The Island of Misfit Games

Starting 29 May 2010, on the Saturdays that Seattle Cosmic Game Night is held at the Groovagon -- Marty and Ron's house in University Place -- usually once a month, there will be a LongGameDay called the Island of Misfit Games. I'm thinking of having it from noon until game night starts at 5:00 PM, although that may change depending on the preferences of the players.

The Island of Misfit Games will be a special place for that enormous variety of games that don't get much attention at Seattle Cosmic, because they're avant-garde, obscure, or just plain weird. Such misfit games include abstract games, cooperative games, game systems, magnetic games, math and science games, memory games, metagames, not-quite-RPGs, obscure designer games, pen-and-paper games, and more. Occasionally, there may even be a field trip... See below for examples.

While many of the games below have gotten played in the last ten years, and some of them have even been played recently, the majority of games played at Seattle Cosmic are not like these games any more, and when these misfit games are set head-to-head with popular games like Small World or Dominion, they lose, because most people prefer "sure things" to experimentation, even in Seattle Cosmic, which plays an unusually wide variety of games already.

I'm looking forward to hosting the Island of Misfit Games, and I hope you will visit. If the people who visit the Island decide they'd like to import some of its misfit games to Seattle Cosmic proper on a more regular basis, that would make me happy too.

Possible games

(Please see notes after the list.)

Abstract games

Chess variants

Three-dimensional games, four-dimensional games, and more

Cooperative games and solitaire games played cooperatively (or competitively!)

Field trips (possibly scheduled for other days)

Game systems

Glass bead games

Magnetic games

Math and science games

Mentat and memory games



Obscure designer games, such as Sid Sackson's backlist

Pen-and-paper games

Misc. board and card games

Note: I (Ron) have all games, game systems, game equipment, and game anthologies mentioned above, with the exception of a portable GPS unit for geocaching. Fortunately, many people in SC have smartphones, should we decide to venture beneath the hideous Yellow Face.

Ground Rules

  1. You can't say you can't play. No one will be turned away from a game that can support another player.
  2. You can't say you have to play. No one will make you play a game you don't want to.
  3. Bring your own weird games, and keep an open mind about other people's, even if they initially look not just weird, but stupid.

About the name

If you don't understand the name "The Island of Misfit Games", it's an allusion to the old stop-motion Rankin-Bass Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which featured an Island of Misfit Toys where Christmas toys unloved by children went for sanctuary. More directly, I stole the name from game designer Frank Branham, but my Island is less like his list of so-bad-they're-good games, and more like this fabulous list of games to play before you die -- about half of which are also listed above, I'm happy to say.