Best board game shows

Board games have been a pillar of human unity since ancient history. Even in modern times, specific brands of tabletop family games have become pop culture staples. games like Monopoly, Indexand even Mouse trap are commonplace in most American households, perfect for rainy days or lazy afternoons at home.

RELATED: PC Games To Play If You Like Board Games

Some of these board games, like Index, have even been adapted into feature films. Other movies like Jumanji, find characters deeply involved in fictional board games. However, sometimes board games will become prominent in TV shows, such as those shows that are either based on board games or feature them in key episodes.


9 Pictionary

Pictionary is one of the most popular board games of all time, as it asks players to essentially play charades with only their ability to draw as a guide for their teams. Due to its highly visual nature, it has been featured in many TV shows and movies over the years as a go-to choice for game night. However, the game also spawned its own game show in 1989.

Hosted by sitcom actor and future Paramount chef Brian Robbins, the show functions essentially the same as the home version. It ran through the summer of 1989 for one season and was then revived in 1997 with Growing pains actor Alan Thicke as host. This iteration of the show also included paired teams with celebrities like Weird Al Yankovic.

8 Monopoly

Another board game adapted as a game show was Monopoly, the popular tabletop game where players buy and sell goods. This show was even created by Merv Griffin, who was known for his role in creating Danger and Wheel of Fortune. The host was a former Danger contestant Mike Reilly, with swapped co-hosts.

RELATED: Board Games To Play If You Like Monopoly

The game show version has much higher stakes than the board game, as contestants have the chance to win real cash prizes. It only aired 12 episodes in the summer of 1990 alongside super danger on ABC. Sadly, it hasn’t been revived since, and there doesn’t seem to be much of an audience these days for a comeback.

seven Trivial Pursuit

Trivial Pursuit was a more successful board game-turned-game show that aired from 1993 to 1994 on The Family Channel. It was hosted by Wink Martindale, an American radio DJ, and loosely follows the rules of the original game. Candidates must answer multiple-choice questions consisting of six different categories of academic subjects.

Topics included geography, entertainment, history, art and literature, science and nature, and sports and recreation. However, rounds two and three feature a wider variety of topics, including movies and television. Another iteration of the game show called Trivial Pursuit: America Playsaired for one season between 2008 and 2009.

6 Seinfeld

Seinfeld is one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, primarily for the way it created high-level comedy out of the ordinary or mundane storylines. One of its most popular episodes featured an intense game of Risk between Kramer and Newman. “The Label Maker” aired in 1995 during the show’s sixth season and was written by Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer.

RELATED: Board Games To Play If You Like The Risk

The Kramer-Newman Risk Gambling takes up much of the episode as the two try to stop each other from cheating. This results in the painting being kept in Jerry’s apartment, then later after the two are on the subway, and finally at the Super Bowl. This serves as the climax to a one-episode storyline involving Jerry and Elaine giving away tickets to the Super Bowl.

rick and morty creator Dan Harmon has made no secret of his love for Dungeons & Dragons over the years. Harmon even created a show called HarmonQuest who finds it and a panel of celebrities navigating a role-playing scenario. However, Harmon used his D&D fandom much earlier in two episodes of his NBC sitcom Community.

The first of those episodes, “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,” aired during the show’s second season and is a fan favorite. It features some great moments from the show’s cast, especially Alison Brie as the naïve Annie Edison whose actions get quite graphic. A season five episode picked up the premise with guest stars Jonathan Banks and David Cross.

4 Philadelphia is always sunny

Philadelphia is always sunny is one of the longest-running live-action sitcoms in American television history. The show’s main cast is a collection of sociopathic, self-centered bar owners in Philadelphia whose actions often lead to the misfortune of others. That certainly describes their attitudes in the Season 7 episode “Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games.”

In the episode, the five gang members split into two teams to revive a self-created board game titled Chardee MacDennis. The intense and often cruel play tests their minds, bodies, and spirits, resulting in trivia, physical pain, and emotional humiliation. The game later reappeared in an episode of the eleventh season and got even darker.

3 The Big Bang Theory

The characters on The Big Bang Theory rarely hide their fandom of anything corny. This certainly applies to Settlers of Catan, a board game where players build and expand settlements alongside each other. The game appears in the fifth season episode “The Recombination Hypothesis”, where Sheldon, Howard, and Raj play it together in one scene.

RELATED: Best Fantasy-Themed Board Games

The game becomes a humorous occasion for Howard and Raj, as Sheldon unwittingly makes sexual innuendos throughout the game. Sheldon remains oblivious to what they find funny about him needing “drinks” in the game. it is only a brief moment that shows the characters playing Settlers of Catanit’s pretty true to how the game is played.

2 The Queen’s Bet

This Netflix mini-series released in 2020 became a smash hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. It features Anya Taylor-Joy as fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon, and her journey from socially awkward orphan to world chess stardom. Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of Beth catapulted the character to pop culture stardom.

The show is also unique for its slightly surreal depiction of Beth’s chess skills. As she imagines the game board in her mind, the visuals cycle through all the different possibilities until Beth finds the one that will win her the game. Along with that is a deeply moving story about drug addiction, a woman in a man’s world and coming of age as a young girl.

1 stranger things

There’s a lot going on in Hawkins, Indiana over the four seasons of stranger things. Things that are difficult to explain, however, become easily understandable thanks to Dungeons & Dragons. The opening moments of the series even show the main group of friends (Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will) playing a D&D game that foreshadows the events of the season.

Dungeons & Dragonseven three seasons later, remains an integral part of the story and the universe of stranger things. The monsters that appear in Upside-Down are often named after fantasy RPG monsters. Not only that, but the game is a bonding mechanism for small town friends, as the source of their camaraderie and sometimes falling out.

MORE: Stranger Things: Best Mike Wheeler Quotes

Previous Visual Arts Review: The Wright Stuff - A Pair of Usonian Houses in Manchester, New Hampshire
Next Fire Island and 9 other modern updates on classic literature