With the Cannes Film Festival just starting, here are our 5 favorite board game film adaptations.
Cannes and cinema
That’s it, let’s go! The Cannes Film Festival started yesterday on the Croisette. This year the festival celebrates 75 years of cinema celebrations. The Film Festival began in 1946, immediately after the Second World War. A birthday from hell! After a festival canceled in 2020, then postponed to July 2021 in a more restricted and hybrid form, the festival returns.
Without masks, on the right date, the festival, on the other hand, is rather troubled, taking place in an atmosphere of uncertainty. It is not the pandemic that darkens Europe, but the war in Ukraine that continues. And the global film industry is in decline after that the pandemic. The cinema, in fact, is going through a particular and complicated economic situation. We blame Covid for the abandonment of cinemas, but things are a bit different in 2022 at the end of the pandemic. With 13 million cinema admissions in March 2022, this is the worst month since 1999!
If blockbusters work quite well, like those of superheroes, the cinema of authors has many difficulties, many more more difficult than before the pandemic to bring the public to theaters. Streaming platforms have obviously managed to establish themselves and compete with cinemas.
Always protagonists on the Croisette
It should be noted that the president and former actor of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky through a live video, accepted the invitation to address the public at the opening ceremony, and stirred up the palace crowd. He spoke with emotion of cinema and war, of defeated dictators, without naming names … Vladimir Poutine, quoting in reference “The great dictator” by Charlie Chaplin and “Apocalypse Now” by Francis Coppola.
Some stars are also (highly) expected on the Croisette, including Tom Cruise, of course. Through this “Top Gun Maverick” which follows a generational blockbuster released more than 35 years ago, the star will ensure the presence of American cinema at this reopening after the pandemic. Cannes needs stars, but maybe the stars need Cannes too.
Virginie Efira now returns every year. But this time she has no films in competition. She will be content, so to speak, to work as a ceremonial master for the opening and closing evenings. Aired on France Télévisions and not on Canal +, a big news this year.
And apart from the stars, being cinema, several films are expected, including “Crimes of the Future” by David Cronenberg with a vast palette of stars, or perhaps the very sulphurous “Paiction” by Albert Serra.
But after all, what is it, a good or bad adaptation of cinema to games?
It’s easy to guess why game publishers like to adapt licenses to board games – to navigate a well-known universe that’s already popular with the public. The adaptations will attract more people (and therefore buyers).
Film adaptations of board games are a legion. And you can replace movies with any other cultural product, such as books, series, video games and comics. Good or bad adaptations are a bit like hunters. There are good hunters and bad hunters (of the Bouchonois).
Adaptations of movies into board games are a difficult … exercise. Make too many changes and you are sure to shock existing fans.
On the other hand, you stay too loyal and your game may seem too … flat. But sometimes a game manages to find the right balance, pull the right strings, and attract movie buffs as much as the gaming audience.
The five games we present to you today more or less complement the film they adapt. Each experiences the big difference between the atmosphere and the building blocks of the film, while offering fun gameplay, objectives and balance.
The presentation of these 5 games got us thinking about what makes a good fit. Respect for the starting material is obviously essential, but it goes much deeper than “just” that.
The team behind the game has to make choices: what to keep, what to evacuate. And above all, how to transcribe the elements seen in the film on the set. Definitely the biggest challenge!
But what kind of magic do we need to make a good fit? And what, basically, is a “good fit”? Is it a faithful reproduction of the source? Do you use the original material as a springboard to create something different? When a film forms the complete basis of a game, where to place the cursor, between adaptation and inspiration?
Film adaptations in board games don’t have to be 100% true to the movie. This is the whole principle and the difficulty of an adaptation. As long as they capture the spirit of the original story, delight fans, and deliver thrilling, balanced and varied gameplay. In short, that adaptation turns out to be a good game, and not right an adaptation. The game must be able to transcend and transcribe the experience of the film and its universe.
Cinema and board game
I’m not going to teach you anything by telling you that the board game is … porous. Board games feed on other media to adapt themes, universes, mechanics. While many board games adapt video games, many do so with series and cinema as well.
👉Read also: From the big screen to the table: how board games adapt movies.
Now let’s be honest. We’ve often come across movie-based board games that aren’t always great. The links are sometimes weak, sometimes cheap. But some games still manage to honor the original cinematic work.
To echo the 75th Cannes Film Festival, here are our 5 favorite board game adaptations.
Impossible not to include this game in this list. Wicked Disney allows you to embody the evil cartoon characters from Disney movies.
Small card game, asymmetrical, addicting, many expansions have already been released, as well as two adaptations also filmed: a Marvel version, and very soon Star Wars.
Unfortunately, this board game has never been translated into VF cooperative incorporates the entire array of iconic monsters from Universal studio: Dracula, the werewolf, the mummy, the invisible man and of course the creature of Frankenstein, otherwise we wouldn’t tell you about it.
In Horrified, you play a group of unlikely heroes living in a city overrun by classic and terrifying monsters. But above all classic.
You will have to hunt these monsters by successfully fulfilling the conditions indicated on each of their cards: Dracula like this, the Mummy like that.
Horrified it’s nothing particularly original, it seems at times Pandemic with streumon instead of epidemics, but the whole tuba and purrs, to the point where incredible parts and interested parts pass through.
Star Wars: Rebellion
For Star Wars fans looking for a great cinematic adaptation to the board game, there is Star Wars: Rebellion.
Star Wars: Rebellion is a great territory control board game where you can control the entire Galactic Empire or choose to play as a Rebel Alliance. In this strategy game, you guide spaceships, considering troop movements and rallying systems as you engage in a bitter struggle for power. Expensive, but robust and exciting!
Night of the Living Dead: a zombicide game
The night of the livingthis is Zombicidebut in the work of Georges Romero, the cult film of 1968 zombies that launched the “fashion” of the living dead in cinema, and beyond. Horrifying !
Night of the Living Dead: a zombicide game offers 10 movie-inspired scenarios where you will have to survive as you complete your goals.
The material is of high quality: personal board, figurines, with different choices depending on the type of zombie. Is due Zombicide, a cooperative board game of survival in an apocalypse. Nothing better to spend a game night running away from zombies (and tripping others to get away with it). A great adaptation of cinema to the board game
Jaws / Jaws
This semi-cooperative adaptation of the film into a board game Jaws, or Jaws is a strategy game with a lot of suspense. One person embodies the famous white shark that terrorizes the island of Amity. The other three hunted the shark in the skin of the characters in Spielberg’s film 47 years ago, in 1975, namely Brody, Hooper and Quint. The visual style of the game allows you to immerse yourself, in both senses, in the universe of the film.
The gameplay is divided into two parts, Amity Island and The Orca, the famous boat, played on a double-sided chessboard to reproduce the story of the film. If humans kill the shark, they win. If the shark’s attack on the Orca is successful, the great white shark wins. By the same authors Wicked Disney who particularly likes to adapt the cinema to a board game.
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Article written by Gus. Chief editor of Gus & Co. He has been working in the gaming world since 1989 as an author and journalist. And as a player, above all. His four passions: narrative games, menagerie and mathematics.
And you, what adaptations of cinema in the board game did you like?