Jaws Board Game Review

(Welcome to Cardboard Cinema, a feature that explores the intersection between movies and tabletop gaming. This column is sponsored by Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy in Austin, Texas.)

In 1975, Axron released the first tabletop adaptation of Jaws, a dexterity game that saw you trying to hook bone pieces from the open jaws of a mechanical shark. While the 1975 Jaws was a fine repurposing of Operation, it was not exactly a faithful creation of the movie itself. Those who wanted to replay the doomed adventures of Brody, Hooper, and Quint would have to wait more than four decades until 2019, when European game developer Ravensburger would release Jaws into Targets across America. And thankfully, everyone’s favorite killer shark has finally found a tabletop adaptation worth his dorsal fin.

This is actually the second time Ravensburger has tackled a beloved Steven Spielberg property. The developer had previously released Jurassic Park: Danger!, an adaptation of the original film that features Alan Grant and other characters scrambling to restore power and escape the island. Like Jaws, the players take on the role of either the dinosaurs or the humans, and what follows is a game of expensively themed checkers. Humans move to tiles, dinosaurs chase them, and the only real strategy in the game comes when you have to decide when to let a dinosaur eat your character. It’s a fine party game – and, as an in-store Target exclusive, will probably help hook a new generation of tabletop players – but it’s also an example of how developers can connect on a theme but miss on mechanics. Recreating Jurassic Park with friends is underwhelming when you make Jurassic Park a much dumber narrative in the process.

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batman gotham city chronicles unboxing

Last year, Monolith Games took to Kickstarter to launch a new Batman miniatures board game called Batman: Gotham City Chronicles. I was a backer of the project, and I was certainly not alone as the project had nearly 20,000 backers, collecting a grand total of $4.4 million. A year has passed and over the weekend, a humongous package arrived at my door. As I’m trying to create a new weekly vlog channel with my girlfriend Kitra called Ordinary Adventures (feel free to hit that link and subscribe!), we decided to record an unboxing of this epic tabletop game. Watch the video below!

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fight club card game

(Welcome to Cardboard Cinema, a feature that explores the intersection between movies and tabletop gaming. This column is sponsored by Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy in Austin, Texas.)

I’ll be perfectly honest: when Mondo first announced that they were making a Fight Club card game, I shrugged. Maybe it’s because I’m used to movie license board games being typically bad. Maybe it’s because the fandom surrounding David Fincher’s 1999 classic has increasingly proven itself to not understand the film’s message. But I was expecting a simplistic, “take that” game where players throw cards at each other to win fistfights in a basement. You know, everything that the movie isn’t really about.

So color me impressed that the Fight Club card game looks to be a more accurate riff on the film’s concepts than I imagined. Fight Club: The Home Game is a two-player deck building card game where each player takes on a personality battling over control of one mind, as represented by the spread of cards in the middle of the table.

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jurassic park the chaos gene

As a huge tabletop gamer, it brings me much pleasure that Mondo has been dipping their toes into the board game space. Last year, they teamed up with USAopoly for the hidden traitor game The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 and this year they are announcing Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene. Today, Mondo has released our first look at the game’s miniatures and have revealed some of the game’s mechanics. Some of these details have me excited, but others have me feeling a bit…skeptical.

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Batman: Gotham City Chronicles

From time to time we like to cover tabletop games on this site, especially when they are pop culture related. Part of the reason is that I’m a huge tabletop gamer, and so is /Film managing editor Jacob Hall (who is out on vacation this week, probably playing board games). On Tuesday, Monolith Board Games launched a Kickstarter for their newest miniature game based on the Batman comic book universe. Batman: Gotham City Chronicles is an epic game for 2 to 4 players that lets you fight for Gotham City as the heroes or work alone as the villain.

It’s based on a game system introduced by Monolith on the Conan board game, which by all accounts was excellent (right now its rated as the 240 best game of all time, and 60th best thematic game, on Board Game Geek, which is like the tabletop equivalent of IMDb). I own Conan and love everything about it aside from having no connection to the fantasy series its based on. But as a massive fan of Batman, this game is an instabuy.

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the godfather board game

(Welcome to Cardboard Cinema, a feature that explores the intersection between movies and tabletop gaming. This column is sponsored by Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy in Austin, Texas.)

Back in 2016, we first learned that CMON (formerly Cool Mini Or Not) was making a board game based on Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, The Godfather. Now, after over a year of designing and playtesting and tweaking and playtesting and playtesting (as is the board game way), the Godfather board game is about to hit shelves. And as a new trailer reveals, it looks cool. Really cool, even. Maybe even “day one purchase” levels of cool.

But does it actually look like The Godfather? That’s the question, isn’t it?

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