In life, all works are an amalgamation of influences. Art, music, and film have a definite impact on nearly everything we encounter–including games. Scoring a big name license can be difficult and extremely costly. We often see publishers slumming it, tweaking names and identities to avoid IP trouble.
This collection of four noteworthy games can trace clear influence to prolific movies of yesteryear. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they’re damn good games in their own right.
The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac
This one doesn’t even attempt to hide it. It kicks off with players sprinting from a gigantic plastic boulder giving chase. You take on the role of a treasure hunter attempting to loot a cave under intense pressure. The idea is to stuff as many valuables into your trousers as possible and be just fast enough to keep ahead of the ball of death.
This is a fun, light title that was successful enough to spawn an Egyptian sequel. It’s a random game relying on dice rolling and silly fun over deep strategy. Thankfully it plays fast enough to not overstay its welcome and maintain its level of tension.
Argent: The Consortium
This is one of the most compelling worker placement games on the market. It’s a heavy design that’s demanding to learn and takes a large chunk of time, but it’s highly rewarding and strategically powerful. It’s wizard school veneer is clearly in homage to J.K. Rowling and it invites players to dive in with glee.
Argent boasts a huge wealth of content and will keep you busy until the next Potter book is released. You have multiple types of mages, a huge number of rooms with different abilities, and a large swathe of spells. The experience shifts pretty drastically with each new play.
Seven Samurai is one of the most influential films ever crafted. Akira Kurosawa defined the identity of the modern action film and changed history forever with this classic. Now, we can squee while re-enacting the carnage of bandits assaulting a defenseless village.
This is a two player strategy game that’s tight and clocks in at a solid half hour or so. One player deploys samurai to different villages while the other plots assaults each round. Planning is conducted in secret behind a screen and the dramatic reveal leads to clashing of strength and triggering of abilities. 7 Ronin is a game of attrition and double-guessing. It’s mentally stimulating and tactically vibrant.
Cash ‘n Guns
I’ve always wanted a table top experience that will let me harass a fellow player with random Mr. Blonde quotes. This is a best-in-class party game that has players brandishing foam pistols and staring each other down over a central pile of loot. It mimics that tense finale of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs perfectly. This design is energetic and extremely engaging as you weigh your options and wince when players reveal if their weapon is loaded or not. Ammo is limited, so you must heavily weigh your penchant for aggression with the value of the pot at the center of the table.
Gameplay exists more to lubricate trash talk and social engagement as opposed to serious analysis. Strategy certainly persists in manipulating how each participant engages the tempo, but that’s not where the fun lies. Just hope you leave with both your ears intact.
Are your favorite movies represented on the table top? Let us know in the comments below!
In addition to Geek & Sundry, Charlie Theel writes for Miniature Market’s The Review Corner and co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. You can find him on twitter @CharlieTheel
Image credit: T’Leynti/BGG, Lucasfilm LTD, Level 99 Games, Warner Bros., Grey Fox Games, Toho Co. Ltd., Peter Hazelwood/BGG, Artisan Entertainment
Cover image credit: Artisan Entertainment