Cannabis themed board games adding new heights to weekend get-togethers

Cannabis themed board games adding new heights to weekend get-togethers

VicesApril 11, 2018 By Will Brendza

There are board games out there for every type of person: the economically competitive, those bent on world domination or naval warfare, even for people who want to explore worlds made entirely out of candy. 

But what about board games for people who are just trying to get really, really high?

Along with national legalization (it’s coming), a growing team of entertainment entrepreneurs has stepped up to provide users new forms of group entertainment, taking a stab at cannabis themed board games. And they seem to be onto something.

Considering the federal schedule I status of cannabis, there are a surprising number of these board games already out there: Roll-a-Bong, Dab Out, Chronic Heroes, Blunto, Dealer’s Cup, Stoner Fluxx, Lords of Cannabis, Weedopoly, Rx Weed Wars, Roach Party, Pass the Grass ... all part of a blossoming market. And one group of canna-game makers in particular is hoping to lead the Risk-like charge into uncharted territory. 

Gary Schwartz is the creator of Roll-a-Bong and the man responsible for bringing the Ganja Gaming Guild together in the first place. “I got in touch with about a dozen manufacturers, people who make cannabis themed games,” he says. “What I’m interested in is creating a market space for this, a category.” 

Schwartz lives in New York, but sells his cannabis game just about everywhere he goes. Yet as Schwartz explains, the board game industry is not an easy thing to break into — even when you’ve got weed on your side. 

“Everybody was hosing me,” he recalls of his experiences. Nobody wanted to sell his game; everyone wanted him to buy advertisement space instead. And he wasn’t getting anything out of it. The whole situation was a raw deal. And so, Schwartz decided enough was enough. 

“We started working cooperatively,” he says of the Ganja Gaming Guild members. “And I have sold, since I’ve been working with them, 10-times the amount of games for me, and their games too.”

Schwartz’s game, Roll-a-Bong, is a wild ride — a kief packed blast-off into a world full of cannabis cultural references. With spots like “Bong Master: Pack a Bong,” “Smoke a bowl,” “Eat a Snack,” and “Air Guitar,” the game promises everyone at the party will have a raucous, bong-ripping-good time (and likely get baked off their ass in the process).

Which is, akin to most drinking games, exactly the point. People everywhere are doing just that.

“I sell nationally,” says Schwartz. “And I’ve sold games as far as South Africa, Israel. I’ve sold a lot in Europe. Our problem is not selling games — our problem is getting access to those locations. Places like Facebook will not allow us to market, and there is still a prejudice in non-legal states against smokers.”

Despite that prejudice, though, Schwartz says he has actually sold more Roll-a-Bong games in Pennsylvania, than in Colorado, Washington and Oregon together. “It’s totally counter-intuitive,” he admits.

And it reinforces a seemingly obvious truth: you don’t have to live in a legal state to have a good time with a board game and a bunch of pot. In fact, in places where it’s illegal, the thrill of playing a board game dedicated solely to baking your brain like a potato likely adds to the fun.