As a huge fan of the Back to the Future trilogy and franchise and all things of the 80s, I once amassed a huge collection of movie memorabilia, related items and other rare Back to the Future gift ideas. I recall buying up anything I could get my hands on that showed the logo, branding or the Delorean time machine. In the past, I’ve had models, posters, games, toys, vinyl, cassette and CD soundtracks, trading cards and not to mention the number of times I’ve brought the movies on different and improved media formats.
As time passed I’ve sold a lot of it now, made a tidy profit but still follow any new developments in the franchise of the movies as it still gets my capacitor fluxing. In the early days, as I couldn’t find one anywhere at the time, I created and developed my own Back to the Future board game, including board, every card, rules and tokens.
I split the board into years, which seemed appropriate, and copied the idea of 3D Delorean tokens from the UK snack company, Smiths Crisps Back to the Future game which was released in 1985. If you wish to divert away and see this game in action, see and read about it here.
Over time, I created a further game on a separate board based on the events of the third movie and utilised the cards and components already made. Not sure what I did with them or if they’ve been lost in time. There is a whole catalogue of official games that would make great Back to the Future gift ideas and I wanted to highlight them below.
Back to the Future: Back in Time
This is one of this year’s new board game additions and has taken me by surprise as another title has been produced and released at the same time. This one has grabbed my attention more though as I like the theming of it.
This is a game for two to four players, designed by Prospero Hall and published by Funko Games. It’s for ages ten to adult and has a playing time of fifty minutes. At this time, this title is brand new and has limited availability. Get your copy from Amazon here.
This game is based solely on the first movie and is set in the year 1955. The board features the full layout of the town square, Hill Valley Courthouse and includes lots of other familiar places like Doc’s house and Hill Valley High School. This is a fully co-operative game where each player takes on a character and has to fix the Delorean by finding parts, get Lorraine and George to meet and fall in love and get to the clock tower by 10:04 pm, all while avoiding Biff and his trouble-making gang.
Back to the Future: Dice Through Time
This title is the other new 2020 release referred to above and is a co-operative dice and board game for two to four players, ages from ten to adult and has a playing time of forty-five to sixty minutes. The game has been designed by Ken Franklin, Chris Leder and Kevin Rodgers and published by Ravensbuger.
This time around, the game spans all three movies and features events from the years 1885 to 1985.
Each player will aim to complete memorable events in the movies and return key items to their proper time and place, that have been scattered through time by a meddling Biff Tannen before the game tracker reaches “Game Over.” Players will use customized dice to complete the events mentioned above to win item cards. Don’t waste any time and get your copy from Zatu Games.
These items then have to be returned to the year listed on the card. Other tokens can be earned and cards played throughout the game to slow the game tracker. There is also a featured dice element of the game, where a player can “ripple” the dice and hold them in their board space area, allowing other players in future years to pick them up and use them accordingly. Great Scott!!
Back to the Future: An Adventure Through Time
Released in 2016 another Back to the Future board game title hit the shelves and features more loose cards and tokens than a central, board-based play area. This is a game for two to four players of ages ten to adult and can take about thirty minutes of playing time.
The game is designed by Ben Pinchback and Matt Riddle, published by IDW Games and It’s available brand new to purchase from Zatu Games.
Players compete to move Doc Brown’s Delorean time machine through time and between three years featured in the movie trilogy, 1955, 1985 and 2015. The objective of the game is to set in motion key scenes and events from the movies by getting characters in the right place and at the right time for these iconic moments to take place. The player who does the better job of repairing a broken timeline is declared the winner.
Back to the Future: Monopoly
Presented in a creatively designed plutonium case, the familiar Monopoly game takes on a 2015 release Back to the Future theme for the fans of the movies and franchise. As many will know the game is for two to six players for ages of eight to adult. This edition has been published by The Op and Winning Moves Germany.
Each player can choose from some detailed die-cast metal playing tokens and can decide on either the Delorean time machine (who wouldn’t want to race around the board with this icon), Einstein, a cowboy hat, a futuristic sneaker, a hoverboard or the famous Hill Valley clock. This title is a little rare to find, click accordingly for brand new copies from eBay or Amazon.
The whole board has a wide variety of locations taken from the movies and features the likes of the Holomax Theatre, Cafe 80s, D.Jones Manure Hauling and Doc’s Lab. The familiar Chance and Community Chest cards have been replaced with Past and Future titles for this edition but with the familiar Free Parking and Go to Jail spaces left alone. Another unique feature of this game I noticed, is the idea of moving around a squared board that could be loosely representing the Hill Valley town square itself. Interesting stuff eh?
Back to the Future: The Card Game
From past to the present, big to small, this pocket-sized Back to the Future card game, released in 2010 is another unique and novel idea. A portable, themed card game for two to six players, ages eleven to adult and is a nice, short twenty-minute lasting game. It has been designed by Andrew Looney and published by Looney Labs.
This is one game I do own and I have kept hold of this from my past collection. Buy a copy for yourself from Amazon here.
Each player will play as a descendant of either Marty McFly, Biff Tannen, Doc Brown or others and will have a card with their victory conditions to strive for. In this game, the playing cards are laid down in a grid pattern and year sequence. The cards show pivotal events from all three movies that can either happen or un-happen depending on gameplay, did Clara Clayton end up over the ravine? Play to find out.
Players can use actions and power cards to change the outcome of events by adjusting cards in the formatted grid layout and using “ripple effects” that in turn will adjust other cards too. There is a lot of card flipping back and forth, as players compete to match their victory conditions by putting events in place as described.
Back to the Future: The Board Game
We’re going back in time a bit now into the year 1990, to be exact, with this controversial game from publisher Movie Licensing Games. This is a board game that I also used to own, I recall buying it from a toy fair with my Uncle for £10.00 at the time.
At this point, I’d never seen or knew about a Back to the Future official board game and by this point, my creations, mentioned above were already made.
Can you imagine my surprise and utter shock when I opened out the board and saw the exact layout as my personal, unpatented board game creation? The game board is split into year tracks and has a linking space from one year to the next, as did mine (although mine were more creative and featured two fire trails). The cards included here are better and more glossy than mine, having the same reverse design over my individual, manually drawn efforts.
The almanac. That son of a bitch stole my idea! He must’ve been listening when I…It’s all my fault. The whole thing is my fault! If I hadn’t bought that damn book then none of this would’ve happened!— Marty McFly
This game is for two to four players for ages seven to adult. Each player takes on the role of Marty McFly in a search and rescue attempt through different timelines for Doc Emmet Brown who is trapped in the year 1885. The game is kept simple and you need to require items before time travel while avoiding various pitfalls like Biff Tannen or time warps.
Being an indoor gaming enthusiast I do appreciate all the work that can go into a video or board game. I’ve been lucky enough to own and play some of the highlighted titles above all of which have their unique flavour to suit the tastes of players. For me, the more components and player choices/strategy the better and I always like decent artwork and theme. Some of these Back to the Future games are better production value than others, in my opinion.
Some of the games are shorter than others but all of them carry the same time travelling objective, with each game having different playing mechanics from cards and card drafting, a playing board, dice rolling and so on and which could influence a players purchase.
My thoughts and opinions will be slightly biased and are coming from a game and Back to the Future fan, so all the above are brilliantly created. As a future purchase, I am seriously thinking about the first highlighted title and it may make it to my wishlist.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope you found it of some help or interest. Please feel free to drop a comment about these titles, the written content or even your own experiences with this genre of game.