Build me a better Mouse Trap.
September 29, 2014 4:17 AM   Subscribe

When you were a kid, did you love playing Mouse Trap? And by playing, I mean setting up the Rube Goldbergesque board and trying to get it to work right at least once every ten tries? I remember having a lot of fun playing with the Mouse Trap game, but not so much actually playing the game itself. Now that I have kids, I understand why. The game itself is terrible. So how could it be made better?

What alternate rules have you made up to make it fun or competitive? Given the limitations of the game (you can't create an alternate machine, for example), how can this be hacked? What alternate interpretations of the board, layout, game mechanics, etc., have you tried or heard about? What outside elements could be brought in?

I'm sure there are a ton of otherwise meh games that have been vastly improved by variants (and everyone seems to have their own version of Monopoly rules). If you can't think of an improvement for Mouse Trap, are there any other board games that you've made an interesting variant of?
posted by GhostintheMachine to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's true - it never worked. There's a few minor variants posted on Boardgamegeek and there also seems to be a new Mouse Trap which maybe works better. Who knows?
posted by gravelshoes at 4:35 AM on September 29, 2014

My friend had Which Witch? growing up, where the setup/functionality/objective complexity was about the same. I don't think we ever actually played the game, we just used the board to engage in some imaginary play ("Let's play haunted house!").
posted by Melismata at 5:02 AM on September 29, 2014

We used to just build the contraption right at the start rather than putting down each piece as the game demanded. Then you have the trapping element right from the start and less of the 'It takes half an hour just to land on enough squares for the game to be built' and then it doesn't work.

I did buy the new mouse trap as a nostalgia gift a few Christmas' ago. I found it quite dull. It's essentially a big tower with the mechanism hidden inside then the ball will come out of one of three different holes triggering different traps. Not as fun as watching the ball inevitably fall off!
posted by Wysawyg at 5:17 AM on September 29, 2014

You could make it bigger.

Somewhere I read about a guy making something out of many copies of this game, like he had 20 boards or something, and did a nutty setup, but I can't find that link.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:54 AM on September 29, 2014

We have an 8 year old and this game. He does sometimes ask us to play the regular way, but it inevitably ends up as imaginative play where the mice are on a secret mission.

And, actually, I'm ok with that.
posted by anastasiav at 8:04 AM on September 29, 2014

As kids, my brother and I solved the mousetrap-doesn't-work problem the other way, namely by taking the board out and building our Quercetti marble run. I'm pretty sure we just narrated how all the pieces of the marble run would get the trap set and most of the time didn't actually play the game, but just built really elaborate runs.

I would recommend free play, as it is much more fun. "Mousetrap" can maybe just be the excuse?

(As for the life-size mousetrap mentioned by cjorgensen, it runs with bowling balls...and it doesn't really work super-perfectly either. But! I saw it in 2008 at the old Ace Junkyard in SF where they successfully smashed a car, which I watched from on top of the junk piles of old fenders and twisted cor-ten and metal bed frames and it was amazing.)
posted by migrantology at 10:56 PM on September 29, 2014

Response by poster: Yeah, seems like there's no way to really make it better, only slightly less annoying. Oh, well. My five year old loves it, so I can still "tweak" the rules without him noticing, and just have fun together. Thanks for the responses.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:31 AM on October 8, 2014

« Older Almost 2 hour commute - is it worth it?   |   How to erase a computer hard drive and installing... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.