I don’t really think I planned on going with some board game history and mechanic posts for a series, but I liked how the previous one turned out, and I thought it would be interesting to look at some more mechanics in that in-depth a […]
With the talks of a Mice and Mystics board game in the news the past few days I decided to look at what board games should get movies based off of them, and now I’m going to go with ones that really shouldn’t have a movie.
If you want to read the ones I think could make good movies, you can find the article here.
So ground rule with this article, the game must have some human component or artwork. It can’t be something like Skip-Bo. That wouldn’t make any sense to do a movie about, though I’m sure someone would try.
The first is a three-fer: Catan, Splendor, and Dominion. The issue with all of these, while they might be fun games, they are generic. Dominion is as generic medieval as possible, and really is just a them that’s been pasted on. You can make your standard medieval movie, and call it Dominion if you want, but it wouldn’t be thematic to the game. The same is true with Catan and Splendor. At least with Splendor you’d make it about jewels, but it wouldn’t be thematically tied to the game. The issue with all of these games and movies is that they are generic and could really be about anything, so you’d be able to call a movie Catan, Dominion, or Splendor, but you wouldn’t have to do anything that would tie it to the game to make the movie.
Next would be Cosmic Encounter, and this one I kind of wanted to work, but I don’t it would make a good movie. First off, there are too many alien races in Cosmic Encounter, to really capture the feel you’d have to make it a menagerie of races, and the movie would feel bloated. Plus a game that is about the social interactions and a goofiness to the game, but you’re also controlling planets and taking over planets, that would be a disconnect for a movie.
Gloomhaven was a game that I actually had someone suggest would work well as a movie, and I’m up in the air, I think it could be done, but I also think that you’d lose out on part of what Gloomhaven is. One of the big parts of Gloomhaven is retiring your character, unlocking another character, and playing as them. The main story of Gloomhaven could work in a movie, but you’d lose some of the feel from it about the ever changing adventuring group, and the time that it implies is passing as you go out adventuring. Overall, I think it would work better as a TV show than a movie, but I’m not even so sold on wanting that. But giving it True Detective treatment with a new cast of characters every season, but that still keeps it on the list of ones I wouldn’t want a movie of.
Cry Havoc is a game that I got to play last weekend and have written an article/review of the game recently. The basis of the game is that you’re on a planet playing different races trying to collect and control the resources of the planet. There is one glaring issue with this idea for a movie, it’s been done before. Dances with Wolves and Avatar much? Because that’s what it would end up being again just with a couple more races thrown into the mix. We barely needed Avatar as a movie, besides the technological advancements it gave for film, we certainly don’t need it again.
Final one is the obvious one, because not that many people like the game anyways, but Monopoly. It feels like that’s something that a production company might decide to do as board games gather more main stream popularity, but that doesn’t mean Monopoly. What would the plot even be? You’d be going around buying up places and building your empire while trying to ruin others and getting second place in beauty pageants and winnings $10? Later in the game when you’re randomly staying at other peoples properties because you can’t stay at yours for no good reason you’ll be glad when you end up in jail so you don’t have to pay other people money? This would be a terrible movie, and I can see a production company trying to make some sort of funny movie based off of Monopoly, and I can see it being so horrible.
What other board games would make horrible movies? What movies might make horrible board games?
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First off, thank you to everyone who game me suggestions! That was great to get a lot of interesting ideas.
But this one, thanks to Tom Cantwell (@BeskarTom), was the one that really stuck out to me:
@TheScando Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective with bangers and mash or some other classic British dish is the first thing I think of”
I’m not just going to stick with the board games, but also if you are watching the Benedict Cumberbatch show, the Robert Downey Jr. movies, or are reading the book aloud as part of a book club, or playing Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective or 221B Baker Street. If it is Sherlock Holmes themed, here’s an idea of what you can do to get into the mood and mindset for the greatest detective of all time.
I had a few different thoughts. What Tom suggests in his tweet, bangers and mash or something like a meat pie would create a classic English feel that you could build off of, but that’s not the direction that I wanted to go. I also thought of molecular gastronomy, but that seemed less accessible than the idea that I landed on, food that isn’t as it seems, food that is the mystery.
Beer and Pop/Soda
So this seems like it would be really normal. You can have beer or pop any night and it doesn’t seem to be Sherlock Holmes themed, but I do have a reason for both of these. For the beer, get a sampler pack and then remove the labels from every single beer. Most beer comes in a darker colored bottle now, so it stays fresher longer,so you’ll have no idea what beer you are picking out of the case. Or will you? Can you through process of elimination, studying the bottle, and anything short of opening the bottle and sniffing, figure out which beer you are getting so you’ll get the one that you want? Same thing for the pop. Get two liter bottles of Coke, Diet Coke, Root Beer, and Dr. Pepper, take off the label, take off the caps and the little ring that goes with the cap, can you determine which soda is which without tasting or smelling it?
Why wontons, they don’t seem too English? They really aren’t, but what sort of fillings will you conceal within your wonton wrappers? Some ideas might be – cream cheese, cream cheese and cranberries, cream cheese and chocolate chips, cream cheese and onion/balsamic jam, pork, and you can really go crazy with this. Make it so that you have a number of different varieties and fry them up so that you as the host, you don’t even know what is what. And again, use your sleuthing skills to try and figure out which one is which. Here’s a real mean trick to play, you can get capsaicin in a bottle, it doesn’t have a ton of color, and could be an interesting surprise for someone. Now, if you control how much you put in there (and test it out yourself mixed in with cream cheese), and people like spice, it would be a fun thing to use.
Chicken Fried Steak
This is less about tricking people. It’s more about creating stuff that will look differently than you’d expect. Mashed Cauliflower can make a nice change of pace from mashed potatoes that people would expect. Chicken Fried Steak would take a food preparation that people are expecting for one sort of protein, but preparing it in another way, and if you break it up well enough, people still might be surprised when it’s beef and not chicken. Finally, you’d want to make a nice dark colored gravy. We’re not talking about a creamy gravy. Go with something that is dark and work on building it up so that it kind of matches a darker BBQ sauce color. Things won’t be exactly what people are expecting, but it’ll be a good meal still.
When I say brownies, I really mean brownies, with a little bit of a twist. When you go to make your brownies, add in a bit of habanero (with seeds) in a couple of the brownies. You probably know what size you normally cut brownies, so make it so it’s stuck in the middle of a brownie and then turn it into a game. People grab a brownie and let’s see who gets the pepper. And if you do get the pepper, maybe see if you can hide it form everyone so they don’t know you’ve gotten it. That way the rest of the brownies, people will be taking a bit of them in dread. Note that keeping the seeds in there is important, I’ve had one with habanero (pretty sure it was that an not jalapeno) and it didn’t have the seeds and it didn’t really taste hot.
What would your idea for theming a Sherlock Holmes meal be? Would you go with something more traditional? If so, what sort of English meal would you create?
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So with the Christmas season coming up and Thanksgiving just having happened, it is a good time to introduce your family, friends, and relatives to many different nerdy things. Whether it is playing board games with family or marathoning Lord of the Rings, there are many different things that you can do to make your holidays nerdy.
Stocking Stuffers (quick and easy):
There are tons of small board games that make awesome stocking stuffers. Games like Fluxx, We Didn’t Playtest This At All, and Love Letter make super small and easy gifts. Love Letter in particular is a very small, very simple game that is easy for the whole family to play.
Presents Under the Tree (a bit more time):
Doctor Who has a Christmas special every single year. It airs on Christmas day and is on BBC America for those of us over here. Generally not tied into the current series at all, it is a great way to relax after a busy morning of opening presents and trying to keep up with any small relatives that might be around. The Christmas Special is always appropriately winter-themed, and takes Doctor Who up a level in goofiness. A good spot for those relatives who haven’t watched Doctor Who before to jump in on a festive day.
Christmas Dinner (the long haul):
By the time Christmas arrives, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will have come out. Most likely you’ll have already seen it once or twice (or a dozen times if it’s good). But take your family and go see it again. Figure out which sibling is the best able to explain it all to your parent who doesn’t remember or hasn’t seen any of the previous ones (in my family, it is not me), figure out the seating arrangements, grab some popcorn, and settle in for the long haul.
Over the River (and you thought a movie was the longest time you could get them to be nerdy):
If you are really daring, there are lot of different options. Arkham Horror is a long, long game that is quite involved. If you have a lot of time to fill and your family is already somewhat nerdy or if there’s someone in it who already loves H.P. Lovecraft, jump into a game of Arkham Horror at noon, take a break for dinner, and finish it up sometime before midnight. Or if that isn’t your speed, there are only 14 episodes in the show Firefly — set-up a two-day marathon with your family. You could even make a drinking game out of it with your siblings, if you’re into that sort of thing. Or better yet, make up your own drinks that epitomize the characters in the show.
Now, this is far from an exhaustive list as to what you can do, and I even mentioned a Lord of the Rings marathon before. There are many different games, shows, and crafts that you can do with your family to get into the Christmas spirit (and into the Christmas spirits). These are just a few examples, but the point is, jump into something nerdy with your family. In my family, my mother isn’t all that nerdy, but my dad will gladly learn a new board game or go see the newest superhero or sci-fi movie with us. You might be surprised at just how nerdy your relatives can be, even the ones who don’t seem like it, and something like a board game is always great for family time. So I’ll leave you with my top recommended game list to play with family:
- Phase 10
- Ticket to Ride (my highest recommendation from this list)
- Settlers of Catan
- Unspeakable Words
- Five Crowns
These are good games for talking and playing (minus Bananagrams, which is fast, hectic and requires close attention, though it is easy to pick up), and great for family time. There are many other classics or different party games that are good choices for this as well. And if you are really daring, try Cards Against Humanity, but only if you’re quite sure everyone’s fine with (very) NSFW.