We all love a weird game or two but sometimes your having a browse of your Friendly Local Game store and find something that baffles you towards it existence. Be it a system that’s ages old or a franchise that’s long since passed, some games just appear without any reason to do so, but we’re usually glad that they have! Here’s a list of games to look out for that only exist due to the passion or cult following of the fans. So let's dive into some fan driven games!
Now I’m a big fan of Firefly, loved the series and the film, but even I think the sheer amount of Firefly themed games is a bit extreme! There’s the Firefly dice game called ‘Shiny Dice’ in which players play dice onto a display to try and achieve missions to gain victory points. There’s the miniatures game called ‘Firefly Adventures’ which gives players small teams of the famous hero’s featured in the show that you need to get through a specific objective. There’s ‘Tall Card’ which is a very faithful recreation of a card game shown in the show…for about 5 minutes of a single episode! The fans of this show are crazy loyal and I should know, I’m one of them. This franchise has Loot crate promo cards as well a a version of Fluxx, Yahtzee, Legendary, even Cluedo, all released years after the series.
The most known Firefly game has got to be the imaginatively named ‘Firefly: The Game’ where players become the captain of their own ship in this here ‘Verse and and have to complete the actions on an objective card that all the players are trying to complete. You get to upgrade your ship, run shipping jobs for extra cash, and hire crew members (which are the cast of the show, and even includes background characters) Its a lovely trip for anyone that loves the show and received expansions and upgrades 5 years after the game was released, which in turn was 10 years after the show was cancelled! The fans are keeping this bird in the air, even causing a game called ‘Misbehavin’ to be released last year, a full 19 years after the series. Big damn heroes indeed!
Heroquest is the best game ever made and anyone who says different is wrong. And anyone not understanding that reference needs to watch BardicBroadcasts amazing video on this game just to fully understand the love people have for this game. Players would inhabit a generic character in a Dungeons and Dragons like setting, moving room to room and floor to floor trying to complete a quest and defeat monsters controlled by a Game Master player sat behind a little screen. A lovely little board-game with the best scenery I’ve seen so far in anything similar, where cardboard artwork is folded and kept in place with plastic parts making them strong and beautifully designed.
A great collection of miniatures, well draw artwork on cards and colourful board made this sucker an instant classic in 1989, so it was no surprise they remade it. A little surprising was that it came out in 2022, a whole 33 years after the original and even picked up the original two expansions on the way. This is a game that was destined to be an old relic told in wistful chats around the board-game table that start with the phrase “does anyone remember that game…”. Avalon hill have done a great job and Max Dunbar’s artwork is stellar from the spells, the screen, and items its a great game to play and a historical marvel. If you can get a copy of this, or the original, highly recommend it.
Another game on this list made by Gale Force Nine, maybe they know something we don’t. The Dune game was originally released in 1979, with its bright colours, its peculiar artwork and big worm on the box art. It was a strange game that only had the original books to go off as source material so it had a very particular fan base to begin with. The original film released 5 years after that, pulling in a bit more traffic but the game will have been getting dusty at that point. It was a bit confusing using Battle wheels for player combat and having interesting movement rules depending on your location, so thankfully Gale Force Nine did a remake!
Admittedly, they did polish the rules up a fair bit and made it much easier to follow, but it was a interesting choice to start with. The remake has some great artwork and makes the board a little less vibrant and a little more thematic which i prefer, but it depends on who you ask. Its not expensive either, making it a great little addition to a collection, and each player will gain a quirky power for the whole game that’s super-powerful and only used by you (except if your allies) making it really fun to play. A great idea of a remake 40 years since the original, at least this time they have the first film to work with. But in a strange situation of history repeating itself, the remake was released just before the film, once again. Spooky…
When it comes to fan driven games, this is a big one! I’m sure your all familiar with this franchise as its plastered over mugs, notepads, shirts and flasks in every nerdy shop on the planet, but one of the more interesting items under its namesake is the board game made in 2003. This game (of thrones) has only the books to go off, no hit TV show yet, and does a wonderful job with the material. The artwork is a great recreation of the books and the gameplay is solid consisting of resource management and diplomacy, with an added element of deception which fits the setting perfectly. With features such as a wildling attack deck that requires all players to contribute, an influence tracker for different factions of the board, and a supply tracker limiting the size of armies based on their supply chain. It’s got good elements for a war style game, which is no surprise they reprinted it in 2011.
The interesting bit comes from that reprint, not in the base game however, but its expansions. The two expansions that were released shortly after the reprint were brand new expansions for the game, and are compatible with the original so everyone can enjoy them. But it gets even crazier with the Mother of Dragons expansion. This was released in 2018, towards the end of the series lifespan, and was released 7 years after the last expansion, AND was still compatible with the original 2003 version. Imagine owning a game for over 15 years and then finding out they’ve just released an expansion for it! Thrones fans are a great group, making some great games. Keep at it!
A friend of mine looked to track this card game down after seeing some gameplay of it and this whole process gave me the idea for this article. We have a running joke, me and him, that he’s only interested in Fantasy Flight games when they are out of print and really hard to find. This was no exception. For those unfamiliar with Netrunner, its a two person card game where one player is a ‘slightly nefarious’ corporation while the other is a Runner, a hacker looking to expose their secrets. Both players get to build their own deck to take on each other and as this was originally a Living Card Game there were plenty of expansions back in 2012 when it was released, with the most recent being in 2018. So why is such a recent game on this list?
NISEI, that’s why. When Fantasy Flight stopped printing the game, people still wanted to play it. There were tournaments, clubs, competitions all surrounding the game so the cards not being readily available kind of puts a downer on that. Enter Null Signal Games, a group dedicated to remaking the game as faithfully (and distinctly) as possible allowing the community to continue enjoying the game. They’ve remade the artwork but all of the favourite runners and corporations are still there, allowing new players to enjoy this great game and supporting ongoing players with cards that would be hard to find otherwise. There are some folk that feel this remake has lost a bit of the originals charm, but no one can argue that its done wonders for the game.
Love Keeps Her In The Air When She Oughta Fall Down
Buy all logic, these games shouldn’t exist. They’re either old with strange mechanics and freaky artwork, or from franchises that have long since been on our table and screens…and yet, here they are. Ive had an amazing time playing these games and i personally own most of them for my collection as they are works of pure passion and you can feel that when you play. All the items on this list should be in a board game collection without a doubt, so pick them up when you get the chance. From the problems that have been smoothed out that only players found, to the artwork that still plays homage to the original by being full of Easter eggs, these games show how board gaming is quickly becoming an art form full of wonderful people.