Gather around gamers for today we have a little crossover. Board games that have been inspired by or associated with cinema are the ground where tabletop entertainment meets the silver screen and of course nobody loses from a well executed collaboration.
In this article we’re taking a look at some of the best board games that take place within cinematic universes. Some of the titles on the list are original narratives and some are directly adapted from the movies so you don’t even need to worry about spoilers.
If you’re a fan of cinema (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) and you happen to know your way around cards, tokens and dice, these games should (and probably will) be on your bucket list.
Best Board Games within a Cinematic Universe
While some board games based on movies are cheap interpretations or tie-ins that lack identity and depth of their own, there are some titles that manage to capture the tone of the cinematography as well as the sweet and proper complexity that makes a board game worth your while.
Since your time is valuable and you don’t want to spend it playing yet another re-skin of Monopoly this upcoming movie night, I have gathered some of the best board games for fans of cinema all around the globe, right below.
10. Alien vs. Predator: The Hunt Begins
Alien vs Predator: The Hunt Begins is a board game that pits three different species against each other: the Predators, the Xenomorph Aliens, and the unfortunate yet skillful Colonial Marines. The game was created by Prodos Games and released in 2014.
The game is played by 1-3 players, with each player taking control of one of the factions. The game board represents a space station where the factions battle it out for supremacy. Each faction has a set of miniatures, cards, and special abilities that they can use to gain an advantage over their opponents.
The gameplay happens over a series of rounds, with each round consisting of three phases: the Predator phase, the Alien phase, and the Marine phase. During each phase, players take turns performing actions such as moving their miniatures, attacking opponents, and using special abilities.
Winning in this game is a result of either eliminating all of the other factions or completing certain mission objectives. An engaging world of horror and aliens that I highly recommend to fans of the franchise as well as newcomers.
9. Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist
Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is a cooperative game based on the 1988 action movie “Die Hard” starring Bruce Willis. The game was designed by Prospero Hall and published by The OP Games in 2019.
In this game, players take on the roles of John McClane and other characters from the movie as they work together to thwart the plans of the villains and save the hostages. The game features various scenarios with different objectives, each one based on a different part of the movie.
To play the game, each player selects a character and takes a character board, as well as a set of action cards and a player deck. The players then take turns moving their characters, resolving actions, and attempting to complete the objectives of the scenario. The game features a number of mechanics, including deck-building, hand management, and dice rolling.
Players must work together to defeat the villains and complete the objectives, while also managing their own individual player decks and resources. The game can be played with 1-4 players, and typically takes around 1-2 hours to complete.
Overall, Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is a fun cooperative game that successfully captures the spirit of the classic movie.
8. Jaws: The Board Game
Jaws is a board game that is based on the classic movie of the same name. It is a strategy game that is designed for 2-4 players, and it is published by Ravensburger.
The game is set on the island of Amity, and it is divided into two parts. The first part is played on the beach, where one player takes on the role of the shark, while the other players take on the roles of the characters from the movie. The players must try to find and tag the shark before it attacks too many swimmers.
The second part of the game takes place on the Orca, the boat from the movie, and it is played after the shark has been tagged. The players must then work together to defeat the shark by using strategy and teamwork.
The player who scores the most points by the end of the game is the winner. Points are earned by completing specific objectives, such as tagging the shark, rescuing swimmers, or defeating the shark on the Orca.
If you’re into cooperative gameplay, Jaws is a board game that is perfect for game nights and for fans of the classic movie.
7. The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31
The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 is a cooperative deduction and strategy board game based on the 1982 John Carpenter movie called “The Thing”. The game is designed for 4-8 players and is suitable for ages 17 and up.
Just like in another widely popular alien invasion, players take on the roles of characters at an Antarctic research station who must work together to identify and eliminate a shape-shifting alien imposter among their group, known as the “Thing”. Each player is given a secret role card that determines whether they are a human or the Thing, and the players must use deduction and strategy to figure out who among them is the imposter.
This title is played over a series of rounds, during which players draw cards, complete tasks, and engage in debates to identify and eliminate the Thing. If the Thing is eliminated, the humans win. However, if the Thing is able to infect or kill all of the humans, the Thing wins.
The board game includes a number of mechanics that make it difficult for the players to trust one another, such as the ability for the Thing to infect other players secretly and the presence of “trust” cards that allow players to lie about their true allegiances.
6. Firefly: The Game
Firefly: The Game is a strategy board game based on the cult classic science fiction TV series, “Firefly.” It was created by John Kovaleski and Sean Sweigart and published by Gale Force Nine in 2013.
This game is designed for 1-4 players and takes place in the “Verse,” a fictional universe where players captain their own spaceship, hire a crew, and complete jobs while avoiding the Alliance and Reavers. The game board is a representation of the Verse, with various locations for players to visit and interact with.
Each turn, players take a number of actions, such as moving their spaceship, hiring new crew members, completing jobs, and upgrading their ship. The goal of the game is to accumulate the most money by finishing tasks and gaining rewards.
This Firefly adaptation is a complex game that requires strategy and planning, and it also features various expansions and additional game pieces that can be added for even more gameplay options.
5. The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel
One example of a board game based on Stephen King’s work is The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel published by The Op in 2020. This is a cooperative game for 3-5 players where players take on the roles of characters from the classic horror story and try to escape the haunted Overlook Hotel while avoiding various dangers.
The game Is played over a series of rounds where players explore the hotel, search for items, and avoid or fight against the hotel’s ghostly inhabitants. Players must also manage their stress levels, as high stress can cause them to become panicked or even possessed by the spirits of the hotel.
Who wouldn’t want to explore a hotel that hosts a whole bunch of the scariest people and things? So of course the board game will be as interesting as the movie/novel for all fans of Stephen King.
4. The Lord of The Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth
The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth is a cooperative adventure based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy universe of Middle-earth. The game is designed for 1-5 players, and each player takes on the role of a hero from the fellowship of characters who are on a quest to stop the dark lord Sauron from taking over Middle-earth.
In the game, players move through a series of linked scenarios, battling monsters and completing quests. They explore locations, solve puzzles, and collect treasures, all while trying to avoid the ever-present threat of the dark lord’s minions.
The game is published by Fantasy Flight Games, a company that specializes in creating high-quality board games based on popular intellectual properties. The game was designed by Nathan Hajek and Grace Holdinghaus, and features stunning artwork and detailed miniatures that bring the world of Middle-earth to life on the tabletop.
3. The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire
The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire is a board game that is based on the classic movie “The Godfather” and is designed for 2-5 players by Eric Lang, published by CMON in 2017. It is a strategic game where players take on the role of different mafia families competing for power and control over the city of New York.
At the beginning of each round, players receive a set of action cards that they can use to perform various actions, such as placing their family members in different neighborhoods, taking control of businesses, or attacking their opponents. The goal is to use these actions to gain money and influence, as well as to eliminate your opponents’ family members and businesses.
At the end of the game, the player with the most money and control over New York City wins.
The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire is generally well-regarded by board game enthusiasts for its strategic depth, thematic immersion, and high-quality components. Players who enjoy games with a lot of player interaction and negotiation, as well as those who are fans of the movie, may find it particularly enjoyable.
2. Star Wars: Rebellion
Star Wars Rebellion is a board game designed by Corey Konieczka and published by Fantasy Flight Games in 2016.
In Star Wars Rebellion, you and your friend compete against each other in a strategic game of galactic warfare for two players. One player takes on the role of the Rebel Alliance, trying to recruit allies, spread rebellion, and ultimately destroy the Death Star, while the other player controls the Galactic Empire, trying to crush the rebellion and find and destroy the Rebel base and the Rebel Cause.
The game is played on a board representing the galaxy, and players move their units around the galaxy to various planets, engage in battles, and attempt to complete objectives. The game also features a variety of cards and special abilities that players can use to gain advantages, sabotage their opponent’s plans, and turn the tide of the war.
Star Wars Rebellion is a complex game that can take several hours to play, but it is highly praised for its depth, strategic options, and faithful adaptation of the Star Wars universe.
1. Dune: The Game
Dune is a board game designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, and Peter Olotka, first published by Avalon Hill Games in 1979 and remastered by Gale Force Nine. The game is based on the vastly recognized science fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert.
In Dune, players take on the roles of various houses vying for control of the planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, which is the only source of the valuable spice melange. The game is played over several rounds, with each round consisting of a series of phases including movement, combat, and spice harvesting.
Players use a combination of strategy, negotiation, and combat to gain control of territories, harvest spice, and ultimately, control the most valuable areas of the planet. Each faction has unique abilities and advantages, adding to the game’s depth and replayability.
One of the most distinctive features of the game is the use of a “treachery” mechanic, which allows players to secretly commit to betraying their allies or enemies. This adds an element of uncertainty and unpredictability to the game, as players must weigh their trust in their opponents and decide whether to risk a potential betrayal.
Dune is a complex and engaging game, as well as a fantastic adaptation, that requires careful planning and strategic thinking to even survive let alone win. It has been widely praised for its deep gameplay and unique mechanics, and has inspired numerous other games and adaptations over the years.
Whether you have actually seen the movies or not, you’re sure to get your money’s worth of fun out of every one of these games. However, those who pack background knowledge of the lore going in, are definitely going to get a lot more from the experience and so, I recommend that you check the original movies out as well.
Do you agree with our list of the best board games based on movies? Why/Why not? Tell us in the comments!