We’ve seen a lot of excellent video games make the jump to board game town over the years. Whether it’s Resident Evil, Dark Souls, or Fallout, your favourite gaming property is likely only a few dedicated individuals and a bit of development time away from a board game adaptation. The thing is, those video game adaptations have to be changed significantly in order to work as board games. That makes sense; video games are digital and interactive by nature, so turning them into strategy-heavy experiences is a necessity.
In this time of coronavirus, we’re all looking for more things to do as boredom sets in and lockdown gives us serious cabin fever. We spend hours on our gaming PCs, checking out online casino platforms for a chance to win real cash and give ourselves something more to do. Both board gaming and video gaming are becoming more popular during lockdown, opening up ample opportunities for adaptations either way. Many board game to video game adaptations are simply straight conversions of the board game without any concession towards video games. Here are 9 board games we think would make great video game experiences, and not just as one-to-one translations.
There’s already a Pandemic video game, but as we’ve said, it’s largely a one-to-one conversion that simply puts the board game on your PC. Our version of Pandemic would look very different. We’re envisioning some XCOM-style management mechanics in which you have to look after your personnel and your efforts to find a cure, micromanaging resources and allocating personnel to tasks. Combat would be a little more difficult given the nature of the game, but throw in some detective mechanics or a few antidote-creation minigames and you’re set.
2. Dead of Winter
This one’s an absolute no-brainer. Given the amount of zombie sandboxes doing the rounds right now, you’d think Dead of Winter might struggle to find an identity, but we’re envisioning a more heavy focus on colony management and scavenging rather than the usual combat. You’d take groups of people out on scavenging missions which would be a mixture of stealth and item hunting, then go back to the colony and make difficult decisions about how to distribute them.
3. Secret Hitler
Secret Hitler is a social deception game all about convincing those around you that you’re not a bad guy. This would work perfectly in online play a la Prop Hunt, and we’d introduce more movement-heavy mechanics that would require players on the Fascist side to move around a map and accomplish objectives without Liberals knowing. This would make a great game for local couch play, too, although there would likely be a need for separate screens to maintain the deception element.
This is definitely a game for those who like to relax. We’d reimagine the bird-collecting wildlife preserve game Wingspan as a simulation. You’d open your very own wildlife reserve, attempting to attract birds using unique calls and treats to tempt them. Our version of Wingspan would play similarly to underrated Xbox exclusive Viva Piñata, with each breed coming complete with new interactions with other breeds. Add in multiplayer where players could share their breeds and you’d be set.
5. Brass: Birmingham
There simply aren’t enough video games set in the UK city of Birmingham (read: there aren’t any). Again, Brass: Birmingham would make the most sense as a simulation game in which you compete against the AI or against other players in order to build your canal and rail networks in Birmingham. Since this is an economic strategy board game, it would be essential to get the economy and strategy models right. Brass: Birmingham wouldn’t be a particularly adventurous video game, but we bet it would be great fun.
Again, there’s already a game based on Gloomhaven available for PC, but we’re envisioning Gloomhaven as a more immersive and expansive RPG than its tactical iteration offers. Our version of Gloomhaven would incorporate as many of the tactical mechanics as possible while offering up some Divinity or Planescape-style CRPG goodness. Imagine a fully explorable version of Gloomhaven’s world, complete with memorable characters and unique aesthetics.
7. Kingdom Death: Monster
Kingdom Death: Monster (or KDM, as it’s known to its followers) is a ludicrously lavish and beautiful board game production. It’s an immersive experience set in a dying world and full to the brim of beautifully nightmarish and grotesque monster designs. You control survivors across many years, watching as they develop traits and battle the degradation of their sanity. This would make for a perfect Dark Souls-style combat experience in which each monster sits at the end of a tough dungeon crawl.
8. Twilight Imperium
Just like KDM, Twilight Imperium is a maximalist triumph chock-full of miniatures and different situations to face up against. A game this huge deserves nothing less than a fully-fledged MMORPG. We know that World of Warcraft is still the dominant force in this industry, but a huge space-themed RPG that’s a little less dry than EVE Online would, no doubt, create ripples. Add to that the huge influence of the Twilight Imperium universe and you’ve got a keeper.
9. Flamme Rouge
Last but not least, we have the remarkable oddity that is Flamme Rouge. This is a bicycle racing board game that we think would make an excellent hybrid of action racing and strategy. Each race would be determined by players using cards at certain junctures in a manner not dissimilar to weapons in Mario Kart. This would take some expert game design to accurately translate, but we think with the right developer Flamme Rouge could be a real success as a video game.