This comparison is only intended for people who have already played the boardgame and want to know how the film deviates from it. Possible spoilers for the story are clearly marked as spoilers. Despite the fact that there was no such thing as "story".
The film begins with the introduction of the shallow and humorous main character, Alex Hopper. A no-good, as it appears in the book and could not be stereotyped. Within a time jump, full of wonder and magic, he is suddenly the most talented marine in the whole US and maybe beyond that. Of course, he has learned nothing and begins still plenty of fights. Because of that he will be released of the Marine the next day. In spite of all that he is allowed to participate one last time in an exercise and commands a battleship. him touching a mystic tower like building in the middle of the sea awakes the aliens and everything goes henceforward wrong and it's up to him to save the world in the remaining 90 minutes of the movie.
The film has surprisingly much in common with the board game. As in the board game, there are two players. The first one are the stunning and brilliant graphical effectsthat outshines the second player, the story. It's like a adult playing battleship with a kid, that doesn't know the rules and absolutly don't want to behave at least. The only thing he does is randomly shouting out coordinates that miss, sometimes he calls them a second time and a third with the same result. One would think there would be no authors involved, but the story is too well filled with every imaginable cliché that there is, that it could be just a random arranged words. You have a beautiful woman, a disabled past box champion, the maniac scientist, the philosophical japanese officer and many more.
Spoiler: A great example would be the pensioner introduced in the beginning, honored for the work in the marine. They are the only ones who can help the main character to navigate a antique destroyer to defeat the aliens. They also need to lift a heavy rocket through the ship with teamwork and patriotisim only.
As a author my eyes began to bleed, not only because of such a unoriginal plot, but mostly because of disregarding such obvious story telling rules. The main character is supposed to be a underdog that struggels to archieve such a magnificent ending, but he does nothing for it. Every heroic act and talented is only reported by other, but not shown. It's like parents telling their child that he can sing pretty well, but the only thing you see is a kid who clearly can't sing anything.
Liam Neeson couldn't save the story, because he isn't really that much involved in it. Regardless of that he played his role as good as always. He is one of the few likeable characters, because he hates the main character as much as i did. On the other hand we have Rihanna, who suprisingly appears all the time in a really unimportant supportive role. She didn't acted that bad, but was far from being a great actress. He dialogue felt stiff and forced but maybe she will become as good as Justin Timberlake, who also started as a singer.
On the other side we have the technical aspect of the film. Gorgeous CGI Effects that won't stop. Everytime you see transformer like robots crawling and biting into the ships, blasting them off into tiny bits with phenomical sounds. There are so many Explosion all the time that you pretty easily forgett the plot holes and just like it.
For everyone who wants to know how a transformer fast paced action movie could have anything in common with the boardgame, this is the answer:
Spoiler: The alien space ships jump across the water. Without radar signals the japanese officer determine their position through the wave motion. He only can measure their location in a square tolerance zone, which looks on the map exactly like the board of battleships, with letters and numbers as the coordinates. The only thing that really suprised me =)
Should you watch the movie?
If you like special effects as I'am, than you definitely should! They the best i seen since Avatar and the sound is also great. With so many battles going on you can survive the boring parts easily, which are only around 40 minutes cutted in several parts. Otherwise you also should go. Everything the movie do regarding story are parts you can learn from to never do.