The Most Questionable Board Game Themes Ever…

Now sure, themes are something I talk a lot about on this blog but you can never talk about them enough right?

Or maybe I’m just a little obsessed with games that have good themes.

Thing is, some of these game themes just don’t make any gosh darn sense when you translate them into actual real life. Because I’m sure that’s what the publisher and designer absolutely intended for us to do when they created the game in the first place…

This often doesn’t actually make the game worse in my eyes either, it makes them better. The weirder and more obscure the theme is the more excited I generally am to sit down and play it. You’d hope that the actual game is good as well but sometimes that just isn’t the case. How dare they trick us with amazingly drafted themes into playing something boring and terrible! Unbelievable. In this day and age…

So without further ado, here is my list of games where the theme doesn’t really make sense in real life if you think about it good and proper like.

I’ll think of a catchier title later…

1. Snakes & Ladders

Ahhhh the king daddy of children’s games. For most people, this is their first foray into the board game world, and why wouldn’t it be! You literally roll a dice and move your piece up the board until you reach the end. First person to reach the end. It’s simple and full-on random.

The actual idea of snakes and ladders though in general is very confusing. Well, mainly the snakes if I’m honest.

Sure, why not, it’s totally like real life. When you stand on a snake you slide down it all the way to its tail. Hate it when that happens.

Need some ladders to climb back up…

2. Photosynthesis

Seems to me it would be a little weird to suddenly have an idea to create an incredible game around the theme of ‘the scientific process by which plants convert sunlight into food’ but hey that’s just me I’m sure.

The more games that get created, the stranger the themes start to get just simply because, well, everyone else has probably done all the good ones already. Like Cthulhu… fantasy… fantasy Cthulhu… zombies… zombie fantasy Cthulhu.

What I’m saying is the bucket of theme choices is starting to run a little low, or at least, you have to scrape the sides a little bit in the hope of getting something good.

And whilst maybe not my first choice of themes to pick when deciding on what game to play, I’m kind of a fan of this. It’s like the hipster environmentally conscious theme choice. Well done guys, now go grab yourself a cup of organic, freshly ground, only-the-best-beans-from-a-totally-underground-source-in-east-london-because-nothing-else-will-do coffee. You’ve earned it.

3. Codenames

But spies! Such a normal, and everyday theme right?

Not really in this case, at least in my opinion, and whilst the theme itself may seem generic and middle-of-the-road, the execution is anything but.

Great game by the way, but I can’t for the life of me ever remember any spy movie where the spy agency just hinted at something close to the spy’s codename, instead of just plain saying it. It’s a codename for a reason you know, like, so that nobody knows the name of the spy. It’s not like the codename itself is a giveaway, so you have to come up with a codename for the codename to get around the fact that people might already know the codename. It makes no sense!

Well, not in real life anyway, but it’s a game! Play on…

4. Pie Face!

So this is what it’s come to. You were writing a generally average quality and also totally respected blog until you wrote the name of that game just now. We’ve devolved into a place where we just call out bad christmas present cash grabs from last year and explain why they don’t make any sense in the real world.

Of course they don’t make any sense, it’s a pie going in someone’s face for Pete’s (hi Pete) sake, what more of an explanation do you want. Think of it as a contemporary take on a medieval torture device, where instead of getting brutally killed as part of a gruesome and bloody display in front of a large group of people, you simply get ritually humiliated in front of your loving family members and lovable pet dog (if you have a pet dog obviously, if not ignore that).

5. Chess

But why would you ever DARE call this game out Chris?! I can hear you from all the way over here criticising me. Well well well, don’t get your knickers in a twist (presumably this happens before you put them on? Otherwise that’s some serious yoga moves you’ve got going on there).

This game is on here because, lets be honest, the THEME of chess is loose, confusing, doesn’t make any sense in real life, and purely exists for the purposes of having really cool looking pieces. At least in my opinion, feel free to school me on the history of the game.

Imagine a fictitious  battle where the king and queen line up alongside a knight, a bishop and also the tower of a castle, to take on an opposing army of also the exact same opposite. So real life.

Yours questionably,



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