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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.

There are also now a few Themed Stock Card Games, listed below under "Other" for completeness.

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. Compare Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation. See also Junior Variant.


    open/close all folders 

  • DC Universe
  • Doctor Who—In the 1990s, the Danbury Mint released a high-quality pewter chess set plus expansion packs. A typical game can go on and on forever: your king's been captured? No problem—he can regenerate! A later chess set features "holographic" (read: lenticular) pieces.
  • Harry Potter. Justified, as Wizard's Chess appeared in the books and films.
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Marvel Universe
  • The Muppets
  • Myth & Magic — The Tudor Mint's "fantasy figures holding crystals" collection has a set with wizards and witches, a set with dragons and a set with wizards versus dragons.
  • The Simpsons
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Based off of the classic era.
  • 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 hobby horse), Big Gay Al is the Queen, and Chef is the King.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars (at least as a computer game, anyway)
  • 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).
  • Team Fortress 2 comes with a virtual hat.


  • 24
  • Alfred Hitchcock, with various characters, weapons and settings from Hitchcock's movies incorporated into the game.
  • Alien vs. Predator received one where the goal is to figure out which Predator had the correct weapon to capture the Alien Queen, and where her lair was located.
  • The Big Bang Theory got one. In it, Sheldon is 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.
  • Bob's Burgers
  • Bridgerton
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine fittingly has theirs based off of the Once a Season Halloween Heist episodes, thus leading to uncovering once and for all who wins the title of "Most Amazing Detective/Genius".
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  • Critical Role
  • Dexter
  • There are a few based on rides from the Disney Theme Parks. More specifically they focus on Mickey Mouse and his group of friends booking stays at The Haunted Mansion and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. There's also a version dedicated to the Disney Villains.
  • Dragon Ball Z
  • 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.
  • Family Guy is 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.
  • Finding Nemo
  • Firefly. Nobody's dead; leastwise not until they figure out who was responsible for betraying River and Simon to the Alliance.
  • Friends
  • Game of Thrones
  • Ghostbusters
  • 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.
  • Harry Potter. The board is themed around the Marauder's Map, and it includes a system of randomly opening and closing certain room entrances and secret passages, just like at Hogwarts.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  • Labyrinth
  • 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.
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
  • My Hero Academia
  • Naruto Shippuden
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Office (based on the U.S. version)
  • Rick and Morty
  • 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 what (weapon/monster) and where. The main five are dressed as the suspects from the game, but Mrs. White remains the same, merely drawn in the Hanna-Barbera art style.
  • Scott The Woz (Limited for-charity run): Based primarily on the episode "The Great Mysteries of Gaming".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Oddly enough, this is a modified version of the Junior edition. What's relatively amusing about this particular game for fans of the series, is that it's loosely based on the popular episode Krusty Towers.
  • Seinfeld
  • Sherlock
  • The Simpsons received two versions. The first is finding out which members of the Simpsons family (along with Krusty and Mr. Smithers) killed Mr. Burns in locations around Springfield. The second edition takes place in a museum and replaces Krusty and Mr. Smithers with Edna Krabappel and Fat Tony, and changed the colors of the suspects around.
  • Star Wars: The heroes of A New Hope aboard the Death Star must find out the correct planet, room, and escape vehicle.
  • Supernatural. In this case the different "rooms" on the board are replaced with regions of the US.

  • Battlefield features a tiled map that can be assembled differently each game, as well as nine different scenarios, each with its own victory condition.
  • 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.
  • Game of Thrones uses two maps, Westeros and Essos, that can be played separately or together. It also adds elements like character cards, ports, strongholds and even a rudimentary economy that make it a little more involved than basic Risk.
  • Halo
  • The Lord of the Rings 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 happens to act last before the game ends gets a big advantage.
  • 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.
  • Metal Gear Solid: It includes the Nuclear Option, courtesy of Metal Gear REX.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: a special two-player only version of Risk with three play modes: mission objectives, tower defense, and total domination.
  • One episode of RWBY has the gang play the In-Universe version of the game, based around the countries in the show's Constructed World.
  • StarCraft
  • 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.
  • Transformers Film Series
  • The Walking Dead features zombie hordes that interfere with all sides, as well as event cards based on events in the comic series.


    Trivial Pursuit 

  • Battleship:
  • 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, called "Blind Man's Bluff" in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
  • 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.
  • Munchkin has acquired a number of licensed/themed variants, to the point where this has become a bit of a mini-industry.
  • 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 The 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 (1965) 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).
  • Operation:
    • A Doctor Who version, with the patient replaced by a Dalek, and all the joke bones replaced by actual Dalek anatomy.
    • A The Incredible Hulk version. Hulk is the patient, of course, and the normal buzzing sounds that occur when the tweezers touch an edge are replaced with angry Hulk lines (such as “Hulk smash!” “Smash!” and “HULK”).
  • Cootie Games: Ants in the Pants had a themed re-release to Spongebob Squarepants in 2005, and a Sesame Street release in 2011. Meanwhile Don't Break the Ice saw releases themed to Frozen in 2013 and 2019.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Universes Beyond replaces the usual Magic settings with the worlds of The Walking Dead, Warhammer 40,000, Tolkien's Legendarium, Godzilla and Doctor Who. There's also an Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set which isn't considered part of Universes Beyond because it's still a Wizards of the Coast IP.
  • Splendor got a licensed retheme with Splendor: Marvel, which also changes the color structure, endgame trigger and victory conditions.
  • Yahtzee is starting to get this treatment, with many versions including a custom dice cup shaped like something from the franchise. Versions include American national parks, several sports teams, plus franchises like Back to the Future, A Christmas Story, Doctor Who, Firefly, Futurama, The Hobbit, The Legend of Zelda, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Peanuts, and Pirates of the Caribbean.