Worlds that are fantastical or in space tend to parallel our world. Fictional universes aren’t utopias. Aliens face the same decisions and challenges that humans do. They need entertainment and escape from daily regimens. To add to the realism of fantasy and science fiction worlds, it only makes sense for authors to add games. Just look at the role that gaming – from tabletop to video games – plays in our daily lives. It’s one of the most popular activities we choose for relaxation. There are lame options in the real world and otherwise, but mostly a plethora of awesome choices abound. If I was sitting around the Millennium Falcon or Hogwarts, these games would be in my cupboard.
Three Dimensional Chess
Chess is a popular choice to transition to otherworldly realms. The allure of strategy games crosses interstellar boundaries (yep, I had to go there). Three dimensional chess is a staple of the Star Trek universe. It’s good enough for the logic obsessed Spock, yet fun enough to be placed in the bar Ten Forward. You should see Data knock the pieces about after he’s had some smuggled Romulan Ale. If you want to replicate the fun, some fans have created replica boards and rules.
Card games are the ideal solution for life on board a raggedy (but still awesome) spaceship. You can tuck them into tight places, and they don’t weigh much. Unless they’re made of metal. The gang on Firefly plays Tall Card during some downtime on the docks. The clanky cards aren’t quiet, but they are attractive. The game works a lot like poker with suits and numbers. I’m tight with my cash, so I like the idea of betting chores much more than betting dollars. Go drool over this fan-made set.
Battle of Wits
If you aren’t an accomplished swordsman, sit down with a friend and have a battle of wits. It’s like Trivial Pursuit but with much more conversation. Vizzini and the Man in Black add in the thrill of potential poison into their battle, but you don’t have to go that far. I think you could easily make the Battle of Wits into a drinking game though. It almost has the same dramatic ending.
Ron Weasley is usually a little, shall we say, unaccomplished. He doesn’t care about school, and in the beginning, he doesn’t seem excited about Quidditch. But you put that kid down in front of a Wizard’s Chess board, and he’s a genius. Everyone has a strength, I guess. This interpretation of chess has a magical and sort of terrifying element: the pieces come to life. With my decided lack of chess skills, I’d be in the infirmary constantly with Pawn shrapnel in my eyes.
In the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, the crew plays a bluffing game called Triad. It’s another poker style game that for me will forever be associated with Starbuck. She punches Tigh over a table full of Triad cards in one of our first encounters with her. The rules aren’t specific, and that can really work to your advantage when you’re playing for clothes instead of money. Hey, stripping is good enough for those serving on the Galactica. Get a closer look at the cards in the Propworx auction archive.
Just think. If R2-D2 and Chewbacca hadn’t resorted to playing dejarik on the way to Alderaan, we never would have got the line “Let the Wookiee win.” The strategy game has been around the galaxy longer than most games. It’s seen on screen from The Clone Wars to A New Hope, and it shows up in the Expanded Universe long after Return of the Jedi. Even Qui-Gon Jinn enjoys a game. You only need a hologame table to play along at home.
Now excuse me, I’m going to see about finding some iocane powder for my next party.