Board Games and Books
William Giant
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Sitka
AK
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This idea came about while reading Sand by Hugh Howey with my wife. We realized this was a great book to pair with the game Forbidden Desert. Reading the book and played this co-op game together was a really great time and I wanted to share this with the people on the geek. I started a thread over here and I really appreciated the responses.

This list is to collect these sort of wonderful board game and book pairs in a useful reference. Books and board games are two of my favorite passions. When it comes to board games the theme is really important for me and my wife. Reading a story with a similar theme to a board game just adds to the stories we create as we go along, and I hope this list helps others just the same.

If you'd like to suggest a game or book please give at least a couple of sentences either about the theme of each and/or what they have in common. If you're not feeling particularly creative I'll settle for just the official descriptions as demonstrated with my Netrunner post. I'm happy people are contributing and would love to see more information with each post.

If you'd like to contribute game based on a book I feel there should be extra effort put into explaining how the designer has captured the theme of the book and why a fan of either would enjoy the other.
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1. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:263]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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This co-op game is all about being stuck in a merciless desert being buried by relentless waves of sand while trying to find lost technology to escape this fate. Oh, and just when things start looking up you'll die of thirst.

* * *


Sand by Hugh Howey
http://www.amazon.com/Sand-Omnibus-Hugh-Howey-ebook/dp/B00HS...

This book is about a civilization trying to hold out in a world of endless sand. People have found ways to explore deep into the desert to salvage ancient technology buried beneath it. It's the sort of story where it's never really certain who will make through to the end, or if anyone will. It's so well written we read at least a "book" each night until we'd finished the set.
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2. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:205] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
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This game is an epic battle of tiny proportions. The players take the roles of mice fighting a sinister force. The game is totally cooperative and there are rats, roaches, spiders, centipedes and cats to battle in this adventure. Each sessions starts out with a story setting the scene which links right in with how the game is set up and will play out. This game has the strongest theme of any game we own. Just trying to drag our little wet mice out of a rushing drain really hooked us and we love it to this day.

* * *


Red Wall by Brian Jacques
http://www.amazon.com/Redwall-Book-1-Brian-Jacques/dp/014230...

This is the classic story of mice vs. evil. Long before there was Mice and Mystics, or Mouseguard, there was this gem. For anyone looking for a tail of high fantasy adventure with a dash of fuzzy creatures this is the novel for you. Can't recommend it highly enough.
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3. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:193] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
William Giant
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Sitka
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Dixit is a game all about telling stories. The game is a played with a set of oversized cards with beautiful art. Players give simple clues about the card they've played, and some really wonderful stories are created as this game plays out.

* * *


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
http://www.amazon.com/Little-Prince-Antoine-Saint-Exupery-eb...

This is a story about a young boy who comes to earth from his own little world. It's a story about worlds of adults and children, and how each sees the other. The artwork is wonderful, and the story is simply poetry. It's a story so simple children will love it, and yet deep enough adults will still find themselves stopping to mull things over.

This is a pair more about the art and the feeling of bringing a little bit of the magic of childhood into our lives. Both definitely deserve a place in everyone's home.
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4. Board Game: Fantastiqa [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1410]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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This game is about going on an adventure in a fantasy world where are the rules are perfectly clear and nonsense. It's held together mostly by beautiful artwork and the players choosing to take part in creating the story.

* * *


Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Alice-Definitive-Books-ebook...

This is the classic tale of nonsense adventure. The above link is to an edition with the original Tenniel illustrations, which I think are very much necessary to the story, for "what is the use of a book without pictures?" This story is all about flexing the brain to allow new ideas in, to accept the impossible, to struggle to find words to describe things we can't quite explain, and to enjoy the world for all its nonsense.
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5. Board Game: B-17: Queen of the Skies [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1232]
Tim
United States
Frederick
Maryland
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This game gives you a chance to take a B-17 on a bombing run against different Nazi targets in WWII. Some of the runs did not have as many "incidents" as others.

Half a Wing, Three Engines and a Prayer: B-17s over Germany by Brian O'Neill

http://www.amazon.com/Half-Wing-Three-Engines-Prayer/dp/0071...

This book gives real life stories of what it was actually like on some of these runs. Truly heroic and amazing stories...
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6. Board Game: Totaler Krieg! [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:2409]
Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
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Do You Want Total War? by Darren Kilfara.

http://www.amazon.com/Do-You-Want-Total-War/dp/0992668700/re...

Naturally, since the book is about a kid who plays the game.
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7. Board Game: Mr. Jack in New York [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:601]
Kevin Jeffrey
Canada
Surrey
British Columbia
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Ripper by Stefan Petrucha.

Amazon link

A book set in New York, Ripper-like murders, Teddy Roosevelt as police commissioner, Pinkertons, and so much more. Perfect companion book for Mr. Jack in New York.
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8. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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"Monolithic megacorps and individualistic netrunners collide in a dystopian future. Set in the gritty, cyberpunk future of Android, Android: Netrunner is a two-player Living Card Game that rewards skill, strategy, and just the right amount of calculated risk.

In a world where corporations can scan the human mind and interface it directly with electronic data, more data moves every second than was ever processed in the first five-thousand years of written language. The network is omnipresent, the crux of modern human civilization, and while visionary corporations seek to secure their most valuable data on the network, the elite hackers known as netrunners seek to steal it."

* * *


Neuromancer by William Gibson
http://www.amazon.com/Neuromancer-William-Gibson-ebook/dp/B0...

"Case was the hottest computer cowboy cruising the information superhighway--jacking his consciousness into cyberspace, soaring through tactile lattices of data and logic, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the money to buy his skills. Then he double-crossed the wrong people, who caught up with him in a big way--and burned the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from cyberspace, trapped in the meat of his physical body, Case courted death in the high-tech underworld. Until a shadowy conspiracy offered him a second chance--and a cure--for a price...."
 
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9. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.35 Overall Rank:4]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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"'Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are - but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle' - John F. Kennedy In 1945, unlikely allies toppled Hitler's war machine, while humanity's most devastating weapons forced the Japanese Empire to its knees in a storm of fire. Where once there stood many great powers, there then stood only two. The world had scant months to sigh its collective relief before a new conflict threatened. Unlike the titanic struggles of the preceding decades, this conflict would be waged not primarily by soldiers and tanks, but by spies and politicians, scientists and intellectuals, artists and traitors. Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the forty-fiveyear dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States. The entire world is the stage on which these two titans fight to make the world safe for their own ideologies and ways of life."

* * *


Strategies of Containment by John Lewis Gaddis
http://www.amazon.com/Strategies-Containment-Critical-Apprai...

"Beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt's postwar plans, Gaddis provides a thorough critical analysis of George F. Kennan's original strategy of containment, NSC-68, The Eisenhower-Dulles "New Look," the Kennedy-Johnson "flexible response" strategy, the Nixon-Kissinger strategy of detente, and now a comprehensive assessment of how Reagan - and Gorbechev - completed the process of containment, thereby bringing the Cold War to an end."
 
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10. Board Game: K2 [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:454]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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"Now your team stands in its shadow, ready to climb for fame and glory.
You know the dangers of K2 all too well. Extreme weather with frequent and deadly storms, exposed, steep, tricky routes and lack of oxygen await you on your way to the summit. You will test your climbing skills to death, try to outsmart the ever-changing weather and always worry about the acclimatization of your 2 mountaineers. Also there are the other teams ready to take the glory for themselves.

K2 is a board game in which each player controls a team of 2 mountaineers, trying to climb to the summit of K2 and return before the other players' teams and before the mountain kills them. Every player uses an identical deck of cards. You use the cards to move your climbers on the route pictured on the gaming board, or to acclimatize the members of your team."

* * *


Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
http://www.amazon.com/Into-Thin-Air-Jon-Krakauer-ebook/dp/B0...

"Into Thin Air is the definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed Outside journalist and author of the bestselling Into the Wild. Taking the reader step by step from Katmandu to the mountain's deadly pinnacle, Krakauer has his readers shaking on the edge of their seat. Beyond the terrors of this account, however, he also peers deeply into the myth of the world's tallest mountain. What is is about Everest that has compelled so many poeple--including himself--to throw caution to the wind, ignore the concerns of loved ones, and willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense?"
 
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11. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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"Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters' strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example the Operation Specialist can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5. But the diseases are out breaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose."

* * *


The Plague by Albert Camus
http://www.amazon.com/Plague-Vintage-International-Albert-Ca...

"A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature."
 
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12. Board Game: Letters from Whitechapel [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:182]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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"Can Jack the Ripper escape justice and live to kill again, or will the police put a stop to history’s most notorious killer? Letters from Whitechapel is a thematically engrossing board game of deduction and bluffing in which one player takes the role of the infamous Jack the Ripper, while up to five other players are detectives working together to pursue him through Victorian London. After committing his horrible murders, Jack must outmaneuver the detectives in the tangled streets of the Whitechapel District. Meanwhile, the detectives must use clever deduction and their superior numbers to hunt Jack the Ripper down before he can kill again or elude them forever."

* * *


From Hell by Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell
http://www.amazon.com/Hell-Alan-Moore-ebook/dp/B009B244B4/re...

"The mad, shaggy genius of the comics world dips deeply into the well of history and pulls up a cup filled with blood in From Hell. Alan Moore did a couple of Ph.D.'s worth of research into the Whitechapel murders for this copiously annotated collection of the independently published series. The web of facts, opinion, hearsay, and imaginative invention draws the reader in from the first page. Eddie Campbell's scratchy ink drawings evoke a dark and dirty Victorian London and help to humanize characters that have been caricatured into obscurity for decades. Moore, having decided that the evidence best fits the theory of a Masonic conspiracy to cover up a scandal involving Victoria's grandson, goes to work telling the story with relish from the point of view of the victims, the chief inspector, and the killer--the Queen's physician. His characterization is just as vibrant as Campbell's; even the minor characters feel fully real. Looking more deeply than most, the author finds in the "great work" of the Ripper a ritual magic working intended to give birth to the 20th century in all its horrid glory. Maps, characters, and settings are all as accurate as possible, and while the reader might not ultimately agree with Moore and Campbell's thesis, From Hell is still a great work of literature." --Rob Lightner
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13. Board Game: The Manhattan Project [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:214]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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"The Manhattan Project makes you the leader of a great nation's atomic weapons program in a deadly race to build bigger and better bombs. You must assign your workers to multiple projects: building your bomb-making infrastructure, expending your military to protect it, or sending your spies to steal your rival's hard work!

You alone control your nation's destiny. You choose when to send out your workers–and when to call them back. Careful management and superior strategy will determine the winner of this struggle. So take charge and secure your nation's future!"

* * *


The Manhattan Project by Cynthia C. Kelly
http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Project-Creators-Eyewitnesse...

"Born out of a small research program begun in 1939, the Manhattan Project eventually employed more than 130,000 people, including our foremost scientists and thinkers, and cost nearly $2 billion—and it was operated under a shroud of absolute secrecy. This groundbreaking collection of documents, essays, articles, and excerpts from histories, biographies, plays, novels, letters, and the oral histories of key eyewitnesses is the freshest, most exhaustive exploration yet of the topic.

Compiled by experts at the Atomic Heritage Foundation, the book features first-hand material by Albert Einstein, Leslie Groves, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, Enrico Fermi, Richard Feynman, Niels Bohr, Henry Stimson, and many others. "
 
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14. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:584]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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"This game is centered on the legend of the Archean empire, a civilization that possessed the ability to control the Earth's core elements--fire, wind, water, and earth--through four sacred treasures. These treasures stayed hidden from enemies for years on the Forbidden Island, which was designed to sink if intruders ever attempted to capture them. Your team of adventurers must work together to keep the Forbidden Island from sinking as you seek the four treasures hidden within."

* * *


The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
http://www.amazon.com/Mysterious-Island-Jules-Verne-ebook/dp...

"Adventure novel by Jules Verne, published in French in three volumes as L'Ile mysterieuse in 1874 and included in his popular science-fiction series Voyages extraordinaires (1863-1910). The Mysterious Island follows the adventures of a group of castaways who use their survivalist savvy to build a functional community on an uncharted island. A hot-air balloon carrying five passengers and a dog escapes from Richmond, Va., during the American Civil War. It is blown off course and deposited near an obscure island. One of the castaways nearly dies after a skirmish with pirates; he is saved by the unexplained appearance of medicine after the pirates are unexpectedly routed. The group later discovers that their secret helper is the reclusive Captain Nemo (first introduced in Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), who dies and is buried at sea in his submarine. The castaways are eventually saved by a passing ship." -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
 
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15. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:117] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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"Memoir '44 is a historical boardgame where players face-off in stylized battles of some of the most famous historic battles of World War II including Omaha Beach, Pegasus Bridge, Operation Cobra and the Ardennes."

* * *


Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
http://www.amazon.com/Band-Brothers-Stephen-E-Ambrose-ebook/...

"Stephen E. Ambrose’s iconic story of the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army.

They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.

From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.

They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.

This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office."
 
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16. Board Game: Fleet [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:695]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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"In the northwest corner of Nunavut, Canada, a formerly inaccessible bay off of the Arctic Ocean has become reachable through a secret inlet. Untouched by the hands of time and fed by both the ocean and warm fresh water springs, Ridback Bay is teeming with sea life. A remote, timeless bayside village is now being inundated by entrepreneurs awaiting the influx of the world's greatest fisherman to harvest this plentiful bounty. The docks and warehouses are being revitalized, and now it is time to begin the real adventure. Go build your Fleet and become master of the high seas!Fleet is an exciting, strategic card game with in-depth decisions and thrilling game play that new and experienced gamers can enjoy! In Fleet, you'll acquire licenses, launch boats, and fish the great briny blue. The player who best manages his resources and acquires the most VP via fish, licenses, and boats will build the strongest fleet and lead his crew to victory!"

* * *


Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
http://www.amazon.com/Cod-Biography-Fish-Changed-World-ebook...

"Cod, Mark Kurlansky’s third work of nonfiction is the biography of a single species of fish, but it may as well be a world history with this humble fish as its recurring main character. Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. What did the Vikings eat in icy Greenland and on the five expeditions to America recorded in the Icelandic sagas? Cod, frozen and dried in the frosty air, then broken into pieces and eaten like hardtack. What was the staple of the medieval diet? Cod again, sold salted by the Basques, an enigmatic people with a mysterious, unlimited supply of cod. As we make our way through the centuries of cod history, we also find a delicious legacy of recipes, and the tragic story of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once their numbers were legendary. In this lovely, thoughtful history, Mark Kurlansky ponders the question: Is the fish that changed the world forever changed by the world's folly?"
 
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17. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
William Giant
United States
Sitka
AK
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This is one of my wife and I's favorite games. It's all about taking care of your little clan of cave meeples as they go about their cave meeple days. They need to be fed, and they need huts, and then of course they want to keep breeding because those babies are going to get right to work harvesting with the rest of the clan. We absolutely love going through the game talking about what our little cave meeples are up to and why three meeples can't pull it together enough to bring back a single piece of rock from the quarry.

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Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
http://www.amazon.com/Clan-Cave-Bear-Earths-Children-ebook/d...

This book was suggested in the original thread and we started right in reading it together. It gives a very rich description of the cave meeple days long ago. The story rides an interesting line between historical fiction and fantasy. The descriptions do tend to run a bit long though, so it's great for putting my wife to sleep before bed. She's out like a light by the end of each chapter.
 
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