly or more appealing to your gaming group?

Fear not, fellow board game enthusiasts, for in this very long (but endlessly entertaining) article, we shall explore the wondrous realm of re-theming board games for all sorts of reasons, with a side of humor sprinkled in for good measure.

A Casual Affair: Art Meets Imagination

First up on our re-theming journey is the simple act of taking the existing artwork and letting your imagination run wild. Got a game like Wingspan where the aim is to observe birds in their natural habitats? Nah, how about you’ve taken up bird hunting and those neatly organized rows are how they’ve fallen after you’ve shot them down?

Doesn’t that sound hilariously morbid? On a more wholesome note, our friend Escape Plan can go from bank robbers making a sneaky exit to a team of professionals testing security measures, like the most boring heist movie ever. The point is that you can change the theme of most board games by simply altering the narrative in your head based on the artwork and components provided.

Art Meets Imagination

Extreme Re-theme Makeover: Components Edition

If you’re seeking a more hands-on approach to re-theming, why not dive into the wonderful world of custom components and altered artwork? Take the ever-popular Secret Hitler and re-theme it as Secret Loki with cards from Legendary or even Secret Sith for the Star Wars fans out there. The game mechanics stay the same, but the theme is something you can enjoy more fully.

Secret Hitler

Some games can even be re-themed without changing the components. Zombie Dice gets a family-friendly makeover when it becomes Science Dice and involves no actual brain munching. Isn’t that just a delightful thought?

Storytime: Changing the Narrative

Games like Dead of Winter can sometimes get bogged down with a hefty amount of flavor text. You could stick with the intended narrative, or why not spice things up a bit and give the game a comedic twist where everyone is just really confused and unsure of what they’re doing in this particular “Quest for Stuff” – surely that would get everyone’s attention.

Parental Guidance: Making Games Kid-Friendly

Now, when it comes to playing games with children, sometimes the theme can be the biggest barrier. Some parents don’t want to confuse their children with themes that may contradict their beliefs or values. In these cases, you can change the theme to something more suitable while still keeping the gameplay mechanics intact. Games like Vinhos can go from marketing wine to marketing a non-alcoholic beverage like grape juice, making it more accessible for everyone in the family.

Parental Guidance

Personal Preferences: When Game Themes Just Aren’t Your Cup of Tea

Lastly, there are the games that you may absolutely love for their mechanics but can’t bring yourself to fully enjoy due to the theme. Well, why not switch it up and create a version of the game that speaks to you more personally? You can even go as far as changing the narrative of games like Isle of Cats from saving the cats to capturing them for nefarious reasons (although, I’m pretty sure most people would prefer saving the adorable feline friends).

Satisfying game mechanics

Embracing the Madness: Re-Theming as a Labor of Love

Changing a game’s theme can certainly be time-consuming, potentially confusing, and a little unorthodox. Nonetheless, it’s a delightful way to breathe new life into your gaming experiences and ensure that everyone at the table is genuinely enjoying themselves – kids and adults alike. So go forth, my fellow gamers, and may the power of re-theming be with you.

To Be Continued: The Never-Ending Saga of Themes and Re-Themes

One can only imagine the numerous other ways and reasons to re-theme games, and we barely scratched the surface in this lengthy article. Until we return with more tales of re-themed games and new board game worlds to discover, let your imagination soar, and remember: the gaming world is your oyster, and it’s up to you to find your pearl (even if that means re-theming said oyster game to be about finding precious gems instead).

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