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Games with Weird, Odd, Unusual, or Unorthodox Themes
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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The oldest excavated game on record is a fragmentary set from Ancient Sumeria which may be distantly related to the games found in Egyptian and Chinese tombs. Over the thousands of years that have followed, we have produced a wide variety of board games as a species, covering virtually every aspect of our experience, not to mention mythology, religion, art... They say that nothing is truly original, and that's probably true even of games.

But every once and a while, you get a theme, or a concept, that defies explanation.
Here is a list I've been working on for a while: it's essentially a list of the strangest, most unorthodox, most unusual themes for games/game expansions that I've ever encountered, heard about from other gamers, or read about here on the 'Geek.

These are all games which, for whatever reason, don't really sit within the paradigm of "standard" themes, and then take it a step further by just being plain weird. Some of them are actually pretty good. Others are highly questionable. They're all games guaranteed to draw a double-take with the right crowd.

I intend to update this list as I find more weird themes/games/etc. Please, feel free to add your own as we go along. Maybe, like me, you'll seriously consider adding some of these to your collection; you might also consider bringing along a portable wood-chipper on your next thrifting run.

One general rule of thumb: I've tried to avoid focusing upon unpublished games, or prototypes, or pnp games. Nothing wrong with any of those, but I wanted to concentrate on games that were actually marketed at one point or another.

-INVICTVS

EDIT:

This list is sorted by titles to make it easier to follow and less likely to attract repeats. You'll want to check every page for all the weird goodness (and not-so-goodness)

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51. Board Game: Igloo Pop [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:1889]
Geoff Hall
United Kingdom
Yate
Bristol
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Background story, from the back of the box:

The young ice giant has a big problem: he wants to buy fish sticks, but he cannot remember how many and he has nine shopping lists in his basket.

So he goes from igloo to igloo and shakes each. In each he listens to the delicious fish sticks bouncing off the igloo walls. When he thinks that the igloo in his hand has the same number of fish sticks as one of his shopping lists, he takes it home.

When he gets home, there are no fish sticks in the igloo. Instead, wild and laughing Inuit children tumble out of the igloo. Excitedly they shout, "Shake us again!" "That was great fun!" "This is super", thinks the young ice giant. "Now, I have found some new friends to play with!" And, he promptly forgets all about his shopping lists.
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52. Board Game: The Junkie Game [Average Rating:1.00 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Apparently designed to teach about the life of the junkie, includes rules for supporting the habit, stealing from friends, lying to police officers, the whole nine yards. Perhaps there's a moral lesson involved. But have you ever tried to get a junkie to play a boardgame?

Sounds like a real winner.
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53. Board Game: Karate Chop Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
patrick stevens
United States
Los Angeles
California
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54. Board Game: Kill the Hippies [Average Rating:4.97 Overall Rank:10523]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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From the BGG entry:

"You and Your Fundie brothers and sisters use different Relics to kill the Hippies.

Each of 2-6 players leads members of the fanatical religious
right in their Holy Crusade to rid the world of those dirty hippies.

At a party or at a pub, play Kill the Hippies. It’s a card game for everyone: sinner or saint (but to have a Bible helps!) Choose the length of the game; you and your friends in faith select how many Hippies there is time to deal with. Players can Convert or Kill with various mundane and religious relics. Conversions are always worth more points. But Events sometimes occur that help the Hippies...damn you KARMA!
Remember, God is judging you. (Rom 12:19)"

You don't think the author had some sort of agenda, do you? Naw, course not. It's all in the name of wackiness and clean fun!
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55. Board Game: König der Maulwürfel [Average Rating:5.34 Overall Rank:9416]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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From the BGG Entry:

"The inhabitants of the planet ROLLEX in the Sun system SOLLEX used to live on nothing but the delicious fried dice that fell from the sky. They found these so delicious, that they would often spend years at a time, just sitting in their towers, hardly moving at all, enjoying this delicacy. Now and then, they would ascend to the top of their towers, and, just for the fun of it, would spit out dice in all directions out over the surrounding lands. As a result, it wasn’t long before they were known far and wide as the Dicemouths.

However, one day the rain of fried dice dried up, and the Dicemouths got extremely hungry. But they remembered all the dice that they’d spat out in the older, better, times. Looking around, they found that many of them had developed into full grown dice trees, covered in fresh ripe fried dice. But when the dicemouths tried to leave their towers to pick the dice, they found that they’d got so fat that they couldn’t get out through the doors. They were trapped in their own towers.

But just before it was too late, one of the dicemouths, who’d saved a few dice in his tower, had a brilliant idea. He spat out a die, just as they had always done, but this time, as the die shot out from the tower, he kept tight hold of it, and he and his tower were dragged along behind the flying die. In this way, he managed to reach the dice trees, picked their fruit, and passed them on to all his friends, saving the race of dicemouths.

Soon, all the dicemouths were able to travel this way. And they developed a race, held every year, a dice tower race. And nowadays, every year, the winner of the race is crowned as King of the Dicemouths."

...

Alrighty, then.
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56. Board Game: Kreskin's ESP [Average Rating:2.86 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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The one and only board game designed by the Amazing Kreskin. Includes a replica of his crystal medallion thingy.

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57. Board Game: Leaping Lemmings [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1505]
Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
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Players represent scientists settling a bet to see whose genetically engineered lemmings will jump off a cliff with the most style and élan for bit points.
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58. Board Game: Legal Decision [Average Rating:2.75 Unranked]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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Put out by Gotti Games.

It's intended to show flaws in the legal system,
by highlighting a single case, where the evidence
is clearly insufficient, and a conviction is fairly
likely.

There's an interesting game here, but the mechanisms
don't quite work. Apparently criminal masterminds don't
always make good game designers.
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59. Board Game: Let's Kill [Average Rating:5.35 Overall Rank:10303]
Dashiell Pinar
France
La Frette sur Seine
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The title speak for itself...
and the rules are clear...

From the rules: "Let's kill is all about pretending to be a homicidal maniac with an artistic twist that goes around whacking a variety of people in a variety of places with a variety of weapons."

nothing to add...
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60. Board Game: The Looney Bin [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:6732]
Liviu Semacovschi
Romania
Bucharest
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A game about mentally ill folk and people with other "minor flaws".
The theme is a bit deranged, and so is the artwork.
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61. Board Game: Lordz of the Hood [Average Rating:4.33 Unranked]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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This ain't a bad game. Monopoly-style crime board game,
set in Buffalo, NY. Well researched as to where to
score drugs, hos, or find a fence.
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62. Board Game: The Mad Magazine Game [Average Rating:4.86 Overall Rank:10988]
Choubi Gogs
France
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My avatar is from the chilren's game Monster Mash
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Lose all your money!
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63. Board Game: Los Mampfos [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:3432]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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"Buenos Dias!" - Ages 6 and up, along with their families are welcome in the world of Los Mampfos, a game about feed, hungry donkeys and the millstones that determine their fate. In this 20 to 30 minute game, 3 donkeys with more or less full stomachs are always in motion and demand a good memory."

Ok, that's a bit vague. What they leave out is that the game is essentially about feeding donkeys, taking them on voyages, and then collecting matching pieces of donkey poo...

Apparently it's not a bad game, either.

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64. Board Game: Mr. Bacon's Big Adventure [Average Rating:3.72 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Candyland with Bacon?

Described as thus:

"Join Mr. Bacon on a mouth-watering mosey through Meatland! On your journey, you’ll have to navigate your way through the Mustard Marsh, cross the eerie expanse of Wiener Wasteland and sail on the Sausage Sea. If you make it past the deceptive detour of Vegan Alley and avoid getting grounded in Gristle Grotto, you might just make it to the Great Frying Pan at the end of the trail."
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65. Board Game: The Nacho Incident [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4281]
patrick stevens
United States
Los Angeles
California
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This is pretty far off the wall! Selling Mexican food in Canada.
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66. Board Game: Ninja Galaxy [Average Rating:3.39 Overall Rank:10886]
Hunter Shelburne
United States
San Marcos
Texas
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Description:

AD 3017 - In the Ninja Galaxy it has been discovered that the four main star systems are becoming unstable. A destructive virus is spreading. The Ninja Elders have decided that only one star system can be saved. The other ones must be quickly neutralized. Which ones? To decide, the four Ninja Clans will battle each other at the Galaxy Power Rings. The winner's star system will be saved.


Ninjas. In Space. With Lightsabers.
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67. Board Game: No Limit Texas Dreidel [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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In recent years, there have been a spate of dreidel based games. The dreidel is certainly a novel methodology for deciding a game.

This particular approach is No Limits Texas Hold 'Em Poker... with dreidels.

Yes. You read that correctly.
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68. Board Game: Nuke Norway Now [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A wargame, simulating a hypothetical Swedish invasion of Norway.

You've got to give this game its proper credit for having one of the most bizarre titles ever concocted. A possible Swedish invasion of Norway, given the history of the two countries, sure, it's at least theoretically possible in some dystopian future; but why on earth the Swedes would need to use nukes to do it? I have all due respect for the bravery of the Norwegian Army, but wouldn't this just be a little bit of overkill?



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69. Board Game: Nuklear Winter '68 [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:2266]
raoul lzzard
Spain
Barcelona
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This definitely qualifies.

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Adam
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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AaAaAaAaAaAaA! Oh no! You shanked my Jenga ship!
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We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!
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The title says it all.
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71. Board Game: Pain Doctors: The Game of Recreational Surgery [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:8851]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A game about... recreational surgery. Apparently the game has two parts. In the first, you are trying to get your patient healthy enough to perform surgery on him/her, while your opponents are doing the most they can to weaken him. In the second part, you're performing surgery on the patient/victim and attempting to do as much as you can before he dies...

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72. Board Game: Panty Raider [Average Rating:5.92 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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As the name implies, the game is essentially about raiding the girl's dormitory to steal panties. The players must sweet talk various stereotypical college girls into giving up their undies.

Described by the BGG entry as follows:

"Panty Raider is a fast-paced, light-hearted non-collectible card game for two to six players. The objective is simple: infiltrate the girls' dorm and use the powers of stealth and sweet talk to snag yourself some underwear! The first to make off with five pairs wins the game, but the road to victory is never simple - to help pave the way, players have an assortment of Mischief cards with which to raid, barter, or simply drive their opponents up their wall. Build alliances or go it alone, deploy an assortment of random dorm junk, and prepare to go toe-to-toe with some of the most colorful coeds ever put to cardboard."

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73. Board Game: Pass The Booger [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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"Players try to collect a set of all five "booger cards", while avoiding the life size booger.

When someone has collected all five booger cards, does not have the life size booger, and lands on a certain board space, they scream "EAT THE BOOGER" at the player with the life size booger and win the game."

Phew. At least it's tasteful, then.

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74. Board Game: Pez [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:8622]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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In the United States, Collectible Card Games exploded onto the scene with "Magic: The Gathering" in the 1990s. Several hundred competing games were released, attempting to cash in on the craze for CCGs. A few succeeded; others crashed and burned. The same, as far as I know, happened elsewhere around the world. We had games based on Wrestling, games based on Cartoons, games based on Sports, and games based on... Candy?

This particular gem had an international release, and was themed around... Pez candy. If that's not bad enough, BGG user Roger Sorolla says the following in an older Geeklist.

"It gets worse. The PEZ CCG was a licensing platform itself based on a licensing platform. Which means they couldn't depict the PEZ dispensers that are actually cool (Darth Vader, Bugs Bunny, etc.) So the card game was about the not-so-famous in-house PEZ stable of characters like the gator and frog depicted on the box."
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75. Board Game: Pig Tickler [Average Rating:7.35 Unranked]
Paul Boos
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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WTF! This isn't on the list yet?

Here is a miniatures "war" game about defeating robotic pigs. And you know what, it has some pretty cool play concepts going on to make it very approachable. Thanks to
Kent Fletcher
United States
Eagle Mountain
Utah
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I am awaited in Valhalla!!
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for introducing it to me via geekball.
 
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