Looking back at the history of board games, it’s no surprise why the most successful ones remain so, even if their concepts must have seemed weird at the time. A game based on a person’s life choices? Well, okay. A game where you try to solve a murder? Makes sense, I guess. What about a game where you buy up property in New Jersey? Nah, that’s too three-dimensional, right? Of course not. And the dimensional aspect of board games is about to get a major boost with the upcoming projects based on the acclaimed Portal video games and Christopher Nolan’s 2010 blockbuster Inception. That’s right, two iconic pieces of pop culture are getting board games that could potentially be as complicated as trying to maneuver yourself through global politics. Damn you, Risk!
We start with what is tentatively being called Portal: Uncoopoerative Cake Acquisition Game, which can’t possibly be a finalized title, though I’m all for it in the end. It’s a tabletop game announced by Cryptozoic Entertainment at the recent Toy Fair. These guys are also responsible for The Walking Dead‘s board game and a bunch of trading card series. Unfortunately, there are no details on how this item could possibly capture the physics-heavy challenges and the dark humor presented by the video games. What is known is that the unspecified creators of the Portal games designed it, and there are custom playing pieces that gamers will recognize as the test subjects, sentry turret, companion cube, and some delicious cake. If there’s a syringe and needle to inject the GLaDOS technology into players before playing, I’m completely on board.
And then there’s Inceptor – The Game of Your Dreams.
This game isn’t a definitive product just yet, as it’s a Kickstarter project from Pilot Study, which is basically Chicago developers Bruno Gervasi and Reid Cuddy. Though Warner Bros. has no problem with them getting this game out there, no copyright infringement is happening with this name, and they’re using “inception” as the act in and of itself. You can get the game and all of the totems inside of the sleek silver briefcase for around $100, with a little more added to get something else engraved on it. Should you pay that, you’re putting forth a dollar for every rule involved with playing this behemoth of a leisurely activity. You’re picking characters, you’re trying to reach differing outcomes depending on what dreamstate you’re currently invested in, and you have to watch for the Jump. Don’t miss the Jump! This promo video explains things better than I ever could, even if I had days to memorize the guidelines.
These both sound different from the equally complicated Firefly board game, but my interest in piqued. Which of these would you rather play?