Book board games and my failure as a parent

posted in: 2. Illustrators and Authors | 12

This summer we’ve been lucky enough to chance upon some children’s book inspired board games as we’ve trawled our way through charity shops.

Now I have a confession to make: I’m not a fan of board games.

I play them because I know as an engaged parent I’m meant to play them with my kids but I’ll be honest, it’s always a struggle for me when the kids ask to play such a game.

However, if anything will get me willing to give a board game a go, having a link to children’s books is a good start.

First we found this Peter Rabbit game. We hadn’t looked out our Beatrix Potter books in ages (even though we have teeny-tiny 5cm ones which I just adore) so it was a perfect opportunity to revisit Jeremy Fisher and Hunca Munca (in the Tale of Two Bad Mice) – both favourites from when the girls were little.


Next we found a Princess and the Pea game, which has been a huge hit because the game pieces are so very lovely – real little pillows, mattresses and blankets.


Our two favourite traditional re-tellings of The Princess and the Pea are both published by Floris books: The Princess and the Pea, illustrated by Maja Dusíková (here’s our review, plus an activity which my girls still rave about to this day), and their forthcoming An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales, illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova. Both books have classical, romantic watercolour illustrations, with a vintage feel, and the anthology in particular would make a great present.

Our star find this summer, however, has been an Asterix board game, complete with menhirs and rotten fish.


This game not only has really fun pieces, I’ve even (moderately) enjoyed playing it, at it requires more than just rolling the dice, combining memory with luck and plenty of opportunities for mental arithmetic.

This flavourwire article has 10 more literary themed board games, including ones inspired by Animal Farm, The Little Prince, Moby Dick and Beowulf!

I’ve also come across…

  • Tales of the Arabian Nights board game:
  • Robinson Crusoe board game:
  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective board game:
  • Lord of the Rings board game
  • Vintage Wizard of Oz board game
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cheese Touch board game
  • Room on the Broom Dragon Chase Board Game
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt board game
  • Monopoly: The Marvel Comics version

  • Do you have a favourite board game inspired by a children’s book? Have you any tips for turning me into someone who will willingly play board games 😉 ?

    UPDATE: Several people have asked me for the instructions for this game, having a copy of the board but having lost the vital “how to play” piece of paper. Here they are:

    12 Responses

    1. Polly

      Not particularly literary but I recommend Gamewright games – both the non-board based card games – ‘Dweebies’, ‘Sleeping Princesses’ and ‘Theres a moose in the house’ but most brilliantly their Cooperative board game ‘Forbidden Island’ where you all work together and either all win or all lose. It’s a bit complicated when you first play but genuinely quite exciting when you get the hang of it.

    2. Zoe

      Ah Polly – thank you. Forbidden Island sounds like it might help me get over my boardgame hangups 😉

    3. sarahelisabeth

      This is a genre of board games with which I am unfamiliar. The Asterix game would go down well here-I must look out for these. Book games would make a change from our maths related board games!
      sarahelisabeth recently posted..Book Benches in London

    4. choxbox

      Wow those are awesome finds! The Asterix Game would be a massive hit here!

    5. Ally T

      Hello there – I have not seen the Asterix game in years and your post has inspired me to have a rummage in my loft as I knew there was an edition of it up there. Well, I’ve found it and set it up for my niece but unfortunately we have lost the rules and have no idea how to play. Would it be at all possible for you to scan and email me a copy of the instructions? Any help very much appreciated.

      Kind wishes

      • Zoe

        Hi Ally, I’ve emailed you the instructions (Sat 10 jan) – do get in touch to let me know if they got through ok (or otherwise)

    6. Marion

      Oh my goodness! I was about to give up hope of ever finding the rules for Asterix the board game.
      I love the Asterix stories, and have even read a lot of them in French, so I have been reluctant to throw it out.
      It was a lucky(ish) find in a charity shop, but despite managing to find out that it has all it’s pieces, I have not been able to find any instructions.

      If you still have them and can email me a copy I would be very grateful,
      Best wishes, Marion

      • Zoe

        Marion, I’ve emailed them to you – but I’ve also now added them to the post so you can see them there.

      • Emm

        Hi Marion, (or anybody else who may read this…)
        Please can you tell me how many of each token (mistletoe, wild boar, helmets, fish) there should be?
        Thank you.

    7. Marion

      Thanks so much for that!
      It certainly looks fun, so we’ll be trying it out this evening!

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