And the Winner Is… The Best Boardgames to Pair With Best Picture Nominees

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Yesterday, the Academy Award nominations were announced, and the list of films for best picture are an eclectic bunch. (And, per usual, overlooked some *ahem* colorful performances and great works.) While I’m a big movie fan, I like boardgames and cardboard better. And, since boardgames can tell stories, similarly to celluloid, I thought it would be fun to find games to complement the best picture nominees. So dim the lights, grab some popcorn, pull up some chairs, and play some games–there’s no better way to spice up your Oscar watching party!

BigShort

Best Picture Nominee
The Big Short
What it’s about: A quartet of traders in the world of high-finance predict the housing bubble collapse and decide to make money by betting against the housing market. It’s the economic collapse of 2007/8 in slow motion.

Game Nominee
Black Friday
Why this game: In this game from Friedemann Friese, players buy shares in a stock market. At some point, one of the markets is going to crash. Get out of that market before it crashes and you can walk away fat with cheddar, hold out too long and you can lose it all. Bailouts not included.
Buy it!

Bridge-of-Spies

Best Picture Nominee
Bridge of Spies
What it’s about: During the Cold War, an American spy plane is shot down and the Soviet Union captures its pilot. A lawyer is recruited to negotiate his release in a spy swap that will send a Russian agent home.

Game Nominee
Twilight Struggle
Why this game: Twilight Struggle is the long-running most popular game on Boardgamegeek.com. In this two-player strategy game, one player controls the USA, while the other helms the Soviet Union. It’s the Cold War played out in cardboard and does an excellent job of showcasing the struggle of the tensions between these superpowers.
Buy it!

Brooklyn

Best Picture Nominee
Brooklyn
What it’s about: An Irish immigrant arrives in 1950s Brooklyn, where she falls into a romance with an Italian plumber (not Mario or Luigi). An emergency forces her to return to Ireland, where she is set up with an eligible bachelor. The plumber attempts to win her back via the postal service.

Game Nominee
Love Letter
Why this game: Unlike love, this game is fairly simple. Players can find a variety of cards in their hands that hopefully move them closer to the princess–and the opportunity to present her with their love letters. At the same time, players try to keep other players away from the princess, since winning her favor is the only way to win the game.
Buy it!

FURY_ROAD

Best Picture Nominee
Mad Max: Fury Road
What it’s about: A tyrannical despot rules over the post-apocalyptic wasteland. However, when one of his warriors frees the ruler’s wives from their enslaved situation, it becomes a glorious and magnificent two-hour car chase.

Game Nominee
A Straight Road
Why this game: Here’s a game you can play for free! Race down a road, trying to kill your competitors or reach Gas Town, err, a gas station first, depending on that game’s goal. Mounted guns, gas bombs, and mines will protect you and hinder your opponents in this fast, fun playing game.
Print and play it!

The_Martian

Best Picture Nominee
The Martian
What it’s about: On a manned mission to Mars, an astronaut is presumed dead after a storm blows him away from the rest of his crew, who abandon the Red Planet. Alas, he is alive and must find a way to contact NASA and survive long enough to be rescued.

Game Nominee
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Why this game: Abandoned and responsible for your survival, this exceptional game from Ignacy Trzewiczek will task you with finding shelter, food, and protecting yourself from the weather. (Sound familiar?) This challenging game can be played solo for the real abandoned experience or with up to 4 players. The only thing missing is the disco music.
Buy it!

revenant

Best Picture Nominee
The Revenant
What it’s about: Exploring the untamed wilderness of the Louisiana Purchase, a frontiersman is forced to fight for survival after being attacked by a bear and left for dead by his party.

Game Nominee
Candamir: The First Settlers
Why this game: In the Catan family of games, Candamir challenges players to build a settlement on the edge of the wilderness. Wild animals and adventure will challenge players every step of the way. Survival isn’t guaranteed, but the dangers of the wild certainly are!
Buy it!

Room

Best Picture Nominee
Room
What it’s about: A mother and her 5-year-old son are held captive in a small room. They manage to get free and the boy sees the outside world for the first time.

Game Nominee
Room 25
Why this game: It’s tough to find a game that pairs with kidnapping and the subject matter of Room, but Room 25 comes close. Each room has four doors, but an exit can only be found by discovering the rumored Room 25, which is supposed to lead out. This cooperative game can be stressful, as the game’s guardians are often just on your heels.
Buy it!

spotlight

Best Picture Nominee
Spotlight
What it’s about: This is the true story of The Boston Globe‘s “Spotlight” investigative team uncovering the scandal of child molestation and its cover-up in the local Catholic church.

Game Nominee
Extra! Extra!
Why this game: As tough as it is to pair Room, Spotlight is even tougher. So I’ll take the safe route and suggest this newspaper-based game. Players compete to fill their front (and back) pages with stories. The bigger the better. Outbid your competitors for stories, hire reporters and stick it to the man!
Buy it!

Have another suggestion? Let us know in the comments!

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