"No, you can't play as the race car!note
When a franchise becomes popular, companies often like to cash in with The Merch
. One option, if your franchise is big enough, is to team up with the companies that make board games, to make a special themed version of an existing game—typically a well-known game, like Monopoly or Clue(do) or Risk. It's a guaranteed sale to the hard-core collectors of the show's merch and
of the game, and it's also a likely sale to fans of the show who happen to like the game. Everybody wins.
The most commonly themed stock board games are: chess
, and Stratego
In most cases, the theme is only skin deep. The pieces may look like the show's characters (in chess, this is usually the only change), the squares on the board may be renamed, and the cards may have new artwork, but all have basically the same value and serve the same purpose as in the original game. In a few cases, new rules may be added to the game to reflect the theme, making a somewhat new game. This is particularly common with versions of Risk
, which usually also have all-new maps. If you add an example of a game that has new rules, please feel free to mention that fact.
Subtrope of The Merch
. When they make a whole new board-game instead of recycling an old one, that's The Board Game
. Also see Licensed Game
(for video games), Licensed Pinball Table
, and Themed Tarot Deck
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- Star Trek: With a Kirk vs. Khan theme. Trek is also responsible for the creation of one of the better-known 3D chess variants, although there are several rulesets, none of which are canon.
- The Simpsons
- South Park
- The Muppets
- Star Wars (at least as a computer game, anyway)
- Harry Potter. Justified, as Wizard's Chess appeared in the books and films.
- Doctor Who—In the 1990s, the Danbury Mint released a high-quality pewter chess set plus expansion packs. A typical game could go on and on forever: your king's been captured? No problem—he can regenerate!
- Super Mario Bros.
- Lord of the Rings
- The Simpsons
- Dungeons & Dragons: Yes, a tabletop game based on a tabletop game. It was released shortly after Hasbro, the makers of Clue, bought TSR, the makers of D&D.
- The Office (based on the U.S. version)
- Harry Potter
- Alfred Hitchcock with various characters, weapons and settings from Hitchcock's movies incorporated into the game.
- Most recently, The Big Bang Theory got one. In it, Sheldon was wronged but not murdered, and it's your job to find out which of six ways he was wronged (in place of weapons), who wronged him and where in the building it happened.
- Family Guy was nearly the same save for one difference: police cards. There are eight in the deck, and whoever draws the last one is out of the game. Good luck getting all of them, though, as their general rarity makes them a complete non-issue.
- Star Wars: Original Trilogy: each faction has different goals.
- Star Wars: Clone Wars: each side has special powers.
- The Lord of the Rings: It features special missions for the players, which greatly change the feel of the game.
- Metal Gear Solid: It includes the Nuclear Option, courtesy of Metal Gear REX.
- Doctor Who: Each player is a different faction of the Dalek, and must cope with a moving Tardis that opposes all sides. In addition, there are special power cards and special missions.
- Mass Effect: Has three play modes: Basic Training, Galaxy at War, and War Assets. The special War Assets cards can also be used in a standalone mini-game.
- The Walking Dead features zombie hordes that interfere with all sides, as well as event cards based on events in the comic series.
- Battlefield: features a tiled map that can be assembled differently each game, as well as nine different scenarios, each with its own victory condition.
- Plants vs. Zombies: a special two-player only version of Risk with three play modes: mission objectives, tower defense, and total domination.
- Star Trek: The Game (based on the original series) is basically a version of Trivial Pursuit with Trek trivia questions to answer, and a star map to move your pieces across.
- There is a version of Battleship themed after the movie Battleship which is itself based on the original Battleship board game.
- In the 1960s and 1970s, Milton Bradley had a very popular 3D board game called Which Witch?, in which players had to get to the top of the house and break the spell. In the 1980s, it was re-released as (surprise, surprise!) The Real Ghostbusters. There were a few mechanics changes, though: Instead of receiving damage by taking a card, players had to collect a certain number of ghosts in each room. A spinner indicated whether you captured one, lost one, or got slimed.
- There's a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed version of Yahtzee, based on the "Blind Man's Bluff" dice game from Dead Man's Chest.
- Based on the popular Euro Game Settlers Of Catan:
- Pirates of the Caribbean Scrabble, in which you can score double the points for specific words associated with the movie, such as "Curse", "Sword", "Apple", "Chest" or "Parlay".
- A number of franchises have Uno card games based on them, often with unique additional cards and rules; the "Spider-sense" card in the Spider-Man Uno game, for example, allows you to take a peek at the next player's hand.
- The Disney edition of Sorry!. The colors were replaced by groups of characters (princesses, villains, animals, heroes). Some of the cards would have special effects based on what card you drew last or what class you chose, adding more replay value in choosing another class for a change of strategy.
- Fluxx has a very thematically appropriate Monty Python variant, and a slightly less thematically appropriate Oz Fluxx.
- There is a fan-made The Hunger Games non-collectible card game which is, for all intents and purposes, The Hunger Games Munchkin.
- Scene It! had several different editions including Simpsons, Harry Potter, Bond Movies, and Disney.
- The western-themed role-playing card game Bang! has a special version based on The Walking Dead.
- The game of Thud is basically a Discworld themed variant of Viking tafl games.
- Since Snakes and Ladders isn't trademarked in the UK (although in the US Chutes and Ladders is a Hasbro IP), anyone can make a version based on their own properties. These have included Peppa Pig, The Gruffalo (with the Snake from the books),and even the Scottish Parliament.