While video games have always pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in the virtual world, particularly for multiplayer, they still lack the personal bond you get from board games.
Staring daggers at your opponent from across the table and that one friend who betrayed you isn’t possible yet in video games. However, you can have the best of both worlds with board game adaptations of video games.
And we’re listing some of the best among them.
This way, you can drag your gaming cave dweller goblin friends out into the light and immerse yourselves in some good old-fashioned board-game bickering. Check out these 10 best board game adaptations of video games.
Fallout: The Board Game
War never changes, and you and you’re friends ought to find out why in a 1-4-player post-apocalyptic wasteland romp. Fallout: The Board Game, crafted by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG), exemplifies the studio’s knack for translating beloved franchises into tabletop experiences.
With its roots firmly planted in the Fallout universe, this narrative-driven adventure accommodates up to four players in a quest for victory points, embroiling them in faction conflicts and emergent storytelling.
Even with some flaws, such as narrative overshadowing strategic play and occasional randomness, Fallout excels as a solo or small-group experience.
Gears of War: The Board Game
Gears of War: The Board Game was also from FFG but it was released back in 2011, a time when board game adaptations of video games weren’t well-received yet. However, back then, this game was ahead of its time.
Gears of War: The Board Game shines in the realm of dungeon crawlers by redefining the genre’s conventions. Unlike its counterparts, it emphasizes dynamic tempo shifts and intense, high-stakes encounters over slow, methodical progress. Just like the video game, of course.
The game’s focus on lethal set-piece battles ensures every decision matters, amplifying player engagement. Although hampered by occasional AI quirks and scenario length issues, its modular design fosters creativity and replayability.
Despite its unfortunate out-of-print status, it remains a standout gem, offering unparalleled excitement within its unspectacular video game setting. And who knows, maybe increased demand might make print circulation possible again.
XCOM: The Board Game
Anyone who’s had a taste of XCOM‘s brutal yet obsessive randomness will find plenty to love-hate with its board game adaptation, XCOM: The Board Game.
XCOM: The Board Game revolutionizes tabletop gaming with its unique integration of a companion app, replacing the traditional rulebook. That’s one of its most convenient additions. It pits players against an alien invasion, focusing on strategic global management rather than tactical combat.
Each player assumes a distinct role within the XCOM organization, from engineering to squad leadership. The app introduces timed decision-making, enhancing tension and cooperation as players scramble to manage resources, research, and defense against escalating threats.
With a perfect balance of challenge and reward, XCOM can immerse its players in a gripping narrative of panic, tension, and triumph, ensuring repeated play and dynamic experiences.
This War of Mine: The Board Game
Those who have played both the video game and the board game even swear that the latter is more gripping due to the more limited supplies. This War of Mine is a critically acclaimed and unique game that immerses its players in the horrors of civilian casualties during war, and that’s something the board game adaptation needed to capture. It did.
This War of Mine: The Board Game shatters expectations of war-themed games by offering a raw, immersive experience akin to its video game counterpart. It’s a departure from the typical glorification; it plunges players into the grim reality of survival during conflict.
The game’s narrative-driven mechanics, mirrored from the digital realm, evoke genuine emotions of desperation and fleeting hope. The unique “learn as you play” approach, though initially challenging, is perfect for creating some memories, ensuring every decision carries weight.
From crafting makeshift shelters to perilous scavenging missions, each moment is fraught with tension and consequence. Awaken Realms masterfully translated the essence of This War of Mine into an unforgettable tabletop experience.
The Witcher Adventure Game
How, you ask? How could the vast and majestic video game world of The Witcher trilogy– which has since become the template for open-world RPGs in gaming, be translated into the mechanical constraints of a board game? Well, The Witcher Adventure Game might surprise you.
The Witcher Adventure Game beckons with the promise of embodying Geralt’s world in tabletop form; yet it’s a curious hybrid as it melds strategy and storytelling like a mash-up of fate’s own design. It does lack the visceral punch of its digital counterpart, but it weaves a different tale, akin to a bard’s rendition of Geralt’s exploits.
The mechanics, though not groundbreaking, offer a rhythm that lulls players into a quest-driven tango across its vibrant board. Skill plays second fiddle to chance here, as is the case with most board games. Still, there’s a peculiar charm in the unfolding narratives, reminiscent of the Witcher‘s moral quandaries.
And as a cherry on top of the icing, the game board’s beauty and aesthetics alone are a siren’s call, engrossing even the most skeptical Witcher fan.
Mechs vs. Minions
Which game? Why none other than League of Legends. So consider it a good jumping point for introducing some newbies to board game adaptations.
Mechs vs. Minions beckons with a grand allure, it’s a titan among tabletops, born from Riot Games’ coffers. Within this opulence lies a programming task—each player a Yordle piloting a mech, wrestling with a console’s unpredictable commands.
The command line mechanic, akin to simplified programming logic, offers a refreshing challenge without overwhelming complexity. As players navigate through the episodic campaign, each mission unfolds with surprises, keeping the excitement palpable.
The game’s adaptability to different player counts ensures a balanced experience, while its thematic ties to League of Legends can add depth without alienating newcomers.
Dorfromantik The Board Game
Dorfromantik is recognized well in the digital space due to its relaxed approach to city-building– a genre usually fraught with stress and realism. The game was already ripe for a board game adaptation.
Thus, Dorfromantik: The Board Game stands out for its masterful blend of simplicity and depth. Its peaceful puzzle mechanics, where players strategically place landscape tiles to fulfill tasks, can offer endless replayability.
The gradual unlocking of content in campaign mode can emulate the addictive nature of video game roguelites where it entices players to strive for just one more round. With each playthrough lasting a brisk 20-25 minutes, Dorfromantik can also hook its players with its ever-present promise of improvement and discovery.
Sniper Elite: The Board Game
Not many people thought this would end up as a success, but it was a surprising and resoundingly good board game adaptation of the Sniper Elite games. The original game has you crawling behind German enemy lines in World War 2 as a sniper and pivotal assassin and one-man army.
Sniper Elite: The Board Game cleverly translates the tension and strategy of the video game into an engaging tabletop experience. The asymmetrical gameplay, with one player as the stealthy sniper and the others as defenders, offers dynamic cat-and-mouse action that ought to make for a competitive atmosphere.
Despite simplifying the graphic violence of the video game version, the focus on strategy and deduction ensures a similarly methodical and exciting experience. Sniper Elite succeeded in evoking the essence of its source material while offering accessible and thrilling gameplay.
Frostpunk: The Board Game
This is the perfect board game to play in the dead of winter. Frostpunk: The Board Game doesn’t merely adapt its chilling video game counterpart; it also embraces it wholeheartedly, replicating its complexity and challenges.
While the setup may induce sweat with its multitude of components, the game’s ambition shines through. It’s not just about recreating the spirit but the entirety of Frostpunk’s world, from politics to resource management.
The co-op aspect elevates the experience, fostering heated debates reminiscent of the game’s dilemmas, such as policies and philosophical implications. Some might argue that the board game handled that humanitarian dilemma better than the game since there’s an element of conflict here.
It’s a niche gem for Frostpunk enthusiasts seeking a tangible, collaborative experience.
Dead by Daylight Board Game
Ever wanted a more intricated ‘killer, killer’ or ‘whodunit’ board game? You and your friends should try out Dead by Daylight: The Board Game.
Dead by Daylight: The Board Game did a great job of translating the intense, asymmetrical gameplay of the video game to the tabletop realm. There’s a cooperative nature here that’s arguably more palpable than the video game counterpart, with one player embodying the Killer while the others are the Survivor, which fosters tension and tabletop politics.
The game also has remarkable replayability, thanks to diverse Survivor and Killer abilities, ensuring each playthrough feels fresh. Balancing the Survivors’ teamwork against the Killer’s cunning is what creates an addictive dynamic while also offering both sides a chance at victory.
We don’t just recommend playing it after watching a slasher horror movie— we advocate it.