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Games You Won’t See from Restoration Games

In Posts by Katie Stapko31 Comments

Now that we’ve announced our first three games, it seems like a good time to talk about how we choose the games we’re going to restore. We literally have thousands of games to choose from, and sometimes a contender will just jump out at us. Stop Thief was an obvious choice. Dragonmaster wasn’t far behind. And Top Race (aka Daytona 500) was Rob’s pet project from the start. There were a bunch of other games we considered—indeed many of them are still in the hopper, perhaps next to be restored.

But there are also some games we’re just not going to do, and here’s why:

It’s already been done. We’ve received thousands of responses to our survey and our submission form, with all sorts of games. Invariably, some of these are games that have already been recently reprinted. Some you can get on Amazon right now. And I’m not even talking about the curious requests for Scrabble, Stratego, Monopoly, and the like. (I’m assuming those requests are really about “fixing” the games rather than bringing them back.) One of the games we threw out early on was Waterworks, a light card game from Parker Brothers, published in 1972. It just got reprinted.

The rights are buried in a tar pit guarded by an owlbear. Some games seem like great prospects. Rob and I might have even spitballed a few ideas that had some promise. Some of them we even got really excited about. There’s one that—no, it hurts just to think about it. For every game, we have to consider how we’re going to get the rights to do the game. For some games, it’s not much of an issue. We don’t even mind a little negotiation or strategic avoidance. But for other games, it’s a deal-killer plain and simple. So there are games like ThunderRoad that we’d love to take a crack at. But, right now, it’s just not feasible. Still, we’ll keep the list handy in case things change. You never know. In fact, we have some games on the list that we started negotiating months ago that are still not dead. We’ll keep at those and see if anything shakes loose.

We’re just not feeling it. And some games meet all the criteria but just don’t interest us much. Popular games, that haven’t been done, that would be easy to acquire. But maybe we don’t feel like there’s much to do with it. Or maybe it doesn’t fit our brand. Or maybe we don’t think it will sell all that well. Maybe just meh.

So those are some of the reasons we won’t do a game. But know this: Just because we haven’t announced a game yet doesn’t mean we’re not going to do it down the road. So that game you’re hoping we’ll do. Well, we just might do it after all.



    1. Are you talking about through the submission form? Survey? Stop Thief got a good number of votes–probably in the top 10. Top Race/Daytona 500 and Dragonmaster got a decent number but not as much as that.

      To be clear, these weren’t really “votes”. We were just trying to get our finger on the pulse of the people.

  1. Ahh yeah! Looking forward to a revamping of Stop Thief. Having re-aquired this game a few years back. It has and still does get regular rotation in our game nights. It has held up really well considering I was only a child when I played it in the 80’s and am in my 40’s now. It has bore the brunt of not just nostalgia…but is a clever, clever little game. Glad to see we weren’t the only ones lamenting it’s “lost in time” status…and thinking of the “App” approach to provide variety and convenience in play.

    Great 1st set of games guys! Looking forward to it.

    ThunderRoad… 🙁 Probably the recent upsurge in popularity of The Road Warrior, and the recent film. Hopefully you will get to do it. It has a popular following on BGG.

    Probably been mentioned already, but I’ll throw on out… Fireball Island. Nuff said, right?

  2. Not so much a game, but a category of games, that feel like they should be brought back now that the tech supports what they were going for better – Old style VCR games such as Atmosfear/Nightmare, Star Trek VCR Game, and the Gargoyles VCR game. With modern mobile phone tech, you could do the same sort of thing but randomized ‘event’ deck interrupting the regular play, significantly improving the replayability and configure difficulty by allowing players to customize the length of play, while with a modern game design ethos you could go full co-op rather than the weird ‘play against the game but only one player (at most) can win’ thing most of them had going on.

    …Though given how much nostalgia there is for Nightmare/Atmosfear around generally, though – And the game got 3 or 4 expansions and a second edition in the form of The Harbingers, so… That’s a pretty big success… But, who knows where the license is for that one specifically…

  3. I listened to Robby on the On Board Games Podcast with Stephanie and while I don’t know any of the games you are releasing, they are all on my anticipated games of 2017 list and I will be back #2 behind Stephanie. I really like the sound of these games and the criteria of choosing them is spot on. While I would love to see a re-working of Fireball Island, hearing how convoluted rights can be makes the choices you are making much easier to understand. I am very excited to see how this all goes.

  4. I wonder why ThunderRoad is such a difficult one to land? It has no specific license attached to it. Unless some other company beat them to the punch and is already negotiating for the rights?

    1. It was developed in-house at Hasbro and falls in that canyon, where it’s — believe it or not — too small for them to devote the time, effort, and resources to deal with.

  5. Also… just curious, how feasible is it to obtain a game featuring a hefty license… and then replace the licensed material with something more generic. (Sort of like what they did with the old DUNE game, that became REX.) An example… if you guys wanted to revamp the old Nightmare on Elm Street game by Victory Games, could you re-theme just the game itself with something generic if you were unable to afford the Freddy Krueger/Nightmare on Elm Street license? Is that an option with games featuring hefty licenses, or do you just pass on the game entirely?

    1. Generally speaking, yes. Every game is different though, and the devil is in the details. We are also committed to dealing with the original designers wherever possible, even if it’s not technically legally required.

  6. Hey guys, I recently recieved the classic game Sub Search as a gift. Actually, it’s the 1977 German version U Boat Jagd. The thing is, it’s the best hidden movement game I’ve ever played. It’s three-tiered game board is a visual attention getter, and it plays fast and fun in 30 minutes. It could have such an amazing re-skin. Look it up.

  7. I know it was a high monster of a game but I loved Broadsides & Boarding Parties. Those two huge ship it was such a visual treat.

    1. A definite on Broadsides – that game was such a visual treat with those two large ships and miniature pirates and cannons! I played it for hours and hours.

  8. Fireball Island, The Omega Virus, Key to the Kingdom, Screaming Eagles, Intercept: The Electronic Search and Destroy Game and The Legend of Zelda Game top my list of games I’d like to see reimagined.

  9. I would love the Omega Virus to be redone or at the very least an app that would replace the command module. Ed S (maldiablo on BGG) has gotten it done for tabletop simulator and made it where you can use it on a tablet for a physical game, but still needs a physical computer to operate on via LAN. Here is his website for that but a dedicated app would be so awesome.

  10. Remember Parker Brothers’ Full House with the cool people popper distributer gadget? Nostalgia at its best…

  11. I would love to see a remake of Talking Football by Mattel. It later was remade as Talking Monday Night Football about two years later.

  12. Avalon Hill’s Dune. If you can work out the rights issue
    Serious board gamers would snap it up.
    You guys would make a mint…

  13. Hi there
    There is a Stefan Feld 2008 board game ” The Name of the Rose” that is out of print and I would
    dearly love to secure a copy, but alas I have been unsuccessful?
    I love this hidden mystery/murder type of game set in medieval monastry.
    The movie, based on the Eco book, with Sean Connery in the leading role was brilliant and
    the game has mirrored both the book and film brilliantly.
    This game deserves another outing.
    Tony Cullum
    Maryborough. Queensland. AUSTRALIA.

  14. Would love to see Key to the Kingdom also known as De Schat en de Sleutel over here in The Netherlands. My favorite boardgame as a kid.

  15. Any chance of remaking Heroquest? I love that game and it’s so hard to find nowadays! A remaster would be amazing!

  16. I’m hoping for a modern release of HeroQuest, but I seem to remember to have read, that you are looking into that at the moment? 🙂

  17. Two Marvel games come to mind now that I see you are able to with with their licensed material in unmatched. Marvel Heroes 2006 originally from Fantasy Flight and Heroscape specifically because Marvel only had one release and there is a treasure trove more content that either game could have.

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