Trends & Inspiration

When Board Games Come to Life

In 1860, Milton Bradley invented the first mass-produced board game. Known as The Checkered Game of Life, and later just Life, the game presented its players with risks and rewards and the opportunity to (safely!) simulate real-world scenarios – marriage, success, imprisonment(!) – in the comfort of one’s parlour. Life proved to be a huge success, selling 45,000 copies in its first year alone.

In 2016, aspects of life conceptualised as games aren’t uncommon, but what happens when this association is tweaked, when board games come to life? Put simply, things seem to get a little messy…

Clue, ‘it’s not just a game anymore’

Video source: YouTube

Based on the board game Clue (Cluedo in the UK), Clue is an American 1985 mystery comedy film. In 1954 New England, six strangers are invited to an evening at Hill House, where they must work with the mansion’s staff to solve a series of mysterious murders, of which they could nearly all be culpable. The film apparently flopped at the Box Office, but has since developed a cult following. At the time of release, true to the the tenets of the game, different movie theatres were given one of three different endings, each of which was included on the home video release.

Check out ritzy_loves_life’s Clue (1985) film images:

Jumanji, ‘roll the dice and unleash the excitement’

Video source: YouTube

Alan Parrish (Robin Williams) is trapped in a 100 year old board game for 26 years. He is inadvertently released in 1995 by two siblings who have just moved into the vacant Parrish house. In the present, the game’s original players – both traumatised by their experiences – must complete the game with the young children who rolled the dice. This superlative example of board games come to life reminds us of the sometimes equivocal roles of chance and responsibility in each of our actions.

Check out the90scalled’s snapshot of the Jumanji gameboard:

#Jumanji #jumanjigame #robinwilliams #1995 #the90scalled #90smovie #nostalgia #90skid #90s

A photo posted by @the90scalled on

Stranger Things

Video source: YouTube

In the very first episode of Stranger Things, we find our heroes playing Dungeons & Dragons seeking victory against the dastardly Demogorgon. What transpires from this encounter is an exemplary horror/comedy love letter to the 80s, peppered with D&D-esque scenarios (sometimes quite literally fleshed out) that are often more gripping than the explicitly eponymous attempts to animate this niche role-playing game.

With the strapline ‘keep telling yourself it’s just a game’, we could have picked Ouija (2014), but, given their lovable underdog status, El and the boys simply had to make it onto this list.


One final twist to our exploration of when board games come to life is The Telegraph‘s celebration of Monopoly’s 80th anniversary: ‘The Ultimate Monopoly Pub Crawl’The Telegraph’s real-world realisation of this classic board game sees its players drink in at least one venue on each of the iconic streets. The Ultimate Monopoly Pub Crawl is a roll of the dice best played responsibly with a designated driver – whether you pretend to be a dog, thimble or iron, however, is then up to you…

Check out egjim_miaouu’s snap of the English version of Monopoly

#englishmonopoly #london

A photo posted by Emma Falgas (@egijm_miaouu) on

Which board games come to life would you like to see? Let us know on social with #IWOOTboardgames

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Michael Adamson

Michael Adamson


Michael is a life-long fan of all things related to DC Comics, Marvel, and Star Wars. When he's not reading, you can find him playing football or running.