Movie board games can be pretty hit and miss. It’s fun to immerse yourself in a story you’ve seen on the big screen, or experience your favorite film in a brand new way, but you need to find the right game to really enjoy it.
Fortunately we’re here to guide you towards the best board games tied to movies. Below you’ll find zero cheap reskins of classic board games. These are pure, fine movie board games that lovingly recreate a film’s characters, setting, aesthetic or themes.
The best movie board games:
- Planet of the Apes – best adventure movie board game
- The Thing: Infection at Outpost 13 – best social deduction game
- Jaws – best monster movie board game
- Firefly: The Game – best sandbox game
- Unmatched – best movie mashup game
- Blockbuster – best movie trivia board game
- Alien: Fate of the Nostromo – best scifi/horror game
Planet of the Apes
The best adventure movie board game
Whereas some movie board games feel like you’re playing around in a movie-themed sandbox, Planet of the Apes wants you to stick to the script. It’s split into scenes you tackle in order. That might limit replayability, but fortunately Planet of the Apes is surprisingly strategic for what looks like a light dice roller game.
The description promises “unbridled psychological horror” and that seems to hint at one of the Planet of the Apes board game’s strangest quirks. You each play a different part of Colonel George Taylor’s brain.
Planet of the Apes is a visually beautiful board game, made with obvious care for its source material. If you squint a little you can see this fun dice game is basically fancy Yahtzee in a gorilla costume. But it’s packed with tense, make-or-break rolls and important decision making.
The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31
The best tense social deduction game
Based on John Carpenter’s 1982 horror masterpiece, The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 is a tense and simple social deduction game. You play the crew of an Antarctic research base, but some of you are infected imitations.
This makes for just as tense a board game as it does a movie. The human crew members need to work together to complete investigations, while the imitations hinder them and work to destroy the compound.
The climactic ending of the board game has players race for the chopper, at which point the Thing team has one last chance to win the game – using fast-talking persuasive powers. If just one infected player tricks their way onto the vehicle, the humans lose.
While there are no gory practical effects, The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 is a very stylishly presented game, from the bold red blood sample cards to the black and white portraits on the player boards.
If you’re a Thing fanatic, there are actually two board games worth having on your radar. Ares Games has made a more complex social deduction game also based on this movie, with more options for both good and evil players.
The best monster movie board game
Disney Villainous and Horrified creator Ravensburger has a knack for making tie-in or movie board games that don’t feel like cheap cash grabs, and Jaws is no exception. This game has lots of interesting mechanics. For starters, it’s another asymmetric game, where one player takes on the sharky mantle, and the others have to hunt the fish.
It’s also split into two acts. At first, it’s a hidden movement game. The shark snacks on swimmers (dunn-dun… dunn-dun) while the humans try to track it down. Then you flip the board over, and move to act two aboard the good ship Orca for some shark punching action. Playing the shark is great fun, and you even get a lovely miniature reminiscent of the movie poster.
Firefly: The Game
The best sandbox game
Based on the Joss Whedon TV series Firefly and later movie Serenity, Firefly: The Game sees players making their living among the stars. It has a lot in common with the best pirate board games. You get a ship, hire a crew, and sail the cosmos, taking on missions, facing threats, upgrading your hunk of junk, and picking up cargo to make a buck.
Some of that cargo can be contraband, which can land you in hot water if you’re ever boarded by the Alliance. And there are worse things in space (cough, cough, Reavers) to worry about.
The big sticking point with this game? Only one player gets to fly the Serenity, so you’ll have to arm wrestle or something to decide who that is. The game’s creator Gale Force 9 is putting out a Collectors’ Edition in 2024, with all kinds of extra goodies likely to please diehard fans.
The best movie mashup game
Not strictly speaking a movie board game – or at least not tied to one movie franchise, Unmatched is an interesting character battler that draws its roster from all sorts of sources, from history, to literature, and of course the silver screen.
Unmatched is the Smash Bros of board games, featuring highly varied asymmetric warriors, who each battle with their own versatile deck of cards. You can pit Bruce Lee against dinosaurs from Jurassic Park , Buffy the Vampire characters, Marvel superheroes, and The Invisible Man. It’s fast-paced and fun, and the card art is smashing.
The best movie trivia board game
A slightly different take on ‘movie board game’, Blockbuster is one of the best trivia board games around, and the perfect gift for a film buff. Offering lots of different rounds and challenges Blockbuster, and its sequel Blockbuster Returns, make for great party board games.
Meanwhile the third game in the series Blockbuster Returns is for two players, so could be a good couples board game. We love the way the box looks like a VCR case – so nostalgic!
Alien: Fate of the Nostromo
The best scifi horror game
Given the role that treachery plays in the scifi-horror classic Alien, you might be expecting another hidden role game, but Alien: Fate of the Nostromo is purely cooperative. The humans must band together to survive their close encounter, completing missions while trying to stay out of the alien’s way.
That’s not so easy though, when the sleek black beast can pop through an air duct and ambush you at any moment. At least, in this retelling, Ripley isn’t the only crewmember with a good head on her shoulders. This is a fairly simple co-op board game, but it does a great job of replicating the slow, creeping tension of the movie.
In the film, an encounter with the xenomorph basically means certain death, but it wouldn’t be much fun for someone to sit out the rest of the game, so instead you take morale damage – a design decision we’re grateful for! Check out our Alien: Fate of the Nostromo review for more details.
Now you’ve read all about movie board games, why not shake things up with a list of board game movies? Pair one with another for a truly cross-platform weekend. Or check out the best Marvel board games and Disney board games.