If you enjoy a good dose of imaginative escapism, both books and board games are a great way to immerse yourself in another world. Any bookworm will understand the frustration felt after finishing a good read, so what better way to extend the fun than by dreaming up a board game adaptation for your favourite novels, comics and other favourite tomes?
In this blog we present some ideas of how our favourite books could be transformed into tabletop games. Don’t forget to head to our Twitter channel to tell us what you’d like to see adapted!
The Shining – Stephen King
Synopsis: Jack Torrance becomes the caretaker for a grand, unoccupied hotel in the middle of nowhere. But as the days roll on his intentions of writing a novel and spending time with his wife and son go disturbingly awry, as cabin fever, or something more nefarious, begins to wreak havoc on his mental state.
Game play: Welcome to your new home, the Overlook Hotel. Your mission is to survive a winter in this isolated estate, get down to some serious writing and protect your family. As you explore the hotel hallways – decorated with the iconic 1970s carpet pattern, of course – you will be called into different rooms to pick up cards that are either auspicious or ominous in their commands. Collect as many script and shining cards as you can to help you along, but try to avoid ghosts, creepy twins and getting overcome by homicidal fury.
1984 – George Orwell
Synopsis: A society ruled by Big Brother, bugged by the Thought Police, and obscured by Newspeak – the dystopian nightmare of George Orwell’s 1984 really needs no introduction.
Game play: The aim of this card-based game is to decipher who is the snitch and to avoid Room 101 at all costs. Truth cards will enlighten citizens to the reality of doublespeak and the nefarious goings on at the Ministries of Love, Truth, Peace and Plenty, but beware of Ingsoc cards, which will thwart citizen’s attempts to rise up. The aim of the game is to attain free thought, love, truth or resistance – which path you choose is up to you – but beware, one of you is a traitor.
(Plot twist – it is impossible to win this game)
Invisible Cities – Italo Calvino
Synopsis: Part travelogue, part fantasy, this ethereal novel from Italian author Italo Calvino presents famed merchant Marco Polo as he describes his travels around the world to Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan. Throughout the 55 short prose descriptions of imagined cities, an enchanting picture is painted, providing commentary and meditations on culture, language, memory and death.
Game play: This one-player myriorama based game is intended to spark the imagination and inspire storytelling skills. Taking the role of Polo, you are tasked with regaling the emperor with stories of your travels to distant lands. A deck of cards provides snippets of the wondrous sights you have seen, and as you draw from the pack one by one, the story develops and an extraordinary world unfolds. Suggestion and question cards are interspersed with story cards to stretch your imagination and take you to a fantastical new city every time you play.
Skulduggery Pleasant Series – Derek Landy
Synopsis: Who doesn’t love magic, talking skeleton detectives and adventures to save the world? That’s what Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant has to offer as he and his partner, Valkyrie Cain, try to stop the end of the world in this wonderfully funny Young Adult series.
Game play: Given that their job as detectives is to solve crimes, which usually see them fighting off monsters and magical villains, the game would offer similar stakes. A card is read at the beginning of the game, determining the scenario. Each round involves an encounter with an enemy or a clue card, pulled from a separate stack. Every player has a certain amount of magic tokens they can spend on their various powers, which either help deal with bad guys or determine the next step when examining clues. Defeating a goon or solving a clue grants points, of which you need ten to unlock the final boss and stand against them to fight for the fate of all mankind.
Truckers – Terry Pratchett
Synopsis: Terry Pratchett’s Nomes find themselves transported to a human department store. Despite the comfort of their new surroundings they have to escape to find pastures new and follow the signs given to them by a mysterious cube.
Game play: The board game would be a floor plan of the store, showing the various departments that Masklin and his friends encounter on their adventures. Players would roll dice and move their small Nomes around the board, all while trying to avoid the gaze of the humans they go about their day. Humans can see two squares directly in front of them, so Nomes have to be clever in how they move. The humans are controlled by one player, who rolls one six-sided dice while everyone else plays the Nomes and roll two six-sided dice as Nomes move a lot faster than humans. The humans win if all Nomes are discovered, and the Nomes win if they gather all the supplies they need to make their escape through various different points on the board.