Board games are seeing something of a renaissance at the moment, and board games based on licensed properties aren’t missing out. This week saw a bunch of new details emerge about Mondo’s The Thing game; new Star Wars games come out with overwhelming frequency; and the Battlestar Galactica and Game of Thrones board games are perennial favourites, at least with many of my friends.
And now IDW is getting in on the action with a truly original-sounding Planet of the Apes board game. IDW, which published the gleeful and surprisingly good Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover comic back in 2014, has announced a planned series of games to tie in with the original Apes' 50th anniversary next year. Though the series is planned to follow along all five original movies (!), the first will stick to the 1968 original. Here’s a blurb:
Designed by Richard Launius, the creator of Arkham Horror, Planet of the Apes puts 1-4 players on a crash course with feral foes, deadly environments, and unbridled psychological horror! In an innovative twist on the cooperative board game genre, each player takes control of one aspect of Colonel George Taylor’s psyche, and must work together to survive the Planet of the Apes!
Each player controls an element of Taylor’s psyche?! That’s one hell of an ambitious gameplay concept, and one that kind of fits with the Apes franchise’s reputation for thoughtful, unusual science fiction. I have no idea how this game will play in practice, but coming from Launius, whose Arkham Horror is still popular thirty years on from its initial release, it sounds very exciting indeed. The sequels should also offer unique opportunities for gameplay: the telepathic mutants of Beneath and the ape uprising of Conquest stick out in particular. I’m curious to hear how Launius would adapt Escape into a board game, though. Fish-out-of-water comedy and Senate hearings don't immediately lend themselves to game mechanics.
The first game in the series will launch in October 2017 for $59.99; my assumption is that IDW will develop and release further games based on sales.