It has just been announced that the hugely popular board game Settlers of Catan is in consideration of getting a film adaptation. Board game films are not new, you can look at examples such as Battleship (2012) , Dungeons and Dragons (2000) and Clue (1985) are just to name a few. Generally these films suffer the same fate as video game films, they are pretty rubbish. Catan does have some potential of being good film but I will try and make a list of 5 board games that could potentially make a good film, and before you judge, I said potentially.
The quintessential game of conflict and conquest. The game that requires plastic men fighting each other with dice. I have spent hours trying to take over Europe to get that sweet Europe bonus. This could easily be turned into one country’s desire to take over a whole region. It doesn’t have to be factual and doesn’t need to have dice in it but Riskleads itself to a kind of Game of Thrones-esque film of underhanded tactics. For anyone that has played Risk you can be the victim and the perpetrator of betraying a friend. I have lost many friends and gained none playing this game but It is mighty fun. This could be an easy 100 million pound blockbuster period piece of astounding battles with cannons and horses. It could be a political film that through discussion and betrayal would lead to victory. If I wrote this film the protagonist of whom wanted to conquer an empire would be a villain in the end. It is that old adage of you either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain.
Now this is where you probably lose faith in this list but trust me for a few minutes. I can see Jenga as a good old fashioned Roland Emmerich disaster film. Just imagine, a unnamed city has a skyscraper that was made cheaply 50 years ago and the material they used starts to crumble. This can become a nationwide emergency of trying to save everyone in the building or to try and stop it falling over. I think everyone has experienced the disaster of the Jenga tower falling over on the table on Christmas. It is a mess, just imagine this with a bigger budget and more at stake. I’m not going to have people try and take bricks out to try and topple the thing but I think it has the ingredients of a good brain numbing disaster film.
This board game has the biggest potential out of any board game. The story of the game is that four diseases have broken out around the world and different players take on different roles. It is a cooperative game so everyone works together to find the cure for the four diseases. What would work for this game is reduce it down to one disease and create a kind of pulp fiction story twisting plot. Each role in the board game could have its own story within the film that are connected with the four or fives other. The Dispatcher, Researcher, Scientist, Operations Expert and Medic are the five roles and it would quite interesting to have see each role individually on how these people helped towards the cure. This is a very popular game that wouldn’t be a huge risk because people love ‘virus’ films such as the zombie craze and films like Contagion (2011) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). Granted there will be no apes but find the cure films are popular and to use this plot with a popular board game IP would be a great combination.
2. The Game of Life.
One of my favourite board games and funny enough it isn’t one where you fight dragons or find magic cures. It is the famous board game of debt, being mundane and starting a family. As a kid this was the most visually appealing game as it was colourful, you had to set the board game up and spinning that wheel was fun. Now how could you make a film about life, the thing that everyone has experienced? Well the film could take inspiration from films like Forrest Gump (1994) or the Eddie Murphy film Life (1999). People’s lives are interesting to some and this could be a whole life account of someone that has had a magnificent life full of memorable events. It could be on the Forrest Gump level of being at every contemporary news event or it could focus on the nostalgia and moments that are individual, such as having a baby or getting married. It could start with an old lady speaking to her Grandchildren about the story of her life. It could be a romantic epic full of scenes that has an emotional depth of trying to figure out the real meaning of life. I know it sounds pretty deep for a board game film but The Game of Life has always been a statement in the fact that it calls Life a game.
One of the most, if not the most popular board games of all time. Monopoly has broke families for decades. The game of buying and selling properties is ingrained into popular culture. It has had video games, every show, film and brand has had a version of Monopoly. This is an example that I am surprised this has not had a film adaptation yet. Just look at films like Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and Wall Street (1987) as examples of where the Monopoly film could go. A young entrepreneur starts to buy a few houses and this snowballs to an empire of wealth that like the Risk film that I have created, the hero should be an anti-hero. Everyone knows that to win Monopoly, you do not make friends. I have been to many games that end in the board being flipped over. This could also follow the same tone of The Social Network (2010). You don’t make a billion dollars by making friends. You can have scenes where he goes to Jail but there is a loophole that means he can get out of Jail free. It would also be a good geographical piece. I’m from England so we had the London version, to see Old Kent Road or Oxford Street on camera would be nice. I just want a scene where someone gets charged 2000 pounds for being in a hotel in Mayfair. This can be the classic tragedy of a person that has it all but greed was the result of him losing it all. Someone give me millions so I can make this film.
What other board games would make interesting films?