Best Movie Inspired Board Games- From the Big Screen to Game Night

If you are a board game designer, one of the hardest aspects of breaking the mold is breathing life into an unknown entity, an intellectual property that no one knows anything about. Want to know why any Disney movie sells tickets regardless of how poor the initial reviews are? Put simply; the past tends to predict the future. Fans trust in a franchise or brand, and sadly, for most board game devs, this is a luxury they have to live without.

However, that doesn’t always have to be the case; for you see, there are those unique crossover opportunities where board games will marry together nicely with movies in the cinema to provide an interactive gaming experience like no other.

This can come in many forms. The one that is probably stuck in your head is the iconic movie turned board game, Jumanji, which was a movie that was then re-imagined and given structure to create a playable game for all the family. Then on the flip side, you often see that prominent tabletop games get the movie treatment, such as Dungeons and Dragons for example, which is set for the big screen in the new year.

What I’m getting at here is that if you are a huge fan of a particular fandom or movie series, chances are that there is a fun board game just waiting for you to add it to your game night rotation.

So with that in mind, we want to open your eyes to all the movie/board game options out there, allowing you to stock up on some new games and add a new layer of spice to your board game gatherings. So without further delay, here is our guide to the Best Movie-Inspired Board Games! Enjoy!

dune board game gale force

Selection Criteria

Okay, before we begin, it’s time to lay down some important ground rules so that we don’t end up with a whole list of money-grabbing licensed tie-ins. We want to offer a unique and worthwhile list here, and to ensure that, here are the criteria that we used:

  • Unless they offer a new and exciting twist on the established game, we won’t be including licensed versions. This means things like Star Wars Monopoly, for example.
  • We will only be including games that have received favorable reviews
  • All games listed need to be a board game that has become a movie, or a movie that has been adapted into a board game
  • All games must have a unique premise that does the source material justice
  • Only one board game per franchise

Okay you tabletop movie lovers, it’s time to find some hidden gems to make your next game night extra special!

Jumanji

Jumanji

  • Designer: Cardinal Board Games
  • Complexity: 3/10
  • Our Rating: 5/10

Okay, so while I don’t personally believe that this game is a truly magnificent board game, it’s very hard to leave it out of a list like this, as it’s the game on everyone’s lips when it comes to movie crossovers. The main hurdle for this game back in 1995, and indeed today through re-releases, is taking the outlandish and fantastical elements of the films and then condensing them down into a structured board game format.

It’s pretty much an impossible task, but to the designer’s credit, they manage to do a reasonable job that stays true to the source material, and it’s also very accessible, meaning that kids of pretty much all ages can jump in and play.

The game is a simple mix of decoding messages and dice rolling, which will allow you to navigate the jungle and eventually work your way to safety. However, you will have to work together, because, much like in the movie, problems will arise, and you will need to be on hand to rescue your friends. As I said, it’s certainly not the jewel in the crown gameplay-wise, but it’s a fun take on the movie, it comes in a very snazzy box, and for kids, this is a really great option.

Dune

dune board game

  • Designer: Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge & Peter Olotka
  • Complexity: 8/10
  • Our Rating: 8/10

Okay, so if we are being very picky, this was first a series of novels by Frank Herbert, then a board game, and then eventually the movie starring Timothy Chalamet and company, but we think that’s a close enough link to include this one. This game takes place in the Dune universe and sees the player choose their faction, build an army, and attempt to claim control of Dune, all the while fending off the other player’s military forces, and using their unique powers to gain an advantage over your competitors. 

It’s a game of strategy, diplomacy, war, and underhand tactics, which, quite frankly, make it one of the most fun and captivating games on this list. Whether you opt for the 1979 original, or the modernized 2019 release, you will be sure to have a ball as you inhabit this truly unique fantasy universe. 

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Board Game

jim henson's labyrinth the board game

  • Designer: Alessio Cavatore
  • Complexity: 3.5/10
  • Our Rating: 6/10

When we think of cult classic movies, there are few flicks that shine brighter than Labyrinth, starring the late, great, David Bowie. For many, this was a movie that helped shape their personality and showcased just how amazing puppetry could be within the medium of cinema. You would expect nothing less from Jim Henson, The former Muppets director.

The core premise of the movie is that Sarah has lost her brother in this huge maze, and she must venture through the Labyrinth to find him, encountering a cast of jovial yet sinister characters.

Well, this board game pretty much follows that same format, putting you in the shoes of Sarah as you attempt to find the Goblin City, and then eventually breach Jarrett’s Castle to find your brother. Plus, you can go on this adventure with your friends in the form of Ludo, Hoggle, or Sir Didymus. It’s the sheer randomness and the ability for the game to change on a dime that makes it so compelling and replayable, so if you adore this cult classic, why not get this fun adaption? 

The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire

the godfather corleone's empire

  • Designer: Eric Lang
  • Complexity: 5/10
  • Our Rating: 8/10

Want a new board game? Well, how about I make you an offer you can’t refuse? Too on the nose? Yeah, I thought so. The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire is a game set within the world of The Godfather, and allows you to become a part of the family and dive headfirst into the seedy criminal underbelly of New York City.

In this game, you play as one of two Mafia families and must fight took and nail to claim territory within the streets of NYC. You’ll have to use all the tools in your arsenal to shake down local businesses, whack off important members of the opposing family, and make sure that, in the end, their don is the one sleeping with the fishes. 

The game isn’t super complex, but the gameplay is deep and nuanced enough to offer a lot of tactics and varied strategies, not to mention tonnes of replayability. With the ability to lie, cheat, murder, steal, bribe, threaten, coerce and intimidate, you will find that being part of the family is a heck of a lot of fun. Just remember, though, there is only one way out of the mob, and that’s in a bodybag, so play to win! 

Star Wars: Imperial Assault

star wars imperial assault

  • Designer: Justin Kemppainen, Corey Konieczka & Jonathan Ying
  • Complexity: 7.5/10
  • Our Rating: 8.5/10

I’ll be honest with you; I was spoiled for choice when it came to Star-Wars-affiliated board games. After all, there are easily over one-hundred brilliant options to choose from, and plenty of terrible ones too. However, of all the options available, I believe that Imperial Assault stands head and shoulders above the rest. Why you ask; well, two things, really.

The sheer quality and depth of the gameplay, and secondly, the variety of gameplay. The standout feature for me is that you can either play co-operatively in a campaign mode against the Rebel Forces, or you can play as the Galactic Empire while your opponent plays as the rebels in skirmish mode. 

Whatever game mode you choose, you will find that this card-builder is a love letter to the Star Wars franchise, with lots of intricate details and lore stuffed in there. Plus, the gameplay itself is so meticulously crafted that one game will never play out the same as the last, making this one a go-to for any Star Wars Themed game night.

I will concede that this is one of the hardest games to grasp on the list, as there is a lot to get your head around. However, if you are one with the force, then push through, because we assure you, it’s with it. 

Big Trouble in Little China: The Board Game

big trouble in little china the board game

  • Designer: Christopher Bartalis, Boris Polonsky & Jim Samartino
  • Complexity: 5/10
  • Our Rating: 7.5/10

For those unaware of John Carpenter’s work, the esteemed director had a knack for making the best terrible movies. What I mean by that is, he took the worst industry tropes of the era and created the most outlandish and astounding films that were both satirical, and profoundly watchable.

The movie in question, Big Trouble in Little China, was a movie made in 1986, which poked fun at the action/fantasy adventure genre, and also held a mirror up to Hollywood’s inbuilt racism towards Asian nations and cultures. However, when you put that aside, it is also an incredibly funny, gripping, and magical romp. 

Well, if you love this cult classic, then you just might love the board game adaption that puts you in the shoes of Jack Burton, and his crew as they complete missions in Little China, and build up the audacity ( this games currency) to take down the baddies and win the game. However, if you want to win, you’ll need to work as a team, use your unique abilities appropriately, and harness the power of magic (and luck) to succeed. It’s just about as surreal as the movie, but that’s why we love it, and we reckon you will too.

Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth

lord of the rings journeys in middle earth

  • Designer: Nathan Hajek & Grace Holdinghaus
  • Complexity: 5/10
  • Our Rating: 8.5/10

Much like the Star Wars franchise, I had a laundry list of LOTR board games at my disposal for this list. However, despite the cavalcade of options, I quickly decided on 2019’s Journeys in Middle Earth. The reason being that this game offers one of the best cooperative experiences ever seen in tabletop gaming, with Middle Earth serving as a fitting backdrop.

This campaign sees you and up to four others aim to explore every corner of the realm, battling the dangers that lurk around every corner in the hope of uncovering the dark forces that you seek to vanquish. 

Each quest feels like a fully fleshed-out adventure in and of itself, and with the aid of the companion app for this game, you get a truly immersive experience as it guides you through each section, and takes a lot of the admin away from the player. Allowing you to focus on which method is best to chop an Orc’s head off. This is a huge campaign fit for a warrior, but you have my sword, my bow, and my axe, at least in spirit, so get going and have a blast! 

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

harry potter hogwarts battle

  • Designer: Kami Mandell & Andrew Wolf
  • Complexity: 4/10
  • Our Rating: 7.5/10

Unlike the other huge, log-running franchises, there haven’t been a lot of board games that have truly captured the essence and magic of Harry Potter. There have been loads of attempts, but none that I felt cut the mustard. All apart from Hogwarts Battle, which offers a truly engrossing tabletop battle between good and evil.

This game essentially plays out the battle seen within the final book/film, where Voldemort’s forces battle against Hogwart’s defenses for supremacy. You play as either Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville and must use unique skills, items, and help from key characters to defeat the Death Eaters and save Hogwarts. 

I must admit, I was a little miffed that no one can actually play as the villains, but maybe that speaks to my alignment with Slytherin. That aside, though, the game is a tremendous recreation of that intense finale to this grand story, and if you were one of those like me in the cinema that just wanted to jump out of their seat and stupify some Death Eaters, then this interactive experience is a must-have! 

Wonderland’s War

wonderland's war

  • Designer: Tim Eisner, Ben Eisner & Ian Moss
  • Complexity: 6/10
  • Our Rating: 9/10

I wondered if this one was a little bit of a stretch, as Alice in Wonderland is a public domain property, and it was made famous by the book by Lewis Carroll. However, with the recent Tim Burton (and James Bobin) directed string of films, I thought this was fine to include. Wonderland’s War is a game that takes place within the Alice in Wonderland Universe and sees you wage war against the main entities of the series, for the looking glass has shattered, and madness is abundant in this topsy-turvy world. 

The game happens in two stages, the first being a gathering for tea with the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Here you will exercise diplomacy and build your strategy by gathering Wonderlandians to fight for your cause, build strongholds and resources, and plot which quests are best for your cause long term.

Then when the teacups run dry, you then engage in battle and must fend off advances by your fellow Wonderlandians, and choose whether to fight back, or complete tasks to win over the public and be stronger for the next fight. It’s a stellar board game, and one of the best to release in 2022. So if you want to peer through the looking glass, this is how to go about it. 

Discworld: Ankh Morpork

discworld ankh morpork

  • Designer: Martin Wallace
  • Complexity: 4/10
  • Our Rating: 7/10

Again, this is another one that felt like a bit of a wildcard, as Terry Pratchett’s work is largely celebrated in a text format. However, there have been countless movie adaptions of the Discworld series, such as Hogfather and The Color of Magic, to name but a few, so I’m going to allow it.

Discworld: Ankh Morpork is a game set in the largest state in the Discworld Universe, and after the disappearance of Lord Vetinari, there are a lot of questions being asked, namely, who will take control in his absence? Well, if you play your cards right, it just might be you. 

The unique twist of this game is that everyone has unique, secret winning criteria. So as you battle for control of Ankh Morpork, you never really know what anyone’s true intentions are, and in that lies the confusing and enigmatic nature of a Terry Pratchett story. The good news is, though, while some of Terry’s stories are hard to follow at times, this game is relatively straightforward, meaning you can jump straight into the action without missing a beat. For all you fantasy fans, this is a truly unmissable experience. 

Conan

conan

  • Designer: Frederic Henry, Antonie Bauza, Pascal Bernard, +3
  • Complexity: 5.5/10
  • Our Rating: 7/10

Okay, so this one may be the biggest stretch of all listed here, as this game is explicitly based on the novels of Robert Howard. However, we cannot forget that Arnie was Conan the Barbarian back in the day, so in his honor as an action movie hero, I’ve included this one. This game sees you play as The Overlord or one of his three travel companions as you aim to complete a series of mini-adventures/scenarios which depict events from Howard’s novels in an interactive format. 

The player has access to four unique maps and nine unique adventures, which can be played as a campaign or as individual games, but the gameplay remains relatively similar throughout. The player will examine their surroundings and choose what to do, whether that be to explore, pick locks, fight enemies or use unique equipment to conquer the perils that lurk in each new region.

Thanks to the work of Patrice Lounett, the game is made with the same tone and vision as Robert Howard and is a genuine love letter to the Conan franchise. So barbarians, swords at the ready, as this is a must-play for all Conan fans! 

The Shining

the shining board game

  • Designer: Prospero Hall
  • Complexity: 4/10
  • Our Rating: 6.5/10

You know what they say, all work and no play makes tabletop gaming a dull experience. I’m paraphrasing, obviously, but you get the picture, you never want a board game to feel like a chore, and when you play The Shining, that is never an issue, as this game is just as eerie and intense as the source material.

In this game, you play the role of jack Torrance as the overseer of the Overlook Hotel during the winter season, and much like the film, it isn’t exactly smooth sailing. The residents begin to gnaw away at your sanity, and if you can’t maintain your willpower to endure the winter, you may be forced to stay forever.

It’s your typical imposter game like Cluedo, where you must aim to survive a series of scenarios that take place in the motel along with your fellow players, but the twist is that one of your supposed teammates is doing their best to ensure that everyone becomes a permanent resident. It’s easy to understand, a quick game to play from start to end, and a super-intense game to play. Horror fans, you need this in your life. 

Jaws

jaws

  • Designer: Prospero Hall
  • Complexity: 4/10
  • Our Rating: 6.5/10

Speaking of movies that mastered the art of suspense, Jaws is the movie that made building tension a common practice in Hollywood blockbusters. So if you are looking for a movie to turn into a suspenseful and intense board game, what better than this one? This game follows the plot of the first movie, where a killer shark is terrorizing the shores of Amity Island. Up to three players will need to fight back against the killer beast, while one player will play the role of the sharp-toothed assassin. 

In this three-against-one affair, the humans will have the first chance to win as they attempt to save locals, find out where the shark is lurking, and capture it, meaning that they win the game.

However, if the humans fail, then they must board the Orca and attempt to catch the shark out at sea, mirroring the finale of the film, but here, the Great White has the advantage, and humans must maintain the boat’s condition, so they don’t fall in the deep blue and at the mercy of this ocean killer. It’s a classic game of cat and mouse, or shark and swimmer, and all classic movie buffs need to give this a try. 

Batman: Gotham City Chronicles

batman gotham city chronicles

  • Designer: Frederic Henry
  • Complexity: 7.5/10
  • Our Rating: 8/10

Here’s another franchise that had plenty of great board games to choose from; however, of all the choices, Gotham City Chronicles is the cream of the crop. In this title, you play as Batman and his allies, as you battle against the villains of Gotham. Nothing new there, but there’s a little more to it than that.

One player will play as the villain of the story and will control some of Gotham’s most notorious villains and henchmen as they aim to stifle the hero’s best efforts. Heroes will need to use combat tactics such as melee, ranged, and throwables to stop the waves of enemies, while the villain must manage their army carefully and position them in the most efficient manner to whittle down the hero’s defenses.

Does this all sound a little familiar? Well, it should, because this game’s combat and strategy are largely based on that of Conan, listed above. Albeit tweaked to fit within the Batman universe and offer unique abilities and scenarios for Batman fans to enjoy. This versus adaption of the Conan system is truly wonderful to experience, especially if you are a Batman fan, and if you love competitive battling, then this is one for you! 

Hellboy: The Board Game

hellboy the board game

  • Designer: James Hewitt, Sophie Williams 
  • Complexity: 5.5/10
  • Our Rating: 7/10

Then lastly, we have Hellboy, the franchise where Ron Pearlman steps away from his usual narrator role and becomes the protagonist of the story. In this game, you play as Hellboy and the other key members of the BRPD as you attempt to stop occult forces that attempt to rid you from existence.

Through the innovative case files system, you set up each scenario the game throws at you, and through detective work, combat with enemies, and the discovery of artifacts, you’ll be able to solve each case and get closer to ridding the world of evil. However, thanks to the random and often perilous Deck of Doom, you might find it’s harder than first expected. 

This game is a fantastic recreation of this film and comic book series, and does the franchise justice through super detailed miniatures, killer artwork on the cards and components, and the campaign is also a fun, unique story set within the Hellboy universe. What’s not to love? If you love the big crimson fella as much as us, then you need to add this game to your collection! 

Honorable Mentions

While I firmly believe that those listed above are the best of the best when it comes to movie/board game crossovers, there is a tonne of other options, that, while falling short of the mark, are still well worth checking out. Now, I’ve never been one to gatekeep knowledge, and I want you guys to have the best gaming experiences possible, so with that in mind, here is our rundown of the best of the rest:

  • Star Trek: Ascendency
  • Thunderbirds
  • Chocolate Factory
  • The Hunger Games: Training Days
  • Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist
  • The Warriors: Come out and Play
  • Zathura
  • Cluedo

Jump into Your Favorite Flick!

As you can see, if you love board games, but also spend time when not playing watching movies, then there is a wide variety of ways to combine these two loves in a fun and interactive way. It’s honestly like hopping into the screen and being part of the action, and that’s why games of this nature of so special.

They provide a tangible link between you and your most beloved fictitious characters. So if you want to be more than just a watcher, then be sure to grab a few of these great games listed, and as always, thank you for reading Dice N Board.

Jumanji

FAQ Section

Question: Is Jumanji A Real Game?

Answer: Yes, as shown through the first listing in this article, the movie was adapted into a literal board game, and while it isn’t quite as immersive or fantastical as the movies, it still offers a fun, family-oriented tabletop adventure that you can return to time and time again. It is also worth noting that Jumanji’s spiritual successor Zathura also has a dedicated board game too. 

Question: What is the Highest Rated Board Game Right Now?

Answer: At the time of writing, based on ratings from BoardGameGeeks, the top-rated game of the moment is Gloomhaven which has a score of 8.453 and a user score average of 8.68. This is closely followed by Brass: Birmingham, Pandemic Legacy, and Ark Nova. 

Question: What is the Best Selling Board Game Ever?

Answer: You may be thinking something along the lines of Scrabble, Monopoly, or Trivial Pursuit, but you may be shocked to know that it is actually Chess. This age-old game can be traced all the way back to the twelfth century, and it is estimated to have sold around 2-3 million copies per year. So my a landslide, the game of kings wins.

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