Posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by Peter Sciretta
8. Arctic Scavengers
Arctic Scavengers is a great deck-building card game which unfortunately was lost in the shuffle thanks to being released shortly after Dominion created the innovative mechanic. The game offers more in theme and interaction than many of the other card games in the deck-building category. Here is the official product description:
In the year 2097, the entire Earth was enveloped in a cataclysmic shift in climate, plunging the globe into another ice age. Nearly 90% of the world’s population was eliminated, driving the survivors to band together into loose communities and tribes. In Arctic Scavengers, you are the leader of a small tribe of survivors. Resources, tools, medicine, and mercenaries are all in scarce supply. You and your tribe are pitted against up to four other tribes in a fight for survival. Build up your tribe, skirmish against other players head-to-head, or even bluff your way to victory. The player with the largest tribe at the end of the game is declared the winner! The world of Arctic Scavengers is cold and brutal. Do you have what it takes to survive?
There isn’t a ton of story in this game but the dystopian gang world set in a world of snow and ice offers a lot of possibilities. This might make a better television series than a movie, but the snow-covered locations might be hard to accomplish on a budget.
Arctic Scavengers is available for under $30 on Amazon.
9. Escape: Curse of the Temple
Like any other medium, board games often borrow ideas and concepts from popular culture, including movies. There are more than a few games that play off the treasure-hunting of Indiana Jones. Two in particular I think could be adapted into a movie that does something different than the Indy trilogy (yes, lets forget about that last one).
First up is Escape: Curse of the Temple, a real-time “roll and move” cooperative game in which players must escape from a cursed temple before it collapses and kills one or more explorers. The game is exactly 10 minutes long because it is timed and played with a soundtrack. Players roll dice and take actions simultaneously. They must discover new rooms, and work together in puzzle rooms to find a number of magic gems to allow themselves to escape the temple.
The things that set this apart from Indiana Jones is that a movie version would follow a bunch of greedy adventurers who all become trapped in the temple and must work together to escape. Its contained but in high concept sets. The story would also be real-time. Think of it as Indiana Jones meets Saw. They have an hour to solve the puzzles and escape before being trapped inside forever.
Escape The Curse of the Temple is available for around $50 on Amazon.
10. The Adventurers
The other Indiana Jones-inspired game is a series called The Adventurers. There are actually two different games under this heading, featuring different characters. The Temple of Chac is like a rip off of Raiders of the Lost Ark (complete with rolling boulder) while The Pyramid of Horus is a copy of The Mummy remake. This is another game where treasure hunters must escape before being trapped inside the temple. What makes this game different is that it features a bunch of treasure hunters who are not working together, each looking out for their own bottom dollar.
The fun of the board game is that it is a “push your luck” adventure game. There are many ways to find treasures in the temple, but there are also many ways to die. You can play it safe and read hieroglyphics on the walls to discover which tiles in the lava room are trapped, or you can just grab for treasure and go for it. The game has a great mechanic where it allows all the characters to take the exact same amount of actions every turn, but the more treasure you collect in your backpack, the fewer actions you get. (In other words, the slower you are, with and fewer options.)
The Adventurers is a fun family game series that I feel doesn’t get enough credit. The concept would work as a movie: competing adventurers racing against time, each other and their own greed to escape an ancient temple. Who will make it out alive with the most treasure?
The Adventurers and the Temple of Chac is available for around $40 on Amazon.
11. Android: Netrunner
After creating the massive behemoth that was Magic: The Gathering, designer Richard Garfield created a new collectible card game called Netrunner. Despite being lauded by critics, the game did not replicate the success of Magic. Cut to 2012, when Fantasy Flight bought the rights to the game and released it as a living card game called Android: Netrunner. What that means is, instead of being doled out in packs of playing cards from which players must build up sets, Android: Netrunner was released as a big box card game. This version became a runner-up for game of the year at the 2012 Dice tower awards.
Android: Netrunner is set in a dystopian future and follows a battle between a mega-corporation and a black hat hacker (nicknamed a “runner” in the Android universe) in a duel to take control of data. The difference between Netrunner and a lot of other card games such as Magic is that it is an asymmetric two-player card game where both players are playing in a completely different way. One player is the runner hacking into a big corporation’s computer network and revealing agendas, while the other is the big corporation trying to work secret agendas behind a series of corporate firewalls (called “ice”).
Essentially the game is a cyberpunk hacking story that we’ve seen aspects of before, but what makes Netrunner unique as a property is all the cool concepts and terminology of this world. The game is completely different on both sides of the fence, and film version could show this duality instead of just following the hero. The art on some of the cards is just fantastic, and we haven’t had a good cyberpunk movie in years.
Android: Netrunner is available for around $30 from Amazon.
Header image thanks to yellowbrickboardgames. Now Hollywood, please make one of these board game movies and not Snakes and Latter’s or Mouse Trap!