The 5 Best Board Games Based on Video Games

Video games have clearly influenced board games, but sometimes this can be the other way around!

Board games, developed with official licences from video game studios are extremely popular and have exploded onto the market. No, we’re not talking about World of Warcraft themed Monopoly reskins, but actual fully fledged board games that officially set within the video games universe.

There are a huge variety out there and even a couple of board games that inspired video game developers! The board game takes the essence and themes of the video game, but makes their own experience. And with many games now offering a companion app with rules, enemy movement and to create atmosphere, the entire experience is more immersive.

Here are some of the best board games based on video games.

Doom: The Board Game

A board game, made by powerhouse Fantasy Flight Games, that brings the epic battle between elite marines and Hell’s most threatening monsters to the table top. Game Skinny has reviewed the game here!

It is a strategy board game, immersing players in a battle between demons, controlled by one invader player, and a cooperative team of up to four marines. The marines must complete a number of objectives to fully fulfill the two operations, such as manning expeditions. Meanwhile, the invader commands their minions to destroy not just the marines, but the whole of humanity too.

Each marine has a different ability, strengths and unique actions. Players are dealt various action cards which can be played during the course of the game to bolster their chances of defeating the monsters. The invader controller attacks using their card deck and has a great deal of power.

Within the operations, there are 6 missions, each with a different map for the game to play out in. There are also threat, invasion and event decks that the invader player uses to hamper the players missions and are shuffled into the main player card deck.

The game has a particular order for the marines - status and activation.  The status section relates is the organisational phase and the activation phase actions are reliant on what card is drawn from the deck.

The game has just been released on 15 December, priced at $79.95 Amazon.

XCOM: The Board Game

Another Fantasy Flight Games product, where players are immersed into an elite and secret military organisation, known as XCOM.  Players are humanity’s last hope, tasked with repelling an escalating alien invasion. The video game sequel XCOM 2 was reviewed here on Game Skinny.

The dice rolling mechanic and companion app immerse players deep into the tension and uncertainty of a desperate war against an unknown foe. The app makes the game work more smoothly and allows for a more dynamic turn structure and perfectly coordinates the alien invasion. The app also times players in real time, forcing players to think quickly and strategically. The app automatically selects one of five locations at the beginning of the game.

Human civilisation is on the brink of collapse. It is a desperate and unequal situation, as life spirals out of control. Players must destroy UFO’s, research alien technologies and uncover the alien’s plan, with the objective of defeating the aliens.Yet simultaneously, players must prevent the collapse of the government that is funding this secret organisation. Time is very much a luxury, as the threat level increases.

Play as one of four characters, including Commander and Squad Leader, each of which has different abilities that are all important to the world’s defence. Spend resources to roll dice and the number of successes affects what happens next -for example a good success could mean a completed mission.

This game is available for $43.89 on Amazon.

Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game

So, Aperture Science has re-opened its doors, resuming its testing and a team of test subjects have entered the lab. They are ready for important, dignified and dangerous testing procedures, all in the pursuit of cake. Scientific progress is the objective of this game, despite of all the death and dismemberment around you. Read about what we love about Portal 2, right here at GameSkinny.

It’s a funny and fast paced finish to the end, in the hope that you’re still alive.

The game is full of constantly shifting game area control and card play, where players send their test subjects, via Portals into test labs. At the end of each player’s turn, one of the chambers at the end of the lab gives way and all test subjects on it fall into oblivion. Should the test subjects have numbered greater than all the others in the falling chamber, they earn some amazing parting gifts, which include cake.

The tile based game system means there is a great deal of replayability, as they are selected at random and create a lovely 3D effect. 

 The Portal gun allows players to place two pieces in two chambers, covering larger distances. The companion cube distracts other player’s characters, stopping the player from earning rewards.

The player with the most cake when a team has lost its last test subject wins and can prove the cake was not a lie.

The best thing is it’s a game developed by the makers of the infamous video games, so the knowledge, fun and game mechanics are absolutely true to the original source.

The game is $41.96 from Amazon and includes a free Steam code for Portal 2.

Boss Monster

This is a dungeon crawling card game. While not specifically attributed to any one particular video game, its art work and themes clearly shows a love of classic video games.

The game pits 2-4 players in a competition to build the ultimate side scrolling dungeon. Players assume the role of the dungeon master who lures unsuspecting heroes into their dungeon, with the objective of the most enticing, loot filled dungeon of all.

The objective is to be the first to amass 10 souls from defeated heroes. Bosses can lose health if the hero entering the dungeon survives. Playing the game requires juggling the two main priorities: the need to lure heroes more quickly than your opponents and the need to kill heroes before they reach the boss.

Players build one room each per turn, each with its own damage and treasure icons. More attractive rooms tend to deal less damage, so a greedy boss can soon become inundated with deadly heroes. If a player has more treasure icons of a certain type, for example money, than the other players, then the hero would automatically be sent to that dungeon. As such, different heroes seek different treasure icon types and as rooms are built simultaneously, this leads to a bidding war. Spells are instant-speed effects that can benefit the player playing the spell or can disrupt other opponents.

The artwork on the cards is all 8 and 16 bit pixel style, so looks fun and retro, reminiscent of games such as Dungeon Keeper.  The box contains everything needed to play and there are now two expansions, where the box’s art work resembles a Game Boy box!  The game costs $17.99 from Amazon and is now available on Steam.

Blood Bowl

Originally a table top miniatures game, which inspired both a video game and a card game version. Bad news, the card game is discontinued, but the good news is that the miniatures game is back!

The miniatures game, developed by Games Workshop was originally a parody of American Football, but with a fantasy themed twist. It is set in an alternate universe of the Warhammer Fantasy world, populated by characters such as humans, orcs, goblins and dwarfs.

It is a 2 player, turn based game that utilises 28mm miniatures to represent the players on the field. Using a combination of cards, dice and counters, each player tries to score higher than the other by entering the opponent’s end zone with a ball carrying player.

Each team have their own abilities, to balance the game. For example, elves are agile, but dwarfs are more physical. Within the teams, there are a number of player types, ranging from the most basic linesman, to the more specialists, such as blockers. Teams can gain elite star players after gaining experience points.

It is quite normal practice to injure or maim the opposition, to make scoring easier by reducing the number of opposing players on the field.

The game has recently been re-released and is priced at $99 from Games Workshop.  For all those who want to play the video game version, 2015’s Blood Bowl 2 is available on Steam for $44.93.

There as some fantastic board games out there that are inspired by video games – we are really excited about the future releases of Dark Souls and Bloodborne table top games. Games like Boss Monster clearly show the power of video games and how they influence our cultures. And sometimes video game developers see a game that they imagine working perfectly for a video game. Long may all this continue and as Wil Wheaton says -- play more games!

Let us know in the comments below what your favourite video game influenced board games are.