As someone who runs a website about “video games, board games, and other nerdy pursuits”, my attraction to board games based on video games is particularly strong. Good or bad, I’m always fascinated to see how these video game franchises are translated to the tabletop.
Here are some of the board games based on video games that I own or have owned in the past! What board game adaptations of video games have you played?
Capcom Street Fighter: The Deck-Building Game
Capcom Street Fighter: The Deck-Building Game is built on Cryptozoic Entertainment’s Cerberus Engine. Serving as a deck-building framework, this Cerberus Engine has been reskinned over a dozen times with licenses such as DC Comics, Rick and Morty, The Hobbit, Naruto, and even the NHL.
As such, this adaptation bears little resemblance to the seminal fighting game it’s based on, save for reused promotional art on the cards and some slight adjustments to the core mechanics. Even though I enjoyed the DC Comics variant, it was easier to overlook the game’s flaws when there isn’t another game serving as a frame of reference. Since
Tetris Link certainly looks like a Tetris game. However, its gameplay veers in a different direction. Played with 2-4 players, you score points by creating stretches of blocks in your colour that match your colour. In a way, it more closely resembles Blokus, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The area control aspect of the game is pretty fun, especially when you’re able to cut off an opponent’s chain. However, its reliance on dice-rolling to determine which piece you drop next can completely sabotage the outcome. Still enjoyable for a casual session, but would recommend Blokus as a more competitive alternative.
Before its original release, Yomi was developed as an official Street Fighter card game. When Capcom pulled out of the project, game designer David Sirlin created his own characters to layer overtop of his card combat system. Thus, Yomi was born.
Yomi might be one of the oldest tabletop games to simulate the fighting game experience, but I think it’s still the best. Designed from the perspective of a competitive fighting game player, it features a host of mechanics that are true to the source material, from combos, to mix-ups, frame traps, and more.
Yomi would come full-circle in 2019 when Sirlin published Fantasy Strike. Leveraging the characters from the original card game, they’re brought to life in a great 2D fighting game!
XCOM: The Board Game
XCOM: The Board Game isn’t what I thought it would be. Though it does feature a bit of combat, its primary focus is on the management-side of stopping an alien invasion. Players work together to intercept UFOs, assign soldiers to missions, research alien technology, and defend your base. Unlike the other games on this list, this one has a digital component to it, as the companion app guides players through the process while also controlling the aliens. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it largely achieves what it sets out to do.
Stardew Valley: The Board Game
Life on the tabletop farm is surprisingly similar to the video game. Stardew Valley: The Board Game goes to exhaustive lengths in order to adapt the video game experience in a new medium. In certain ways, it absolutely works! I oftentimes enjoy the many of the moment-to-moment tasks that come with managing my life in the valley. However, a few major holes in the game’s design undermine the entire experience, particularly its over-reliance on luck.
Street Fighter: The Miniatures Game
Street Fighter: The Miniatures Game scores high marks for presentation off the strength of its large and detailed pre-painted miniature figures. These figures look so good that I’ll be using them as decor in my streaming backdrop! Thankfully, the game is great too! Its combat is not as deterministic as Yomi, but the mechanics still pay homage to the games while also being more accessible for a wider audience.
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