For some summer fun, or in celebration of the start of school, here are some games that are also movies or books, or both.
Board Game: Dune: Imperium (Game / Movie / Book)
• Designer: Paul Dennen
• Publisher: Dire Wolf Digital
• 1-4 players (best 3-4)
• 90-150 mins
The Dune universe (or “Duniverse”) is beloved by sci-fi fans for its intricate story of political machination and religious zealotry, and its ecological and environmental themes. Before Dune was first adapted to screen in 1984, it inspired a classic strategy game published by Avalon Hill in 1979, which was reissued in 2019 by Gale Force Nine.
Dune: Imperium is an updated take on similar themes explored by its predecessor novels, movies, and games. It embraces the passion fans have for the Duniverse’s complex themes and narratives into a wonderfully shrewd deckbuilding game with worker placement elements. It’s a slow burn that ratchets up conflict over its playtime. The game utilizes “reveal turns” to allow cards to have multiple effects when they are played. This keeps the game from being min-maxed in the same fashion from turn-to-turn and session-to-session. Dune: Imperium is a worthy addition to your collections, just like its written and filmed brethren.
Board Game: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Light Years from Home (Game / Movie)
• Designer: Prospero Hall
• Publisher: Funko Games
• 2-4 player
• 30 min
• Available on PC via Steam, and PlayStation 4 & 5.
Play this co-op game as the kids, trying to help E.T find the parts to build his communication device to phone home. As a pick up and deliver game, with lots of dice rolls everyone should have fun in trying to solve the cooperative puzzle. The cards with the special abilities do a nice job of evoking the classic scenes from the movie. Can you and your group solve the puzzle? Watch a play-through from the GameNight! crew to pick up the basics, or share with patrons for them to see for themselves.
Card Game: Tea Dragon Society (Game / Book)
• Designer: Steve Ellis and
• Publisher: Oni Games and Renegade Game Studios
• 2-4 player
• 30-60 min
Renegade Studios and Oni Press have put out a number of games recently in collaboration. There is now a Gudetama game, a Space Battle Lunchtime Game, an Aggretsuko game and two Tea Dragon games. It is a wonderful idea to combine the absolutely stellar art of the graphic novels with games designed by experienced game designers. Of these games, I have a soft spot for Tea Dragon Society. I love the way that the chill, minimal interaction in the game expresses the very laid back, comforting narrative in the book. This game is a little long for playing at a program in the library, but it is a good game for two or three adults to take out and play at home, and it circulates pretty well.
Video Game: Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 Road to Boruto (Game / Movie / Book)
• Developer: CyberConnect2
• Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.
• 1-2 players
• 2+ hours
• Available on PC from Steam, PlayStation 4, Switch, and X-Box.
A Player vrs. Player fighting game with pretty graphics, this game is still popular at my library, partly because kids still love Naruto. Like many other games in this genre, most of the characters have to be unlocked for Player vrs. Player use by playing through the storyline, a headache for libraries that need the console for multiplayer local gaming. The Road to Boruto expansion unlocks more of the characters from the moment you install the game. Because the game is pretty old at this point, it is really cheap to buy a copy, and well worth the price.
Video Game: Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Game/Show/Book)
• Developer: CD Projekt Red
• Publisher: CD Projekt
• 1 player
• 30-60 min at least
• Available on PC, PS4/PS5, Xbox One / Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch
Unlike most games adapted from literature, The Witcher 3 has definitely eclipsed its source material. Seven years after its release, it is still a standard bearer for single player action RPGs with a flavor of fantasy all of its own. Players control Geralt of Rivia, a “Witcher” who slays monsters and beasts with melee combat and supernatural abilities. While combat is quick and responsive, this is not a game where speed is pivotal. The best parts of The Witcher 3 happen when not following the main questline, and players are rewarded handsomely for taking time to complete smaller quests and meander through one of the most beautiful open worlds in video games. Plus the in-game version of Gwent is perhaps the best “game-inside-of-a-video-game” ever!
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