The two worlds of video and board games often cross over. For many players classic board games such as Risk, Scrabble, Clue and Monopoly are now played digitally. App stores bulge with electronic versions of Carcassonne, Catan, Ticket To Ride and many more. However, did you know that the cross over works both ways? There are actually far more board game versions of your favorite video games than you might think. Some of these are incredibly old, while others are very recent.
Have you ever considered playing a board game based on your favorite first-person shooter? What about ones based on MMORPG games? Or maybe a board game based on a classic platformer? Sound impossible? Well it isn’t. Genre doesn’t matter in this instance as creative board game designers have long been adapting different kinds of video games into the medium of table top.
The types of games produced vary as well. Some are collectable card based, while others work in a similar way to Warhammer and other table top war games. There are also cross overs, with some unique versions of classic board games being adapted to reflect your favorite video games.
So, what is worth playing and what turned out to be a waste of time? This list pulls out 20 of the best board games based on video games as well as 10 of the most ridiculous. It’s time to get your (board) game on.
30 Need: Dark Souls The Board Game
You may wonder if it’s even possible to transport the notoriously difficult action role-playing franchise into the medium of tabletop without losing its edge. Well according to the publishers and players, yes you can.
This adaptation takes the form of an exploration game which is said to be incredibly hard to win. It involves waves of boss and mini-boss encounters, which follow the stories of the Dark Souls franchise.
Not for the faint-hearted, this game is said to have a difficulty level equal to its video game predecessor.
29 Need: Video Game Monopoly
There really are too many versions of Monopoly based on video games to list at this point. I spent a long time debating if this made them a good or a bad idea.
Some video game versions of this classic board game, such as Sonic Boom, are incredibly bland. They feel rushed and as if the theme doesn’t quite fit the game. However, other versions such as Fallout and World of Warcraft are incredibly detailed and well thought out.
Overall video game Monopoly versions are more hit than miss and it gets a place here for The Legend of Zelda version alone.
28 Ridiculous: The Legend Of Zelda
This very traditional roll and move board game requires you to play as Link and travel through 6 worlds in order to rescue Zelda.
There are magic tiles as well as monsters to compete against and a hearts and swords system keeps track of players health.
Although there appears to be a fighting element the game looks incredibly bland and dull, never setting the board game word alight. I think I’ll stick to the Zelda version of Clue or Monopoly.
27 Need: Portal The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game
Not only does this board game based on the puzzle-platformer Portal have an amazing name it also retains the sense of humor present in the video games.
Players must transport test subjects and cake around the labs. After each turn one of the lab rooms will plunge into oblivion, taking your test subjects with it. You can also lose your precious cake in these perilous accidents.
Keep your test subjects alive and your cake safe to win the game. Then comes the hard part, proving that the cake is not a lie.
26 Need: Batman Arkham City Escape
This game, based on the Batman Arkham City video games, is a 2-player affair that enables you to play as either Batman or all his enemies. As you play, battles will ensue where Batman must dispatch his foes. Points are gained for putting the villains back into jail or helping them escape the city, depending on your chosen side.
Choose your team and get ready for an epic battle.
25 Ridiculous: Donkey Kong Country
This board game incorporates 80s arcade game nostalgia with 90s Pog nostalgia. Even if you're of a younger generation you will likely know Donkey Kong. The classic platformer was the forerunner of the Mario Bros. games and remains well loved to this day.
You are far less likely to know what Pogs are, and with good reason. They are basically tiny discs with pictures on, made of cardboard or plastic.
This game appears to involve flicking these tiny "milkcaps," as they are referred to here, into holes on a Donkey Kong themed cardboard background. I think I’ll take a pass.
24 Need: Assassin’s Creed Arena
This game, based on the action-adventure series, is a tactical game revolving around card collecting but with a board element.
Players must compete to find the best targets to dispose of. They also move around the board collecting treasure, moving guards and sneaking about to fulfill their mission.
Combat and movement are all handled through card play, ensuring players have to make difficult choices in order to survive long enough to eliminate their targets without being caught by the guards.
23 Need: Tomb Raider Angel Of Darkness Board Game
This board game takes its entire story from the 2003 action-adventure game of the same name.
In it you play as Lara Croft, hunting for clues to try and prove her innocence. At the same time a second player is Pieter van Eckhardt, who is trying to obtain some paintings from the same museum location.
As your try to fulfill your quest you can also hinder your opponent from completing theirs. If more players want to join in you can play in teams, either 2 villains versus Lara or 2 on 2 teams. Trap, trick and shoot your way to victory.
22 Ridiculous: Pac-Man Game
This surreal incarnation of the 80’s arcade game into table top form looks a little like a geeky game of Hungry Hippos. It appears that you play as Pac-Man and move around the board, gobbling up marbles and avoiding ghosts.
Although this looks like a faithful adaptation of the concept I suspect that it is another one of those games that gets very boring, very quickly, especially when the marbles get inevitably misplaced.
Nice try but I’d rather stick to the original format.
21 Need: Halo Interactive Strategy Game
This board game is table top with a twist. It consists of a modular 3D board, miniatures and a DVD which is said to enhance the gameplay.
Based on the military sci-fi shooter franchise Halo, this game allows you to command armies of heroes and follow storylines from the video game series, including elements of Halo 1, 2 and 3.
You can also play in capture the flag and slayer modes, allowing you to play the game in different and unique ways keeping it interesting and varied.
20 Need: Gears Of War The Board Game
Sadly, this game is now out of print and thus incredibly difficult to find, but it has so many rave reviews I couldn’t leave it out of my list.
Based on the popular third-person shooter franchise, it takes the form of a cooperative table top war game. The miniatures have a phenomenal amount of detail and the gameplay offers missions based on the video games.
The focus is on communication, strategy, and teamwork. Working together efficiently will allow you to gain an advantage and dispatch the Locust Horde. Assuming you can get your hands on the game, here's hoping.
19 Ridiculous: Super Mario Bros.
If you search for Super Mario Bros. board games you will find a whole world of over a dozen games that, if you’re anything like me, you had no idea existed.
It seems that since 1988 game manufacturers have been trying to transfer the success of the video games to the medium of table top. However, since most of the games appear to have less than great reviews I’m going to say this is one match that appears not to be made in heaven. However, credit for their persistence as Super Mario Bros. Power Up Card Game is being released this year. Good luck, I think you’ll need it.
18 Need: BioShock Infinite Siege Of Columbia
This tabletop adaptation of the first-person shooter franchise pits players against each other, either 1 on 1 or in teams of 2.
The game requires you to play as either the Founders or the Vox Populi and fight for control of the city. You are also expected to deal with Booker and Elizabeth causing chaos.
Complete objectives, destroy strongholds, dispose of leaders and generally fight your way to victory, in this game which allows you to immerse yourself in the BioShock universe.
17 Need: Plants Vs Zombies Risk
This looks at first glance like a themed version of regular Risk, based on the classic tower defense game Plants Vs Zombies. However, it is the unique variants of the game that give it a place here.
The themed version of Risk pits plants against zombies and has 2 different gameplay types, one mission based and the other just requiring you to take over the board and achieve domination.
The board then reverses, and you can play a tower defense version of the game, that looks virtually identical to the video game. Two great games in one.
16 Ridiculous: Words With Friends
This is basically a board game version of a video game which is incredibly similar to an entirely different classic board game. I really don’t know how they managed to get the entire concept this far.
Words With Friends is not considered a copy of another game legally, but really there are very few differences between it and other games. Transferring the content from a digital platform into traditional board game format just seems mean and unnecessary somehow.
I’ll be sticking to my preferred classic word game of choice.
15 Need: XCOM The Board Game
This is a cooperative strategy game with a twist, based on the sci-fi franchise XCOM, about an elite organization tackling alien invasions.
You can play with 1-4 players, but you must all work together to stop the alien invasions. Each player heads up a different department, each with unique roles and responsibilities.
The addition of a free app to control the alien activity, time turns and offer the choice of clues in return for a reduction in time adds a new dimension to gameplay. Can your friendships survive the pressure?
14 Need: Boss Monster The Dungeon-Building Card Game
Boss Monster is not based on one specific video game franchise but instead, it takes inspiration from the entire 8-bit dungeon crawler genre.
This 2-4 player card game puts you as the boss monster. You must build an enticing dungeon and lure heroes into it. Each turn you can build rooms to encourage adventurers into your lair. Once there you must dispose of them before they can attack you, the boss.
Compete with friends to see who can build the most attractive (and dangerous) side-scrolling dungeon.
13 Ridiculous: Sim City Card Game
This collectible card game requires you to build up a city with your deck of cards. There are cards for developments, transportation, power, and people. The winner is the person who builds the “best” city.
The biggest plus point of this game is that the card art is quite good for a laugh. There are some terrible design choices and some spectacular haircuts, but the game itself is bland and dull.
I love the old school simulation game, but this card game variant gets a no from me.
12 Need: This War Of Mine
This board game is based on the war survival video game of the same name. It is a co-operative game which is closely based on the narrative of the video game.
You must build up your shelter during the day before you scavenge for supplies under cover of darkness. It includes a book of stories which work similarly to a choose your own adventure series. This offers strong story driven gameplay.
Do you have what it takes to survive until the war is over? This game for 1-6 players will help you find out.
11 Need: StarCraft The Board Game
This modular board game is based on the popular real-time strategy franchise Starcraft. The genre adapts well to table top and this game doesn’t disappoint. Players choose a faction from Protess, Zerg or Human and compete for control over the planets.
Sadly, this is a board game where the license has expired, and it has gone out of print. It’s included here because of its popularity due to a job well done. If you know someone lucky enough to own this, hit them up for a game. You won't regret it.
10 Ridiculous: Angry Birds Knock On Wood
Just like the mobile game, it’s based upon this board game variant involves a series of repetitive tasks. You build a tower, then knock it down. That's it.
There is a complicated card system involved as well but to this day I have not figured it out, despite being well versed in table top gaming.
Sadly it's not the only dull, pointless and annoying Angry Birds board game spin-off. There are many, many more. Save your sanity and steer well clear of this madness.
9 Need: The Witcher Adventure Game
This table top game allows you to play as one of 4 characters from The Witcher action role-playing franchise. These are Triss, Geralt, Dandelion, and Yarpen.
In order to succeed you will complete quests, fight monsters, earn gold and compete for victory points. You can also enhance your character and build the narrative with different cards.
Thanks to a completely custom set of die the gameplay also differs each time you play, making every game a little bit unique.
8 Need: Sid Meier’s Civilization The Board Game
In this game, based on the turn-based strategy game, you must choose and build your civilization. You can focus on different areas such as culture, technology, wealth or even war, to try and grow the biggest cities possible.
Following closely the roots of the video game, this adaptation has been done well. This is showed by the addition of other games and expansions to the board game range. It will take a while to get used to the mechanics, but the gameplay is varied, keeping it interesting and unique.
7 Ridiculous: Frogger
This board game appears to very faithfully recreate the classic arcade game Frogger. Players must march their army of frogs across the road and river while also attempting to hinder their opponent with cars and logs.
It has a dice and a bonus system but nothing to keep it interesting. A nice piece of video game history but with no longevity or complexity, this is one to swerve.
If you want 80s nostalgia stick to the arcade version, at least it has cool cheesy sound effects to add to the experience.
6 Need: Mechs Vs Minions
This board game, based on the online multiplayer battle arena game, League of Legends, has been made by the Riot Games themselves. It’s a lovingly produced cooperative game for 2-4 players.
It follows a story-driven campaign where players must work together to dispatch the minions. Each person assigns tasks to their mechs before the timer runs out. These are then all played out in turn, no matter the consequences and overlap.
There are miniatures, coins and a whole bunch of minions. Carefully crafted and chaotic to play, what’s not to love?
5 Need: Resident Evil Deck Building Game
This card-based game takes its influence from the popular survival horror series Resident Evil and follows the same storylines.
It has 3 different game modes, story, mercenary and versus. Each of them requires you to gather materials and weapons in order to stave off an invasion of “the Infected” with your deck of cards.
For lovers of the Resident Evil franchise, you can also keep an eye out for Steamforged Games who have just finished a successful campaign for a Resident Evil 2 board game that’s generating a lot of buzz.
4 Ridiculous: Tetris
I must admit this one actually has me on the fence. A board game version of the classic puzzle game? Is it really possible? In 1989 it was when someone decided to give it a shot.
This game is literally a cheap looking plastic version of Tetris. You need to place your blocks in order and race to reach the middle before your opponent. Although it does look like it could be fun I can just imagine it being like an incredibly frustrating jigsaw, with puzzle pieces that don’t fit and plastic blocks all over the floor.
I'm also unsure about the fact you seem to be able to move the middle "goal" Surely Tetris is not allowing cheating?
3 Need: World Of Warcraft: The Board Game
This epic board game allows you to choose your race, class, and faction and embark upon an epic quest, just like the massively multiplayer online game franchise it’s based upon.
Players must travel across Lordaeron, fighting monsters, gaining experience and earning honor. Once 30 turns are up you must face a mighty enemy, or risk all-out faction conflict.
The World of Warcraft board game family doesn’t end here however, there is also a Trading Card Game, Miniatures Game and another board game called The Adventure Game. All have their unique rules and the trading card game, in particular, has some amazing artwork.
2 Need: Doom: The Board Game
The Doom board game, based on the popular first-person shooter franchise, actually has 2 versions. The original is from 2004 and there is also a reboot from 2016.
It is a tactical combat game for 2-5 players which focuses on a battle between legions of player-controlled demons pitted against up to 4 players as marines, playing cooperatively to fight the common enemy.
This table top game is fast, fun and tactical with a range of missions available for willing marines.
1 Ridiculous: Skylanders Block N Blast
This board game, based on the Skylanders action-adventure games, seeks to combine the video game characters with a board game environment.
The game itself involves firing plastic discs at a cardboard cutout of Kaos, the franchise villain, while he tries to dodge them. It would appear that there are no tactics or story involved. Boring.
To be fair kids would probably love it, for 5 minutes, until someone got hit with a rogue disc and chaos broke out. Sigh.