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Themed Stock Board Game

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"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, Monopoly, Clue (aka Cluedo), Risk, 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.


    open/close all folders 

  • 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: Both sides use the same characters. Kenny is the Pawn (hence, he can die over and over), Stan is the Rook, Kyle is the Bishop (for irony as he's Jewish), Cartman is the Knight (riding on a play horse), Big Gay Al is the Queen, and Chef is the King.
  • 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!
    • There's a newer chess set with "holographic" (read: lenticular) pieces.
  • Super Mario Bros.: White is represented by the Mushroom Kingdom (Coins are Pawns, Mario is the King, Luigi is the Queen, Peach and Daisy are the Bishops, Yoshi is the Knight, and Toads are the Rooks). Black is represented by the Koopa Kingdom (Koopa Shells are Pawns, Bowser is the King, Bowser Jr. is the Queen, Kamek is the Bishop, Birdo is the Knight, and Goombas are the Rooks).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Based off of the classic era.
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Team Fortress 2 comes with virtual hat.
  • Marvel Universe
  • DC Universe
  • Myth & Magic — The Tudor Mint's "fantasy figures holding crystals" collection had a set with wizards and witches, a set with dragons and a set with wizards versus dragons.

Overwatch (third one in the Gamer subline)

  • The Simpsons: Received two versions. The first was finding out which members of the Simpson family (along with Krusty and Mr. Smithers) killed Mr. Burns in locations around Springfield. The second edition took place in a museum and replaces Krusty and Mr. Smithers with Edna Krabappel and Fat Tony and changed the colors around of the suspects.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Yes, a tabletop game based on a tabletop game. It was released shortly after Hasbro, the makers of Clue, bought Wizards of the Coast, the makers of D&D. The game includes rules for fighting monsters for mechanical benefits.
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
  • Scooby-Doo: The weapons are replaced with objects pertaining to various monsters from the series and you have to find out who (Suspect/Scooby-Doo Character) was kidnapped by who (Weapon/Monster) and where. The main five are dressed as the suspects from the game but Mrs. White remains the same but is portrayed in the Hannah-Barbera art style.
  • 24
  • The Office (based on the U.S. version)
  • Seinfeld
  • Harry Potter. The board was themed around the Marauder's Map, and it included a system of randomly opening and closing certain room entrances and secret passages, just like at Hogwarts.
  • Alfred Hitchcock with various characters, weapons and settings from Hitchcock's movies incorporated into the game.
  • Sherlock
  • 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.
  • Supernatural. In this case the different "rooms" on the board are replaced with regions of the US.
  • Firefly. Nobody's dead; leastwise not until they figure out who was responsible for betraying River and Simon to the Alliance.
  • Star Wars: The heroes of A New Hope aboard the Death Star must find out the correct planet, room, and escape vehicle.
  • Rick and Morty
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Legend of Zelda, using artwork and locations from Ocarina of Time. There is a prophecy concerning how Ganondorf will be defeated, and players must determine who will do it (Link, Zelda, or one of the Sages), where, and with which weapon.
  • The Golden Girls: In which players must figure out who ate the last piece of cheesecake, where, and what piece of evidence they left behind. Besides the four title characters, Dorothy's ex-husband Stan and Rose's boyfriend Miles (albeit both with their faces blanked out, as opposed to the others) round out the cast.

  • Star Wars: Original Trilogy: each faction has different goals.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars: each side has special powers.
  • Star Wars (2015): Has three phases based on the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi all occurring at the same time.
  • The Lord of the Rings: It features special missions for the players, which greatly change the feel of the game. It also has team rules since two of the armies are Elves/Men and two are Orcs, includes "commander" pieces that alter combat slightly, and has a One Ring mechanic much like the one from the LotR Monopoly variant. Unfortunately, because the rules make no allowance for the large amount of territory that can be gained and lost over the course of a single round of Risk, the player who happened to act last before the game ended gets a big advantage.
  • Transformers
  • Metal Gear Solid: It includes the Nuclear Option, courtesy of Metal Gear REX.
  • Halo
  • StarCraft
  • Doctor Who: Each player is a different faction of the Daleks, 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.
  • Game of Thrones: It uses two maps, Westeros and Essos, that can be played separately or together. It also adds elements like character cards, ports, strongholds and even rudimentary economy that make it a little more involved than basic Risk.
  • One episode of RWBY has the gang play the In-Universe version of the game, based around the countries in the show


    Trivial Pursuit 

  • There is a version of Battleship themed after the movie Battleship which is itself based on the original Battleship board game.
    • There was also a Star Wars–themed Battleship featuring hilariously poorly-scaled Rebel and Imperial fighters and capital ships. It had a few changes from the original, such as a hex grid rather than a square grid, and a mechanic where players could earn "reinforcements" every so many turns. Players could choose their ship locations from a book of preset layouts, allowing the electronic board to track hits and misses. Included were voice clips from Grand Moff Tarkin and Admiral Ackbar.
  • 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. A later version was called Ghost Castle. In the 1980s, the Ghost Castle variation was re-themed 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 Liar's Dice, based on the "Blind Man's Bluff" dice game from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
  • Based on the popular Euro Game Settlers of Catan:
  • Scrabble:
    • Pirates of the Caribbean in which you can score double the points for specific words associated with the movie, such as "Curse", "Sword", "Apple", "Chest" or "Parlay".
    • Where's Wally? had a Scrabble game, with each player given a scene and double points for words found in that scene. Additional points were rewarded for spelling (and finding) "WALLY", with the tile distribution adjusted to make this more likely.
    • Harry Potter, where you get bonus points for using "wizarding words" and there are also Hogwarts spaces that let you take a card that can give you extra points.
  • 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, Nickelodeon TV shows, 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.
  • There was a Star Wars themed Game of Life that played much like the standard, with an added bonus that players could choose the Light Side or Dark Side of the Force.
  • The very first Star Wars licensed product by Kenner, Star Wars X-Wing Aces Target Game (not to be confused with any of the plethora of other games with the X-Wing name), was a modified World War I-flight themed target game given gray plastic and a Star Wars motif, rushed out to meet demand for Christmas of '77.
  • Mystery Date had releases crossing over with the first and third High School Musical movies.
  • Don't Wake Daddy! had a version themed on The Incredible Hulk. Very little was changed from the original premise, without regard for how silly it wound up—Hulk is sleeping in his bed, and you have to sneak into his room without waking him up.
  • Cryptozoic obtained a license to use various Time Warner properties, and they made full use of it: Almost every tabletop game they created has an Adventure Time version and a DC Comics version. Their core deckbuilding game also has a lot of licensed properties from a variety of sources and is notable in that most follow the same rules, and all follow similar rules, such that they could be mixed around with each other, allowing you to create your own crossovers. However, the Attack on Titan version has additional rules involving walls, civilians and combatants on one side, and Titans on the other, but can be played normally (or, again, mixed with cards from other franchises, so if you want Batman and Naruto assisting Eren Jaeger, go right ahead).
  • A Doctor Who version of Operation, with the patient replaced by a Dalek, and all the joke bones replaced by actual Dalek anatomy.


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