There are some surprisingly good board games with strange branded tie-ins that don’t always make sense, but are actually great fun to play.
Spartacus and Battlestar Galactica sound like they’d be horribly nerdy and boring, but genuinely rank among the best games you can play today, even if you’ve got no interest in the TV shows they’re based on.
The same isn’t true for a handful of bizarre, awkward tie-ins from the past. Here are nine largely forgotten embarrassments from the board game hall of shame.
Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga
The bastard lovechild of three popular but desperately unrelated things, Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga is the IP mashup no one asked for. Oh and if you were wondering it is “BASED ON THE APP!” and has lots of “SPECIAL VALUE!”. GREAT TO KNOW!
Unless you’re British, you probably don’t know what The Bill actually is. The US offers Law and Order, NCIS, CSI, The Shield and The Wire, each a gripping and dramatic take on the world of law enforcement.
The UK has The Bill, a cripplingly mundane retelling of the humdrum of modern day policing, told over the course of 2400 episodes.
The board game recaptures the magic of writing up minor misdemeanors, coping with government budget cuts and dealing with bureaucratic middle management.
ET: The Extra Terrestrial
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this board game tie-in with the popular 1982 movie, which also happened to spawn the worst video game of all time.
I don’t like his little face though. Looks too smug.
Trivial Pursuit Power Rangers 20th Anniversary Edition
Everyone remembers where they were when Power Rangers turned 20.
Jesus Christ, what a filthy night that was.
And here, to celebrate, is the Trivial Pursuit game that coincided with it.
Oddly, it’s ages 12 and above, thus ruling out anyone young enough to actually be interested in playing the game.
Operation Iron Man 2 Edition
This silly skill game is silly.
One of the shittest comic book films ever made gets its very own shit board game.
To its credit, the theme kind of makes sense, but I see no good reason why this is Iron Man 2, and not Iron Man generally.
Miss World Game
All the glamour of the Real Miss World Contest. All of it. It’s exactly the same.
Only with kids. And creepy childish dolls in leotards.
Mork & Mindy
I’ve never been entirely sure what Mork and Mindy is, but it stars Robin Williams, which is a good thing. The board game is … probably good?
Always found the alien/Fonz relationship a bit weird, personally. Mork, an actual alien, is canon in the Happy Days universe. Very strange.
Mickey Mouse Adventure Game
A (talking, clothed) mouse riding a lion. A giraffe pulling a leopard, a rhino and an elephant by a bit of rope. A yeti of some sort.
What’s not to like?
New Kids on the Block
Monopoly Toys “R” Us Times Square Edition
Too specific. Those IP might work in isolation, but I think this refers to the actual branch of Toys ‘R’ Us located in Time Square, New York – and is therefore stupid. We actually found too many questionably branded Monopolies and had to make a separate post about them.
Have you found a worse tie in game or any ideas of what cash cow our corporate overlords have missed out on? I’d like to see Making a Murderer Cluedo or “The Dress” Mousetrap.