What are three great horror-themed Board James episodes?

Cinemassacre is best known for the Angry Video Game Nerd series, starring James Rolfe. But longtime channel followers also loved Board James, where Rolfe took viewers back to the past with various board games up until two years ago.

Board James started out simple enough. Rolfe played the games onscreen as Board James with longtime friend Mike Matei, or rather Motherfucker Mike. Together they replicated what it felt like as a kid playing those board games. Another main character named Bad Luck Bootsy arrived in Season 2, and he added a musical element in addition to his onscreen hijinx.

What are the three best Board James episodes that took a dark, horror-themed turn though? Rolfe did not start making the series more serious on a regular basis until after the “Dream Phone” episode to cap off Season 2. There is not an overwhelming amount of dark episodes to choose from since Board James is filled with many non-scary episodes too.

Nevertheless, this author will analyze three great horror episodes from this series (warning: some spoilers ahead).

1. Dream Phone

Dream Phone, a board game meant for girls, surprisingly provides the base material for one the darkest Board James episodes. James, Mike and Bootsy start off the 16 minutes by going through the process of playing the game, which is important. The episode still works as a review, despite the pending horror. Also, the original song (by Bootsy) during the opening playthrough sounds like it could be the game’s official theme song (except for one specific line … listen for it).

But things turn in a dark direction after the phone starts receiving actual calls and James begins to panic. The mystery behind the insane caller and house murders keeps viewers guessing, making the episode a whole lot of fun.

2. Mr. Bucket

Like in “Dream Phone” one season later, the “Mr. Bucket” episode begins innocently enough with James and Mike commenting on the old commercial for Mr. Bucket. Obviously, taken out of context there is a lot of humor in the old commercial. The duo then plays the game and make a good point on how shallow Mr. Bucket is. They just pick up the balls with a shovel and the bucket spits them out. Anyone can see themselves as Mike getting bored soon and leaving.

The dark twist arrives when James falls asleep, and suddenly Mr. Bucket comes alive! Not only does the bucket start moving on its own, but it goes for James’ private parts. So this episode basically inspired the even better “Dream Phone” one, because the two of them offer roughly the same structure with a playthrough first half and horror-filled second half.

3. 13 Dead End Drive

James’ insanity stands out in this penultimate Board James episode. He tries to give a tutorial on the game to Mike and Bootsy and becomes impatient with the questioning, which was entertaining in a subtle way. It foreshadows how James acts later when Mike and Bootsy figure out the room exits are closed. How would they escape? Would they die? How would James keep them coming back inside to play 13 Dead End Drive?

On top of all of that, the tutorial for the game really goes in depth. As Mike and Bootsy badger James with questions, the viewer starts to understand the game is a little complicated, but fun if done right. In addition, the parts where the three characters think to themselves are a nice touch too. Critical thinking is an obvious requirement for this game after watching.

Honorable Mention: Nightmare and Beyond

“13 Dead End Drive” misses the Top 3 because it feels a little hard to follow in some places. It is a shame because Rolfe put a lot of work into this one and likely wanted to conclude Season 3 (or the entire series?) with a bang. However, the episode does offer a lot of gore, and other cool and slightly bizarre scenes. Maybe this list underrates the episode.

Board James ended in 2015, and with Rolfe’s second daughter and overall busy schedule, it seems unlikely to return soon.

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