Our second helping of board game Easter eggs will help you hunt the hidden treats hiding in your game shelves.
This is part two of our best board game Easter eggs roundup -- click here to read all the tasty secrets in part one!
Any good meal comes in at least two parts. The trouble is, beyond grumpily attempting to catch a waiter’s eye, second courses aren’t usually a challenge to find. The Easter eggs we’re after, however, arent your usual food fare. No, these ovoids of espionage have concealed themselves within the cardboard on your game shelf. Join us as we ferret through beloved boxes to discover more of the best board game Easter eggs lurking in their midst.
The best board game Easter eggs - Part two
As with our first batch of hard-boiled mysteries, the board game Easter eggs below will be rated on how sneakily they’re hidden. This time, however, we’ll also be seeing if any actually live up to the supposed “egg” or “Easter” themes they claim to fall under.
Pandering to pets
Who let the dogs out? Not board game designers, apparently -- it would seem that they’re firm feline fans. Search through publisher Stonemaier Games’s collection, and you may be able to spot Walter & Biddy, the two ginger cats of company head Jamey Stegmaier. The pair can be seen loitering outside buildings in Between Two Cities, taking part in Scythe’s festivities, or helping seal the deal with Tapestry’s Marriage of State card.
The most prolific puss to claw his way into board games, however, has to be Mr. Whiskers. Effectively the mascot for publisher Renegade Games, he can be found preening himself in Clank!, Clank! In! Space!, and Junk Orbit. Utterly pampered, this moggy even gets his own cardboard cutout in the Clank! Expeditions: Gold and Silk expansion. Does it serve a purpose? No. Is it cute? Heck yes. If you’re a fan, try hunting down Renegade at a board game convention. The studio has sold pins of the little fellow in the past.
Sneakiness: 3/5 -- These board game Easter egg pets come in all sizes, and some hog the limelight more than others. Tone it down a touch Whiskers, you arrogant animal.
Easter eggitude: 3/5 -- Bunnies are a big deal at Easter, and some people like them as pets. We’re also giving a bonus point for board game designers being on team cat.
Dinosaur Island’s Clever Grill
Sometimes, it’s all in the eggsecution. Terrible pun aside -- we’re not sorry-- there was no way that the reptilian theme park crafting of Dinosaur Island was going to launch without a few nods to “Jurassic Park.” It would’ve been rude not to. But we have to applaud designers Jonathan Gilmour and Brian Lewis, because Dinosaur Island’s homage to its inspiration certainly gave us a chuckle.
Distracting your guests from the escaped dinos looking to gobble them whole is important. So it makes sense to plonk down a restaurant or two to keep them busy. Alongside the more obvious pun of Jurassic Pork lies a sizzling barbeque station named Clever Grill. For those out of the loop, it’s a nod to the 1993 movie’s sequence in which game warden Robert Muldoon is outwitted (and promptly devoured) by his former velociraptor captives. Hold on, is this restaurant secretly grilling guests to feed the raptor pen next door?
Sneakiness: 1/5 -- It’s a dinosaur park. Nobody is playing this who hasn’t watched Hammond’s funfair fall apart.
Easter eggitude: 4/5 -- If we visit the grill, we’re ordering fried oviraptor eggs, sunny side up.
Cosmic Encounter’s “mostly harmless” humans
There are so many bizarre alien monstrosities in Cosmic Encounter that you’d question why anyone would want to play as boring old humans. Yet to the stars the unwelcome hominids came, bearing the midly irritating and unstoppable power to throw a few extra ships into fray each fight. The reason? One giant reference to Douglas Adams’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Cosmic Encounter has shown its love of Adams's work numerous times, even releasing a 42nd Anniversary Edition. An unusual celebration to mark unless you know that “42” is revealed to be the answer to life, the universe, and everything in the sci-fi comedy series.
But the human faction goes the extra light year. Grab the space-faring species equivalent of unbuttered white bread, and you’ll find a descriptor of “Mostly Harmless” attached. In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide,” planet Earth is revised to this verbose assessment from the initial and abrupt description: “Harmless.” We might be dull, but look at the positives: At least our destructive environmental policies aren’t impacting the interstellar community. The faction's Wild Flare also sees 42 crop up again: Enlisting humanity's aid lets you swap your attack card value for the auspicious figure. Not so harmelss now, are we!
Sneakiness: 3/5 -- Liable to be missed purely because no one is picking humans over an alien butler with a monocle.
Easter eggitude: 2/5 -- Aliens probably don’t celebrate Easter, but some of them probably do lay eggs.
Ticket to Ride: Here lies the real Duluth
Seeing your home city appear in a board game ought to be a joyous moment. Unfortunately for the residents of Duluth, Minnesota, Ticket to Ride’s release only confirmed their worst fears: No one actually knows where Duluth is. The classic train-placing game’s original release saw the small town seemingly marked down while blindfolded. Miles from the edge of Lake Superior, the board-based Duluth lies suspiciously close to the position of its much larger neighbor, Minneapolis.
Duluth inhabitants were disgruntled enough to put together a change.org petition, but good news was already on the way. The 10th anniversary release of Ticket to Ride didn’t move the town, but it did add a tiny sign reading “here lies the real Duluth” in the actual location. It’s recognition, of a sort.
Sneakiness: 5/5 -- A tiny reparation that almost seems added out of spite. Lovely stuff.
Easter eggitude: 1/5 -- We can’t comment on the quality of eggs in Duluth or fake Duluth.
Clank! In! Space! is an Easter egg scramble
Easter eggs are usually hidden, but Clank! In! Space! and its expansions show that subtlety clearly died of old age long before the sci-fi era. We’ve already covered the recurring Mister Whiskers, but Renegade Games’s deck-builder sequel isn’t content with one cat.
The game is absolutely littered with references to things like Reddit, “Doctor Who,” and more. So many in fact that fans have had to cobble together unofficial references sheets. There’s one for the original game, another for the Apocalypse! expansion, and one for Cyber Station 11 as well. Be sure to print them off and study before next game night, so you can consistently interrupt your friends’ turns with unhelpful trivia.
Sneakiness: 1/5 -- Finding a card that isn’t some kind of nod to a sci-fi series or movie is the real Easter egg here.
Easter eggitude: 1/5 -- All of those board game Easter eggs and not one genuine egg among them. Disgraceful!
Kingdomino’s tantalizing tiles
Scythe isn’t the only board game sporting a wealth of tiny details across its wildernesses. Take a closer look at the tiles of Kingdomino, and you may spot some rather fantastical details. Several of the tile types form a polyptych when linked together -- that’s a series of panels which make a connected image and definitely not a word we just learned while researching this.
There are references aplenty, too. A tiny Frodo or Sam vs Shelob battle can be seen in one woodland pass, while what looks like a man in gigantic seven-league boots fill another. Scan the water tiles, and you’ll spot the Loch Ness Monster clearly visible under the net of some optimistic fishing boats. Good luck hauling in that one, chaps. If you’re eager to appreciate these details properly, we’d recommend picking up the game’s Giant Version to save your eyes some serious squinting.
Sneakiness: 4/5 -- Not quite so well hidden as in Scythe but a solid stash of secrets all the same.
Easter eggitude: 4/5 -- No eggs directly visible but with all that medieval farmland someone has to be raising chickens.
Right, that’s more than enough board game Easter eggs for you! Eat too many tiles and cards at once, and you’re bound to make yourself sick. If you have any recommendations for further eggy secrets, however, drop us a message on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. And while you’re digesting, why not lie back and have a listen to the Going Analog Podcast? It’s nutritious, we promise.
Author bio: When he’s not losing himself as a mercenary in Gloomhaven, Henry Stenhouse can be found gobbling up all the latest and greatest party games, then wondering why he can never find the time to actually play them with friends. Share your love of deck builders with him on Twitter @Fernoface, or drop an email to email@example.com.