I don’t know about you, but for me there are certain franchises that are screaming to be made into games. When watching TV, or reading a book, or watching a movie it is so easy for gamers to think “you know what, this would make an awesome game”, and then we get excited. When we get excited we either try and design the game before mourning how expensive the rights would be, or we write a blog about it and just wonder what it would be like in a world where license fees need not apply.
Grumbling about licenses aside, here are a few franchises which it would be amazing to see be made into board games, or series of board games.
This list is a series of properties (okay, not all are franchises…yet) that haven’t been made into their own board games but should. By that, games like Monopoly renditions don’t count, because they are ultimately the same game. South Park Uno is not, for example, a South Park game, but it is just a cover on the pre-existing game of Uno. Instead, think the recent Dark Souls game, which was a game in its own right. It isn’t just a cover on a game that already exists, but is Dark Souls through and through. It lives and breathes the franchise it is a part of.
So with that in mind, here are a few franchises we would like to see as games.
Okay, so a weird one to kick off. Big Fish, made into a film by Tim Burton in the late 1990s, is already a hugely successful movie and musical. That being said, it would also make an incredible storytelling game along the same lines as 7th Continent or 1001 Nights. In both of the aforementioned games, the players carve their own story, creating their own bildungsroman (there’s an English Literature Degree worth of technical literary devices for you) to take control of, not just their character’s movement but also, their lives. I haven’t played 7th Continent yet, but I have heard it is amazing.
Big Fish, as a concept, plays perfectly into this – with an old man telling elaborate stories on his deathbed. There are giants, and mermaids, and witches, and…fish…and it is beautiful. It would make one heck of a gaming experience if the right person were to take it on.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Picture this (baddum dum tish), a miniature based American style board game centred around The Rocky Horror Picture Show, along a similar vein to Mansions of Madness or even Betrayal at House on the Hill. You are stuck in the world of Dr Frank-N-Furter, a Transylvanian transvestite. There would be monsters, aliens, MeatLoaf as a miniature – it would be amazing. The objective of the game would vary depending on who you are, and it could be part exploration, part mystery experience.
Okay, so that is just one idea, but I think that within that one property there is such a wealth of weirdness that the scope is huge.
This has to already be in the works, right? You would think.
Stranger Things is such a great series, with everyone who watches it loving it (past episode three, for some reason) that it is born to be a board game.
Obviously, Stranger Things is still being watched, so I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I love the idea of a game that is so meta that you can play D&D within the confines of the game. Playing a game within a game, and where does that end? Is this a game? Is this blog part of a game? Is your computer? Are we all just a simulation? Wow, this went off the rails fast.
Between Hawkins and the Upside-Down there is plenty to create a game out of. There could be everything from Lords of Waterdeep style Worker Placement games, to American Style miniatures (just imagine the Demigorgon now), to Skirmish Wargame, to even a Castles of Burgundy style eurogame. There is so much there that it could release a whole host of gaming merchandise.
The Elder Scrolls
Apparently, I think everything should be an American Style board game, with miniatures, but The Elder Scrolls screams for a Descent or Imperial Assault campaign. Picture taking your Nord warrior, Khajit rogue, or Wood Elf wizard through the realms of the Elder Scrolls. Together you battle evil, and return balance to the realm. There could even be expansion packs for Skyrim and Morrowind. Other expansions would include Civil War, the Companions and the Thieves Guild.
Alternatively, for something a bit different, Skyrim could make a good deck-building game, where you play as one of the holds. You take control of Whiterun or Solitude (for example) and battle it out in the Civil War storyline that Skyrim has.
Of all the horror video game franchises, Silent Hill is probably one of the most ripe for turning into a board game, so much so that a few print-and-play games already exist (but nothing official to my knowledge). A game version of Silent Hill, in leu of games like Betrayal at House on the Hill could be so good. Everything about Silent Hill screams gameplay, because of the fact it is both a successful videogame franchise and a semi-successful film franchise, and so the adaptation to tabletop shouldn’t be too difficult to make.
Imagine, for instance, a mechanic for when the sirens go off. In the other mediums, this moment is where the whole world changes, but what if (in a tile placement game) the game tiles just flip over? This may be a nightmare (no pun intended) for when/if there is a lot on each tile, or it may be a fantastic way of laying out a game. Who knows? It would be fun to find out though.
The thing about South Park is that it suits all mediums. There is so much mythos and lore to choose from that literally any form of game could work. This has been made evident by the two recent video games – The Stick of Truth and The Fractured but Whole (heh).
Weirdly, as a franchise, South Park excites me the most for its sheer potential. The tabletop game, much like the videogames, would have to pay homage to the TV series, whilst also introducing something new of its own. It can’t just mimic what is already there, but to be a successful South Park game (and this is the same of all franchised games in a way) it has to build upon what is there to deliver something more and something unique. It can’t just be a copy, but has to be a part of the lore in its own right.
A real South Park game could be absolutely amazing and that makes me happy.
Also, I’m not going to explore this any further, but can you imagine a South Park Tabletop RPG? It would be insane.
The Power Rangers
With the sheer diversity allowed by the Power Rangers series – an expansive universe of different TV iterations, films, and graphic novel series – there is enormous scope for a themed board game. It’s all too easy to say that once again, taking the lead of the Mighty Morphin Rangers in particular, a miniatures game would suit incredibly well, thanks to Rita’s Putty army and Finster’s array of clay creations. This could work similarly to the likes of Blood Rage or Descent, wherein one side takes the role of antagonist with Rita’s band of minions, and the other controls the Rangers themselves.
Alternatively, and perhaps less obviously, there could very well be a similar set up to games like Pandemic or Sub Terra, wherein players take on various roles, i.e. the Rangers with their different abilities, to work together through a map of Angel Grove (and who knows, even the whole world) to rid the game board of Rita’s monsters, or else trying to contain the destruction they’ve caused. This would most definitely work best as a cooperative game, or a team vs team game at the very least.
It would also make for an awesome card game. Because Power Rangers is awesome. Mic drop.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Finally, something worth mentioning is A Nightmare on Elm Street as a franchise. There are a load of films and canon to choose from, going from the weird to the outright bizarre in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Like with what I mentioned with Silent Hill and (to some extent) Stranger Things, a tile flipping mechanic would work amazingly well for having planes for players to cross between. In this instance, the real world and the dream world could offer two very different gameplay mechanics to explore two very unique game experiences. This duality in gameplay needs exploring more as it could be something that opens up a whole new world of gaming opportunities.
Note to self: Explore this further.
So there we go, a list of franchises that we believe could make awesome games . What would you put on the list? What franchises or properties would you live to see in tabletop format? Let us know in the comments below.