An excellent television show can inspire spin-offs, action figures, movies, books, and even occasionally a board game. Often these board games aren’t half as good as the show, but a few equal or surpass the original media. If you are a fan of TV shows and of board games, try one of these top five best board games based on TV shows.
5. Doctor Who: The Card Game – This game doesn’t fully live up to the show, but that is primarily because the show is almost without peer. Hardcore gamers will probably shy away from it, but the simple game play elements are particularly good for casual board game players. If you have any familiarity with the current series, you will see all of your favorite characters, which will help you forgive a few of the clunky elements of the game.
4. Firefly: The Board Game – This is the game that every browncoat should own. Based off the series that most fans considered unfairly canceled, the game requires no knowledge of the series to enjoy. But if you do know the series, everything will look familiar. From the amazingly well crafted space ship miniatures to various planets and people referenced on cards, this game is a love letter to the series. There isn’t a lot of strategic variation in the game, but it does have an expansion that adds to replay factor and room for more.
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game – Joss Whedon is particularly good at writing TV shows that get turned into board games. In this mostly cooperative board game, all but one player takes the roles of the various members of the Scooby gang, while another player plays as the bad guys. All of your favorite, and some of your least favorite, characters make the cut. You can fight the Mayor, Spike, or Adam, depending on your preference. The biggest downside is that some characters are simply sub-optimal, but you probably won’t mind too much if you love the series or play a couple times in a row switching characters.
2. Game of Thrones: The Board Game – Based on elements from both the popular HBO series and the original book series, this game is essentially a more complex version of Diplomacy. You take the role of one of the great houses in the game and vie for control of the Iron Throne, by controlling cities, manipulating armies, and engaging in the occasional intrigue. The game has a very fragile balance that almost requires a full complement of players, but proves incredibly strategic. This is not for casual gamers and a full game can easily take over six hours, but if you enjoy long strategic games, or just like the series, give it a shot.
1. Battlestar Galactica – This Fantasy Flight game is an almost perfect balance between cooperative and competitive games. Arguably it is a team-based competitive game, but since the teams are hidden from players, it plays much more like a cooperative game, at least for the first half of the game. Three expansions have been released and the game has become more polished with each expansion. A full game will usually take about 3-5 hours, which is long for casual players, but quite common for more dedicated board game players. If you don’t know the series, don’t fret. Your lack of knowledge will not hurt you. If you do know it, you will enjoy the countless references to various episodes, the plethora of playable characters from the series, and laugh at inside jokes that others don’t understand.