?A few weeks ago we ran a daily list about 10 board games that Hollywood hasn’t managed to greenlight as movies… yet. Every day it seems like another vague memory from our childhoods is green-lit, for good or for ill, into a film or a series or comic book. But what about going backwards?
Why not take some beloved nerdy franchises — or even not so beloved — and turn them into board games? I mean, G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters, Power Rangers, and Fraggle Rock have all made it to family game nights in the past, so why not a few more? Here are seven potential board games, all based off nerdy properties just dying for a tie-in game. Milton Bradley and Parker Bros., you can send my check care of Topless Robot.
7) Futurama Delivery Madness
Good news, everyone! Planet Express has deliveries to make! In fact, every player’s ship has to make five deliveries to various planets before they can declare themselves a winner. Choose which Planet Express employee you’d like to be, and you’re off! The 4-way electronic dispatcher (using the voices of Fry, Leela, Bender, and Dr. Zoidberg) sends you and three of your friends out on your missions, and tells you what your moves are. The moves are all generated randomly, so Fry might tell you to go ahead five spaces one minute and back to start the next. Or just give you a free pass to slack off and skip one of the missions entirely. When you’ve made your delivery, get your next mission and hope your friends haven’t made theirs!
6) Lord of the Rings Guess Who
It’s just like Guess Who. Except with the full cast of Lord of the Rings. The board is the size of three pizza boxes taped together. It includes every single wood elf, human, orc, ent, hobbit and dwarf mentioned in the three LOTR movies. It’s a cast of hundreds, and limiting it to a light-haired elf who fought at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields still means that you have a good hour left to play.
5) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Using a standard game board with multiple spaces for tokens to move on, your goal is to move through Las Vegas and back to Los Angeles first. Picking up cards tells you how many spaces to move, but, like with all board games, there is a catch. First off, before anyone moves, the players decide on what the cards mean: “THIS IS BAT COUNTRY!” can mean drive ahead two spaces, or it might mean move back one. “JUST TELL ME ABOUT THE FUCKING GOLF SHOES!” could mean that you advance a space or lose a turn. These rules are decided at the beginning of the game. But as the cards are pulled, some of them say things like “ETHER BINGE is now IS THIS NOT A LEGITIMATE PLACE TO PARK?” and the values of those cards are switched. Now you have to keep track of both your arbitrary card values and the new values that they have now become. Sometimes they switch back. Sometimes they change again. It’s all one big mind-fuck, until you get to Los Angeles.
4) Rocky IV
A game for two players with one deck of cards, it’s a variation on the game War. Each of the 70 cards is identical: it’s an extended arm with a boxing glove at the end. You don’t know which way it’s facing though, so when you flip them over they could be pointing at your opponent (a hit!) or back at you (a hit in your face!). You and your opponent flip these cards as fast as you can, then when the turn’s up you count how many cards hit you and how many cards hit your opponent. The most hits wins! BUT there’s a special Rocky IV twist. There are five “Training” cards mixed in the deck, and if you put down one of them, your opponent has to give you five of their cards. That’s more opportunities to punch him out for America!
3) Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark 3-D Adventure
3-D games used to be the rage, with complex spires rising out of cardboard street scenes so the Ghostbusters could follow a maze to zap some ghosts. What else has dangerous heights and impending doom? The Spider-Man musical! You start out with five Spider-Man cut-outs that attach high above the cardboard 3-D set. Each turn you draw a card that either moves your character forward or backwards. Doing this, of course, shakes the 3-D tower, and might cause your piece (or your opponent’s pieces!) to fall into the audience below. Your piece falls, you lose one of your Spider-Men and you need to start from the beginning. Don’t worry, there are a couple of “Julie Taymor bails you out” cards, where you can put your token back where it was before he fell, like nothing bad ever happened.
2) 2001: A Space Monopoly
Humanity takes its first evolutionary steps when a mysterious monolith introduces the idea… of real estate! Players chose from a bone, a spaceplane, an EVA-Pod, and Arthur C. Clarke. The first side of the board is prehistoric ape territory, the second is the moon, the third is the orbit of Jupiter, and the final side is the Space Baby. Players buy locations, then wheel and deal and try to “evolve” their riches by erecting monoliths. But be careful you don’t land on the HAL-9000, because you’ll go to jail… and HAL has cut off the oxygen supply!
1) Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Highlander
Two men enter, one man leaves with the other’s head. There can be only one! Take the two robots from the classic punching-then-resetting action game and put some neck-level swords in their hands! Swing around a Scotland-themed ring taking swipes at your opponent’s soft throat area. When your blade hits the pressure point, your opponent’s head pops off. You can reset, of course, but to be more movie-accurate, you should go off and brood for a while.