Board games these days can be truly cinematic. There are boards as big as your dining table, coated in beautiful artwork and littered with enough minis to form a real army (or at least a Hollywood one).
But what about board games inspired by the silver screen? Though adaptations—between any forms of media—can be hit-or-miss, we’ve compiled the top 5 board games based on movies.
I don’t think I’m allowed to pick favourites, but if I could, I’d tell you that War of the Ring is the best game on this list.
War of the Ring is a wargame inspired by the legendary movie franchise, The Lord of the Rings. The playtime is around 3 hours (much like the films themselves). In this grand strategy game, players take on the role of either the Free People or Sauron and must command their armies across all of Middle-Earth.
I read somewhere that the word ‘epic’ is widely overused, but I think War of the Ring is a board game that truly deserves it. The grand scale of the battles in the films? You get that same feeling here—all with just a board, some cards, and hordes of plastic minis. I cannot emphasis this enough—you really feel like you’re reliving the films.
Best at 2 players, War of the Ring is a head-to-head intense strategy game, and if I, personally, am going to play any movie-inspired game—hell, any wargame in general—I’m going to choose this one.
Check out War of The Ring here!
Similar in weight and complexity as our previous game, Star Wars: Rebellion is a space wargame full of all the familiar characters, ships and units from the long-adored Star Wars films. Taking place during the original trilogy, this 2 player game pits the Empire against the Rebels. Where the Empire needs to scour the galaxy for the rebel base and destroy it, the Rebels must survive long enough and strengthen their reputation with the galaxy’s denizens to cause a full-scale revolt. Think of it as a really big strategic game of hide-and-seek.
The minis are a feat to be seen in this game. There are over 150 if you can believe it. As the Empire, you get to control legions of TIE Fighters, Stormtroopers, the Death Star, and as the Rebels you get X-wings, Corellian corvettes, T-47 airspeeders, and so many more. Every iconic silhouette from the battle scenes of the films is represented here.
Grand and sweeping just like War of the Ring, Star Wars: Rebellion is a cinematic experience fit for a film series of its status.
Check out Star Wars Rebellion here!
But perhaps heavy wargames are just not your thing, but you still want a board game to whip out at movie night.
Jaws is based off the 1975 thriller film of the same name and places one player as the killer shark off Amity Island and the other 1-3 players as iconic characters Brody, Hooper and Quint.
The game is divided into two acts—each played on a different side of the double-sided board. In Act 1, on Amity Island, the shark will try to avoid capture and attack innocent swimmers, while the characters will try to pinpoint the shark’s location and save the people. In Act 2, you play out the climactic battle on the Orca, where the characters must defend themselves from targeted shark attacks.
Thrilling and tense, just like the film itself, Jaws is a solid movie-to-board-game adaptation.
Check out Jaws here!
Similar to Jaws, this adaptation of American action classic, Die Hard, uses the same asymmetrical one-vs-many format to pit John McClane against a group of thieves.
While John McClane must save the hostages held in the Nakatomi Plaza high-rise, the thieves must cooperate and work together (as many villains struggle to do) to crack a safe and make off with millions. In many other one-vs-many games, the single player is often the villain, so this reversal of roles puts a fresh spin on the genre.
One cool thing is that the board literally unfolds as you play. The game is played across three distinct acts and as you progress through them, you unfold the board more and more.
If you’re a die-hard Die Hard fan (or just a movie buff), you’ll appreciate this game’s nods and homage to the film’s most memorable scenes and events.
Check out Die Hard Nakatomi Heist here!
Perhaps you’re still annoyed at the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters. If you are, you can relive the (far superior) original 1984 film with its official board game adaptation.
Unlike the other games on this list, Ghostbusters is an episodic adventure game where players are tasked with busting ghosts and banishing them back into the Spirit World.
Players choose one of the four main characters from the original film and tackle a different pre-written scenario each time they play. The scenarios vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours in playtime, so there’s something suitable for everyone. Each character has their own unique role and unlock more abilities as they level up and gain experience—much like an RPG. With four different characters and heaps of different scenarios, Ghostbusters is highly replayable (in the same way the movie is rewatchable!).
With more than 40 plastic minis and artwork based on the original comic book series, this fully cooperative game is perfect for fans of the original film.
Check out Ghostbusters here!
In summary, if you’re looking for...
A truly epic wargame where you can relive The Lord of the Rings? War of the Ring.
A sweeping game of space hide-and-seek reenacting Star Wars? Star Wars: Rebellion.
A lighter but still tense and thrilling game based on Jaws? Jaws. (Pretty self-explanatory.)
A Die Hard-inspired one-vs-many game? Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist.
A Ghostbusters adventure played in episodes? Ghostbusters. (Again, pretty self-explanatory.)
And there we have it! Our top movie-inspired board games! What do you think? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!