Web Video: Board James
Board James is a Cinemassacre Web Original series, created and starred by James Rolfe, famous for his work with the Nerd and the Bullshit Man. You can find the series hereBoard James is a pretty normal guy, a kid at heart who collects a great variety of Board Games as a hobby, and reviews them. Sometimes Board James does his reviews alone, and from time to time he's joined by his vitriolic best bud Motherfucker Mike, who is a bit of a cheater when it comes to playing the games. And when there's a place on the board for an extra player, there's Bad Luck Bootsy, an annoying but friendly guy who is prone to ruining the games and who causes nothing but trouble to James, Mike and himself.It started out as a Spin-Off of The Angry Video Game Nerd, but is now its own series. It follows the same Mid-Review Sketch Show formula that the AVGN helped popularize, but features a much less ''enraged'' style of reviewing, often focusing on the good too.The show was put on hiatus in April 2013 after the Dream Phone episode. According to James, he had plans on continuing the series with a new season, but had fallen behind due to working on the AVGN movie. He promised that more episodes will come, and the promise was fulfilled when the series returned on, of all days, April Fools' Day 2015.
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Board Games reviewed (in chronological order)
- Mouse Trap
- Weapons and Warriors
- Fireball Island
- Deadly Danger Dungeon (a homemade board game)
- Mr. Bucket
- Tornado Rex
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Games
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Pizza Toss
- Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pizza Power
- Key to the Kingdom
- Donut Disaster
- Loopin' Louie
- Monster Madness
- Battle Masters
- Doggie Doo
- Shark Attack
- Dream Phone
- Omega Virus
- Lie Detector
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Deadly Danger Dungeon
- All There in the Manual: Some of the games reviewed suffer from this.
- The Dragonstrike game has its story explained in a movie-like instructional VHS that came with the game.
- April Fools' Day: This date in 2013 was the day the Dream Phone episode, the last episode prior to a two-year hiatus, came out. The same date in 2015 marked the return of the series in the Omega Virus episode. Neither of them were pranks.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Mr. Bucket and the Dream Phone.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:Motherfucker Mike: What are those tiles? What's up with the bushes? What's the other deck of cards? What are that circle of explosion pieces? How many times can this guy get hit? Can this guy move first or does he attack first? How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop? The world may never know...
- Audience-Alienating Premise: In-Universe, James says this about Dragonstrike. Whenever he tried to find people to play the game with, they would be put off by the seeming complexity of the rules.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: After playing Dream Phone, James points out that it plays like a mystery game. He goes on to draw parallels between it and a murder mystery like Clue.
- Berserk Button: After the Dream Phone episode, try bringing up James' dead friends and see how he reacts. The Nerd figured this out the hard way.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: Bootsy apparently has a past of lovemaking with animals, and is even seen in bed flirting with the shark in the "Shark Attack" episode.
"I saw you blowing a goat last night!"
- According to accusations from one another, James and Mike have indulged in this as well.
- Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: In the Dream Phone review, after finding Mike dead, James pulls the knife out of his back.
- Beware the Nice Ones: As seen at the end of the "Shark Attack" episode, James can get really irate when pissed off.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Dream Phone episode. James manages to defeat the evil Dream Phone, but at the cost of Bootsy and Mike's lives, without even mentioning the effect it had on James.
- Board Games: No shit.
- Bottomless Pits / Spikes of Doom : Deadly Danger Dungeon is full of them.Board James: That's an instant death. You fell in the spikes.Motherfucker Mike: But I fell in the spikes already up here.Board James: These spikes are bigger.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the review of Dragonstrike there's a moment in which James starts acting as if he was playing the game with a bunch of friends and starts assigning characters to each one, he then points out to the camera and claims "And you'll be the wizard!".
- Button Mashing: Pretty much the whole Crossfire battle.
- Call Back: In the "Shark Attack" episode, Mike and Bootsy piss James off and he angrily gives them a foul-mouthed "The Reason You Suck" Speech and leaves in a bout of anger. In James' appearance in an AVGN episode, the Nerd brings up his dead friends (this is post-''Dream Phone'', mind you) and James leaves in a bout of profane anger.
- The Cameo: Board James makes a Cameo in the TGWTG second anniversary, in which he teaches the characters how to play Risk.
- The Cast Showoff: It's a pretty safe bet that the entire reason for Bad Luck Bootsy's existence is to give Bootsy Spankins, P.I. the opportunity write filk songs about board games.
- Catch Phrase: Subverted; the first regular episode ("Dragonstrike") has Board James introduce himself with the phrase "Hey! I'm Board James. And when Board James is bored, I play some board games." This is delivered in such a way that it APPEARS to be his opening catchphrase, but he doesn't say it again until the Omega Virus episode as an Ironic Echo, given the circumstances.
- Cat Scare: Multiple times in the Mr. Bucket episode, since you can't really make an effective Jump Scare out of a plastic children's toy.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Like the other Cinemassacre web originals, the characters from Board James don't shy away from swearing every once in a while.
- Continuity Nod: In the Donut Disaster episode, Bootsy is using an eye-patch because of the little accident he had in the Tornado Rex episode.
- He splashed hot burning coffee all over his face at the end of the Donut Disaster episode, and in the Splat! episode we see him wearing the eye-patch and bandages over his face.
- In the Dream Phone episode, the person on the other end of the line says for James to guess his name if he had the balls. We can't blame him for seeing if Mr. Bucket was the one stalking him. He wasn't.
- Again from the Dream Phone episode, Bootsy mentions that his dick was bitten off by a shark. This is a reference to the Shark Attack episode, in which he tried to make love to the plastic shark from the game.
- Covers Always Lie: In the episode about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, as the games were more visually attractive and better illustrated the less fun they were.
- Cower Power: James has his moment of this when Mr. Bucket corners him.Board James: Fucking pervert, get away from me! *Mike enters the room* Suck his balls!Mr. Bucket: *turns around and attacks Mike* Balls! Balls! Balls! Balls!Motherfucker Mike: AAAAAAAAAH!!!!
- Cuteness Proximity: The Doggie Doo dog had this effect on both James and Mike when it first came out of the box.
- Darker and Edgier: The Mr. Bucket episode, more or less, but without a doubt the Dream Phone episode.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The Monster Madness episode.
- Dissonant Serenity: James at the end of the "Dream Phone" episode. It is terrifying.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the "Mr. Bucket" episode, we see the bucket joining James in bed, and when James notices the bucket it appears as if he suddenly grew a giant boner.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: The big twist of the Dream Phone episode: the phone was the killer.
- or was it?
- Double Entendre: All the time. Guaranteed if there are any balls involved in the game.Board James: It's very stimulating cause you're always grabbing the balls underneath your gun. You gotta keep firing and reloading nonstop. But the gun gets jammed all the time.Mr. Bucket: I'm Mr. Bucket, pop balls out of my mouth!
- Dramatic Thunder: Used frequently throughout the Mr. Bucket episode: when James finds the bucket under his blankets, when the bucket says that it wants to suck James' balls, and when the bucket is attacking James in the living room.
- The Monster Madness episode is full of them.
- Duct Tape for Everything: Used in the Weapons and Warriors episode while setting up the game, because glue takes time to dry, and all is going to get fucked up again anyway.
- James seems to get a bad time keeping the pieces together with the tape. The thing is, he's actually using masking blue tape, which has a weaker adhesive than regular tapes to be easily removable.
- Dull Surprise: In the "Dream Phone" episode, James and Mike both have the same reaction to Bootsy's death—a brief period of shock and horror, only to quickly come to accept that he's dead mere moments afterward.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first few reviews would have James explaining the game to the audience. When he actually got to the game, Motherfucker Mike would appear as his cheating opponent. Eventually, Mike became much less antagonistic, and the rules of the game would be explained through conversations between James and Mike.
- Edutainment Show: His reviews may fall into this category, much more than the AVGN ones.
- Evil Phone: Dream Phone is much more than just a girly game...
- Episode Title Card: Drawn by no other than Mike Matei, as with the AVGN.
- Eye Scream: Bad Luck Bootsy, which is why he dons an eyepatch. At the end of the Tornado Rex review, where he sends Tornado Rex flying, bouncing off walls, and into his own eye.
- The Faceless: Board James in the first episode. Probably to keep ambiguous whether if the narrator was the Nerd or not.
- Fan Sequel: When he was a kid, James made a board game based on Street Fighter II... and tired of waiting for the actual sequel, he made another one based on his own imaginary version of Street Fighter III. One of the characters was ''Dracula''.
- Flashback: A very humorous one with James and Mike remembering all the times Bootsy has screwed up their fun.
- Gainax Ending: The "Shark Attack" episode, which ends after James reaches a Rage Breaking Point, yells at Mike and Bootsy, and then leaves. Not counting The Stinger, which still doesn't make much sense.
- GASP!: In the Dream Phone episode when James finds Bootsy's corpse.
- Genius Ditz:Bad Luck Bootsy: *picks up a card* Buy books and supplies, pay 5,000 dollars, I already did that shit ten years ago in college!Board James: ...you have a college degree?Bad Luck Bootsy: Bioengineering.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Spending two years hiding out in an attic has not been good for Board James' sanity.
- Guide Dang It: While playing Battle Masters, Board James had to check the manual before attempting any move. And even with the manual at hand, the rules were way too complicated and confusing, to the point that Mike ended up giving up.
- Grand Finale: The Dream Phone episode appeared to be this, considering it was the final episode before a long hiatus, but the show continued exactly two years later with the Omega Virus episode. James has confirmed that he will continue to make new episodes.
- Groin Attack: Mr. Bucket always goes for the balls.
- And in The Stinger from the Shark Attack video, Bad Luck Bootsy is on the receiving end of one from the shark. He now dons a hook on his crotch.
- Having a Gay Old Time: Discussed with the Mr. Bucket advert, which uses the unfortunate phrase "balls pop out of my mouth" as a slogan, which has gained controversy, understandably.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: From the Mr. Bucket episode.Mr. Bucket: I wanna suck on your balls!James (throwing plastic balls): You mean plastic balls! These kind!Mr. Bucket: No, I mean balls! Testicles! Scrotum! Gonads! Family jewels! Bullets! Cojones! Balls!
- Hurricane of Puns: While beating up the titular phone in the "Dream Phone" episode, James spits out a slew of pre- and post-mortem one liners.
- I Know Your True Name: Whoever is calling James on the Dream Phone challenges him to guess his name, asking only yes-or-no questions. It turns out to be the phone itself, and even though James figures it out, it still doesn't give him any power over it.
- I Like My X Like I Like My Y:Bad Luck Bootsy: I like my coffee like I like my women... with my dick in it!
- Internal Homage:
- Board James describes playing Shark Attack as "easy-peasy-monkey-cheesy!"
- According to James, Board James saying "Oh well, he's dead" after he finds Bootsy hanging in the closet in the "Dream Phone" episode is a reference to the same line being used in his short film Death Puppy.
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Mr. Bucket's childish jingle.
- It Won't Turn Off: Poor Board James swears he turned off Mr. Bucket before going to sleep...James: This doesn't make sense, I turned you off!Mr. Bucket: Oh, but you turn me on!
- The same thing happens with the Dream Phone.
- Limited Wardrobe: Averted. Unlike the Nerd, James wears a different shirt and baseball cap in each episode; however, they're always related to video games, comics or movies.
- Live Episode: The "Loupin' Louie" episode was recorded live at PAX 2011.
- Loads and Loads of Rules: Some of the board games, particularly Heroquest and Battle Masters (and how!), which were made by the same creators by the way.
- Luck-Based Mission: Deadly Danger Dungeon. Even playing the fan-retooled version that's actually beatable will kill you over and over and over...
- Me's a Crowd: The "Omega Virus" episode. It is hinted at with the three different camera angles we see in the video back-to-back-to-back, and then it is revealed that there are three different James clones playing the game, as well as a fourth that kills them all.
- Metaphorgotten:Bad Luck Bootsy: I like my coffee like I like my women... with my dick in it!.
- Microwave the Dog: James kills the Dream Phone by stuffing it in the microwave and heating it until it explodes.
- Montages: Frequently, and usually while a self-made "theme song" for the game plays.
- One appears in the "Donut Disaster" video when James recalls all the previous times Bad Luck Bootsy ruined their board games with his bad luck.
- Mood Whiplash: The Dream Phone episode goes from your average Board James episode to a murder mystery!
- The Shark Attack episode looks like it'll just be standard routine, but then Bootsy briefly lashes out at Mike, saying "Fuck you, you motherfuckin' piece of shit!" in a deadly serious tone of voice (to which James and Mike react with shock) before switching back to his normal zaniness. The episode continues like a regular Board James episode, with Bootsy being weird and Mike cheating at the game, until James suddenly gives a Reason You Suck Speech to Mike and Bootsy with a level of rage normally reserved for the Nerd, before storming off. And then the episode switches back to crazy again with the Shark Attack song playing over the credits and Bootsy getting a Groin Attack from the game's shark in The Stinger.
- Multiple Endings: The "Lie Detector" video has the Fight Promoter from the game accuse James of killing Mike and Bootsy, saying he was hallucinating all of the supernatural things happening, and dares James to put him in the lie detector to see if he's telling the truth. Annotations pop up linking to a "True" ending where he is telling the truth, and a "False" ending where he isn't. Although they both end up being pretty much the same as James refuses to believe that the Fight Promoter is telling the truth, and in both endings he vows to get to the bottom of what's been happening.
- Mundane Made Awesome:
Board James: ...And that's what happens.
- Board James narrates his games as if they were epic adventures, and not just a man moving figurines across a cardboard board.
- In the Dragonstrike review James tells about how he used to get very excited with the introductory video because it presents the game as something seriously epic, then when the video ended, he turned around to actually start playing and discovered that everybody had left the room out of boredom.
- In the Heroquest episode, Board James spends a considerable amount of time setting up the board as he explains the game mechanics, and after he dramatically reads the instructions for the first quest, Motherfucker Mike is so bored he asks to play another thing, much to James's annoyance.
- In the Loopin' Louie episode, the music and the way the video was edited makes the game look really fun and dynamic. In the behind the scenes it seems like it could get a little tedious after a while.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Deadly Danger Dungeon board.
- Nintendo Hard: The difficulty level of the original Deadly Danger Dungeon game.
- Oh, Crap: James in the Dream Phone episode when he realizes who the killer is.
- Parody Episode: The Mr. Bucket episode is a parody of horror movies. The Dream Phone episode, on the other hand, aims for genuine scares.
- Platform Hell: A game he made as a kid, Deadly Danger Dungeon, can be summed up as Board Game Hell. In May 2010, it got made into a Platform Hell video game. The original was scanned shortly afterward. Here.
- Plot Coupon: Present in some of the adventure Board Games, but played for laughs in the Deadly Danger Dungeon episode.Motherfucker Mike: I gotta get the key before the talisman and then I gotta go forward and then go back and then climb a ladder and then fuck in...
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: The way Board James started. Board James first episode was only called "Board Game Review", and it was announced like the Nerd doing a review of the game Mouse Trap. Although the narrator appears to be dressed as the Nerd, his face is never on screen and he's not as angry as he usually is. Also, James Rolfe's wedding ring (which he never wears while playing the Nerd) can be seen in his left hand in some of the scenes, suggesting that the reviewer was James Rolfe himself and not his Nerd persona.
- "The Making of Board James" reveals that the first video is just James doing a review as himself. When they decided to make more board game reviews, they created the character of Board James.
- The Prankster: One of the home-made games that appear in the Deadly Danger Dungeon episode is called "Mischief Night", and it's about a guy who plays pranks on his neighbors, the pranks went from throwing toilet paper in a yard to blocking someone's front door with bricks and cement.
- Precision F-Strike: Bootsy's first two songs ("Tornado Rex" and "Donut Disaster") have one right at the very end. In "The Making of Board James", James says that he told Bootsy to do this so that the viewers would know that they weren't the actual songs from the commercials. It didn't always work, and many people commented on the videos along the lines of "I can't believe they got away with airing this on TV back in the day!"
- Board James's breakdown in Shark Attack. Despite the character's tendency to swear often, this time it was strong enough to take Mike aback.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The "Mouse Trap" review uses two classical pieces: "Blue Danube Waltz" and "Marriage of Figaro".
- Rage Breaking Point / "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Board James always plays the nice guy who tolerates Bootsy's oddness and is oblivious to Mike's cheating, but even he had enough and cracked, reaching AVGN's levels of rage, after Bootsy took his Toy Shark to fuck it.Board James: C'mon—really, guys? This is a really simple fucking game. Why can we just play a fucking board game? (Mike laughs) IT'S NOT FUCKING FUNNY! Like, this is the most dysfunctional group of friends I ever had! You're over there cheating, you're over there—making love with the damn shark! I'm bored, I wanna play a fucking board game—you're fucking pissing me off!! FUCK YOU GUYS!! WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR GUYS' FUCKING PROBLEM?! FUCK!!
- Red Herring: See Something Only They Would Say.
- Rule of Symbolism: It seems rather correlative that things in the Dream Phone episode start getting more twisted after James walks through a door with his poster of The Twilight Zone visible.
- Sanity Slippage: Many believe that James is going through this over the course of the series. It starts with "Mr. Bucket", which ends with James graphically and disturbingly drowning the bucket in a sink. (Mike even calls him out on it, saying that it was just a toy.) Then came the end of the "Shark Attack" episode, where he reaches a Rage Breaking Point and yells at his friends for fucking up everything. Everything culminated with "Dream Phone", where a popular idea is that James was the real killer, not the phone.
- The Scream: In the Dream Phone episode, when James finds Mike's corpse.
- Sequel Hook: Both endings to "Lie Detector" have James say that he's going to get to the bottom of all the supernatural events that have happened to him. One ending suggests that he is going to summon the ghosts of Mike and Bootsy.
- Serious Business: The reviews about adventure games usually describe them as being really epic experiences.
Narrator: Feeling brave tonight? Brave enough to do battles with hideous monsters? (...) Brave enough to sneak around castles in the dark and chance being the next victim?Board James: Wow, wow. I'm just trying to play a board game, I'm not looking for any trouble.
- Some of the games between Motherfucker Mike and Board James can get very intense.
- The Dragonstrike VHS really talks about the game as a serious business.
- Shameless Self-Promoter: The Monster Madness episode is a promotion for James Rolfe other project Cinemassacre's Monster Madness.
Board James: What was I thinking?!
- To the AVGN's catchphrase, in the Deadly Danger Dungeon episode when he's playing his own games full of Fake Difficulty.
- In the "Lie Detector" episode, James re-enacts the "listen, you fuckers, you screwheads" scene from Taxi Driver after he gives the Taxi Driver card a warrant of arrest.
- Silly Walk: Bad Luck Bootsy's funny little jumps, set to sound effects from Punch-Out!!.
- Slasher Smile: James does one at the end of the Dream Phone episode. Its Dissonant Serenity and its hinting that James has gone crazy makes it all the more unsettling.
- Something Completely Different: Compare a regular Board James episode to the Dream Phone episode.
- Something Only They Would Say:
Dream Phone: Come on! You can do better than that!
- The person calling James on the Dream Phone challenges him to guess his name "if you've got the balls, and I know you've got the balls!". This leads James to suspect Mr. Bucket as the culprit, but upon finding Mr. Bucket still dead in the sink where James left him, it's revealed that the person on the phone (actually the phone itself) purposely invoked this trope just to mess with him.
- Attention has been brought to how the Dream Phone says "I just want to play a game", which is a line that was previously used by James at the end of "Shark Attack".
- Special Guest: There was a whole array of them in the "Loopin' Louie" episode.
- Board James himself also appears on the Nerd's "AVGN Games" episode, strangely happy and jovial as usual as if he hadn't almost died and then lost his mind, where he talks about an AVGN Monopoly game with him. When asked about why he isn't in jail, he says he used a get out of jail free card. What? Anyway, he still blames the episode's events on the phone and says that he's completely innocent. Hmm...
- Spin-Off: Board James first episode was only called "Board game review" as part of the Nerd videos, but later Board James became its own character.
- Though, not entirely related to Board James, there are the 'Motherfuckin Mondays', a review show with Motherfucker Mike as the lead.
- Spiritual Successor: Of the AVGN. Board James is not near as ill-tempered and foul-mouthed as The Nerd, but some of his solo episodes are very reminiscent of the more informative episodes of the AVGN, like the Swordquest episode.
- Stock Monsters: The characters of the Monster Madness game: the Mummy, the Werewolf, the Frankenstein's monster and Dracula.
- Stuff Blowing Up: As Motherfucker Mike and Board James play Crossfire, random explosions start appearing around them, just like in the TV ad for the game.
- Super Drowning Skills: From Battle Masters episode:Motherfucker Mike: What the fuck? You can't go on the water? What is this, Simon's Quest?
- The Calls Are Coming from Inside the House: In the Dream Phone episode, Board James is receiving calls from someone who appears to be able to see his every movement, even when he hides in the closet.
- The Television Talks Back: Much to James surprise, the narrator in the Dragonstrike VHS can talk directly to him at some points.Board James: I'm turning this off. *aproaches TV*Narrator: Do not turn the VCR off yet!Board James: Oh shit. *scared*
- Through the Eyes of Madness: "Lie Detector" presents the possibility that James had been hallucinating all of the supernatural events that happened to him.
- Toilet Humor:
- In the Dragonstrike episode, the listing of all the types of "crap" (actually "trap" written in a medieval font, with the T looking an awful lot like a C).
- The entirety of the Doggie Doo episode.
- Unwinnable: Deadly Danger Dungeon. Understandable as James invented the game back when he was a child.
- Video Review Show: Leans very heavily on the show end of the Sliding Scale of Review vs. Show.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: After consuming massive amounts of Play-Doh, Bad Luck Boosty marathon vomits it out. Thankfully we don't see it.
- Wham Episode:
- The "Dream Phone" episode.
- "Lie Detector", which starts out normally but then is revealed to be a continuation of the narrative from "Dream Phone", where he imagines that all of the people on the game cards are accusing him of the murder. Then the attention gets turned to the viewer, who is asked to pick between "true" or "false" as to whether James is the killer, which takes them to two separate videos.
- Wham Line: From "Dream Phone".Board James: I'M IN THE CLOSET! HOW CAN YOU SEE ME?Dream Phone: Well, you sure got a hold on me!
- Wham Shot: The ending of "Dream Phone", where James starts exhibiting insanity via Dissonant Serenity.