The movie or the book ... or the GAME?
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There have been a few lists about books and movies recently. And I think there have been a list or two about board games here too somewhere (link, anyone?). This list pits the three media head to head to head.

Books are often made into movies, and movies are sometimes novelized. Books are turned into games, movies are turned into board games, and in rare instances board games are turned into movies ... and books? It's common to say that the original work is better, but is this always the case?

(Inspired by bobxyzp's recent GeekList "The Movie or the Book" http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/58431/the-movie-or-the-boo....)
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1. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:726]
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The Lord of the Rings

The book: A stilted and dry fantasy read with only one redeeming character: Barliman Butterbur.

The movie: Peter Jackson's trilogy is an epic fail since they pretty much removed the key role Barliman Butterbur played in the book. Also Tom Bombadil was removed too. At least Gimli was funnier in the movie (where were the dwarf tossing comments in the novel??) Ralph Bakshi's movie though had rotoscoping, so it's better.

The game: I once played it and managed to take Barliman Butterbur all the way to Mordor with me. The way the story should have gone!

Winner: The game
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2. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:239]
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The Pillars of the Earth

The book: I've never read the book, but I think it has something to do with a cathedral given the game cover.

The movie: Has Ian McShane in it. He was in Deadwood and I liked that so this gets the edge as a movie I've not seen over a book I've not read.

The game: OK, so I've not played this either, but I once watched Scott Nicholson talk about it and it looked pretty cool. But it was basically a rip-off of Caylus, tarted up with some unnecessary randomness.

Winner: Caylus
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3. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:225]
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Dune

The book: A stilted and dry (definitely dry!) sci-fi read with only one redeeming feature: a glossary so you can look up all the crazy terms Herbert throws at you.

The movie: There wasn't a glossary so I was pretty confused by this. The only part that made sense was when the monster-baby critter said they just folded space from Ix at the start. I didn't understand why Captain Picard was in this. Where was Riker? Was that David Lynch in the spice collecting machine? What does he have to do with this movie?

The game: Takes place on a giant circle. Where's the other half of the planet? I don't like games that clearly left out parts for the expansion.

Winner: Captain Kirk...much better than Picard.
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4. Board Game: Clue [Average Rating:5.66 Overall Rank:8038]
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Clue

The game: Can't play this with two people and have any fun, but I love the little revolver. If only I had an action figure who could hold it. Why is the rope the only one made of plastic? I guess they cheaped out at the end.

The movie: Has Tim Curry in it. He was Gabriel Knight and I liked that so this gets the edge over the game.

The book: Since I don't know of any book that is directly based on Clue, I'll just presume Clue was based on Agatha Christie's entire body of work. She is the bestselling author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare (who was apparently not "an author"), so I think wisdom of crowds is telling us the answer in this case.

Winner: Agatha Christie
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5. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:339]
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The books: Absolutely amazing story, with excellent character development, political intrigue and ruthlessness. It holds no punches and there is real danger to the characters.

The movie: It is currently being created and will be on HBO as a new series sometime. I'm excited to watch.

The game: It is a blast. It creates the atmosphere of the books very well overall. The opprotunity to double cross and back stab is laced in the game. I have always argued it is Diplomacy's little brother. One major difference is the books tend to have certain houses fighting against certain houses, i.e. Starks vs. Lannisters, and the game is everyone against everyone, but overall the theme and book feel is in the game in my opinion. One down side is you need at least 5 players, does not scale well at all.

Winner: It is a close contest between game and books, but I believe the books are superior. Just wish the next one would be released... angry
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6. Board Game: Waterworld [Average Rating:3.95 Unranked]
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Waterworld

The movie: Who can forget Kevin Costner's gills? I can't remember if the movie won one or two Academy Awards, but it set the record for something. Most nominations?

The book: While a novel accompanied the movie release, the movie is really based on two sci-fi novels:
(1) J.G. Ballard's Drowned World: sex and motorboat crashes
(2) Homer's Odyssey: a Mediterranean cruise goes wrong

The game: I think the stats speak for themselves: Only six people have rated the game but it garners an 8.33 average rating. Look at that board. You could be the first person to discover dry land!

Winner: British Petroleum. In June 2010, they received a $24 million centrifuge that Costner derived from the Waterworld movie.
Success finds success.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/05/19/2010-05-...
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7. Board Game: Beowulf: The Movie Board Game [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2359]
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Beowulf

The Book: Beowulf kills a monster and the monster's mommy and then has his ass handed to him by a dragon. Ladies and gentlemen, that's a story.

The Movie: Some creepy 3D animation thing. Angelina Jolie was in it, which made it even more disturbing.

The Game: Some tile laying abstract thing where you collect saga points. In other words, a game that perfectly captures the spirit of the original.

Winner: Reiner Knizia, for distillng the saga of the hero of the Geats to its purest essence.
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8. Board Game: The Three Musketeers: The Queen's Pendants [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:2964]
 
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The Three Musketeers

The novel by Alexandre Dumas is a masterpiece of swashbucking story-telling.

As a movie, it's been done a number of times. More than a dozen times, in fact. My personal favorite is the 1973/74 two part movie with the screen play by George MacDonald Fraser and starring Michael York. Anyone who has read any of the "Flashman" series, can catch a hint of Fraser in the movie. Nevertheless, the movie remains pretty faithful to the book.

For the younger generation, there's the Disney abomination starring Charlie Sheen. thumbsdown

There have also been a number of games by the same name. None of which I have played so can't comment (other than they aren't in the top 100 of BGG). But there is one swashbucking game, a sort of pre-RPG game called En Garde! which I really enjoyed back in the early '80s.

In the end, I'll take the book.

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9. Board Game: The Name of the Rose [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1588]
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The Book: Umberto Eco's sprawling "beginner's guide to semiotics" is a taught holmesian (In both style and allusion) murder mystery wrapped with layer upon layer of theological allegory, without neglecting the brutality of medieval life.

The Movie
: Sean Connery, F. Murray Abraham, Christian Slater, and Ron Perlman (in wonderful grotesque make-up) portray the same, minus all of the oneiric sequences, expository history lessons, and rich allegorical tangents.

The Game: Coloretto Clue! (Note, this game is not just "based on the novel by Umberto Eco", but "Freely based on the novel by Umberto Eco". Look! right there! at the top!

Winner: The book, you silly fools. But the cast, especially Ron Perlman and his gibberish mish-mash of a language, make the movie a must-see.
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