Pitching the Perfect Game

I was voted “most likely to succeed” by the graduating class of my high school. Impressive as that is, you should keep in mind that I was homeschooled. I was also voted “most likely to be sued for copyright infringement” (that was suggested by my Aunt Meredith). What follows are the strategies I wrote up as an attempt to break into the world of board game marketing. I ended up fulfilling only one of those predictions. I think you’ll be able to guess which.


  • Catch-phrase: “The game that you are never going to finish”
  • Educational Value: It teaches the dangers of capitalism: we all know that Bernie Madoff went to jail because he rolled two doubles in a row. It also teaches that even a dog or a thimble can be successful in OUR economy.
  • Selling Point: If people are willing to sit through an entire monopoly game with you, you know that they are truly your friends.
  • Possible Sequel: In “Communism” instead of the different pieces (the dog, the bag of money, etc) each player has an identical piece called “the Comrade.” Instead of rolling dice, each player advances one square at a time. All money that is earned is shared equally among all players and they rejoice in their shared prosperity. The only way to lose is to accidentally take more money than the others and get sent to the Gulag. The Gulag is a lot like jail, except you are never allowed to leave.


  • Catch-phrase: “Ural Gonna Die!”
  • Educational Value: Teaches kids geography the American way: The only reason you need to learn a country’s name is to declare that you own it (and its oil).
  • Selling Point: Risk reminds you which of your friends you can trust (none of them!)
  • Possible Sequel: “Peace Settlement” takes place at the UN and lets players argue over every minuscule detail of hundred page long peace treaties. Make sure to bring along your copy of the Geneva Conventions because you just might find yourself on trial for war crimes!


  • Catch-phrase: “The game that reinforces the cultural norms of a post World War two American society that demands conformity to a strict nuclear family.”
  • Educational Value: Tricks kids into thinking that life has rules.
  • Selling Point: When bullies yell, “You don’t have a life!” You can reply, “Actually, I have three different copies because my aunt Meredith doesn’t feel like thinking of a new present to buy!”
  • Possible Sequel: “Death” allows players to descend into the underworld for a whole host of torments. They will get to trudge through the fires of Hell, meet the Devil himself, eat flaming maggots, and then, if they accumulate enough “virtue” tokens, ascend into Heaven and meet God Himself. This game was play-tested by Dante Alighieri.


  • Catch-phrase: “The mystery game that leaves only one question unanswered: ‘Why did I waste my time playing this game?’”
  • Educational Value: It prepares players for a job as a psychologist where they will collect clues about people’s problems and then spontaneously shout, “Your ego was killed by the Emotional Abandonment Issues in the Early Childhood Memories using the weapon Crippling Loneliness!”
  • Selling Point: Players are more prepared to commit a real murder once they’ve already investigated a fake one.
  • Possible Sequel: “Court” will be a game about the lengthy legal procedures involved in convicting criminals. Players will get to read through extensive legal briefs and hit each other with gavels when they get bored. There could also be a “Supreme Court” expansion pack where players put on judge’s robes and take the roles of Supreme Court Justices. Watch out for mom when she puts on her Ruth Bader Ginsberg outfit, she will question the validity of your evidence and the constitutional legality of your assertions.


  • Catch-phrase: “Animal abuse in a box!”
  • Educational Value: Teaches kids that you need a boot, a bucket, a diver, a bathtub, a cage, and an inhuman amount of patience to catch a mouse.
  • Selling Point: Inspires children to invent things. Specifically, it inspires them to invent excuses to not play this game.
  • Possible Sequel: In “Humantrap” you play as aliens who are trying to abduct people by luring them into their hovercraft with Mac-and-Cheese and steak. Watch out for the vegans, they won’t be susceptible to your bait.


  • Catch-phrase: “The perfect excuse to show off that you know that ‘yclept’ is a word.”
  • Educational Value: Boggle is like writing: you shake your mind until letters form into words. Unfortunately, in both writing and Boggle the letters don’t come out write right the first time and you have to go back and smooth them over. It’s also stressful and you are in constant competition. The only thing that will allow you to win in either writing or Boggle is originality.
  • Selling Point: Gives English majors a rare chance to be successful.
  • Possible Sequel: “Censorship” works a lot like Boggle, except if you try to write down any words the other players take your paper, rip it up, and smack you in the face. The game ends when all the players decide that writing isn’t that important.


  • Catch-phrase: “What nerds did before Dungeons and Dragons.”
  • Educational Value: Either teaches you to plan ahead or to regret not planning ahead.
  • Selling Point: Now that the band is broken up, this is probably your best chance to meet any sort of Queen.
  • Possible Sequel: In “Rebellion” all of the pawns face off against all of the Kings, queens, knights, rooks, and bishops. If the Peasantry win, the next game you will play is Communism, if the Nobility wins, the next game you will play is Monopoly.


  • Catch-phrase: “Diabetes: The Game”
  • Educational Value: Teaches children about product placement.
  • Selling Point: You can explain to your children that Candyland isn’t a real place on the way to the dietician’s office. You can also trick your children into eating healthy by stapling a piece of kale to the board and claiming that it is just chocolate wrapped in green tinfoil (that’s certainly what it tastes like!)
  • Possible Sequel: In “Dentist Land” you get to fill in all the cavities that the characters earned during their vacation in “Candy Land.” If you play your cards right, you might just get the chance to operate on a root canal!


  • Catch-phrase: “Military Industrial Complex: The Game”
  • Educational Value: Teaches kids that the way to win wars isn’t just to fire away at your enemy, it’s to spy on their battle plan when they leave for a bathroom break.
  • Selling Point: Reminds you why you didn’t join the navy.
  • Possible Sequel: “Drone Strike” is a one-player version of Battleship. You can play as long as you want because there is no one shooting back at you. And there are no ethical restraints.


  • Catch-phrase: “The Game of Passive Aggression”
  • Educational Value: Teaches children that you can show how angry you are by yelling Sorry! when you hurt other people.
  • Selling Point: It will prepare you to deal with Aunt Meredith at Thanksgiving.
  • Possible Sequel: In “Just Kidding” whenever you land on a square you get an offensive remark to say. If you aren’t able to justify that angry remark with the words, “Just Kidding” you lose the game.


  • Catch-phrase: “The Alternative to Medical School!”
  • Educational Value: Teaches children that they don’t need to wash their hands before performing surgery.
  • Selling Point: Allows you to indulge your psychopathic desire to yank out all a person’s organs.
  • Possible Sequel: “Medical Malpractice: The Game.” My attorneys have advised me not to comment on this game as there is an ongoing investigation.