The current popularity of board games makes if very easy to look to the future for new, novel experiences. A trip to the gaming store reveals several new ways to have fun with friends, and Kickstarter abounds with previews of the future of board games. The board game renaissance has also allowed designs from the past to come back in triumphant ways. Games like Android: Netrunner and Fury of Dracula came out of the past in new, popular editions that kept the classic mechanics that worked while not being afraid to update ones that didn’t. Restoration Games, founded by game designers Justin D. Jacobson and Rob Daviau, want to bring back some of the games that innovated in the past to a fresh audience hungry for new experiences. They recently launched a Kickstarter for their first game updating a 1979 groundbreaker in the integration of electronic games and traditional board games: Stop Thief!
For gamers of a certain age, the orange and black logo of Stop Thief! brings back a nostalgia for a game that came with a major electronic component. Players moved around a board keyed into several numerical locations looking for a criminal. During their turn, they punched in those codes to the Electronic Crime Scanner and listened for an audio update to their investigation. The criminal might have moved somewhere, broken a window to escape into a building, or even gotten into a short gunfight to make a desperate escape.
The updated Kickstarter replaces the phone with an app that can be used on any mobile device thanks to a partnership with app developers Hidden Achievement. The app makes a few improvements to the experience unavailable to the original device from 38 years ago. Not only will the sound effects be clearer, but there will be ways to alter the game’s difficulty and experience through the app. (Though, as a stretch goal, the app will feature the original sounds as an option.) Hearing impaired players, for example, will see icons that match the clues given, and there will be options for family play and hardcore mode.
Detectives now use a movement card system rather than dice rolls to move across the board and have special abilities based on their character. The thieves also have now special abilities that break the rules because, well, they are the bad guys, of course. The original board grid is now a point-to-point movement system like The Last Friday or Letters From Whitechapel for a more precise deduction from players.
The reward tiers for the Kickstarter are pretty basic between the game with included stretch goals and a retailer exclusive tier. As of this writing there are still some of the limited edition Most Wanted editions available, which are signed by the original designer of the game, Dr. Robert Doyle. Doyle has a fascinating background as a designer, including having left NASA to design electronic board games at the time. Fans who go all in for one of these editions actually get two copies of the game; one to crack open and play and the limited edition one to seal in a vault. The Kickstarter runs until April 11, so the clock is ticking on a chance to help Restoration Games bring back a beloved crime-stopping game.
What is your most favorite detective board game? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image: Restoration Games
Image Credits: amazon.com
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves, Vulcans and sometimes all of them at the same time. His blog is here, his Twitter is here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.