Every now and then, we see the lines between board and video games blurred. For instance, you might have noticed when we highlighted the Game of Thrones version of the classic game Risk — and in this case, both titles relate to video games as well.
At the same time though, while there may be more video games that have been turned into board games than most would realize, there are always more to consider. It takes some creativity, but sometimes the right video game can produce an exceptional board gaming experience.
So we thought we’d identify a few titles we’d like to see make the transition, from console adventures, to casino hits, to mobile sensations.
Most every gamer can find something to enjoy about the Assassin’s Creed series. It’s spanned several generations of consoles and has taken gamers all over the world and all through history, from ancient Greece to colonial America, and so on.
Continuing the tradition, the next game will take players to the golden age of the Vikings. Plots and gameplay can differ slightly, but generally, the idea is that a heroic figure uses technology to go back in time and inhabit an ancestor, so as to change the course of history.
How much fun would that be in board game form? There are plenty of ways it could work, of course, but we imagine a sprawling board with sections on it for each of the historical chapters the game series has explored.
Players could start in a middle section representing the present and then be directed to various chapters of history by chance, looking to accomplish different feats in each place and time. Perhaps the player who accomplishes the objective in each history first would win the game.
We mentioned casino hits above, and this is the one. The truth is, online casino games have been on the rise around the world, most notably in Europe, but now in the U.S. as well. Following a few changes to gambling laws, New Jersey brought casinos to Americans. And when the games proved both popular and profitable, they started to spread.
Now, an active network of gaming sites exists in Pennsylvania as well, signifying that more an more Americans are likely to gain exposure to internet casino games. Pennsylvania alone could attract tens of thousands of new gamers to the genre, and more states could follow. The point of all this is to note that a thriving online casino industry is growing more universal.
And wherever you access today’s internet casinos — be it in one of these U.S. areas, in Europe, or elsewhere — you’ll come across Gonzo’s Quest. It tends to be prominently featured and has become a sort of unofficial standard-bearer for modern slot machine games.
Gonzo’s Quest is a game about Gonzo, a sort of playful caricature of a European adventurer in the Age of Exploration. His “quest” is to wander into the lush New World in search of riches — which of course lines up nicely with the fact that at its core, this is a slot machine in which players are hoping to luck their way into some nice earnings. But it also makes for an excellent setup for a board game.
There is only one Gonzo, but the idea would be that players could choose different explorers to venture into the New World with. The game could borrow the delightful aesthetics of its slot-oriented counterpart, and there could even be miniature wheels to spin to help determine the course of the game.
Tomb Raider may make for the most likely adaptation on this list, because the franchise has already spread out in a number of ways. There have been multiple generations of console games, multiple films with different lead actresses, and a few mobile games.
For that matter, some of the same casino sites alluded to above even have slot games based on the Tomb Raider franchise! Simply put, the adventurer Lara Croft has made the rounds in the entertainment world.
A board game would be a treat for millions of fans of the Tomb Raider adventures. It could take just about any form, but as long as it had an adventurous spirit and adequate references to the existing games and films, it would be well received.
If you’re not familiar with The Room, it’s a series of mobile games that are now commonly recognized as some of the best that the mobile arena has to offer. The games revolve around explorations of dark, mysterious mansions, and into alternate realities in pursuit of hazily defined goals — though really, there might not be a better description of these games than that they consist of creepy touchscreen puzzle boxes, as one review put it.
In a way, The Room is best suited to touchscreens, and to VR (where it appears to be headed next). There’s something about the ability to manipulate objects in 3D that really defines the games. Nevertheless, when the atmosphere is such an important part of a game (or series), there’s always the potential for a good board game.
A beautiful board with interactive elements, and gameplay involving a suitable amount of cryptic information and mystery, could certainly capture the spirit of The Room. In fact, a board game version could even have a more cohesive narrative — which is one thing the video games do struggle with.
Ultimately, any one of these would be a thrill to see in board gaming form. Let’s hope one or two of them actually come to fruition!
Before starting GameCows with his wife Kendra, he used to teach English Language Arts in the US. He combined his love of gaming with education to create fun game-based learning lessons until he eventually decided to run GameCows with Kendra full-time. He’s known for pouring over rulebooks in his spare time, being the rule master during game night, and as the perma DM in his DnD group. Bryan loves board games, writing, traveling, and above all his wife and partner in crime, Kendra.