Tabletop games for readers

At Book Riot: Tabletop Games to Play Based on Your Favorite Books

Fans of books and games share an appreciation of good storytelling, dynamic characters, and chances to connect with others over play and imagination. … So why not look for your next favorite game by finding play-alikes for your most beloved books?

Personally, I think the Firefly game is pretty amazing for how much it captures the feel of that world, with many fun twists arising from the main characters. But of course, that’s a show, not a book. [Wow, Amazon, that was hard to find, what gives?] [Probably they want buyers to see this combo pack with the tv series plus the movie, but the movie was … I’m not sure I would say “bad,” but it had some pretty disappointing elements and is not up to the quality of the actual series.] [Also, if you’ve managed never to watch the complete show, you really, REALLY should. Some of the episodes that were never aired were just fantastic.]

Regardless, back to the topic, which is tabletop games based on books. What does this Book Riot post suggest?

The Plot Thickens. I’ve linked to the SF version, but there are versions for mystery fans and romance fans as well. You’re dealt a hand of story components — characters, locations, objects — and use them to creatively weave a narrative with your fellow players. The storyteller who gains the most points gets to choose the ending. Sounds clever and fun.

Gravwell. This is a boardgame, and following a disaster, you (and all the other players) are trying to get out of, yes, a gravity well. Sounds very simple, but the post is enthusiastic.

The most remarkable is surely this one:

Panic in Gotham City. You’ll first construct the puzzle board to build a 3D version of Gotham City and unpack detective files on the mystery at hand. Then you connect your smartphone, and things get really interesting. The game comes to life with impressively crafted augmented reality, revealing secret codes, puzzles, and hidden rooms. That sounds like something else. It’s pricey, says the linked post, and it sure is, but wow, what an interesting way to expand the concept of board games. I bet we see more games that pick up aspects of this game.

Here’s a fantasy one:

Portals. An abstract strategy game perfect for fantasy readers. Like the best of games, it’s easy to learn but gives you lots of options for different strategies and techniques, making it something you’ll want to play again and again. The goal of the game is to find missing magician Dominick Dey, who disappeared during his travels between worlds.

A) That sounds fun, and also

B) OMG I am absolutely dying for a Touchstone game now. What would the frame story be? The cruzach are reappearing — in small numbers so far. You, Earth person, just came through the portal. You were thinking of a cushy job teaching figure skating, but here you are, in a position to help save the world. Cassandra and Kaoren are somewhere else doing something important, but maybe you’ll meet them later. You can roll for different setari powers. This is a cooperative game; other players are Earth people or else native to the Touchstone world(s) and they are also members of your team.

There are other games at the link, click through to check them out, but I must say, I’m too distracted by this idea of a Touchstone game to really pay that much attention to the other games suggested here.

HOWEVER, if you have a favorite game based on a literary genre or a specific work, please drop it in the comments. Is there a good TLotR one? It seems like there has to be, but nothing’s mentioned here.

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6 thoughts on “Tabletop games for readers”

  1. I’ve only recently joined the party for tabletop games and quite enjoy some of the ones I’ve come across. But there’s only one so far that I’d call literary. (DuckQuest is a ton of fun and absolutely absurd, but literary it is not!!!) This game is Nexalis, which is a solo RPG journalling game. I’ve only played one round so far – one journal entry – but I ended up with three pages of fantasy. The natural home of Nexalis is fantasy, and the prompts tend towards beauty – with enough wriggle room to be really creative and let YOUR story sing. It doesn’t give events as such; the prompts are things like DECIPHER, BLOSSOM, HOSTILE… and from that, and following the game, I quite naturally ended up with a story about an icecat that was the source of mist flowers that generated hostile wild animals. Although with a journalling game what you get out depends on what you have the ability to put in, so if your natural bent is horror and you worked to twist the game, you’d get a very different adventure from what I got!

  2. That sounds really interesting, Heather! It’s nice that players can tip the story toward their own preferences.

  3. We don’t honestly play games all that often these days, but the first one I thought of when I saw the title of the post was TAK–but I don’t think it fits the criteria. It’s not a game ABOUT a series, so much as a physical manifestation of the bar game that characters in Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller “trilogy.” I think that creating the game just added to the many distractions keeping him from actually writing book #3, but it’s kind of genius in its simplicity and I often wish I had someone to play it with (grin).

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