From Video to Board: The Best Video Game Board Games

The Witcher board game

Video games are those things you play with your game paddle on your television set while sat on you sofa/arm chair/bean bag (delete as applicable). However, what happens when some crazy cat turns your favourite video game into a board game that you can actually play in the real world with your actual friends? Turns out, it makes for some exciting and fun titles. Check out my picks for the best video game board games below:


XCOM: The Board Game

XCOM Board Games tabletop photo

XCOM is a fantastic turn-based earth defence title from Firaxis Games. First debuting in 1994, it was rebooted in 2012 after an eleven year hiatus. The game sees you protecting Earth by managing a international agency dedicated to defeating alien invaders. Aliens arrive via your world map and it’s your job to intercept them and take care of the menace. There you command your team of marines in turn based battles as you attempt to make those aliens wish they’d stayed at home.

The board game stays fairly true to the video game, although most of the play takes place on the world map screen. It’s a co-op title in the vein of Pandemic as players take on the game itself, its actions dictated by a smartphone app. The app works as the ‘games-master’ in a roundabout way, telling players the situation and informing them of where UFO’s arrive in the world. Each player has their own job to do and each has a role in travelling to these locations and defeating these terrible interlopers.

It manages to capture the feel of the video game well and the app helps the game feel alive, making protecting the world feel satisfying.

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Sid Meier’s Civilisation: The Board Game

Sid Meier's Civilisation Board Games photo

Civilisation is a massive game series which a quite a few people have somehow never heard of. There has been several games in the core series as well as a number of spin off’s, Civilisation has appeared on so many platforms that it hurts (including the N-Gage). It sees you as ruler of a civilisation (I get it now!) and are tasked with helping your fledgling world to grow through trading, farming, politics and just all out war, it has been a classic since it debuted in 1991.

Fewer people actually know that Civilisation is itself a video game adaptation of a 80s board game. I was unaware myself, but the game focusses on building your population and helped introduce the ‘tech tree’ to video games. The modern day board game is a direct adaptation of modern day video game, if you’ve played the game then you know how to play.

There are a number of ways to be victorious, to defeat your opponents to gain a military victory, or embrace culture and work your way to a cultural victory, earn enough money to win, or even research enough technology to gain a technological victory. The game board plays out on tiles, building cities upon them, and with cities you can use actions which assist with building your empire. It’s an incredibly deep game, so I won’t go through everything here, but it’s well worth a look if you enjoy games like Settlers of Catan.

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Resident Evil Deck Building Card Game

There’s a franchise that some of you may be aware of called Resident Evil. It has a fair few games, movies, toys and more in its back catalogue. All joking aside, while it may not seem it these days, Resident Evil is one of the biggest franchises in all of video gamedom. Deck building games are really popular and while I’m not a massive fan of them myself, it makes an easy way for people to bring a game with them in their pocket.

The aim of the game is to build a deck strong enough for you to survive the mansion. Players start by picking a character from the Resident Evil universe, be it fan favourites like Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine or slightly more obscure characters like Josh Stone. Each character has a certain life score and special abilities that kick in after you score a number of points. The mansion is a deck of cards full of all sorts of Resident Evil evilness. To explore the mansion, players reload their weapons and flip the top deck on the mansion pile, if it’s a bad guy, kill it and earn ‘decorations’ (points). The game has various modes that mirror the video game such as mercenaries mode, so fans of the franchise might enjoy this Resident Evil themed title. A Street Fighter deck building game is also available.

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Assassin’s Creed: Arena

Assassins Creed Arena Board Games image
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Assassin’s Creed: Arena is a nice, quick game and immensely easy to learn. The board is a large, nicely made grid based affair. In this game players complete to get the best kill. Players move around the city, move guards and collect cards and treasure. Combat is handled through the cards you collect, manage your cards correct and you’ll be the winner. At the start of each players turn an event card is drawn, this can spawn new guards in the city. During your turn you can move guards around as well as yourself, move them away from yourself and closer to your opponents. Targets cannot be taken out when guards are close by, but they can also be taken out if needs be.

Cards are key in this game, you need to play cards to perform motions in the game, moving and attacking all require them. But cards also count as your hit points, do too much in a turn and you could end up running out of cards, and in turn, out of hit points. To replenish your cards you need to complete objectives to earn yourself some more. It’s a great little game to introduce to your video game buddies who may not be quite so hot when it comes to board games.

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The Witcher Adventure Game

The Witcher Adventure Game is probably the hardest game to learn to play on this list. Players take one of four roles, choosing either Geralt, Triss, Yarpen or Dandelion. Each character has their own skill and there is various ways to play the game, choose to fight you way through, or perhaps take a diplomatic route to victory? Bribery and magic are all viable choices as well.

The game comes with a beautifully detailed game board, and an absolute ton of bits and bobs. Dice, character cards and a ton of tokens can make this game feel a little intimidating to board game newcomers. Pick up quests and travel around the board using the roads to visit different locations dependent on what the quest requires. Each turn is made up of Actions, Resolve and End Turn.

Actions can be one of the following: travel, investigate, character ability, fast travel, develop and rest. Remember, you can only use one action per turn. Collect quests and follow leads to develop your character further, and follow the development of your cohorts as you decide whether to help them out, or focus on your own ends. For those wanting a slightly easier way to play it game, there is a digital version available for iOS, Android and various other online stores which allows you to play alongside A.I players.

Have you played any of these board games? Which video game would you love to see turned into a tabletop game? Let us know in the comments below!

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