On February 21, 1986, the world of video games changed forever. But little did Shigeru Miyamoto-san know that as he tried to create a non-linear game that would somehow be the counterpart to ‘Super Mario Bros’. ‘The Legend of Zelda’, which was first released as a floppy disk for the Famicom Disk System and later appeared on the NES, didn’t come into the world alone: its success brought with it a good handful of board games that even now still have an absolutely unique charm. Let’s take a look at them! No, you don’t need to open that chest, don’t worry.
‘The legend of Zelda: The Hyrule fantasy’
The same year that the videogame was released, in Japan the publisher Bandai (“How cool!”, you will say if you already have gray hair) launched a more or less complex board game that recovered the essence of Nintendo‘s creation with a board that emulated the game’s map and that right now you would like to put as a poster in your house. Unpublished art, monsters, dungeons, dice (for combat) and cards: this game is everything you always dreamed of in a retro paradise.
And if you’re into collecting rare ‘Zelda’ stuff, it comes with four different colored Links, heart containers, rupees and Triforce pieces to collect to win. It is an extremely rare game that, in addition, you will not find in another language, but we would give anything to have one in our toy library.
‘The legend of Zelda’
It is much better known this 1988 game published by MB and advertised as “Join our hero Link on a path full of dangers through a maze full of monsters! Travel to six mysterious worlds, fight beasts and get hearts!”. And it was actually a bit like this, almost as is, a very simplified version of ‘The Hyrule Fantasy’.
To play, you roll the die and move as many squares as it indicates. Then, you turn the tile on which the character is, which can be magic or a monster that can only be defeated by having more power than him thanks to the swords given by the dice. Quite simple, really. Pure luck. In the end, the player with the most hearts left wins. If they licensed cereals, comics and even cartoons in the United States, all made with as little effort as possible, how could they not make a board game? It matters little that it has the same depth as rolling a die and seeing what number comes up.
‘The Legend of Zelda: Clockworm Realm’
Fast forward thirty years to the future: in 2018, Chris J Davis published online an unofficial game of the saga that, oddly enough, charmed everyone who tried it for its variety, fun, complexity… And why deny it, for how cute Link and Zelda figures are. The game is cooperative, which means that between 2 and 4 players will move and fight with different Links while trying to solve the mysteries of each dungeon.
During the game’s four levels, players must create a deck of cards to level up their heroes with weapons, items, treasure and all sorts of skill boosters to ultimately face Ganon in a unique battle in which they can save Hyrule… or let him die. The bad news? That the game is unofficial. The good? That it’s so absolutely rapturous that it even has two expansions. Nintendo, check it out.
‘Clue: The Legend of Zelda’
The Hyrule versions of mythical board games could not be missing. In this ‘Clue’ you will have to find out how to defeat Ganon. To do this you will have to find out who has the power, what object you need to beat him and where his lair is. In addition to the classic game mechanics, you will face monsters and you will be able to use the special powers of each character. Things as they are: even though it’s a real sack for fans, the little items included are cute.
‘Monopoly: The Legend of Zelda’
Forget the classic Monopoly pieces: here you can play with a triforce, a shield, a bow or an ocarina to free Hyrule… from the high taxes Ganondorf is imposing. Look, finding an excuse to bring these games out isn’t always easy, okay? If setting up hotels and houses in the Gerudo Desert doesn’t break your illusion of playing in Hyrule, maybe it will let you know that they haven’t even changed the “Free Parking” or the go-to-jail box. For collectors with a lot of space at home.
Of course, there are also versions of ‘Yahtzee’ or ‘Uno’ with references to the game, but so far no proper modern ‘The Legend of Zelda’ game has appeared. With examples such as ‘God of war’ or ‘This war of mine’, why is Nintendo still resisting? Well, okay, we only need to look at that MB disaster to answer ourselves.