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Top 10 Modern Board Games Inspired By Classic Games

SOS Titanic

I recently discovered several modern board games that had classic game mechanisms at their heart. This got me thinking about all of the other classic games that have been re-implemented that are perfect for showing to fans of the original games. I asked some fellow bloggers and this is our list of our top ten favourites.

Solitaire - SOS Titanic – by Neil Proctor

You remember Solitaire (patience) don’t you. It was that game you played when you had nothing to do on a train journey or when you are lazing around the pool on holiday. I bet you are thinking there is no way they could turn that into a modern board game, well you would be wrong because of the amazing game SOS Titanic from designers Bruno Cathala & Ludovic Maublanc and publisher Matagot.

In this 1 to 5 player game you will be trying to rescue passengers from the doomed luxury liner before it sinks forever into the Atlantic Ocean. You are essentially playing Solitaire but with the difficulty turned up to 11. You need skill and luck to move as many passengers as possible onto the lifeboats but don’t forget you cannot mix first & second class passengers. The game ends when you have either rescued all of the passengers (highly unlikely) or the ship has sunk.

I really prefer to play SOS Titanic solo (just like solitaire) and it has that just one more go feel that the classic card game gives.

Now watch out for Icebergs!

Noughts & Crosses – Quixo – by Favourite Foe

Xs and Os. No, not “hugs and kisses”! I’m too old for that down-with-the-kids lingo! I mean Noughts and Crosses. That scrap paper, playing with your nan on a wet, caravan holiday in Camber Sands, classic. We have all played it at some point. But 60 seconds (or less!) isn’t exactly an engaging or memorable experience. Am I right?

Well, not anymore! Noughts and crosses has just levelled up significantly in QUIXO by Gigamic and Hachette Board Games UK. Part sculpture, part strategy game, this is a wooden set you will want to keep on the table long after the battle is done!

You still have to get your matching symbols in a row (5 in this case), but you’ll be sliding a cube (blank or with your symbol) from the outside edge back into the grid where there’s a gap. Blank sides get rotated to show X or O, and every turn changes the game space!

If you like what you see, there are mini travel and Giant versions too. Plus Quixo turns Xs and Os into a 4 player affair by adding an orientation element to the game. By having to choose from only the pieces where the dots are closer to you than your teammate, this game just got crunchier than a cornflake covered cucumber!

Yahtzee - King of Tokyo – by Nick Welford

When I was a young un’ many a night was spent playing family board games. One of which was Yahtzee. A simple game with standard 6 sided dice. You have up to three rolls to try and lock in scoring sets which were reminiscent of poker hands. Straights, flushes, pairs and so on. King of Tokyo took the concept of up to three rolls to collect certain sets of dice and added Kaiju!

King of Tokyo comes with chunky custom dice with the numbers 1-3, a heart, a claw and an energy symbol on them. Rolling 3 or more of the same number gains you points, claws attack, hearts heal and energy earns you the currency needed to buy power cards.

Attacks target either the player(s) in Tokyo or if you are in Tokyo everyone else. The catch being if you force someone out of Tokyo you have to take their place - and you cannot use healing dice in Tokyo! Power cards add various effects that let you punch harder, heal better or even return to life, and add more than enough sprinkle to this delicious ice cream!

Chess – Onitama – by Seb Hawden

I love chess, the issue is though, finding players of a similar level is difficult. On the other hand a lot of people find it too daunting to get into, so where should a board game enthusiast, who loves chess, find his tactical, strategic goodness? Well, grab yourself a copy of Onitama of course.

Onitama is chess with some of the fat trimmed away, with only 2 possible moves each turn and a very slimmed down set of pieces. What this does is lower the entry point for new people, evens the playfield for all players and makes the game faster, easier to learn and massively more approachable.

To win you either take your opponents Master pawn or get your Master pawn onto their base square. With only five pieces per side and only two moves to choose from at a time, all the information is visible to both players at all times. The two moves you can pick from cycle through a set of five chosen at the start of the game and each game has a different set, making each game different.

So if you love chess or strategic games in general I thoroughly recommend Onitama. It's quick, cheap, easy to learn yet has a remarkable amount of depth. What’s not to love?

Trumps (trick taking) – Cat in the Box – by Neil Proctor

Trick taking games have been popular for as long as there have been cards. The idea that you must follow suit and try to play the highest card to win that round, but one of the suits can trump it and beat all others is a brilliant idea and one that keeps people entertained for hours.

There have been so many variations on trick taking games but a brand new one has just appeared that is so clever, but also simple, that I am amazed it has never been thought of before. That game is Cat in the Box.

In this trick taking game none of the cards have any colours. So when you play a card you declare what colour it is and mark off that number / colour space on the board. Now no other player can use the same one. There are more cards in play than there are spaces on the board so at some point you may have no choice but to declare a paradox (hence the name cat in the box).

It’s another one of those amazing games where one, two or even ten plays are not enough, you will want to keep on playing and playing.

Guess Who – Dinosaur Tea Party – by Luke Pickles

If you ever want to think about a company that revitalises old games, then there is no one who does it more frequently (and better) than Restoration Games. Their motto is “Every Games Deserves Another Turn,” so I think they are a worthy addition to this list. And one of their top hits is a revisitation to Whosit and very similar to Guess Who.

Dinosaur Tea Party is the game of deduction where players draw a dinosaur guest card and take turns either guessing the name of the guest or asking a question about the card of someone else. This can about their clothing, colour or the physicality of the dino.

However, it’s not always that easy because there are some secret rules in play, like someone will always lie, or will alternate yes and no answers. The game is silly and simple and really leans on the absurdity of dinosaurs having tea together. The artwork is pretty fantastic too – just… don’t be caught staring at the T-rex. It’s not polite, you know.

Gin Rummy - Marvel Remix – by Hannah Blacknell

Marvel Remix is a new game from Wizkids that borrows from the parlour game Gin. As a kid I was obsessional in my playing of Rummy with my mum. This traditional card game is a hand crafting game whereby you are trying to get a set of three and a set of four first. I absolutely love the mechanic of ‘draw a card, discard a card,’ and the simplicity of either drawing blind or taking the top card off the discard pile.

Hand crafting is not something that I saw used all that much in many modern board games, but Fantasy Realms by Wizkids is an excellent example of taking this mechanic and adding a bunch of extra strategy levels. Marvel Remix is a reimplementation of this but with a Marvel theme. You must craft a hand of 7 cards containing at least one villain and either one hero or one ally card or your hand scores zero. Each card has its own native points, but also will have special scoring conditions on the bottom of the card and provide tags which may contribute to scoring for other cards. The game plays super quickly, you will have probably between 5 and 10 turns to craft your hand, so you are constantly trying to make the best of what is available to you.

Cluedo – Picture Perfect with the Sherlock Expansion – by Neil Proctor

Picture Perfect already felt quite a bit like Cluedo with you obtaining some of the information required to get your characters in the perfect positions for that all important photograph. But something was missing and I know what it was….MURDER.

Thankfully if you add the amazing Sherlock expansion you now get the best version of Cluedo I have ever played.

You still need to get all of your guests in their preferred spots but now you also have to work out who has murdered one of the guests. This is done with an alibi system which works by each guest having an alibi for one of the other guests except the murderer. The question is can you interview all the guests before the end of the game and place Sherlock and Watson next to the murderer to make an arrest.

The Sherlock expansion is so good I would recommend anyone interested in buying Picture Perfect buys this at the same time.

Rock, Paper, Scissors - Pokemon – by Rob Wright

I realise that there is a lot more to the game than this (I should know, I play the dang thing), but whether you are playing Pokemon Scarlet or Violet, Pokemon Go! or Pokemon TCG (Trading Card Game), Pokemon boils down to Rock, Paper, Scizors (the misspelling was an Easter egg for the PokeFans).

How so? Well, regardless of whether you are roaming around the cities and plains of Paldea, skulking around parks in the pouring rain, pounding frantically at your phone screen trying to catch a Zekrom, or finessing your Lugia deck to make a championship level contender, eventually it will come down to battling with your Pokemons.

Every Pokemon will have a type – if you remember the hazy, lazy crazy days of early 1996 when Pokemon: Red and Pokemon: Blue were released, you will probably want to up the font size… but also, you will remember that Squirtle was a water type, Charmander was a fire type and Bulbasaur was a grass type. These were all starters, meaning you started your Pokemon adventure with one of these, and they all had pros and cons. Squirtle was strong against fire type Pokemon, but weak against grass; Charmander was strong against grass, but weak against water; Bulbasaur was strong against water, but weak against fire. Rock, paper, scissors.

There are a lot more types now: lightning, fighting, steel, bug, ice, rock, fairy, dragon, psychic, to name but a few. And the three (and more) respective games have evolved way beyond their early, humble origins, but the weaknesses and strengths remain, and this is an essential part of the appeal and the fun. I mean, who wouldn’t be amused at the idea of the god-like Palkia being taken down by a meagre Pachurisu?

Liar’s Dice – Skull – by Dan Hilton

Liar’s Dice is a game that has been played since time in memorial. It is played with dice, and, well, lying. It has spawned many blatant copy and pasted clones over the years. But the essence of what makes Liar’s Dice such an enjoyable game is hard to distil. Skull really boils down Liar’s Dice, takes that essence and forms something new and exciting from it. It even takes the simple game and makes it even simpler.

Everyone in Skull has three flowers and one skull. Everyone takes their turn placing a tile face down or calling out a number (smaller than the number of placed tiles). The aim of Skull is to successfully call out a number and reveal that many flowers twice. Then you win. Reveal a skull however and you will lose a random tile. In Liar’s dice if you fail to reveal the number of dice you bet on, you will also lose a die. Skull is not only a reimplementation; it is an outright improvement over the original. It goes down well with all kinds of game groups and often brings many laughs. Skull plays super quick and often has people asking to play over and over. It earned a place in my collection for sure. Being damn cheap is also a massive

Thanks for reading this blog and I hope you have found some games you would love to play as much as the classics that inspired them, if you have any suggestions come find me on twitter @BoardGameHappy and let me know what they are.