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Review about Anniversary Editions of Games

by Nathan Zachary
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Most of the games I looked at for the anniversary editions in this post were released ten years after their initial versions. Despite the fact that many of them have important upgrades and alterations. They appear to be celebrating their forebears more than they are making the essential modernizations (opposed to, say, the Diplomacy 50th anniversary edition). With the exception of Container, I’ve played every original game on this list, including Ticket to Ride and Notre Dame’s anniversary editions.

The tenth anniversary version of Ticket to Ride comes with full-sized cards, painted train tokens, personalized player tins, a much larger map, and a new, larger box. There is also a 15th anniversary edition that was just published. Although I don’t know anything about it.

List

  • Notre Dame (10th Anniversary): This iteration seems to be quite similar to the original from the outside. However, it has an expansion and, it seems, an enlargement to that expansion on the interior.
  • Container (10th Anniversary): This version is huge—the word “jumbo” even appears in the title! The enormous ship miniatures, as well as the box and portions of the artwork, seem to have undergone revisions.
  • The fifth anniversary edition of Dungeon Lords seems to include the original game plus the substantial Festival Season expansion.
  • Belfort (10th Anniversary): Because Belfort was previously out of circulation, this edition includes both a previously published expansion and a brand-new one.
  • With seven pre-existing mini-expansions and one new expansion, The Castles of Burgundy (20th Anniversary) is basically a big-box game with updated graphics and art.
  • Stone Age (10th Anniversary): This version comes with a new and original board that may be used on both sides, improved player pieces, an updated rulebook, and a few minor expansions.
  • Pacman 30th Anniversary: Pacman 30th Anniversary is a Google Doodle. The levels are made out of Google’s name, and anyone can access it through internet. There is no need of downloading.

Why you should like these?

As far as I can tell, it took a substantial amount of time and money to upgrade some (but not all) of these anniversary editions. That’s a wonderful thing, in my view. Shouldn’t you celebrate the resurgence of an old game in style? Overall, it does seem that the expenditure was justified based on the sales (at least as far as I can tell from BGG ratings and Kickstarter results for Dungeon Lords and Belfort).

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About Minesweeper

However, is it really best for the game? Here are some ideas I have as I try to make sense of this:

Timing and availability: I can see how an anniversary edition may be useful if the game has been around for a long (10 years is the earliest I would ever consider it) and it hasn’t been in print for a while. The exclusions here are Ticket to Ride and Stone Age since not only were the originals accessible when the anniversary versions were launched. However, the originals have continued to be available even after the anniversary editions are no longer available. Is it preferable if the anniversary edition takes the place of the first one? Isn’t that more of a collector’s edition if it’s just a short-term special edition?

Analogously, I imagine that most companies sometimes hear from fans requesting an updated version of a game that they can only buy on Ebay for a 300% markup. But would a small number of fans be sufficient to support a 1000+ unit print run? Yes, you may utilize Kickstarter to determine demand, but by that stage, you’ve already conducted some market research to support redesigning the game; thus, why not simply develop it now?

Adding compatibility and new material: A number of these anniversary versions add new content. I salute TMG for making that stuff independently accessible via the Belfort Kickstarter and that it keeps the original version compatible. But sometimes it may not be feasible, especially if you adjust the component size.

Conclusion

Possibility of confusion Even when prior versions are long out of print, having many editions may be a hassle for customers. I went through this with Viticulture: Despite the fact that the game’s first two editions have only sold about 10,000 copies each, and the Essential Edition is the only one we’ve released since 2015 (with 90,000 copies sold), we continue to get questions from customers who are unsure of the editions’ differences.

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