The Strong’s board game collection is unique in all the world. Unlike specialized collectors, the museum thinks broadly about what it acquires, striving to represent both ancient and modern examples, simple games and complex ones, and extremely typical editions and rare versions for the varieties of play they represent, as well as the cultures that inspired them. So I was delighted earlier this year when Don Lyon of Binghamton, New York, offered the museum the opportunity to select from his collection of board games dating from about 1950 to 2000. I ultimately chose more than 75 games from a much larger list. The donation helps fill gaps in the collection for that era, and it also includes several treasures.
One game that stands out in the collection is a 1982 board game inspired by Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Blade Runner was not officially licensed through its namesake film’s producers. Therefore, due to copyright and trademark law, the board game was pulled from store shelves soon after introduction, making it nearly impossible to find today. Meanwhile, Blade Runner’s ever increasing cult status—it led the way for so-called neo noir films and helped create the science fiction tech noir genre—has made the scarce board game even more desirable over the years.