For decades video games have moved beyond the screen and infiltrated pop culture via different mediums. Whether it’s clothing, playing cards, board games, or action figures, each generation’s most beloved video game characters are able to expand beyond their respected game cartridge or disk. This brings us to the rare and unique Legend of Zelda board game. We’ve covered this item years ago. But, not really in depth the way I’ve wanted to.
Licensed by Nintendo and published by Milton Bradley the Legend of Zelda board gamereleased in 1988. The Legend of Zelda debuted a year prior on the NES to critical acclaim, and the Zelda board game looked to take advantage of the game’s popularity by releasing alongside the much anticipated sequel, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Not surprisingly the board game emulates the original video game’s blueprint, tasking players to explore open world and dungeon settings with Link in a quest to save Princess Zelda by defeating Ganon and collecting the Triforce tile.
The game uses dice to decide Link’s outcome when battling enemies designated by tiles that are distributed throughout his journey. Five dice are used; four are used to battle enemies and one blue die is used to indicate how many spaces the player is allowed to move. Each of the monsters that Link will have to face are characters from the original title such as Darknut, Moblin, and Octorok.
The board used in the game is split into six “rooms.” The left half has three rooms representing different environments: a forest, an ocean, and a desert. The right half contains three dungeons represented by different colors. The circle spaces cause Link to lose a turn and the square spaces require the player to pull from a stack of tiles and face whatever enemy the tile designates. Between each room is a space that can only be accessed by Link once a specific magic item is collected. This is similar to the video game’s dungeon design that has link find a certain item in order to complete each dungeon level. The final dungeon contains only Ganon tiles, and the player must acquire the Triforce/Princess Zelda tile in order to win the game.
The Legend of Zelda board game borrows all of it’s content straight from the original video game, and it isn’t the only one to do so. It is actually predated by the Japan-only release of Hyrule Fantasy in 1986. Hyrule Fantasy had game pieces from the The Legend of Zelda as playable characters and used an overworld map of the game as its game board. The world of Zelda still inspires board game versions, as evidenced by the Legend of Zelda Monopoly game released in 2014.