| Science fiction. Fantasy. The universe. And related subjects.

Five Board Games for Fantasy Fans

Looking for a way to make devastating competitive moves against your friends while occupying an imaginative fantasy world? Look no further!

I play board games any chance I get. My friends and I have an unwritten rule that every hardcore gaming session must include at least one new game. This has resulted in a recent onslaught of new board games, many of which take place in unique fantasy worlds or use fantasy concepts in intriguing ways.

Here are five of my favorites—and I hope you’ll recommend your own top fantasy board games in the comments!

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A Masterpiece of Dream Logic: Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron

There’s a moment about three-quarters of the way through The Boy and the Heron when the young protagonist, Mahito, and a companion, make their way down a rough-hewn stairway carved into a crevasse. A waterfall cascades beside them; other people bustle about. And there, for a few seconds, a rainbow shimmers when light hits the waterfall.

This is not a spoiler. It’s not a pivotal moment, the rainbow doesn’t suddenly turn into a fantastical creature or a portal to another world—it’s just a rainbow (if a rainbow can ever be just a rainbow) but Miyazaki, or a member of his team, took the time to draw and color that rainbow, to get the shading just right. Mahito and his friend don’t even notice it.

It’s there for us.

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Neil Patrick Harris Had Never Heard of Doctor Who Before Russell T. Davies Asked Him to Play The Toymaker

The third and final special featuring the return of DoctorDonna (a.k.a. David Tennant and Catherine Tate) is set to stream on Disney+ in mere days. And while it very likely will be the last time we see the DoctorDonna together (sob!), it will also be the first time we’ve seen Neil Patrick Harris enter the Whoverse.

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Seen The Boy and the Heron? Bet You Didn’t Recognize Robert Pattinson’s Voice If You Did

The Boy and the Heron (Hayao Miyazaki’s last [???] feature) has received rave reviews. And the movie, which is distributed by the company GKIDS in the U.S., has a star-studded voice cast that includes some unexpected choices.

GKIDS was in charge of pulling the English-speaking ensemble together to dub the film (check out some of the dub in the trailer above), and doing so was a big endeavor, as a new article reveals.

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Cosmic and Horrific, But Not Cosmic Horror: Cadwell Turnbull’s We Are the Crisis

Supernatural fiction abounds with tales of vampires, werewolves, and other uncanny beings living among us, from the paranormally-charged small towns of Charlaine Harris’s fiction to the visceral political thrills of Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon. Cadwell Turnbull’s Convergence Saga—the first book of which was 2021’s No Gods, No Monsters—falls somewhat in this category. It is, by and large, set in a world similar to our own, albeit one where the bulk of the humans residing there have recently become aware that some of their friends and neighbors possess uncanny abilities. Werewolves feature prominently in the series, though they’re far from the only supernatural beings to do so.

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Poor Things Will Bildungs the Hell Out of Your Roman

Poor Things is a blast. I’m not sure if everyone will like it, but everyone should like it. This world would be a better place if this kind of movie could do Barbenheimer numbers.

The film is a phantasmagorical bildungsroman, which is my fancy way of saying that it happens in a somewhat alternate Europe where their reality is a bit skewed from our own, and we follow a young person going on an adventure of self-discovery.

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Finding the Cozy Spaces and Fantastical Architecture of SFF

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

How many of us can recite this line from memory? I admit, I get tripped up in the details, but the first sentence is gold, and the image it conjures up is even better. For me, it’s one part Peter Jackson, one part Rankin/Bass, one part the way I imagined a hobbit-hole before I’d seen any movies. Tidy. Cozy. Warm. Wood-lined. Part of a tree, part of the earth, close to all the things I cared so fiercely about when I was a small kid hearing The Hobbit read aloud for the first time.

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Wrath Becomes Her by Aden Polydoros: Golems vs. Nazis in War-Torn Lithuania

I feel the last few years have seen a flourishing in fantasy novels that explicitly centre the Jewish experience in European history. Or perhaps it’s just that I’m encountering them more in the scattershot sampling of fantasy that I read. Either way, Wrath Becomes Her by Aden Polydoros (The City Beautiful, Bone Weaver) is a book concerned with Jewishness and survival in the face of hostility. It’s also a book that speaks strikingly to queer themes.

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