This got me thinking what over imaginary games from film and TV would make great games in the real world. So here are five of my favourites, some of which are actually real!
The IT Crowd: Ports of EssenOne of the funniest parts of the final episode of the IT Crowd (apart from the tiny barista) is Moss’s board game review show. For anyone into their board games this was right on the nose, everything from dodgy production values and Moss’s mum walking in to talking about components and holding on tight for Reiner Knizia’s latest game.
It’s obvious that The IT Crowd’s writers are board game fans because one of the two games reviewed in the little clip was Ports of Essen, a trading in the Mediterranean game whose name is a nice little nod to Europe’s biggest gaming show. You just know this is going to be your typical European trading game, right down to the boring looking cover and a plethora of wooden cubes.
Star Wars: Dejarik Holo ChessThe oldest game in this list is the 3D chess game from Star Wars. Surely everyone wanted this, a sci-fi version of chess played over a weird circular board where your pieces where monsters that actually attacked and beat the snot out of each other.
Of course we live in a world full of amazing geeks so of course someone has devised rules for the game and George Lucas wasn’t shy of trying to make a couple of extra dollars and an official version was released.
But I don’t want to play this on a normal board with miniatures; I want the full hologram 3D chess board with animations and everything. The nearest we’ve come to this in real life is Eye of Judgement, a card game for the PS3 that used the console’s camera to superimpose animated images of monsters on top of the cards. The effect was pretty cool but the game never took off.
Just make sure you let the wookie win.
The Running Man Home GameI was a teenager when I first watched The Running Man and right in the midst of all things Games Workshop and Dungeons and Dragons and at the time there was nothing I wanted more than the Running Man Home Game. Given away as a prize to a lucky viewer, it always struck me as a cool idea for a board game.
But you know it was going to be terrible, I mean look at the box:
There’s no doubt this was going to be a lame roll and move game where you drew cards that say “oh dear you’ve been frozen by sub-zero miss a turn”.
But imagine what it could be, a cooperative game where you have to run a gauntlet through a dystopian future while being chased down by a team of superstar homicidal maniacs.
The Big Bang Theory: Mystic Warlords of Ka'aThe Big Bang Theory has had its fair share of real, and pretty darn good, board games on the show, Talisman being the first example. But when the creators wanted to include a geeky card game in the show they came up with their own game. At first it seemed like The Mystic Warlords of Ka’a was intended to be a pastiche of Magic: The Gathering, a collection of cards with fantastical names and national tournaments. There’s even a poke at the expendable nature of the game where the physics geeks get drawn into buying the Satanimals and Wild West and Witches expansion packs.
The game play however appears to be a complicated version of rock, paper, scissors (lizard, Spock?) with players having to beat certain cards in order and try to hold back their better cards for later in the game. Although the game is completely fabricated, and I’ve no idea how a collectible card game like this would work, it does sound like the outline of a great, quick take that card game like a fantasy version of Shithead
Interestingly Cryptozoic Entertainment announced back in 2013 that they will be making a physical version of this game but there’s still no sign of it.
Robocop: NukemTop of my list has to be Nukem, the electronic board game from the amazing fake commercials during the original Robocop (something the recent remake failed to capitalise on). I still want this game; I have no idea how it works and even if it could, nuclear weapons, sanctions, weapons inspectors and a big red button.
The finest point is when somebody finally launches a nuke and a big red mushroom cloud appears above all the players. I always assumed this is a game that nobody wins.
In reality this game would probably work something similar to one of GMT’s historical war games but with a smattering of high tech shenanigans. The truth is this game would probably never work but I really want to see someone give it a try!