Published on June 14th, 2013 | by Nicole Jekich

Top 5 Licenses That Deserve a Board Game

This article helped me release all the board game ideas that have been clawing at the back of my mind lately. Clearly, most of these ideas will never have board games because someone else owns those worlds, characters and canon; but that has never stopped game designers from creating their own version of a fantastical world with unique characters. Puzzle Strike, for example, is an amazing game that gained a loyal following despite the creator not being able to get the license he wanted. So, without further ado, here are my Top 5 Licenses That Deserve a Board Game.

Sailor Moon by ChicoChan

1. Sailor Moon

I have three simple reasons that Sailor Moon should be a board game: 1) She’ll never turn her back on her friends, 2) She’s always there to defend, 3) She’s the one on who we can depend: she is the one named Sailor Moon. Okay, but seriously, a team of five Sailor Scouts fighting the evils of the Negaverse sounds like the perfect cooperative card game. Creating a Sailor Moon game would be a welcome change in theme to what is currently popular. There are many games out there that are more like a boys’ adventure game and are made to cater to a more male audience. Now, I don’t want just a pink-boxed game with makeup, flowers and fluffy animals all over; I want a solid game that would attract more females to board games by using a well-loved, girls’ nostalgic TV show as its theme with the same rigorous mechanics you’d find in any other game.

Since LCG-style gameplay is fresh in my mind, I feel the cooperative nature of LotR LCG or Sentinels of the Multiverse card game have the best format to bring this franchise to life. Each Sailor Scout can be a pre-made hero deck and each one will have a different fighting mechanic like aggro, defense, status effects, etc. and the encounter deck can be the first season’s villain throwing out the creature of the week.

Using the LCG model would also offer an easy way to create expansions for a Sailor Moon game based on the multiple seasons of the show. After players are bored of the core set featuring Queen Beryl and the Negaverse, the Scouts can thwart the energy-draining plans of Ann and Alan: Guardians of the Doom Tree. For an even bigger challenge, Scouts can counter the earth-conquering plots of the Negamoon family lead by Prince Diamond and Wise Man. Not all expansions need to be about more complicated villains. One expansion could include the outer Sailor Scouts like Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as they appeared later in the show’s run. After thinking this through, the real question is “why isn’t this a game yet?!”

MLB Teams

2. Major League Baseball

Baseball is my favorite team sport but a pastime that I don’t indulge in too much given the current state of Seattle Mariners. As a way to keep my love and interest of baseball going through the tough season (read: every season), I tried a fantasy league a couple years ago. Myself and eleven others sat down on Saturday with a draft list of all available baseball players and positions and spent the next four hours composing our dream team. Of course no one always gets all the players they want. The top-ranked 25 players are gobbled up within the first ten minutes and the next grueling hours are spent picking up sloppy seconds, thirds and fourths. I had a great time but didn’t know that there were many statistics listed that I didn’t know about like batting averages, injuries or trades that affected each player’s performance. In short my team was awful and I lost interest after 15 weeks. I would love a game that could replicate drafting a team and allow for team management without the drawbacks of fantasy leagues.

Blood Bowl Team Manager is supposedly close to the idea I want to create, but I have yet to try out the game myself. I wonder if it is possible to make a MLB board game that is complex, engaging and re-playable for both beginners and more advanced gamers or fantasy drafters. This could definitely be a future project for myself and a handful of baseball-crazed friends.

RuPaul's Drag Race

3. RuPaul’s Drag Race

The world is overdue for a reality-television-based board game. I have said so many times to friends and all over Facebook that if it weren’t for all those terrible reality shows like The Bachelor or Real World series, then RuPaul’s Drag Race would never have been the greatest show ever. RuPaul’s Drag Race takes all the best parts of reality television like large personalities, seemingly-impossible challenges and petty drama and turns it up to 11! Who hasn’t thought once, “I would love to do those challenges. I would totally rock that one!” I want a game that is just as bold, funny, colorful and entertaining as an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

As mentioned in my bio, I love Cranium! My love of this charades-Pictionary- Trivial Pursuit mash-up is genuine too and not based on a snarky, ironic love given to most of my other childhood things. The four pillars of Cranium that represent creative, dexterous, performance and witty challenges are best suited for a RuPaul’s Drag Race game. The success of Cards Against Humanity, while not a game one should bring home to meet the folks, is proof that party games are all the rage and are great for attracting casual gamers. I also want the RuPaul game to be just as free form and subject to changes by other players as Cards Against Humanity. You could make it easy to add cards or challenges yourself, further increasing the customization. Also, instead of using smelly sculpting clay included in Cranium, why not have a box of material scraps and a handful of old barbies to dress up just like in the show? There are so many places this game could go! I think this idea is absolutely FAAAABULOUUUUS!!

Lady Eboshi Princess Mononoke Cosplay

4. Princess Mononoke

Pretty much any Miyazaki movie should be a board game, but I chose Princess Mononoke because I would love to play as each of the defined factions in a multi-faction, area-control war game. There are easily four factions: Iron Town: hoards of humans looking to expand rapidly and mine the earth; Forest Spirits: protectors of the Great Forest looking to preserve the old growth; Mercenaries: alliance-less humans and creatures looking for a future in riches and glory; and the Wild Boar Clan: migrant boars looking to cleanse all the land by trampling all in their path. These are the simplified versions of the clans from the movie, because the characters in the movie are more complex and do not fit into nice categories.

I would like to see the Princess Mononoke game modeled after Chaos in the Old World, where each faction competes for territory and has special abilities with which to conquer the land. In addition, each faction would have minion-level characters, slightly-more-beefy champion characters and a single leader. For Iron Town that means the minions would be the human miners; champions would be their riflemen; and their leader would be the strongest female character in existence: Lady Eboshi. Players could easily recreate the rise and fall of multiple factions three times over in the time it takes to actually watch the movie. A big improvement!

Pokemon Battle by Moozika

5. Pokémon

Gamers everywhere already enjoy Pokemon as a video game, TV show, collectible card game, manga series and obsessive collectible toy hobby. A board game isn’t too much to ask, right?  Glazing over the obvious Monopoly re-skin, I want a Pokemon game to be epic! Since so many of the Pokemon games focus on the individual Pokemon battles, which breaks the video game down into smaller and more attainable goals; I think a board game that focuses more on the journey from zero to hero would be a great change. Pokemon would make a perfect big box dungeon crawling game like Descent where players take their green-horn Pokemon and level them through all tiers of their evolution to take on the formidable gym masters.

Imagine playing all 100+ episodes of the first season of Pokemon in ONE GAME?!  Players start with three Pokemon from their first stage of evolution and run them through a giant adventure game where they battle other players, gain attack powers, defeat gym leaders and reach their final evolution all in one sitting! To me Pokemon is in need of a change of pace and this game could be just what Nurse Joy ordered!

I am interested in hearing what licenses you would like to see as a board game or card game. Let me know in the comments, on our Facebook page or tweet at me!

For the fan art, if you click on the image it will link directly to the artist’s Deviant Art page. If you like the art, tell the artist you appreciate them!


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About the Author

Nicole Jekich

came from humble beginnings as a Boise suburbanite with a love of Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. She attended an open board game day three years ago and is now an avid gamer and fantasy artist. Her interests are primarily in Dungeons & Dragons, dice placement and Roman-themed tabletop games. Nicole is also a fan of playing games that let her release her inner barbarian. Her favorite game currently is Far Space Foundry.

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