It would seem that Covid-19 restrictions are now being tentatively relaxed to varying degrees in different places around the world. For many people, thoughts have started to turn to the resuming of regular social activities. The new rules regarding meet-ups and the reopening of recreation and leisure facilities mean that people have the chance once again to get out and enjoy some time with friends and family. Something most of us have certainly missed out on a lot over the past several months. When it comes to getting together, cinema has always been one of the ultimate choices.
It’s safe to say that the film world – along with many other creative and arts-based industries – has suffered in recent months, with productions delayed or halted, release dates pushed back, and some films dropped altogether. Not to mention the effect that the global pandemic has had on small, independent companies and producers. But as we reach the halfway point of 2021, things are looking up for movie fans.
June will see the Australian release of F9, the latest and penultimate instalment in the Fast and Furious Franchise. Immensely popular, yet often overshadowed by other long-running series – the movie will see protagonist Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) and his crew pitted against Toretto’s long-estranged brother, played by John Cena. The film will also see Diesel reaching his twentieth year of portraying the infamous street racer. The first film was released to US audiences back in June 2001.
The addition of Cena to the cast seems almost an inevitable choice. After all, the Fast Franchise is a veritable buffet of modern A-list action stars. Perhaps this is part of the charm of the films – in a similar vein to series like Bad Boys, Transporter, and The Expendables – the Fast and Furious are unashamedly upfront about what they are and make no excuses for it. They’re fast. They’re fun. They know exactly what their fan base wants – and they deliver it at high speed with an extra shot of adrenaline to boot.
Yet throughout the franchise, there has always been an undercurrent of high emotion. The themes of family, loyalty, and friendship are always evident. It is truly the bond between Toretto and his crew that provides the heart of the story. Vin Diesel and the ever-expanding cast share the sort of chemistry that can make a movie, and what feels most refreshing is that this is a genuine ensemble effort. When you’ve got names like Dwayne Johnson, Idris Elba, Michelle Rodriguez, and Gal Gadot all making appearances in the series, it would be easy for the Fast films to feel like just another ‘How many stars can fit in one franchise’ venture. But it doesn’t.
“It doesn’t matter whether you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning.”
The series is in the top 10 most commercially successful, with Vin Diesel (amongst others in the cast) also holding a role in The Marvel Universe, currently the highest-grossing franchise.
This alone makes Diesel one of the most successful and highest-earning contemporary action stars. A fact that makes it all the more surprising that, when given his bankability and popularity, Diesel often seems to be overshadowed in terms of celebrity by other actors of similar ilk. Plus, the guy is a massive Dungeons & Dragons fan, which, let’s be honest only serves to cement his status as a firm Dicebox favourite. So consider us intrigued by this latest instalment.
“Money will come and go. We know that. But the most important thing in life will always be the people in this room, right here, right now.”
Of course, the rules regarding socializing are different depending on where you are, and for some people, a visit to the cinema still isn’t yet an option. If that’s the case for you, worry not for as always, Dicebox have you covered. If the local cinema is still off-limits, why not gather the family, set up the table, and satisfy your need for speed with some of our favourite board games? The selection below was put together by the Dice Box team based on the themes seen in the F9 series. Here are just a few of our suggestions for you and your crew.
Best Game to Get You on the Right Track –
A clear choice for racing fans, Down Force ($60.00) is an all-around winner in our books. High stakes, fast-paced play, and an element of risk when making decisions all culminate in a family-friendly card-based game that has existed in various incarnations since the 70s. With legendary designer Wolfgang Kramer behind this one, you already know that you’re going to get a game that delivers in terms of playability, design, and interest. Players make secret bets on million-dollar cars that move around the track based on card selections made by each person, with cards able to take players both closer to and further from victory.
Also available is Down Force Wild Ride expansion ($30.00) – bringing another element of strategy to the game with the addition of wild animals as obstacles and 3D ramps for an even more visually satisfying setup. This game is suitable for younger players from ages eight and above.
Best Game for Taking Things up a Gear –
Embrace your inner Hobbs and Shaw with Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game ($78.00) – a contemporary strategy game with five crimes to be solved and a single, overarching narrative that ties them together. This is an incredible interactive game experience that breaks the fourth wall. Take on the role of agency investigators and work through clues to solve the puzzles using all the tools at your disposal.
Detective: A Modern Crime combines a classic card deck set up with online databases and records. Players can use resources like Google Maps and Wikipedia to create a truly immersive experience. Suitable for groups of up to five people or a single player, this game offers ample opportunity for variations in play with several potential paths to success. More complex than other games of a similar style, this is appropriate for older teens to adult players.
Best Game for High Octane Fun –
More reminiscent of Mad Max than the Fast Franchise, Devil’s Run RPG ($72.00) should be more than enough to satisfy the need for speed. With a core rule book containing the system for the 2d20 rule set, plus the Savage Worlds Adventure System and six pre-generated characters with full stats, the campaign thrusts players into a motor fuelled post-apocalyptic themed race across the war-ravaged highways of the West Coast. The 2d20 system provides a dramatic range of possible outcomes while being relatively simple for less experienced players. Road rules allow GMs to create a structured setting without hindering story flexibility, giving opportunities for various encounters with enemies and allies alike. This role-playing game offers an extensive toolkit of vehicles, weapons, and gear so you can hit the freeway in full Fury Road style, ready to take control of the wastelands ahead. Furthermore, if you’re looking to expand your dice collection (and let’s face it, when is it not a good time to collect more dice?) we would definitely recommend the D20 Dire Die Hard Dice. The Mythical Sinister Ruby ($22.00) has the perfect aesthetic for dystopian settings.
As always, we love to hear all your game-related news – so feel free to drop by our social media. You can ask us questions, send us your thoughts and let us know what’s been going on in your world. If you’re not cinema bound quite yet, fear not. This year promises a whole host of enticing film offerings across 2021, with releases like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and the long-awaited Dune still to come.
If you are getting out and about, be safe, take care, and until next time, happy gaming!