- The Alice in Borderland games are diverse and challenging, with different types and difficulty levels represented by playing cards. Even lower-rated games can be more challenging depending on the mechanics and players involved.
- Ranking the games by difficulty involves considering factors such as how players solve the game, the consequences for losing, and the twists and turns that occur. The second season introduces even deadlier games than the first.
- The adaptation of the Alice in Borderland manga for Netflix simplifies the games for better accessibility and pacing, sometimes altering or removing certain elements. However, the essence of high-stakes survival is still maintained in the series.
Alice in Borderland has given fans a compelling narrative, memorable characters, and intense life-or-death Alice in Borderland games. Every game in the series comes with a card that represents its type and difficulty level: spades for strength, clubs for cooperation, diamonds for intellect, and hearts for betrayal. Some lower-number games on the show are more challenging than higher-rated rounds. It depends on the mechanics of the game and the players tackling it. Even the easiest Alice in Borderlands games are challenging though, and all of them have an often-lethal twist.
Ranking the games by difficulty would entail considering factors seen in the series like how Arisu manages to solve the game, how much it hurts players, what the results are, and more. Alice in Borderland returned for a second season, and viewers learned a lot more about the world of the games and what they really meant. The season also questioned what is real and what is fantasy, and the ending answered some Alice in Borderland questions. It also introduced a series of more Alice in Borderland games into the worlds, many of them deadlier than the ones introduced in season 1.
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15 Croquet For Beginners (Queen Of Hearts)
The final of the Alice in Borderland games for season 2 was croquet for beginners. It seemed things were building to an intense and hard-hitting game to end the season. However, that was left to the King of Hearts, which ended in a bloodbath. What then resulted was the final game, which was just croquet, and it had little to nothing in the way of intense danger. However, what the game lacked in intensity was supplemented by intrigue. This was where Arisu and Usagi ended up in a game of croquet with the Queen of Hearts.
The scene and game played out in a manner that made everyone, from the two survivors to the viewers at home question if anything in the first two seasons was real at all. There were major twists and turns while the characters talked during this game, and by the end, it was still unclear what was real or not. The information given here is what makes this game so interesting, which might be more important than just life-or-death situations.
13 Distance (Four Of Clubs)
The “Distance” is without a doubt, supposed to be the easiest of the Alice in Borderland games in the first season. It also underscores how the show’s simple mechanics can result in scenes that could be featured in survival movies. If Arisu, Usagi, and their other companions spent more time thinking about the simple instruction to “reach the goal,” they could have figured out that they didn’t need to run as far as they did. It’s not clear if the panther that appeared is part of the mechanics or just happened to be in that tunnel, but that is the one element that makes the round much harder than necessary.
While Arisu eventually figures out the bus was the goal the whole time, the other two players could have survived if they had just stepped a few meters back and seen the word “goal” painted on the vehicle. The other hint was clearly on their phones as well, as it wouldn’t make sense for the counter to go up as they moved away from the bus. Lastly, since it’s a game of clubs and not spades, there’s no reason for that round to test their strength or endurance — they just had to agree as a team to sit still and wait for the flood to pass.
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12 Light Bulb (Four Of Diamonds)
To become part of the Beach’s elite board, Arisu is challenged to beat the deadly “Light Bulb” game. With the water level rising, Arisu has to figure out which switch turns on the bulb. The only problem is that three switches can only safely be tested with the door to the room with the bulb closed, so there’s no way of telling if it’s the right one. He eventually realizes that he can use the light bulb’s residual heat to check if it turned on without ever having to see it. He turns on a switch with the door closed, then brilliantly asks a fellow player to check for warmth.
It’s a stressful situation for everyone, as any further delay would have caused the water to rise high enough to touch the electric rods. Most people would have never thought of using the light bulb’s residual heat to solve the game. That said, calmness and strategic thinking are the only main skills players would need to overcome this particular challenge. The fact that the executive representative in the room knew the answer all along is a testament to how easy this game is compared to others on the show.
11 Dead Or Alive (Three Of Clubs)
The first game Arisu and his friends ever play may just have a rating of three, but considering how they have no idea what to expect, it turns into a tremendously demanding round that could very well be a scene from an intense survival movie. The rules are simple: pick one of two doors before time runs out. Choosing the wrong door results in immediate death while taking too long to pick one means burning alive in the room. It takes one death and several terrifying rooms before Arisu figures out the layout of the building.
Thanks to his photographic memory, he’s able to estimate the size of the building based on the model of a car he spots by the entrance. He makes a map and computes the approximate length of each room using only his foot size. By choosing the rooms that lead to the exit and using the video Chōta took as a reference, his wits save everyone during the last few moments. If anyone other than Arisu had been there, it would have been nearly impossible to guess the right door every single time. Players would likely act like Shibuki and sacrifice fellow competitors to get ahead.
10 Tag (Five Of Spades)
When players are tasked with playing a simple game of “Tag,” no one could have predicted it would turn out as deadly as it did. The taggers wearing horse masks and carrying rifles might as well be frightening antagonists in any of the best horror movies. Aside from avoiding these taggers, Arisu and the rest of the players have to find the right room in the massive building before the time runs out. If they fail, a bomb explodes and kills everyone.
The hardest thing about this game is that it doesn’t just necessitate strength to evade and defeat the taggers, but it requires teamwork. Without the other players’ cooperation, Arisu would have never found the right room. There’s another twist waiting for him inside, adding another layer of difficulty to the challenging round. It turns out the taggers are also players being forced to kill others for their lives and Arisu has no choice but to murder them. It doesn’t pack the same emotional punch and trickiness as the game of hide and seek later on in the show, but it is still one of the trickier rounds in the series.
9 Balance Scale (King Of Diamonds)
Balance Scale is one of the Alice in Borderland games for season 2, and it is one that is unlike almost any other. In this game, the characters are sitting down and standing still, and it is not one where people are racing around to stay alive. Instead, Chishiya sits at a table with four players in the Supreme Court building, and they have three minutes to choose a number between 0 and 100. The average of these numbers is chosen, and whoever is closest to that wins the round. Whoever doesn’t win, loses a point.
That is where this game becomes deadly. Anyone who loses a point gets a basin on that player’s head filled with sulfuric acid and if they hit negative 10 points, it will fall over and kill the player instantly. Each time someone dies, a new rule is added. While no one is physically fighting for their lives in this game, they have to use strategy and cunning to keep from dying, and shows that being smart is just as important as being skilled when staying alive in these games.
8 Hide-And-Seek (Seven Of Hearts)
Arisu, Chōta, Karube, and Shibuki all unwittingly make a terrible decision to join the game of “Hide-and-seek” together. Since it’s a game of hearts, they’re dramatically pitted against each other. They’re each given headsets with facial recognition and one of them is labeled the “wolf,” while the three other players are the “sheep.” The sheep can take the wolf’s status for their own by making eye contact with the contestant. Only the wolf survives the game.
It’s easy to see why this is such a devastating game for the players who are friends. Shockingly, the show killed off who viewers may have seen as the main characters early in the series. For a while, Arisu might think that there’s some way for all of them to survive the game together, but this isn’t the case. Arisu’s final moments as he runs around screaming for his friends are difficult to watch, as it becomes obvious that they’ve chosen to sacrifice themselves so that he can move forward. There are no real winners in this game, as it’s pretty much impossible to solve together and always ends in heartbreak.
7 Osmosis (King Of Clubs)
When it comes to the Alice in Borderland games for season 2, Osmosis is one that really does a good job of mixing up action and brainpower for the contestants to remain alive. This is basically a two-hour-long game of tag, and it is the second game of tag after the one in season 1. However, there is a point system added, so tagging someone is not enough to win. Instead, each player has points assigned to them, and it is important to know where players are point-wise to know who they have to protect.
This is one of the better Alice in Borderland games for season 2 because it keeps the action moving, while also forcing the players to develop a strategy on the fly and change it based on who is tagged and where they stand on points. This also means that the players have to often make life-or-death decisions if they want to stay alive, and Arisu learns this firsthand.
6 Checkmate (Queen Of Spades)
Checkmate is another version of Tag in the Alice in Borderland games in season 2. In this game, there are 16 rounds, lasting five minutes each. The goal is to tag each other during those rounds. Each player has a button on their back that people can push to make them part of their team. However, a person can only change teams once in each turn. The winner is whoever has the most people on their team. The Queen of Spades didn’t seem concerned, as she started with four members, and the rival team had 16.
What made this version of Tag so exciting was that it was one of the easiest games of the season, but it was also one that was incredibly intense and stressful for the players. The Queen’s team just kept getting bigger and bigger and that led to the defining moment. Join the Queen’s team or die. These are the decisions that make the Alice in Borderland games so great to watch play out.
5 Arena (King Of Spades)
The weakest of the Alice in Borderland games in season 2 was the arena with the King of Spades. However, it was also the most dangerous. First, it had to show that it was as deadly, if not more so than anything from the first season. Second, it had to set things up so that games coming in future episodes could just build on the excitement and danger of this one. It was deadly, that is for sure, but it also wasn’t quite as interesting or exciting as some of the games in the first season.
That is because the rule for this part of the Alice in Borderland games is that there are no rules. The only thing the competitors had to do was kill the King of Spades before he killed all of them. The game was fight or flight, and the King of Spades had a fully loaded machine gun, and he killed anyone running in the designated area. This was also a rare game because it wasn’t just a one-episode contest, but stretched to the end when it was time to finally face the killer head-on.
3 Solitary Confinement (Jack Of Hearts)
The best of the Alice in Borderland games in season 2 was Solitary Confinement with the Jack of Hearts. This game worked so well in terms of the story because it took the characters viewers were invested in and put them into a situation where it looked like they had no chance. This was a cell block game, and it was clear that Chishiya was finally starting to break. The rules were as follows. Each round starts with a necklace the players wear having one of the card signs on the back of it. Unable to see it, the person has to name the symbol before the round ends.
The players have to find someone they can trust to tell them the symbol, which means forming alliances to make it to the end. However, this is where trust and strategy come in. If a person wants to win, they can lie to someone who trusts them, and it soon becomes clear who players can trust – but by that time, it could be too late. This is the best game because it brings in a lot of new characters, and forces Chishiya into a corner, where her fate seems unsure. It also brings in at least two people who could play huge roles in Alice in Borderland season 3.
1 Witch Hunt (Ten Of Hearts)
Right when Chishiya is about to escape with his stolen deck of cards, a massive plot twist on Alice in Borderland happens and turns the entire Beach building into a game site. Hundreds of players are instructed to find the “witch” who killed Momoka. If they don’t burn the witch in time, everyone dies. Naturally, Aguni’s aggressive minions start shooting and burning everyone around them. Arisu is tied up in a room and unable to help as players continue to needlessly die. The game of hearts does exactly what it’s meant to, as it turns people against each other and encourages distrust and violence among supposed friends.
Hundreds die before Arisu reveals that Momoka has been the witch all along and that the entire game was designed to bring out the worst in the players. The look on the contestants’ faces as the realization that they unnecessarily killed their friends says it all. It’s a game that requires intellect, trust, and cooperation – without these qualities, all the players would’ve died without knowing that the answer was right in front of them all along. It deserves the highest rating of ten and is the best representation of how vicious games of hearts are in Alice in Borderland‘s first season.
The Alice In Borderland Games Are Different In The Manga
Netflix took creative liberties in adapting Haro Aso’s original manga for a global audience, significantly altering the survival games that are central to the narrative. While the manga delves into complex, multilayered challenges that are deeply rooted in Japanese culture and language, the live-action series streamlines these intricacies for better accessibility and pacing. This simplification often leads to games being less elaborate and more focused on action than psychological depth. The show also scales down some of the games’ size and the depicted brutality for practical filming reasons and to potentially reach a wider audience.
One of the most obvious examples of Netflix scaling back the games is the very first game, Dead or Alive, as the game in the original manga includes a quiz. The Netflix series removed the quiz aspect and simply made it a deadly escape game. Netflix has also created its own games that aren’t in the series such as the hunting competition. These adjustments, alongside the quicker resolution of games to suit episodic storytelling, ensure that the adaptation maintains its own distinct flavor. Despite the changes, the series retains the essence of high-stakes survival, proving that Alice in Borderland still honors the spirit of the treacherous and unpredictable world.