10 Times Board Games Got Into Your SitComs

Sitcoms rely on characters to be successful. Well, often they rely on stale jokes and a distracted audience, but good sitcoms rely on characters. We only care about the plot if we care about the people the plot is happening to. There are a lot of ways we learn about characters, but few are as clever or as interesting as watching them play a board game. Take a look at 10 examples of board games in your favorite sitcoms.

1. Community | S2E14 – D&D


There are enough board game references in Community to warrant its own list, but none so moving as the first Dungeons and Dragons episode. Continue reading “10 Times Board Games Got Into Your SitComs”

Five Fave Board Game References

January has 5 weeks in it, so this week I’m giving a little extra. In no particular order, here are 5 of my favorite board game references.

1. Stranger Things | S1E1 – D&D

Taking a page from E.T., Stranger Things opens on a group of kids playing Dungeons and Dragon. Beyond the 80’s set dressing, D&D becomes the lens through which our protagonists understand the supernatural happenings around them. Continue reading “Five Fave Board Game References”

10 Times Board Games Got Into Your Favorite Cartoons

Cartoons have their own rules, their own systems, their own physics. It takes skilled writers and artists to produce animation that we can relate to. Sometimes our favorite cartoon characters sit down to a board game, and we realize they aren’t so different from you or I. Take a look at 10 examples of board games in your favorite cartoons.

1. Hey Arnold – Chinese Checkers – S2E37A


Hey Arnold is equal parts touching and goofy, a formula that created some fantastic moments. When Arnold’s grandpa, “Steely Phil”, was young, he was so wrapped up in winning the City Master’s Tournament that he overlooked a move that would have let him stalemate. Missing that move cost him his dream. A dream of being a Chinese Checkers Grandmaster. Continue reading “10 Times Board Games Got Into Your Favorite Cartoons”

Where are Board Game References?

Board Games have been with humans longer than art and longer than language. We imagine that primitive man was dull-witted, but I can guarantee you that one of your early ancestors could have beaten you at a game of mancala.

One of my favorite historic references to board games was Hippocrate’s account of the ancient Lydians. The Lydians encountered a famine that rocked their civilization. To prolong their resources, they would only eat every other day. On days they went without food, they would play games.

They went on like this for 7 years, until they decided that to survive they would send half their population to a new land, while the other half could live on the remaining resources. They played one final game to decide who would stay and who would go. Some scholars believe that the exodus of the Lydians corresponds with the founding of the Roman Empire.

So games are the direct result of one of the most influential empires the world has ever seen, and we still see games as an integral part of our social fiber. Games are in our art, our culture, and in the stories we tell one another, and next month I begin a board game exploration. Join me on my journey by sharing any good board game stories you know! See you next month!

How do you find a Board Game Reference?

Have you seen Pulp Fiction? You know the scene where John Travolta stabs Uma Thurman in the chest with adrenaline because she’s OD’d from accidentally snorting heroine?

Did you pay close attention to that scene? Did you catch what was in the foreground on an end table?

A copy of Operation.

Could’ve been anything, could’ve been Scrabble, could’ve been Guess Who, but clever narratives are built out of little details.

So many Board Game References are a surprise. Not because they are hidden or obscure, but because they’re hiding in plain view. You’re probably already thinking about it, and I can confirm: there was a board Game episode in your Saturday morning cartoons, in your Primetime dramas, and in your 80’s sitcoms.

Not just chess, either, all kinds of board games, everywhere, all the time. I’ve sifted through enough pop culture at this point that I’m more surprised when I find out a series doesn’t have a board game reference (like how those bastards at HBO cut Cyvasse from Game of Thrones, not that I’m bitter).

My initial research into finding board game references was simply being vigilant. I’m excited to say I’ve uncovered hundreds of Board Game References that I’ll be sharing starting this coming January.

Think you have a board game reference I’ve not already found? I’d love to see if you can stump me. Post your favorite shows and movies on our Reddit Forum, I’ll let you know whether or not they have a board game reference in them.