Connect with top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 this May 22-23. Register here.

Mushroom Kindgdom! Poor, board games. No one really plays them anymore. Well, except for the Germans — they love board games. But they also pop a wiener schnitzel for David Hasselhoff, so what do they know about entertainment?

Most of the us non-lifeguard-loving folk, however, prefer games of the video variety. But every once in a while we get a hankering for some old-school, paper and plastic fun. That’s why when we spotted game-loving designer Ashley Buerkett‘s Mario-inspired board game Mushroom Kingdom!, we had to quart..err, token up to find out more about it.


Bitmob: What made you think to take the “video” out of a videogame?

Ashley Buerkett: Well, the object of the assignment was to create a paper city, so it didn’t even have to be playable. It just had to be a concept of a city made entirely from paper. And I’ve been obsessed with Mario for so long that it just came natural to use the Super Mario Bros. city concept and just apply it to the project. And I decided to make it a game at the last minute. Because it’s not exactly that playable.


GamesBeat Summit 2023

Join the GamesBeat community in Los Angeles this May 22-23. You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry to share their updates on the latest developments.

Register Here

Bitmob: Well, how exactly does one win your game?

AB: It’s pretty simple: You roll dice and you get to the end. It’s not that difficult. It’s more for looks — it’s not meant to be played.

Bitmob: So it’s recommended for ages infants through two-year-olds, basically?

AB: Yeah, it’s meant to be a kids’ game, for sure.

Mario Board Game 2Bitmob: For a Mario-inspired board game, we don’t see a whole lot of the portly plumber himself? How come? Royalty fees too high?

AB: Yeah, I started off with him in it, but it just wasn’t working. So I figured I’d just keep it with inanimate objects. My teacher actually gave me a “B” because she’s like, “Mario already happened — I want to see the least amount of Mario possible.” It is kind of lacking, and I do kinda miss it. And I might just make him and throw him back in there, because I think it’s weird without him and Luigi.

Bitmob: Wait, so your teacher docked you points for including Mario?

AB: Yeah, she said, “I don’t think you need to be that literal. I think you can apply this better to a city without him in it.”

Bitmob: That’s like making a Star Wars piece and getting points taken off for including Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

AB: Yeah, I thought it was kinda defeating the point, but she was the one giving me the grade, so I just made her happy.

Bitmob: The original Super Mario Bros. had hidden wrap pipe cheats to get you to the end of the game quicker. Does your game have anything similar? Like, say, an instant win card or something?

AB: No, but that’s a great idea! I should have put some pipes in there. I actually did mess around with the idea of making pipes, but they ended up just looking like game pieces. So I cut them out, because people were all like, “Oh, I’m the pipe!”

Mario Board Game 3Bitmob: Since you made a board game, we have to ask: Do you actually think Monopoly is fun?

AB: Oh god, I hate Monopoly. I get so frustrated with that game. No go on Monopoly.

Bitmob: What do you think of videogames based on board games? Blasphemous?

AB: Um, that’s not my cup of tea. I’ve watched them and they don’t interest me at all. I think videogames should start with something original.

Bitmob: We really like that Halo game — ‘mind making us a board game out of that?

AB: I would love to — I play Halo as well. That sounds awesome. It would be a little bit more difficult, but I think I can do that.

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.