Board Game Adjacent: Top 12 Steam Games For Tabletop Fans

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As the library of titles at Steam continues to grow at an exponential rate, its become clear that a game doesn't have to be a huge budget AAA affair to warrant dozens or even hundreds of hours of play. 

There are plenty of games with tried and true board or card mechanics that can suck you in and never let go, whether you prefer fantasy, sci-fi, modern day tank combat, or anything else.

Ready to ditch the first person shooters and try out something more tactical? Let's take a look at the the top 12 board game-adjacent entries currently available!

Most of these picks aren't direct 1:1 translations of an existing board game, but are rather tactical strategy entries with board and card elements added into the mix.

In other words, if you dig in-depth board games but want to play something on PC instead of at your dinner table, you'll love these Steam titles.

Looking for direct adaptations of famous board games instead? Check out our list of the 12 best Steam board games currently available -- from Zombicide to Ticket To Ride and everything in between -- over here.

Hand Of Fate 2

Buy it on Steam here

I'm honestly surprised there haven't been more games like Hand Of Fate and its sequel, because the core concept is such an obvious winner for tabletop fans who want a PC game.

There's a literal board with a digital card-dealer sitting across from you to pull from the deck and see where the story goes. In a way, Hand Of Fate is like a single-player advancement of those old VHS-based board games.

To keep things fresh, Hand Of Fate 2 switches to real-time action during the combat segments for a satisfying blend of video and board game styles. Of course, RNG plays a huge role here, as you can end up with devastatingly difficult or very easy encounters depending on what hand you are dealt. 

Armello

Buy it on Steam here

What you get here is essentially a board game built from scratch as a PC strategy experience. It's too complex and animation heavy to work as a real board title you'd pick up as a hobby store, but it works great as an online title. The clear Redwall / Mouse Guard flavor doesn't hurt either!

Combining several different styles all at once, Armello is part turn-based strategy, part card-based random mechanics, and part RPG. Although it has a single-player campaign and AI missions, keep in mind Armello is very much meant to be played online against other players.

Age Of Wonders: Planetfall

Buy it on Steam here

I don't think anyone saw the announcement trailer going the way it did for Planetfall, as the developers announced a surprise switch from fantasy to sci-fi in the long-running Age Of Wonders series.

Although this is a turn based strategy game with heavy 4X elements, if you really boil it down, Planetfall basically plays like a complex board game with animations.

From managing resources and diplomacy to exploring the map and dealing with randomized elements, there's a ton here for board game fanatics to love.  The recent Revelations DLC also just added a host of new elements and enemies, with another faction due to arrive in the next expansion down the line.

Dicey Dungeons

Buy it at Steam here

Most board games feature polyhedral dice in some capacity, but this one actually has you playing as the dice! Other than taking on the role of some d6s, the schtick here is that you need to constantly adapt to rules changes and new characters.

While its wildly random, and it can be very hard, the end result is something like a cute and funny version of Darkest Dungeon but with a gameshow aesthetic.

Warhammer 40,000 Gladius: Relics Of War

Buy it on Steam here

Considering the impact Games Workshop has had on the tabletop industry, from war games to board games and even card-based titles, it shouldn't be much of a surprise they've got a huge number of PC crossovers as well.

While a lot of the Warhammer universe is pretty lackluster in video game form, there are some hidden gems. Gladius sees a massive shift away from the real-time strategy of classics like Dawn Of War and towards a very board-game focused take on the 4X genre.

If you like a slower-paced game where you have to sit and think about your strategy, this is the one to pick in the Warhammer 40,000 series.

Blood Bowl 2

Buy it on Steam here

And now for something completely different! Yeah, those are orcs in jerseys facing off against humans and undead on the football field. Obviously, the rules of football get a facelift in Blood Bowl 2, since these players like to kill each other.

Even if you don't care for sports-balling (and boy, I really, really don't) this is still a fun series for board game fans. Its complex, hard, and features a ton of strategy to learn.

Unlike most of the rest of this list, Blood Bowl is actually an adaptation of a specific existing tabletop game, but it's changed enough to be its own thing in the PC version, and the animations definitely take it to a new level.

King's Bounty Crossworlds

Buy it on Steam here

Stripping out everything extraneous and focusing on what players really want, the original King's Bounty and follow-up Armored Princess scratched a very specific itch.

The series combat is along the lines of Heroes Of Might and Magic, but there's no city or resource management beyond building up your armies and leveling your hero.

An extreme focus on turn-based combat makes this a very satisfying series for board game fans. If you're looking to jump in, I recommend picking up Crossworlds, since it has both the expanded version of Armored Princess and the DLC.

A full-fledged King's Bounty 2 is also currently in the works and due out sometime in 2020.

Warhammer Quest

Buy it on Steam here

Want a tactical fantasy game that draws heavily on tabletop rules but not crazy about D&D? Warhammer Quest is the game for you, and as an added bonus it actually utilizes a top-down view and token pieces just like a real board game.

It's a classic loot 'n sell title where you get random quests to clear out dungeons of goblins, skaven, and so on, sell all the goodies you found to the merchants in the next town, and then do it all over again!

Book Of Demons

Buy it on Steam here

This has got to be one of the most unique, interesting twists on the classic ARPG style in quite some time. At first, Book of Demons seems exactly like Diablo: we're picking one of three classes and heading beneath a church to start killing skeletons by the dozen, but then things take a turn.

Rather than free movement, your hero moves down pre-determined board game style paths, and both combat and leveling are handled via a card system.

This is all reinforced by the paper mini art style. It literally feels like playing a board game where you have to stick your paper tokens into plastic bases.

Slay The Spire

Buy it on Steam here

Take a roguelike and sprinkle in a little deck building and you've got Slay The Spire, which manages to hit just the right combo of randomness and difficulty to become truly addictive.

You'll die, a lot, but have a ton of fun doing it, and there's a different layout every time of course so you'll want to keep trying again and again.

Tiny Metal

Buy it on Steam here

With Japanese anime characters but very western-influenced unit and vehicle design, Tiny Metal is an odd little hodgepodge of a strategy title that takes clear influence from Advance Wars.

If you want a tactical, modern-day style game that's simple to jump into, Tiny Metal gets the job done, and the top-down view with turn-based combat gives it a clear board game flair.

Wargroove

Buy it on Steam here

Wargroove is essentially the fantasy counterpart to Tiny Metal, and an even more faithful successor to the Advance Wars style from the Game Boy Advance days.

The overall strategy and tactics clearly draw on board game design, and while there is a single player campaign, this is a game that's super fun to play in multiplayer matches. Despite the cutesy sprite graphics, there's also a surprising amount of depth going on here.

What did you think of top board-game adjacent picks, and are you going to pick up any of the games we listed here?

Sound off below, and don't forget to leave a comment if you've found any other killer board game-style titles on Steam we should check out.

If you've already played all our picks, don't forget to take a look at the companion list of direct board game adaptations here.

Published Dec. 13th 2019

Featured Contributor

Ty splits his time between writing horror fiction and writing about video games. After 25 years of gaming, Ty can firmly say that gaming peaked with Planescape Torment, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a soft spot for games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout: New Vegas, Bioshock Infinite, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. He has previously written for GamerU and MetalUnderground. He also writes for PortalMonkey covering gaming laptops and peripherals.

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