Studios are always looking for a way to tie a movie to some element of pop culture in hopes of a guaranteed box office blow out. Board games may be the biggest stretch so far, but it is happening. With Battleship in theaters this weekend, it leads one to wonder: What other board games could be made into great movies? That’s giving Battleship a lot of credit in advance, but we can just assume it will be great for the sake of this article, OK? There are other board game movies in the works, of course, with the most notable being Monopoly, which was originally to be directed by Ridley Scott. Others have already been made, such as Clue.
Obviously Hollywood wants to utilize the big name board games for that coveted pop culture relevance, but there are also lesser known and even independent board games that might have something to offer to a feature film (yes we’ve already said the whole concept is a stretch).
Here’s our list of the Top 5 Board Games That Would Make Great Movies.
5. Hungry Hungry Hippos
The hippos have gotten loose and they are eating everything! This sounds like a kids film, probably an animated film or even better a CGI film in the Pixar realm. Maybe a kid helps one of the escaped hippos, maybe they are on the run Madagascar-style. (Looks like someone’s already come up with a Syfy-style horror!) The biggest problem with that board game was the noise. Can you imagine the movie?? In that game, players tried to get their hippo to eat more rolling marbles than their opponents. That sound of those hippo mouths slamming against the game board still makes my head pound.
4. The Game of LIFE
It’s actually shocking that this hasn’t been done already. This classic board game follows each player as they move through the stages of life, including finding a mate, having children, buying a car and all of the other common situations involved with everyday living. The only difference between this game and the real thing is that in the game what happens is based on the spinning of a wheel. I guess you could call the wheel fate if you believe in that. A movie based on this game could be a drama, a comedy, a fantasy, or some combination of all of it. I never really understood playing a game that’s representative of what you have to do every day in your real life, but hey I don’t play The Sims either.
3. Stop Thief
This is an oldie but a goodie. In this classic game, players are detectives using a “hi tech” crime scanner to listen in on a thief as he robs various locations around the city. Clues given by the audio from the device help lead to the whereabouts of the thief and allow players to call the police to have him arrested. Of course the updated movie would feature a much-updated crime detection device, not the giant cell phone looking box that came with the game. Hollywood could do a buddy cop movie, a competing detective’s story, even a comedy based off this game. The script practically writes itself, which is what makes the whole thing so scary!
Zombies!!! Is a great game that comes from an independent company called Twilight Creations. The game uses an innovative tile system for creating the board so that the game’s play area can be different with every game. The basic premise, without the expansions, is that you play a person stuck in a town full of brain eaters and you have to kill your way to a helipad to escape. There’s obviously more to it than that when you start taking into account the various mechanics of the game, but at its base this is the story and objective. This story has already been told on film, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again, and again, and again. The story is fairly wide open as far as drama and character so crafting a film from this game would be fairly easy.
1. Warhammer 40K
Come on, this is a no-brainer. This miniatures-based game first released in 1987 as a companion to the original Warhammer has a huge built-in universe for storytelling and it would be full of epic battles! The great thing here is also that the film could actually utilize story elements from the Warhammer 40K game, because they exist! Battleship is really only attached to the original board game in name only, but here there’s enough depth of story that a skilled filmmaker could craft a film that truly does grow from the game in the same way that comic book films jump from the page to the big screen. The game is set in a dystopian future that mixes elements of science and fantasy and it features ground soldier battles all the way up to epic space warfare. Some would say this film has already been done in the 90s, they just called it Starship Troopers.
So that’s our list. What are some board games you think can be turned into movies?