TableTop Bonanza: Wacky Board Games, A Visual Guide

Sometimes you look over at your board game collection and realize they seem to cover pretty much everything.

You can see old classics like Scrabble and Monopoly stacked among new strategy games like Firefly and Game of Thrones, while quirky games like Pictionary still give party people a giggle or two. It’s this diverse range of gaming entertainment that makes board games so much fun. However it has also given us an eclectic array of absolutely insane games. What you see below is a gallery selection of some of my favourites.

VCR Board Games

To keep up with the popularity of the emerging computer game industry, board game creators came up with some interesting and intriguing ways to try and keep people away from the keyboards and keep them glued to their table tops. One of these was the VCR or video board game. These games came with a video tape that needed to be played at certain points throughout the game. The game sometimes just reused footage from the movies or shows they were based on, but the really special ones had entirely new footage that watching popping the video on much more compelling. These types of games are still around today in DVD form (Scene It! and Nightmare being the most notable ones) and if you have the time, they do a great job of combining interactive entertainment with board game frolics.

Video Game Board Games

The video game market is one of the biggest entertainment industries around. The board game industry adapted to this by taking on licenses of gaming properties – so in a strange turn of events, you now have video games becoming board games. All the way back to the 80s with 8-bit titles, right up to modern day franchises, you can get board game variants of your favourite (and not so favourite) video games.  In some ways, it’s the best of both worlds (especially with Video Game High School, which has the further bonus of being a webseries too).


3D Board Games

Instead of the standard board game, figure & dice set up, here we get into the realm of 3D gaming. Most 3D games involve structures that are built up into the board. There’s no denying they look pretty special when standing in their full glory, and they make a much more impressive use of the board space. Today’s more modern games still use variations of this style, but the structures tend to take a back seat to the rules and active play. Nevertheless, they’ll always be fascinating to look at.

 TV Show Games

When your favorite series TV series ends, how do you go on? Well, one way is to get one of the dozens of board game adaptations out there. Some seem tailor-made for this kind of treatment. Game of Thrones works especially well as a strategy game (but that could equally be the smarts of author George R.R. Martin, for creating such an absorbing world to visit). Others don’t quite make as much sense. But hey, anything to keep the brand going!

Movie Based Games

To end the article I thought it would be fun to see some of the movies that have joined the physical world and managed to become board games themselves. Some of the choices made in bringing movies to table top seem incredibly strange. I love Rodney Dangerfield as much as the next person, but a board game made about one of his lesser-known films is either insane or genius, and I have no idea why way I’m leaning.


Looking into the world of board games, it’s obvious that there are no lengths companies won’t go to adapt their properties to the table top. Which is why we have events like International Table Top Day, to show off this glorious and sometimes absurd corner of the gaming world. If you enjoyed this article then make sure you check out the reviews of Sopio and Love Letter too.

Images: Matel, Pressman, Spinnaker, Akklaim, Ebay, Parker Brothers, Decipher, Inc, EPYX, Milton, Bradley, Roseart, Toy Biz, Remco, 999 Games, KOSMOS, Mayfair Games, Wonder Forge, Pressman, Plaid Hat Games, Fantasy Flight Games, Creative Computing, Queen Games, Bandai, THQ, Western Publishing Company, Kenner, TSR, SPI, Cadaco, Ideal, Tor Books, Disney, Victory Games, WizKids Games, Gale Force 9, Warren, BBC, Cryptozoic, Monopoly.

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