Kimble’s story in Finland began when Aarne Heljakka’s relatives from the United States came to Pori in 1967 to take the Trouble board game with them. Heljakka copies the game, acquired its license and named it Kimble in Finland.
Sound is familiar to every Finn. First the spring is depressed, then it is released and finally it pushes into the dice, which stops at the edge of the plastic dome. The dice drop back down and show the number.
We are in the game laboratory of Pori University Center and there is a Finnish classic game on the table.
“You don’t remember how Kimble is played? How is it possible?” Lilli Sihvonen give a laugh.
It has to be admitted. The last time there is so much time that the rules of the game have been forgotten.
But Sihvonen if anyone knows Kimble’s rules. He defended his dissertation at the University of Turku on Friday on the topic of the sustainable product relationship of the Kimble board game.
Sihvonen times the rules of the game.
Oh yeah, this was so easy. A childish game of chance, I smile to myself.
I get my first piece on the board at six. The goal is to move four of your own pieces once around the playing track and bring them to the finish line. Simple.
Sihvonen In his dissertation, he studied reproduction, the process by which a product is intentionally withdrawn from the market for a period of time and returned later.
“The idea is that when a product is pulled out, consumers develop a nostalgic longing for the product. When that feeling has accumulated enough, the product will be returned to the market, perhaps with a slight change. ”
Products in new production are called classics. Kimble is undoubtedly a classic – after all, it has kept its surface as a favorite game of Finns for 55 years.
Kimble ended up as a bit of a coincidence.
“My other director had a retrospective of Kimble and had the life cycle of Kimble printed on the back cover. I wanted to start exploring the relationship between Kimble and the remanufacturing process. Will Kimble ever be withdrawn from the market? ”
However, it quickly became clear that Kimble was being sold all the time.
“There is no need to withdraw the game from the market, because it does not bore Finns,” Sihvonen reveals.
How so don’t get bored? I play the game without thinking about it anymore and move my second piece to Sihvonen’s start screen.
“If it comes to six now, I’ll eat you.”
Of course there will be six. I feel stupid.
Is there any tactic in Kimble after all?
“It is, but nothing revolutionary. Few people remember that a game piece doesn’t have to be moved according to the dice if it looks bad. There are also kind players who never eat, but I don’t think it’s part of the spirit of the game. ”
It has become clear. Sihvonen has already escaped to a clear lead and eaten my own pieces on the way.
Reproduction is a familiar topic to Sihvonen. His master’s thesis dealt with the planned obsolescence and revival of a cultural product, such as the classic fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
“I study different film versions shown in Finland. Snow White has been regularly withdrawn and re-introduced to the market. Sometimes changes are made to it, some stuff, like new scenes. The product can also be updated to suit the new generation, for example by making a new dubbing. ”
Kimble has changed little during the history of the game. Of course, dozens of different themed versions of the game have been made, but the basic idea is the same in all of them.
Kimble is a timeless classic.
What’s the secret?
“Kimble creates a safe and lasting product relationship. It’s also really simple as a game. Everyone knows how to play it. ”
“And if you think about this time, this time is a neutral product. Everyone is on an equal footing. The dice can be bad, but this does not discriminate against anyone. ”
Another Finnish board game classic has not lasted as well. The African star ended up in the midst of a racist upheaval in the fall of 2021, when students at the University of Helsinki dressed up for the student event according to the theme of the game. The fuss led to a debate about what the game gives the picture of Africa.
“Compared to that, Kimble is more equal.”
Kimble’s catalog doesn’t offend anyone, as there is no actual catalog. The background of the game board is solid and the pieces are either blue, red, green or yellow. Admittedly, in the earliest versions, the cover of the game had a picture of the core family, but since then the cover has been decorated with a picture of the game itself.
“The dice tour may be bad, but this doesn’t discriminate against anyone.”
Lilli Sihvonen may constantly hear wonders about his dissertation topic. Why Kimble? Why not even an African star?
“Usually I answer why not and the conversation continues as memories of Kimble. Everyone always tells me how annoying that sound is. ”
Yes, that sound. Plastic hood, officially pop-o-maticis an integral part of the game.
“It wouldn’t be Kimble without it.”
The plastic dome has been used to advantage in other games as well, its dice when not lost.
However, Kimble’s dice are not entirely random. In 2015, statisticians tested game and found that the opposite number on the dice will be clearly more likely than the other numbers. This is why six often comes first after six.
Research during which Sihvonen has played Kimble dozens of times and lost only three times according to himself.
It looks like the profit column will grow this time too.
Although Sihvonen is almost invincible at Kimble today, he doesn’t remember playing the game much as a child.
“That’s why it was probably easy to start exploring this, because now I can finally play Kimble in my thirties.”
Sihvonen, 33, was originally from Oripää, but has lived in Pori for 14 years, which is also Kimble’s home.
The birth story of the game began when Aarne Heljakan relatives from the United States came to Pori in 1967 to take the Trouble board game with them. Heljakka copies the game, acquired its license and named it Kimble in Finland.
At the same time, Nelostuote was born, the current Tactic, whose production plant is still located in Pori.
Pop-o-matic draws the second, but I don’t realize I have to eat Sihvonen’s piece with it. He already has three pieces in the goal. I’ll change the topic to the sustainable product relationship explored in my dissertation, that the game doesn’t end prematurely.
“A sustainable product relationship is about a collectively shared trust in the durability of a product. The product has features that inspire confidence, ”Sihvonen opens.
Kimble is familiar, safe and physically resilient.
Sihvonen compares Kimble to a smartphone. The relationship with the smartphone is not sustainable as it has to be replaced every few years. Kimble, on the other hand, will last for decades.
Certain parts of smartphones can be intentionally made degradable over a period of time.
“I want the planned obsolescence to be abandoned because it is a big environmental problem. Why couldn’t we make it more permanent? Tactic is determined to make Kimble sustainable from the start and they are still up and running. Something has been realized there. ”
Few things in our society are as permanent as Kimble.
Alan to get a taste of Kimble. The game is not only nostalgic and simply addictive, but also one solution to the challenges of sustainability.
Sihvonen returns me to the surface of the earth.
“If now I get Nelonen and I win. ”
Pop-o-matic deceives me.
“Yes!” Sihvonen cheers and takes the win.
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