Not even Knizia could find a theme for that! Whipping up a creamy dip for some salty abstracts. Help needed!
Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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Abstract games. Some hate them, some love them.

What most of them have in common is the fact that they are totally void of theme. Some brave designers have taken abstract systems and pasted a theme on top of it - anything to please the AT crowd I guess. No, but seriously: theme is fun!

I'd like to make a list where we take really hardcore, themeless abstracts and see if we can't find a fitting theme for them.

Put on your creative thinking caps and let's turn rocks into castles and glass beads into dragons!
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1. Board Game: ZÈRTZ [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:317]
Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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New name: Kangaroo island

Ok. Basically you have this slowly sinking island onto which the gods (players) are dropping down kangaroos of different colors (white, gray and black - white being the most valuable).

The thing is: if one kangaroo lands next to another kangaroo, the next player will unleash the fury of the gods and make one kangaroo jump over the other kangaroo, capturing it mid-air (with its infamous kangaroo net!).

The object of the game is to make your opponent jump high priced kangaroos over kangaroos of lesser value, after which you retaliate and jump the kangaroo that just landed in front of you.

Makes perfect sense, right?

Possible improvements over base game:
+ Kangaroo minis wielding some sort of net gun
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2. Board Game: Retsami [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:6657]
Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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New name: Star Trek Phaser Race

Eight Starfleet officers, divided into two teams race through a spiral shaped track. As soon as one officer reaches the goal that team wins.

Of course every officer is armed with a phaser gun, set on stun. Instead of moving one of his own officers he can shoot an opponent and - if he hits - use the transporter to move to the target's former location. Officers that get shot must leave the race, but can reenter on subsequent turns.

Possible improvements over base game:
+ Star trek minis in gym shorts
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3. Board Game: Gobblet [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1442]
Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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New name: No milk today

Here you have milk monsters of different sizes. The funny thing is: they're all lactose intolerant! The bigger pieces can chew up the smaller ones, but if they try to move or eat another piece, they will throw up the pieces they've already eaten. first player to line up four of his milk monsters win.

Feels like a solid theme!

Possible improvements over base game:
+ Very weird minis...
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4. Board Game: Oshi [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:3431]
Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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New name: Sumo Wrestling Tag Team Death Pit

Two teams of sumo wrestlers line up against each other. Each team has some heavyweight fighters, some middleweight and some lightweight.

The object of the game is to push your opponents out of the ring. The bigger the fighter the greater the pushing power.

Improvements over the base game:
+ A variety of sumo minis in different combat poses.

To flesh it out even more I'd also like to see a playing board depicting a sumo arena! And perhaps spray the pieces with authentic sumo wrestler sweat. To give it that genuine locker room smell.
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5. Board Game: Fanorona [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:3946]
Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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New name: Bob's Warehouse Mayhem

Each player controls a guy named Bob.

Bob is a disgruntled warehouse worker. All his hopes and dreams of becoming a rockstar seem to have gone down the drain.

Bob needs to vent. Bob takes out his anger on the other Bob's part of the warehouse.

The Bobs take turn trying to demolish as much of each others neatly stacked shelves as possible, either by pulling them down or by pushing them. Success makes Bob happy, he then gets another go.

Possible improvements over base game:
+ Small plastic shelves
+ Awesome prepainted mini depicting Bob - overweight, balding, washed out Kiss t-shirt...
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6. Board Game: Mancala [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:3057]
Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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New name: Poopy Diapers

Baby is leaving poopy diapers all over. Mother and Father need to pick up all the poopy diapers, but they decide to make a game of it.

You pick up a leaking poopy diaper and race to toss it in the diaper genie, but it leaks as you go. If you get it right in the diaper genie, you get another turn. If the diaper lands on a clean spot where the other person left a dirty diaper, you clean up both piles. Player with fullest diaper genie wins!
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7. Board Game: Lines of Action [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1853]
Jason M
United States
Raritan
New Jersey
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New name : Mystical Mind-Meld of the Mechano-Monkeys

Each player begins with two teams of mechanized monkeys facing one another from opposite sides of a square temple-arena. These monkeys yearn for the techno-mystical union of their simian artificial intelligences with those of their brothers across the play area, but to make this happen, they must come into physical contact with their comrades, while avoiding their monkey adversaries. To complicate matters further, each monkey may only choose the direction of its movement, while the distance traveled is determined by the electromystical monkey soulforce currently channeled along the temple meridian along which they would like to move. Jumping over teammates is fine, but to do so to an opponent would be considered rude, and is therefore not done. Jumping onto opponents and pummeling them into dust is, however, allowed. The first team to achieve monkey singularity wins, and gets to consume the souls of the defeated team.

Possible improvement:
Mandrills vs. Macaques.
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8. Board Game: Quarto! [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:710]
Jeremiah Dwyer
United States
Littleton
Colorado
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New name: Conformist!

In this theming of Quarto!, the pieces are designed as various high school students who take great pride in their individuality and uniqueness. As each player plays their "students," they are trying to force the other player to play pieces that share some feature, which will lead to a loss of the game, and being exposed as a "poseur."
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9. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:70]
L. Stitz
Germany
Lüneburg
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Tee-hee-hee-hee-hi-hihihi-hu-hua-huar-huarrrRRRrrrrrr.
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Arab Spring

The players re-enact the happenings on Cairo's Tahrir Square in spring 2011. One side (white) plays the protesters, the other one (black) the supporters of president Mubarak. As soon as protesters of a side are able to surround their opponents, they "remove" them from the scene (to the prisons, or worse). Since everybody is engaged in fist-fights as soon as he entered the square, pieces cannot be moved after placement.
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10. Board Game: YINSH [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:97]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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Re-Theme: Angels & Demons

No, not the sub-par thriller with the clowncar ending, but the old vision of an angel and a demon on either shoulder.

See, the theme is, you're both trying to convince someone to either do something good or evil.
The white circles will be rethemed as halos, and the black as rings of fire, and are considered "reasons" every time you get 5 in a row, you have basically made a point, and thematically, you can no longer harp on it, and therefore remove it from the board. First one to ram home three points wins the argument!
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11. Board Game: TZAAR [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:259]
Thijs Lauwbierkoffie
Netherlands
Amersfoort
Utrecht
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As a mutant monster game,

all your pieces are monsters that need to eat every turn: so they eat the monster pieces of your opponent. They can kill a second time each turn for fun, or a piece can combine its powers with another monster piece: to form some sort of symbiotic organism. You can only kill/eat monsters that are smaller or as big as the attacking monster.

All monsters or symbiotic organisms have one gene to be immune for a disease. Three different genes are needed to have enough genetic diversity to survive outside threats. When you only have 2 or less genes left your monster population will die. Or if your monster population cant eat they will starve to death.
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12. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:367]
Jeroen Harkes
Netherlands
Voorburg
Zuid Holland
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New name: Disco Dancing Delight

We're having a dance competition where everybody has a limited amount of dance moves of up to five steps. Every move lights up the dance floor and you are not allowed to step on previously lit tiles. Your new move must start from a previous move, but must not mess up the previous tiles.
The one who has moved the most steps is the winner.
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