On Tuesday, I published a list of 7 great games that I think could use a facelift. Today is a sort of companion list: here, I’m mentioning 7 games that I think could use the luxury treatment. Basically, what are 7 great games that could become collector’s editions? These are games that are (a) likely popular enough to make it financially viable for a publisher to consider such a project, and (b) games whose bits and theme would benefit from going all out in terms of production value.
To be clear, this isn’t a list of games that need a facelift. Many of these games have great art! These are just the ones that could go all out, sort of like Terraforming Mars is doing with its recent Kickstarter, which adds upgraded components to the game.
If there’s any doubt, we gamers love decking out our games. That’s why sites like Top Shelf Gamer and Meeple Source exist! And over the years, there have been some truly beautiful games produced. My all-time favorite is the Small World Designer’s Edition, but other truly beautiful productions are the War of the Ring Anniversary Edition, the Takenoko Giant Edition, the Suburbia Collector’s Edition, etc. And apparently a new Catan 3D version is coming, so I look forward to picking that up.
For each game, I’m discussing both a rationale, as well as a dream list for what it would include.
I’ll admit that this is probably the most unexpected item on the list, since it is primarily a card game, but hear me out: this game has several beloved expansions, and the non-card components in the game (player boards, coins, tokens, etc.) could be upgraded.
Repos has even released a few upgrades over the years, including metal coins, a playmat, etc., showing that there would be a market for a giant, luxurious edition.
What would it include? This needs the ultimate big box treatment. Put all of the expansions in there. Plus metal coins. A playmat. Pawns for the standees. Alternative art on the player boards. Player aids for each player to teach the symbols. It’d be a beautiful product!
While they’re at it, a larger-sized version of 7 Wonders Duel with upgraded components (meaning those metal pawns and metal coins) would also be popular.
We’ve long loved adding upgraded components to our copies of Uwe Rosenberg’s farming classic. The publisher once recognized as much, releasing a Goodies Expansion box of better bits, new boards, stickers, and some additional cards.
The biggest argument I see against this product is that there is already a cottage industry dedicated to providing this service.
What would a comprehensive edition include? Upgraded bits would be nice for those that don’t have them. I currently use the animals and resource tokens from Top Shelf Gamer, and something like that would be awesome out of the box. There are already plastic miniatures you can buy for the game, so those could go in the luxury product.
But the big draw would be a comprehensive set of tournament cards (including the difficult-to-find World Championship deck), the Farmers of the Moore expansion, and maybe some cool extra boards.
Dear Hans im Glück: it is time to give Carcassonne the luxury treatment You’ve given us big box after big box. You even gave us a weird, all-too-expensive book edition of the game. But what you haven’t given us is the real BIG box.
What I’m talking about are coaster-sized Carcassonne pieces. Come on… you’ve released a set of 36 coaster-sized tiles. But with 36, you’re only halfway there! Why have you stopped?!?
Put the full set of tiles, one or two expansions (or more, if you’d like), and some giant meeples all in a truly epic box. Maybe an oversized score tracker. Put it on Kickstarter. And profit. Heck, I’ll buy two copies. I’ve done the calculations… my game table can hold it.
CASTLES OF MAD KING LUDWIG
Why the luxury treatment? Bezier did such a fantastic job with Suburbia Collector’s Edition that I’d love to see what they could do with Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Plus, when you’re building a castle, the bigger the better!
What would it include? Bigger components. Metal coins. Some of the scenarios from the app (which are amazing) in book form. Maybe the ultra-cool detailed artwork from the Polish edition? Individualized foyers for the Castles.
If Bezier could do for Castles what they did for Suburbia, it’d be one of my most anticipated games of the year.
ISLE OF SKYE
Isle of Skye is a beautiful game. It is my favorite Klemens Franz artwork of any game, which is saying something, since I’m a huge fan of his. And the game is already pretty well produced. But I think it could go to the next level.
But here’s my vision for something truly exceptional, a labor-of-love product that would make this shine. In addition to slightly bigger tiles — each area doesn’t get very big, so they can still fit on the table if slightly larger — metal coins would be nice. But also throw in tokens for tracking who has what resources, so sheep, cattle, whiskey barrel, and ship tokens. Plus, miniatures for the lighthouses, brochs, and farms. A larger central playing board would be cool — it could even be a playmat — and maybe have a really cool castle for each player’s starting space.
The 10th Anniversary edition was cool, but it is cool by the standards of, well, nearly a decade ago… by today’s standards, it is pretty “meh.” It’s time to go top shelf on this great game once again.
What would it include? As I pointed out on Tuesday, “If Puerto Rico were released today, it would have upgraded bits for each type of good (rather than little cylinders), feature better artwork, have add-on metal coins, probably contain cool little 3D ships, and be more socially conscious.”
I’ll add one more item to the wish list: bigger boards and bigger components. The buildings can be hard for new players to read across the table.
TICKET TO RIDE: EUROPE
Days of Wonder has done it before. The Tenth Anniversary Edition of Ticket to Ride was gorgeous. If I had to take my game collection down to 1 game, this would be a strong contender. If my home were suddenly facing some sort of disaster, my copy of that game would be one of the first things I grabbed.
So why not do Europe next? It’s a popular map… I like it better than the U.S. map! And if you did it double sided with, hypothetically, the India or Switzerland map, even better! Basically, you’ve done this perfectly before for Ticket to Ride… time to expand the series!
Comments by Other Opinionated Gamers:
Matt C: Ah, but what about making games smaller? I have Tiny Epic Galaxies, which is probably the best in the Tiny Epic series, but I also bought a copy of the Ultra-Tiny Epic Galaxies. It’s the complete game (unfortunately, minus the good expansion) in about the size of a box of cards. There’s been two small versions of Catan released (one in a small foldable plastic case, the other just small bits if I recall.)
Clearly the best candidates are games with fewer bits (so Carcassonne/tile laying games are probably out) but a travel version of Pandemic, Azul, Splendor, Tigris & Euprhates, or Codenames might do well. Other possibles would be Root (still too many pieces?), Patchwork (already on the small side), maybe In the Year of the Dragon (one of my favorites.) While I’d love a more portable Agricola/Puerto Rico/Orleans, they simply have too many bits to be practical. Some games, like Ticket to Ride, get a pass because a similar version like TTR:New York can serve the same purpose.
Mark Jackson: I’d love a deluxified 7 Wonders.
Also on my list:
– a storage system for Unmatched (we’re already at 5 boxes with excellent storage trays… but it’s becoming a bit of a hassle to port around)… along with replacing all the cardboard bits and a 5-6 player mapboard
– A new edition of Fast Food Franchise with 3D chain buildings, small poker chip money… and the hats
Joe Huber: On the whole, I don’t find much need for deluxe editions. I don’t mind them – much, much less annoying than expansions – but they’re not something that fits a need for me. I owned the 10th anniversary edition of Puerto Rico – but found it more difficult to play with than the original, and so let it go. I don’t have any interest in huge-sized Carcassonne pieces. And I haven’t even kept Ticket to Ride Europe in my collection; no reason I’d need a deluxe edition either.
But I’m not entirely immune. I suspect I’d add the deluxe Fast Food Franchise that Mark describes to my collection post haste. And Scratch House could really use a deluxe edition to make the most of the game. I’d be happy to own a 100th anniversary edition of Oswald B. Lord’s Game of Politics in 15 years, but I’m guessing that’s not happening. On the whole, though, I’m pleased with the copies I have.
Frank Branham: Wow. No love for Dexterity games. When they do oversized version of dex games, the larger pieces make the game rather more stable and less fiddly. Palazzo Paletti (Villa Paletti’s big brother), Giant Bamboleo, and the big Rhino Hero are better games for it. I’m thinking Hamsterrolle and Arbos. But I’d love a nicer version of Astron and Fast Food Franchise in a heartbeat. Admittedly, a deluxe version of Fast Food Franchise would be ANY new version.