Board James Mythology Explained

Mike Matei / December 8th, 2015

Watch Board James: Nightmare




  • TheGreenPipe

    December 8, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Awesome stuff! Thank you for all of your work over the years! Great explanations!

  • December 8, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    The video I need! Thank you!

  • bigbold1023

    December 8, 2015 at 6:25 pm


  • December 8, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    “Raise the Titanic” to raise Board James

  • gamelover200

    December 8, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Very cool easter eggs!

  • Dan021

    December 8, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Wow James, there was a ton of creativity with this season. Very impressive work, lot’s of different angles, costumes, characters and too many locations disguise as others. We can tell it’s an insane piece of work you just did. Also Mike and Bootsy were also really entertaining to watch. I’m still puzzled by the evil of Board James, it clashes so much with the Nerd being a hero who fought for the fans in the movie. Something there is breaking my ideas of them, but in a good way too. Deeper characters is always good.

    • dragonchild

      December 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      I know James is a big fan of horror movies so I always figured he’d want to play a villain at some point but I do wonder what led to the decision to scratch that itch using Board James. This ain’t the BJ that reviewed Doggie Doo!

      But yeah, the number of locations was impressive. Obviously had to cut a few corners (not gonna find a battleship set easily) but for a film short it’s hugely ambitious. BTW the soundtrack MADE the Candyland world. I think that permanently scarred my brain.

    • bud

      December 8, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      I like that James is always challenging himself to do new things. I don’t think any of us were expecting this, which is what makes it all the more welcome. This intricate plot and mythology is good enough to be a feature film.

    • meinerHeld

      December 9, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Well as far as the Nerd being broken or corrupted, I’d say that doesn’t have to happen. Remember, in James (Rolfe, not BJ)’s mind, it’s “two separate existenses. So, maybe there’s a meta-james…

  • OMA

    December 8, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks for your work, James. This is amazing!

  • dragonchild

    December 8, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    So close, and yet so far. . . I said (don’t know where the post went) that it was like Inception but more parallel than sequential. I did have Ouija on the brain. Kicking myself for missing the Gamemaster connection though. It was so often Board James that I pretty much assumed he was always in control until Mike figured it out (completely biffed on the Candyland clue, grrr).

  • December 8, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I really enjoyed these BJ episodes. It seems like you planned out the mythology in advance and it shows. The best part is that the mythology didn’t detract from the main focus of Board James: Getting together with friends and playing board games and having fun or not having fun playing them. I guess what I’m trying to say is that everything was well balanced and I would love to see more whenever you get around to making them.

  • December 8, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    What if James was planning a Hangman movie ? This would mostly eliminate the board game element in favor of a more straight forward horror whodunnit mystery film and it would be a prequel to the board james series. The characters would have different names although the nicknames could be hinted at.

  • erik37

    December 8, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Good Stuff Brotha!!!!!!

  • December 8, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Great video James, but one question. Who is James talking to when Bootsy and Mike are dead? Is it still a show in which he is talking to a camera or he is just staring in the abyss?

    • bud

      December 8, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      I’m starting to think more and more that he’s just staring into the abyss. Kind of like when he was in prison, reading instruction manuals to himself. Lost in his own little world. He’s explaining the rules to his “imaginary” followers (in his head).

    • Lukas Sprehn

      March 9, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      I always wondered, when the Nerd episodes got a little more cinematic, who’s filming those cinematic scenes, like in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre episode? Or is meant to be “out-of-the-show?” Or maybe it’s just ’cause it’s entertainment and fiction and it doesn’t all have to make perfect sense 😛

      But with Board James, that’s kinda weird, especially since you never really hear Board James say that they’re making a show or referencing episodes as if they’re episodes of a show (like “Watch my episode on this game” or “In episode 22 we played a game…”.)

      • Lukas Sprehn

        March 9, 2016 at 3:25 pm

        Oh wait, he did actually say it was a show during the Nightmare episode, when he told people to look at the release dates and correspond them to the letters of the alphabet.

  • fanboyfilms

    December 8, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Well done, team! I see you put as much thought into storylines as I so. Glad to see Board James be featured this year. As I wonder what’s next for you guys, I’ll just say I’d love to see more of Lookin’ at Books and I also miss James & Mike doing trivia. Also, when is Kyle going to bust out another theme song?

  • geddon

    December 8, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Lol at “A-F-T-E-R Death” and “1313 D-E-A-D”

    I love Board James!

  • Juan Gomez

    December 8, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    What if the KEY game to all of this is Deadly Danger Dungeon? after all he created the game

  • belmontsbitch

    December 8, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I thought I had most of it figured out but its nice to have it confirmed by the man himself. Great stuff!

  • bud

    December 8, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Wow, this went deeper than I ever imagined. After watching this video, I appreciate it all the more. I never had any idea that with each death, they further descended into a different world (board game) with different rules and expectations. It’s fucking brilliant. Seems like James, Mike and Bootsy had some kind of karmic bond. I’m still really interested in the backstory of “World 1” which must have started all this off. Great job!

    • bud

      December 8, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      I also want to say that 2015 has been an AMAZING year for Cinemassacre. Thanks for all you do!

  • Joe Hamby

    December 8, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    So holy crap, I called it! I actually broke it all down in a Youtube comment on the Nightmare episode before this video came out. I’m not bragging or anything, I’m just happy that I actually understood what James was going for. So cool James. Thanks for this man!

    • Joe Hamby

      December 8, 2015 at 10:15 pm

      The only thing I really truly can’t figure out: The scratches/tally marks during the Cinemassacre logo drop in certain episodes. What does it mean!? Lol.

      • bud

        December 9, 2015 at 2:38 am

        He explained that, right? Those were kind of the little hints or easter eggs that he was in jail. (Mentioned at about 05:30)

      • Joe Hamby

        December 12, 2015 at 12:19 am

        oh crap you’re right. I missed that somehow. I heard the part about the bars but not about the tallies!

  • December 8, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    You know, James, you really have a twisted side to you. And I like it…a lot! Did you say too much fun? What’s that? I don’t even think that exists. Thanks for this video, I plan on doing a marathon of all the Board James videos now to re-see all that you mention cause I missed a lot just trying to enjoy the videos for what they were. Take a rest, and have a great 2016, James! 🙂

  • Uncle Sporkums

    December 8, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Very well done, James! Very smart and intricate.

  • frostare

    December 8, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Thank you so much for letting us into your mind for a bit, this explanation was done great. It’s nice to see that you think the Nerd is a separate existence. Maybe the original BJ was a great fan of his show, heh.

  • Wildside50

    December 9, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Ya know James, when you announced way back when that you weren’t going to be doing as many Nerd videos, I feared it meant the winding down of your content in general. Seeing how giddy you are talking about Board James and having a story arch coalesce so organically and how rewarding it was as a creative outlet for you, I am no longer worried. I will continue to support all of your content, even if the Nerd fades into internet lore. Not every show needs to be The Simpsons and cling on forever. Sometimes a show just runs its course. Never stop creating James. Your fans will be here to enjoy it.

  • pleasetakeabow

    December 9, 2015 at 12:36 am

    So glad you made this video, makes me love Board James even more now. Can’t wait to see where the series goes next!!!

  • December 9, 2015 at 1:50 am

    I would have never thought of it that way but still…really fascinating stuff. The way I see it the games are of a supernatural nature and whoever plays them finds themselves take on the role of the player character in the actual game itself, as for what Board James says about the rules thing…I see it as like a dungeon master in D&D, I also find that in a way in the game world if you die you come back as another player character..the game world itself can be best summed up as a place where you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.

  • greedo

    December 9, 2015 at 1:52 am

    Wow. You certainly have put a lot of thought into this. You’ve taken this thing way, WAY further than I ever thought you would… and I’m thankful for it. Very ambitious for a little web series. Thanks for all of the great- and wild- moments that you’ve given us, this year!

  • RMBowie

    December 9, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Great stuff again, Love to see a Board James A Short Movie. Keep up the Great work.

  • danberado

    December 9, 2015 at 5:19 am

    The Nightmare episode really reminded me of the movie The Fountain, which has a similar premise of characters persisting through various permutations throughout history.

  • Don Skiver

    December 9, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Well…I’m not sure if the explanation really makes sense, but I’m glad that we finally have one. The episodes were entertaining in and of themselves, especially the ones where Board James and the Nerd interact together (we need more of those!!). So thank you for such an awesome season of content on your site!

  • itscmillertime

    December 9, 2015 at 7:14 am

    2016 should bring back turtle Tuesdays!

  • December 9, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I’m not sure all the intended ideas really came across, and I would have prefered that instead of “mythology explained” it was the Board James videos itself giving more explicit clues about the mythology but still I applaud the effort. In fact, I would very much welcome if in 2016 we see something completely new, not necessarily tied with AVGN or BJ, but which takes the same mindf*ck pseudo-Lynchian approach to storytelling.

  • Sakura4anime25

    December 9, 2015 at 11:02 am

    I still find the whole thing a bit confusing even with the explanation, but hey sometimes it’s best if everything isn’t all wrapped up in a neat little bow, and I think this is one of them :p It’s so interesting how the show went from just a simple show about playing board games with silly characters to all this craziness. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it!

  • Entrenaturaleza

    December 9, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Holy shit! I love this quality stuff, It´s like HBO

  • Phoenix7786

    December 9, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for the video, James! Makes me sad to see it all get so dark and twisted, but sometimes that is what a video is about.

  • Lozzo

    December 9, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    This. This right here is why I will always be a fan of yours. You have a creative genius about you that most people in Hollywood today would be lucky to have. Keep up the amazing work and never, NEVER doubt yourself.

  • Briany

    December 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Honestly, I liked Board James more when it was just some guys hanging out playing Board Games, in a lighthearted review type way, but I also appreciate the work that went into making it something more epic than that. So, I’m a little torn on the direction that the series has gone.

    In my opinion, and it is only that, they shouldn’t make anything from the main series overly conceptual, but James made lots of horror shorts when he was younger and maybe could go back to that if he wants to exercise other strands of thought, an anthology series like the Twilight Zone where he plays himself but bizarre things happen. That way, it wouldn’t have to be limited to centering around a video game or a board game. It wouldn’t have to be centred around anything, as such, just whatever story came to mind and he could keep the other series free from becoming too cluttered of high-concept.

  • Mark Knight

    December 9, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Would have been cooler if there was more “Nightmare” played. Those time cards are funny.

  • MrBrrumpkins

    December 9, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Good work James. James D. Rolfe for president!

  • Rambowl

    December 10, 2015 at 2:05 am

    Huh?! What?

  • Pablo1989

    December 10, 2015 at 4:44 am

    Let me guess 😀 BJ are bad buy from beginning and whole house are prison while Mike and Bootsy are his new victims.

    Board James are frustaed when game are ruined because if game are ruined he never get chance to kill own victims.

    PS If i spoiled something….kill me then 🙂

  • Psychojaws

    December 10, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Does Cinemassacre screen comments before they’re posted? I only ask because I try to post a comment and sometimes it doesn’t come up. When I try again, it says a duplicate post already exists. Are some comments too long? Just curious.

    • greedo

      December 11, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      If you put a certain f word in- no, not James’ favorite word, but a number that ends in t, it will not be posted. They filter out that word. Which is frustrating, because sometimes a good post will be eliminated, but I understand why they do it. As for long posts, I think they’ve put a cap on the length of comments. I’ve seen a couple of people complaining about that here, so maybe there’s some truth there. Anyway, hope that helps!

  • Gumpa

    December 10, 2015 at 8:06 am

    My opinion: A 10+ minute video explaining what the hell is going on should be absolutely unnecessary for a series like Board James.

    As with AVGN, James just seems incapable of resisting the urge to turn each episode in to something more, instead of just keeping it simple and focusing on the featured game itself.

    Nightmare for example is a game that could have provided enough content to make a stand alone 10 minute episode all on its own. Making it fit in to some convoluted Board James story arc just takes away the focus on the game itself.

    Still great content and both AVGN and Board James are genius ideas, I just think each series could be stronger if the focus was primarily on the hilarious/frustrating parts of the games themselves.

  • Aninma

    December 10, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Dr. Jekyll + Potion = Mr Hyde…
    What about:
    Board James + Alcohol = Angry Nerd?

    • Simon

      December 12, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Thats an intriguing point, I hadnt thought of that. Maybe alcohol (Rolling Rock) mellows him a bit…

  • Tim Smith

    December 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Mark my words, James. If I ever come upon a large sum of money, I’m going to donate some of it to you. I want to see what you can do with a budget. This stuff is awesome.

  • Gippy

    December 10, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Ohhh, now I get it…
    I don’t get it.

  • Legato32x

    December 11, 2015 at 1:57 am

    This is actually really impressive. I’ve been watching these videos ever since Dream Phone because the insane twists kept it fresh. It actually made me a lot more interested in Board James videos so I kept watching. I’ve actually found myself looking forward to them. They’re such a nice contrast to the AVGN stuff. You really are a creative and crazy bastard James. 😀

    It’s really cool how you incorporated Mike and Bootsy into your videos. I like that everyone is amateur and I feel it’s where the real potential shines. If you can go deeper, then keep digging until you reach the bottom. You’ve created quite a contender for a series against your AVGN.

  • December 11, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Oh, so that’s it then. We’ll all die on the 13th of decuary. How nice.


  • Kent Gissing

    December 11, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Now I get it. ^^ Wow, what attention to detail! 😀 😀 that was complex and deep; I didn’t expect that. 😀 Thank you for the explanation, I always have problems with the more strange and existential concepts in entertainment productions. ^^ Hope to see Board James next year. 🙂 .. though here’s hoping there will be a happy ending somewhere down the line. 😉

    • Simon

      December 12, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      I kept watching Board James videos onwards from Dream Phone especially, because the crazy twists and theories have made me thinking about storytelling and how I can tell my own story 😀

  • December 13, 2015 at 3:35 am

    I, for one, would like to know more about the relationship between BJ and the AVGN. BJ has evolved into a much more villainous character, whereas AVGN is more of an anti-hero. AVGN is a little rough around the edges, but the nature of his purpose (to play the shitty games so we don’t have to) is inherently heroic. Over time, his status as a good guy has only really been strengthened through his adventures where he’s faced everything from Jason, to the Joker, to the Devil… Bad Guys by any definition… bad guys like Board James himself. To see them presented as separate, but one in the same… That’s some duality you’ve presented there, James. It makes for some pretty impressive lore, considering these are review shows.

  • WoW

    December 14, 2015 at 1:50 am

    The explaining of the film is much more interesting than the film itself.

  • December 14, 2015 at 7:53 am

    From the Ouija episode is that I thought that Board James was near death from blood loss (cutting his wrist) and his life was flashing before his eyes, thus him seeing different images and him once again the bucket and the phone. He also saw some celebrities that he wanted to meet, but never got the chance. Sorry if that was confusing.

  • skwij

    December 15, 2015 at 6:41 am

    Wow! This rabbit hole went deep, fast! That’s incredible! Thank you for all your work and dedication!

  • December 21, 2015 at 11:11 am

    love your passion james rofle and cinecassacre crew ie – mike matai and others I forget about ,camera operaters, bootsy, glitch gremlin dude(forget his name, lol sry your awesome to though) …. but anyway LMAO THAT MUSTACHE haha!!! **I repost this a few times cuz I watch ur site almost regliously but never made an account or comment on youtube, so wanted to make up for it*

  • December 21, 2015 at 11:17 am

    love your passion james rofle and cinecassacre crew ie – mike matai and others I forget about ,camera operaters, bootsy, glitch gremlin dude(forget his name, lol sry your awesome to though) …. but anyway LMAO THAT MUSTACHE *haha!!! **I repost this a few times cuz I watch ur site almost regliously but never made an account or comment on youtube, so wanted to make up for it***********

  • December 28, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    My opinion, I thought the episodes after the Dream Phone episode, is happening all in Board James’s head while he was in prison. Board James reading all the boardgame manuals, he’s actually imagining how each scenario would play out with his friends if he didn’t killed them, and that’s what we see as well. But somehow, his guilt and reality is interfering his imaginations, and that is why the ending is questionable if it’s real or not. I too, thought Board James is an actual prequel to AVGN, but then couple episodes later, I think he’s just mimicking The Nerd, which he already exists. When The Nerd is interacting with Board James in AVGN, it’s real. But if James is interating with The Nerd in Board James, not’s not the Nerd, but a figment of his imagination. The “worlds” and past lives that Rolfe is explaining, I don’t really follow. I just consider that all these worlds don’t exist, and it’s just all in Board James’s head.

    • Simon

      January 6, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      “Beartallica86” – I agree with you about after Dream Phone, I wondered if it was in his head too (after the episode I mean). Also I too thought Board James was AVGN’s predecessor (when the Nerd appears in the Video Games episode of Board James), or that they were two sides of the same person (especially when the Nerd is talking to BJ in AVGN 137).

  • December 31, 2015 at 6:35 am

    For me it’s more like Corenenberg’s “eXistenZ” than “Inception”. It also contains multi-layered mystery mixed with horror.

    By the way! Imagine David Lynch explaining what really happened in “Eraserhead”. Would it ruin the whole movie?

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  • April 3, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Wow, the symbolism in this is super deep! This is so cryptic, I don’t think I could have ever found all the hints and stuff! Reminds me of “The Man Who Sold the World”; David Bowie said it was about different parts of the same person.
    “I thought you died alone… a long, long time ago
    oh no, not me, I never lost control….”

  • darkmage0707077

    May 3, 2016 at 4:52 am

    Wow! Yeah, I like how Board James has become more intricate and has begun to develop a continuous story over time; it makes a really nice contrast to the serialized nature of AVGN episodes – The Nerd will remain the same (more or less), just how we fans want it, but it’s nice to think that Board James might get some real meat to his character as time goes on (to say nothing of his “friends”).

    Didn’t realize just how much extra depth went into the Board James episodes until I saw this, though; fantastic work! I’ll have to pay more attention if/when the next batch comes out!

  • Internoob

    August 27, 2016 at 4:39 am

    The whole Board James fiasco was really awesome, but I hope you’ll go back to doing random board games with Mike and/or Bootsy. It was fun seeing you guys goof around with silly games.

  • September 2, 2016 at 7:52 am

    James I completely enjoy Board James more after that explanation. I had zero idea they were all connected… I have to admit, after watching Dream Phone, I was disturbed for quite a while. And I still can’t get the song out of my head.

  • Ben_from_G-town

    September 25, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Well, that explained some things, but I’d say some of it still quite puzzling! From what I can tell, Board James probably murdered his friends and he’s in jail hallucinating all these board game worlds. Though that might be kind of a disappointing reveal, it “being all a dream all along.” We’ll see! I’m sure you’ll come up with somethin good!

    • Ben_from_G-town

      September 25, 2016 at 7:25 am

      Though I do agree with others that I wouldn’t mind seeing simple play-throughs and goofing around with board games, like the early episodes, as well.

  • penpan

    November 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    I love love LOVE these stories that have gone complex to have its own mythology. I hope you continue these storylines; living in board games is incredible!

  • penpan

    November 3, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    I hope you do more, these were fun stories to watch and the fact they span worlds is just incredible. Well done!

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    January 16, 2019 at 2:23 pm

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    January 16, 2019 at 3:03 pm

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    January 18, 2019 at 9:08 pm

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