Portal’s board game, simply titled Portal Board Game – The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game, focuses on the search for cake rather than the portal-based gameplay of the video games. Each player takes control of some test subjects and must navigate them through Aperture Science, performing tests and collecting cake tokens. The winning player is the one who is in possession of the most cake pieces at the end of the game. The Portal Board Game is a fun adaptation of the game franchise because in-game cards allow the rules and game board to constantly change. The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game is a perfect distraction for anyone wishing for another Portal video game.
XCOM: The Board Game is a manic, co-operative race against time to repel alien invaders. Requiring the free companion mobile app that tracks the progression, players must work together to protect earth from the attacking aliens. Relying on good dice roles and certain events occurring means you can have a quiet round or one where everything goes wrong. The game is at its best, though, when players have to try to stop everything from collapsing around them. The XCOM Board Game perfectly re-creates the stressful, time-constrained management of the XCOM video games.
Sid Meier’s Civilization
Sid Meier admits that the original idea for Civilization came from a board game. This one sees players attempt to lead a colony through the ages. To win, you must overcome other players and in-game obstacles to keep your civilization alive and well through to modern times. The more recent Fantasy Flight edition has replaced the complicated Eagle Games edition and is a more faithful adaptation of the video game. Turn-based strategy games translate well to board games, especially for those familiar with the genre.
While turn-based strategy games obviously translate well to the board game world, BioShock Infinite is not a game you would expect to have its own tabletop adaptation. In BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia players take on the role of the Founders and Vox Populi factions, desperately seeking to seize control of Columbia. Rather than focusing on Booker and Elizabeth from the game, the board game takes a wider look at the conflict in Columbia. Players must make their way through the flying city, coming across a huge number of obstacles, many of which are related to the original game. There is so much going on and so many things to remember that it can be overwhelming, especially for anyone unfamiliar with the original game.
As you would expect, Donkey Kong translates easily to a board game. The Donkey Kong Board Game is not as complicated as the adaptations of the turn-based strategy video games, it is simple family fun. Players must battle their way up the board, avoiding fireballs and barrels, to rescue the damsel in distress. The game looks and plays very much like Snakes and Ladders. Barrels push the player back and ladders move them forward. The Donkey Kong board game is essentially a version of Snakes and Ladders based on the classic 1983 video game.
The Mega Man Board Game, made by Jasco Games, began as a KickStarter campaign in 2013 and its $70,000 goal was reached very quickly. Created to celebrate the character’s 25th anniversary, the board game is inspired by the classic video game series. The tabletop game sees players control both their character and Dr. Wily’s forces as they attempt to complete challenges from cards, defeat bosses, and ultimately, be the first to defeat Dr. Wily. As players complete challenges in turn, they move through the board and earn the right to face bosses. When they’ve defeated enough bosses, they earn the right to enter Dr. Wily’s castle and attempt to defeat him and win the game. The Mega Man Board Game is fun, well made, and perfect for any Mega Man obsessive.
The Uncharted Board Game is more focused on the cards included rather the the board itself. The way the game plays out is similar to the plot of the video games. Players take on the role of a treasure hunter, exploring ruins, defeating enemies, and collecting Victory Points. As players find treasure, they collect cards that represent skills and items that aid the quest to find treasure and defeat the other players. The game includes 190 cards which helps the game stay fresh for multiple playthroughs, creating many unique Uncharted stories. Since the board game mirrors much of the video game, it may be more suited to players familiar with the world of Uncharted and treasure hunting.
Gears of War
The Gears of War Board Game captures much of what gamers are used to in the video game version. Players kill hoards of Locust enemies, clamber over chest-high walls, and work closely as a team. Each player assumes the role of a member of Delta Squad as they work together to complete a set number of missions. However, since the map’s shape and enemy locations are chosen randomly, each game plays out differently, ensuring each battle feels new. The board game sees vicious combat and muscular fighters swapped out for dice rolls and plastic figurines. As it has so many of the same themes as the video game, the Gears of War Board Game may be better suited to fans of the game than families at Christmas.
The Witcher Adventure Game explores the world brought to life in the books and games, rather than any single story. The Witcher board game, released not long before The Wild Hunt, can be a challenge – not in terms of difficulty but in ensuring everyone adheres to the rules closely. Up to four players assume the roles of Geralt and his companions as they complete quests and defeat monsters. The difficultly comes because, as is the case in the books, everything in the world is out to ensure that you fail. Foul Fate cards act as constant obstacles as do your ‘teammates’ due to their only being one winner. A game that begins as friends attempting to overcome the threats of the Northern Kingdoms can often become chaos. Play fair and all will be fine. Don’t and you’ll be lost in the game’s rules and regulations.
So many popular video games have board games when you take into account the special edition Monopoly versions. Each special version is the same basic Monopoly game with place names, characters, and others aesthetic features changed to relate to the video game world it is representing. The list of video games that have an edition of Monopoly includes:
- Assassin’s Creed
- Call of Duty
- Grand Theft Auto
- Kingdom Hearts
- Legend of Zelda
- Mass Effect
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Street Fighter
- World of Warcraft
There are probably many more obscure special editions of Monopoly, but these are certainly something that would interest most gamers.
What other video game board games were you surprised to learn about? Have any favorites? Let us know in the comments below!