7 more board games that should be big-screen sci-fi blockbusters

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Kyle Anderson
Dec 15, 2012

We've already told you about 7 classic board game movies that have Hollywood rolling the dice—but there are so many more that need the big-screen blockbuster treatment!

Next summer will see the release of Battleship, based on the quiet two-player game you played when it was raining. The game Battleship isn't inherently all that interesting, so in typical Hollywood fashion, the film version will feature a U.S. Navy fleet facing off against aliens with interstellar boats. You know, exactly like the game.

With Candy Land and Risk also in the works, it seems board-game movies are here to stay. As such, we've come up with seven more board games begging to be sci-fi movies—and explained exactly how Hollywood might change them.

Warning: Absolutely no spoilers ahead, as none of these movies are real ... yet.

Hungry Hungry Hippos

The Game: Four players each control one hippopotamus as they try to gather as many white marbles (careful, choking hazard) as they can. The "hungriest" hippo wins. Ages 4+

The Movie: Deep in the African jungle, four baby hippopotamuses are subjected to fiendish genetic experiments by an insane veterinarian (played by Stanley Tucci). When his laboratory is raided, the four hippos are taken to the San Diego Zoo for rehabilitation, overseen by a good-hearted zoologist (Rachel Weisz). Little does she know that the experiments have accelerated their growth and made them ravenously hungry ... and humans are on the menu. Now it's up to Weisz and an intrepid but surly game warden (Eric Bana) to put an end to the hippos' carnivorous rampage before San Diego, and all of California, is trampled or chomped. Rated PG-13 for scary sequences of animal violence.

The Result: The game is changed to reflect the film with evil-looking hippos and marbles painted to look like people.


The Game: Any number of players pass around a battery-powered disc with four large colored buttons. The disc offers a series of beeps and lights corresponding to the colored buttons in a pattern that the player must repeat. Ages 7-adult

The Movie: The residents of a dystopian future city are oppressed by the machines they created to help them. At the heart of the city is the master computer, known as Simon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), who deals with uprisings not through outright violence, but by subjecting the perpetrators to increasingly complex tests of logic using color and sound, driving them into epileptic seizures and eventually brain death. A brilliant young rebel (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) thinks he has discovered the key to beating Simon, and, with the help of the beautiful and mysterious Olivia Wilde, he must reach the center of the city to once and for all stop the terrifying machine. Rated PG-13 for "Thematic Content."

The Result: The game Simon is exactly the same but starts administering a small electric charge to the player when he messes up. The higher the level, the more powerful the shock. That'll teach those kids what they get for being smart.


The Game: Two players line up pieces representing different members of an army, as well as a flag and bombs. Your opponent does not know which pieces are which and must use strategy to determine where the flag is. Ages 8+

The Movie: In an alternate future world beset by war, two armies, one human, the other of orc-like beasts, face off under perpetual darkness to gain control of each other's respective lands. Land mines litter the field, and casualties are impossibly high. After years of bitter, bloody war, the human's Marshal (Viggo Mortensen) devises a plan to send a spy (Mark Strong) into enemy territory to kill the beast's leader (Ron Perlman, under tons of makeup as usual), only to discover that the opposition have a spy of their own and the Marshal's life and the war hang in the balance. Rated R for bloody war violence, but resubmitted and after a few cuts now PG-13.

The Result: Sales of the board game skyrocket for about two weeks until kids realize, just as we all did, that Stratego is a game you can basically only play once before you (or your dad) get tired of it and put it in the crawlspace.

Chutes and Ladders

The Game: A basic racing board game; players roll dice and move the corresponding number of squares. On some squares are ladders that take players further up the board, and on some spaces are chutes (slides or snakes, depending on which version one plays) that send players back closer to the beginning. First one to the end wins. Ages 3+

The Movie: Guillermo del Toro directs this nightmarish fairy tale about a young girl with big eyes who finds a secret passageway in her grandmother's basement that takes her to a world between worlds, where ladders and chutes connect different dimensions, each containing new, fantastical creatures and increasingly strange and terrible places. But humans are not supposed to travel between worlds, and the little girl soon discovers that a giant mystical snake (played by Doug Jones but voiced by Ralph Fiennes) is chasing her. Now she must find the right chute or ladder that takes her home before the hideous python sinks its fangs into her. Rated R for terror, because that's how del Toro does fairy tales.

The Result: After moronic parents take their young children to see the movie, kids are now too terrified ever to play the game again.

Guess Who?

The Game: Each player has a board with 24 different faces on them and a card with one of those faces. The player's job is to, using a process of elimination, determine which of the 24 faces the other player has. Ages 6+

The Movie: In the very distant future, Alpha Centauri is hosting the very first peace summit of delegates from all over the universe in an effort to end war once and for all. When the president of Earth (Morgan Freeman) is assassinated mere hours before the summit, it's up to a tough-as-nails Earth cop (Jason Statham) and a by-the-book Andromedan agent (Jake Gyllenhaal in heavy effects makeup) to find the assassin and prevent war. Their investigation soon uncovers that the murderer is a shape-shifter, meaning everyone at the summit is a suspect and no one is safe until they find him.

The Result: The game starts using various alien faces instead of the marginally dissimilar human faces, making each round of the game incredibly easy and thus far more boring.

Don't Break the Ice

The Game: Sort of like Jenga but sideways. Players use a little plastic hammer to knock ice cubes out of a "frozen lake" without making all the ice fall, thus killing a fisherman. Ages 4-6

The Movie: At a remote arctic research location, a small team of scientists, led by Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, are attacked by aquatic aliens using sun-powered ships, causing huge amounts of ice to melt. They quickly learn of a full-scale attack that will melt the polar ice caps, flooding the Earth in a matter of hours. Enlisting the help of a local ice fisherman (John Cusack), the group must prevent the attack in order to keep the entire planet from drowning. Rated PG-13 because no one would see it otherwise.

The Result: Children everywhere say, "What game is this?" and sales remain stagnant.


The Game: Players with different color pieces must travel all the way around the board to get back to their respective home bases. If another player lands on them or passes them, SORRY, the player must go back to start. 6-11 Years

The Movie: A drifter (Ryan Gosling) wakes up on a strange tropical island with only a note pinned to him saying he must travel through the jungle's many dangers and reach the mansion in the middle to get out. The catch? There are others on the island with the same note, and if any one of them reaches the end first, everybody else dies. The drifter must make the impossible decision to kill or be killed, and the guilt of his actions begins to weigh heavier and heavier upon him. Eli Roth directs. Rated R for graphic torture and violence and for strong language.

The Result: The game is changed to reflect the movie's themes, and the majority of the population feels too bad and depressed to play the game, though a small portion are now more interested in playing, leading to a rise in psychiatric evaluations.

While none of these movies sound particularly award-worthy, they all, sadly, sound very plausible and have just as much chance of getting made as Battleship did. If any Hollywood execs out there read this, a rough outline of any of these screenplays could be done in a week. Seriously, we all have to start somewhere.

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