Board game reviews, news and commentary.
Board Games Worthy of the Big (and little) Screen
Head in the Clouds
Updated: Tuesday, Feb 23, 2016
Hello, Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise, and recently, I’ve been discussing the universe of intellectual properties that originated board games, and what has happened when some of them have crossed over into books, movies and television. Well, we’ve talked about what has been, but what about what could be? Let’s discuss several universes that originated in board games that just may have what it takes to cross over to other forms of entertainment, and why.

Let’s start with the game that was not only number one on my list, but also the most frequently suggested board game from last episode’s comments: Fantasy Flight’s Twilight Imperium. Not only has this game’s universe been fleshed out over the course of three editions and multiple expansions, but it’s even proven strong enough to be ported over to other games, as demonstrated when Dune was re-introduced as Rex: Final Days Of An Empire, changing its theme from Dune to the Twilight Imperium universe.

This game was the viewer’s primary pick for the big screen treatment from the comments. So, do I think Twilight Imperium would make a good movie? No. I mean, close, but no. I think a better vehicle for Twilight Imperium would be as a grandiose, five-season television series, in the vein of Babylon 5, where the series’ entire multi-season story arc has been determined in advance, giving it a pre-planned beginning, middle and end. A complex galaxy-wide, premeditated, political sci-fi adventure. With that approach, I think Twilight Imperium could really shine.

There were also several other games mentioned by viewers in the comments deserve honorable mentions:
  • Pandemic (The dramady of MASH mixed with the global crisis of I Am Legend?),
  • Betrayal At House On The Hill (The bizarre monster of the week of X-Files mixed with the tongue-in-cheek attitude of Scooby Doo?),
  • Android Netrunner (The group dynamic of Sneakers mixed with the subterfuge and twists of The Bourne Identity),
  • Arkham/Eldritch Horror (The adventure of Indiana Jones mixed with the intensity of American Horror Story?),
  • and quite a few people even mentioned King Of Tokyo, which I have to admit, I hadn’t even thought of. (The nostalgia of the 70’s Godzilla cartoon mixed with the wit of Phineas And Ferb?)
Special consideration goes to the suggestion received from Cyndane, who mentioned, “Given the fact that Hollywood loves making sequels over and over and over again, there's only one option for what should be adopted into a movie. Love Letter.” Thanks, Cyndane. It makes my job so much easier when the audience brings their own jokes.

But one game that was on my list that nobody else mentioned was One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Now, this one even surprised me, but the more I thought about it, the more I convinced myself that this could be a potentially worthy successor to the Clue movie. Think about it, One Night Ultimate Werewolf provides a plot, setting, and a cast of characters, each already with their own quirks and motivation. But if a studio was willing to risk producing a movie based on this board game, I think the odds would actually be pulled in their favor best by pushing the envelope even a little further, by making it a CG animated movie that retains the game’s art style and humor, while amping up with cartoony violence and a story that adults can appreciate as much as, if not more than, kids. Like Survivor taking place in the Bugs & Daffy cartoon “Rabbit Fire”. I’d watch that. I’d even buy the movie theater’s overpriced popcorn instead of sneaking in my own.

Alright, we’ve talked about board games that have crossed over to movies and TV, and movies and TV that have already made the leap over to board games. Next time, I’ll celebrate my 100th Head In The Clouds Segment by treating myself to an unabashed YouTube rant, bringing the discussion full-circle by revealing the number one universe from other media that I absolutely, positively yearn to see adapted to board game form. Join me to see what this I.P. could be!
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