So there I was, Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise, leafing through the litany of listings on Board Game Geek.com, as I had countless times before, in search of the next cardboard concoction that would grab my attention and ignite my imagination.
Onward, I trudged. Past the 137 entries for Cthulhu games. Skipping the 293 games brandishing the Star Wars name. Bypassing the 320 Zombie game listings. And circumventing the 326 Pirate games surfacing on the site. Surely, surely among this massive myriad of merchandise there must be some games based on my favorite television series of all time: Avatar: The Last Airbender.
For those not in the know, Avatar: The Last Airbender was a rich, three season animated series taking place in a world divided into four nations, each having control over one of the elements: water, earth, fire and air. It’s a rich, imaginative world, featuring characters and stories that demonstrate how it’s possible to periodically delve into deep, philosophical questions in a kiddie’s cartoon show.
This is a universe that begs to be adapted into board games. The siege on Ba Sing Se could easily serve as the inspiration for a version of Stronghold. The varied cast of characters and their abilities would mesh perfectly with Dice Masters. The three season struggle to overcome the Fire Nation’s oppressive invasion is worthy of an epic game with asymmetrical player powers, the magnitude of Twilight Imperium.
But alas, my Board Game Geek search revealed the totality of the Avatar game catalog: one defunct trading card game published ten years ago, with an average rating of 5.6 out of ten. Even the comments that praise this game seem embarrassed to be there, stating, “It's fun enough for me. … And it was cheap enough.” That’s the best thing anyone has come up with to say about this game.
The fact that the Avatar: Last Airbender animated series hasn’t been better adapted to the board game world is a crime against imagination and the potential of this intellectual property. This IP is begging to make the leap from television to other mediums.
(Sees anAvatar movie poster.)
Except that. We agreed that we weren’t going to talk about that. You know as well as I do that everybody gets to pick ONE movie that they can pretend doesn’t exist. That lazily assembled cinematic train wreck is mine. So, sorry, there is no Avatar: Last Airbender movie to discuss,