Halloween is coming! If you are not excited then you are not paying attention! There are so many great Halloween board games, that you would have to be crazy to not be gaming your face off. In fact, we are having a huge board game event at my LGS. One of the things I am doing is demoing a game based on a very fun Halloween movie The Nightmare Before Christmas! A new TNBC game, you say? Yes, Steve Jackson Games is working with USAopoly to bring us The Nightmare Before Christmas Munchkin. Yes I’m aware that getting excited for a Munchkin game will black-list me as a credible gamer but maybe after I finish this article you will see why putting popular franchises on games can actually make the game more fun!
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a great film. Munchkin is… a… Yeah it is a game. After you move on from Munchkin and start playing games like Cosmic Encounter and the like, you tend to move on from Munchkin pretty quickly, because it is not a very good game. I typically describe Magic: The Gathering commander variant and a more complex Munchkin as it is a game where at one point everyone uses all their resources to stop one player form wining only to have no resources left to stop the next person .”But Kyle you said you were were excited for TNBC Munchkin?!” I did and it is true! It all has to do with theme. I also have the Adventure Time and Pirate Munckin. I love Pirates and Adventure Time, so I bought the games. The theme is a bug player for me and busting down doors and getting treasure seems to fit better with me when I am doing it as Jake or wit fleet of pirate ships.
When a franchise gets very popular they typically make a run of games set in that universe. Adventure Time is on of those franchise but we also see the same thing with Batman and the Hobbit. These two franchises have been made into Love Letter games. It is very easy to put a theme on a generic game. Some of these new love Love Letter editions even have a custom bag! This so great but it is still cool just to see the characters you like while play a generic game, like Love Letter or Munchkin. The games may be boring but they appeal to the collector part of people as well!
The first place we all saw these types of franchising in board games was Monopoly and Clue. These games have literally have their peices in everyone’s pie, if you will! There is Harry Potter Clue and Legends of Zelda Monopoly. These games are easy to pump out for the bigger games companies and they will fully take advantage of these franchises. We just saw a recent franchising with the new Star Wars film. They made a Star Wars Risk and I hear it is actually very fun. So we see again just because a game is pretty mundane doesn’t mean a good theme cannot save the day!
When we look at more of a hobby style game we can see great uses of franchising but typically most of these have their own, new games attached! One of the best company that does this is Gale Force Nine, but we see Upper Deck and Crypotzoic doing the same thing with their deck builders.
In the end a fan will get riled up of any version of their favorite thing. This mentality of happiness surrounding a culture can breath new life into a game once viewed as bland or annoying. So, yes I am very excited to play some Munckin again next weekend for Halloween because it is one of my favorite Halloween films. In fact there will be demos for The Nightmare Before Christmas Munchkin happening all over the US. See if you can go to one and revive your love for a game you once thought was fun.