Five of the Best Board Games Inspired by Video Games

CaptMattSparrow

The Kickstarter campaign for Dark Souls – The Board Game closed yesterday, with £3,771,474 pledged of the original £50,000 goal. The game is a combat-based exploration miniatures game for 1 – 4 players featuring character classes and bosses from the Dark Souls universe, including the Dancer of the Boreal Valley and Ornstein & Smough. Apparently the soul-crushing difficulty of the video games wasn’t enough for fans, who seem to be looking forward to trading in the repeated death of their digital avatar for those of a plastic miniature. Even though the Kickstarter campaign has ended, you can still purchase a copy of the game here.

A Kickstarter campaign is also running for This War of Mine: The Board Game, a co-op survival game for 1-6 players where you play as a group of civilians trapped in a war-torn city. This game also includes miniatures, because apparently that is the way to get your game funded these days, as the campaign has raised $306,372, well over their initial $57,681 goal.

These two recent campaigns got us thinking about some other excellent board games based on video games. We aren’t talking about licensed versions of existing games, such as Risk: Metal Gear Solid or Monopoly: Nintendo Collector’s Edition. Rather, this is a list of unique, stand-alone board games based on video games. We will limit this to games that are published fairly recently or are still in print, so you actually have a chance of finding and playing them.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

Civilization-Board-Game

This strategy 4X game is heavily inspired by the Civilization game series originally created by Sid Meier. 2 – 4 players take on the role of famous historical figures in charge of guiding one of six different civilizations through the ages. Just like in the video game, there are four paths to victory: military, culture, economy, or technology. If last week’s Civilization VI announcement got you excited, you may want to gather up a group of fellow Civ fans to play the board game and talk about everything you are looking forward to in the new game.

 

Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia

Bioshock-Infinite-Board-Game

There is always a miniature. The events of Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia run parallel to the events of the video game (SPOILERS: Hopefully within the same dimension.). This 2 – 4 player miniatures game has players taking on the role of either the Founders or the Vox Populi faction in their attempt to seize control of Columbia. The game features familiar Bioshock Infinite characters and settings, including Elizabeth, Booker, the Songbird, and the Airship. If you were impressed by the setting and world-building of the video game, but disappointed by the story or gameplay, The Siege of Columbia lets you return to that world in a totally different way.

The Witcher Adventure Game

The-Witcher-Adventure-Game-board

The Witcher Adventure Game allows players to once again return to the world originally created by Andrzej Sapkowski in his series of novels that went on to inspire the series of games by CD Projekt Red. This fantasy adventure game for 2 – 4 players lets you choose one of four characters with unique powers: monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, sorceress Triss Merigold, dwarven warrior Yarpen Zigrin, or roguish bard Dandelion. Each character has their own deck of Development Cards which allow you to customize the character to your liking as you level up by completing quests and gaining notoriety. If you are into the setting and characters of The Witcher, the game is definitely worth a look. There is a digital version of the game available on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android if you want to give it a try before committing to the full tabletop version.

Uncharted: The Board Game

Uncharted-Board-Game

Uncharted: The Board Game allows you and up to three other players to step into the shoes of Nathan Drake as you find treasure and defeat enemies in a race to score the most Victory Points. You’ll use a variety of cards to grant skills and items to help you along the way. If you have already played through Uncharted 4 and long to revisit the world of Nathan Drake with friends along for the ride, this game could be exactly the treasure you seek.

Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game

Portal-Board-Game

Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game is an area control game where players place test subjects around an ever-changing play area known as the Lab. The goal is to acquire — what else — Cake. The game is designed by Valve, the makers of the Portal video games, so you can expect lots of the series’ signature sense of humor.  The board game includes a free Steam code for Portal 2, so you are guaranteed a great game no matter what.

Honorable Mention:

Gwent

Gwent was originally a mini-game in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Players loved it so much, CD Projekt Red decided to release a physical version of the game in the “Hearts of Stone” expansion for PC/PS4 (Scoia’Tel and Monsters factions), and in the upcoming “Blood and Wine” expansion (Nilfgaardian Empire and Northern Realms factions). The game holds up just fine on its own and is a great way to get together with fellow Witcher fans, perhaps as a warm up game before a session of The Witcher Adventure Game.


If you are interested in learning more about the intersection of video games and tabletop board games, check out this interview I conducted with Shut Up & Sit Down’s Matt Lees at this year’s GDC.

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