Topic of the Week: Computergame Adaptations

While @Acacia is still on a bit of a break, I‘ll jump in with another topic.

So have you played any board game that is an adaptation of a computer game? Have you played the computer game it is based on as well?
Was that what drew you to the game?
Was it good? Why or why not?
Is it true to the original game?
Any you would like to play at some point?
Are there any computer games you would like to see adapted?
Which boardgames would have been better as an app/computer game?
Do you have a boardgame app you prefer over the cardboard version?

Some examples of games that got adapted:

  • Dorfromantik
  • Europa Universalis
  • Assassin‘s Creed
  • Slay the Spire
  • Jetpack Joyride
  • Anno 1800
  • Northgard
  • Frostpunk
  • Fallout Shelter
  • Dark Souls

Here‘s a linke to the Video Game Theme on BGG

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My experiences with computer game and app adaptations varies wildly:

  • I am pleasantly surprised by how much fun Dorfromantik is. I actually re-installed the computer game today and it was more fun AFTER having played the boardgame. This was quite unexpected.
  • I can‘t quite believe that a game like Slay the Spire can work in a non-digital form but I‘ll be happy if it does. ( I don‘t think it has fulfilled yet).
  • Jetpack Joyride was quite a lot of fun at the fair for being a boardgame jump and run but it ended up falling flat at home.
  • And it feels so wrong to write this… but I think I might enjoy playing Gloomhaven on the app at least as much as on the table of not on occasion more. It is a different experience being on the table that is lacking on the computer. BUT I have never got the game back on the table in a long time now while I have played a few scenarios on the app every once in a while.
  • I loved playing Frostpunk on the computer but have not been tempted at all by the boardgame.
  • After watching my friends fiddle around with Fallout Shelter as a boardgame, I am glad I only played the app
  • I‘ve mentioned this before I prefer digital Through the Ages over cardboard… by a lot.

In general I stay away from big involved Kickstarter boardgame adapatations even when the Franchise in question is well liked in the household f.e. Assassin‘s Creed, Witcher, Deeprock Galactic, Slay the Spire, Frostpunk.

Back in the early to mid 80s, I remember having the MB boardgame versions of Pac Man, Donkey Kong and I think Defender. No, they weren’t very good but some of the plastic components were fun.


We love Dorfromantik. Never played the computer game. Never even heard of it before I heard of the board game.
The board game is a delight though.

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This might upset or offend some people, but:

I might get the Maracaibo app; I could never be bothered with the cardboard version, and have sold it on, but quite like the game. I think rattling through a game on an app might work better.

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App that are better. Easily Ascension The app is ok because it’s so fast. The game though is terrible. I’d hate it if it lasted more than 5 minutes.

Race for the Galaxy has been killed for me by the app. I’ve played it so much I now do weird experimental things rather than play well and again the speed is so different that it’s become a new type of thing for me.

Computer games turned in to board games and the main one I can think of is Doom. I would have bought this early 2000s on my way back in first time round. It basically became Descent first ed. I liked it well enough to play a bunch before moving on. At that time I’d play Munchkin as well so I wouldn’t call it a ringing endorsement.

The other one we played a few times then was World of Warcraft the Board Game. Generously I could call this flawed and Eric Lang has labelled it a poor design himself in a podcast but I have fond memories. I think it mainly suffered from taking too long, as in it was a 6 hour game. Maybe I’d play again now I’m more in to wonky but unique games again.

A category I have no experience of but is not touched on by the topic is games that get reskinned with computer game themes. World of Warcraft Smallworld is the example I have and could be the only one. Also what about things like Street Masters which is inspired by some computer games, tries to evoke the feel and references the crud out of them without being a direct licence of an actual computer game?

Edit: Eric Lang isn’t listed as a designer for the WoW board game. I may have misremembered or the era of FF games gave all credits to the owner or he was a developer for the game rather than designer.

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I have played a few board games based on video games. One is God of War the card game, which has virtually nothing in common with the gameplay of the video game, but is pretty fun. Has a bit of a limited shelf life, IMO, as once you have played each chapter a few times, you will basically have it “solved”, and any challenge will be gone. Until then, though, I have enjoyed my plays of it.

Stardew Valley: the board game is cute, but incredibly challenging to win, and I did not find it all that engaging to make me want to play it more to see if there is a more winning strategy.

Under Falling Skies I am considering to be based on Space Invaders, even if not officially licensed. I enjoy it.

Lastly, I have Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood of Venice, but I have yet to play it. But, considering it uses the same system as V-Sabotage, which I enjoy, I am hopeful.

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Really anything goes. I was just hoping to see where people find connections between games and computers :slight_smile: And thoughts on those. If anyone is excited for some of the upcoming adaptations…

There is a bunch of those

  • Adrenaline for a shooter
  • Sanctum for a Diablo like thing
  • Is Sniper Elite based on an actual game?
  • Guards of Atlantis and Cloudspire for a Mobas

I also forgot to mention some rather famous older ones:

  • Starcraft
  • Civilization (I would actually love for someone to bring it to a table near me, I am still considering the newest iteration sometimes)

As for should have been an app / or is better as app: I have never played any of the Ganz Schön Clever series anywhere but on my phone. In general I prefer digital versions of Roll & Writes. (As much as I can still tolerate them at all).

For my Minecraft addicted nephew I would also like to know if anyone has played the Minecraft: Builders and Biomes game. Is it any good?

Has anyone backed the Stellaris game in 2019? It is supposed to fulfill sometime now? I saw it mentioned on BGG recently.

Also why have there been so many big boardgame adaptations coming through crowdfunding in the last few years?

The app versions that end up better than the boardgame tend to be the ones that do the admin for you. Automatic card shuffling or points tracking can seriously improve the experience.

Playing faster also let’s you understand the game more quickly, and see the variations clearer.

The best example of this is Onirim, which has an amazing, quick, clean app. Not sure I’d want to do all the shuffling by hand.

Other great apps that either do the admin for you or provide you with useful info such as which spaces are valid to move into so that you don’t break the rules:

Elder Sign: Omens
One Deck Dungeon

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As for Dorfromantik, the computer game is GREAT but they’re totally different games for one big reason: the computer version doesn’t stop growing. It’s not a fixed number of tiles - if you can keep meeting the requirements, you can keep expanding.

I haven’t played the boardgame but I’m guessing that makes the gameplay fairly different to one where you’re trying to beat a score within a maximum tile limit. I think I’m someone who’d really like the boardgame too though.

They have captured the computer game surprisingly well–except for the endless growth thing. I actually understood how to play the computer version better through playing the boardgame! If you like the computer one, I would actually recommend giving the boardgame a try.

I never expected such simple iterations to be the game to “pull off a well done computer game adaptation” … I always thought one of these days one of the big ones like Assassin’s Creed, Northgard or Stellaris will “get it right”.

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The ones that I enjoyed are the games that didn’t try to be like the video games. Anno 1880 was good fun as it felt like a board game, rather than a board game pretending to be a video game. This, I feel, is what most of these adaptions get wrong.

I have no interest now on trying Paradox games’ board games. While I love Crusader Kings and Stellaris, I even told my bg club: if I want to play Europa Universalis on a board game, I’ll just play Pax Renaissance. I don’t see how their board games will appeal to me in a way that they appeal as Paradox games. I think what could come close would be Victoria where it is primarily an econ management game. Abstract the politics, trade, and the map-painting, boom! You might just get a decent board game.

Mechs vs Minions is a bizarre one as it was never a video game, it merely has the theme of LoL.

As for the other way around: Through the Ages is still THE best bg app.

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I have the bioshock infinite board game. It felt like a pure sure thing because it was plaid hat at the peak of their powers with a game that was hot with anticipation. I played it with my partner and it was a bust partly because I think race to certain objective games (claim token if you’re the first to X or claim token if you have X money etc) don’t work so hot. I kept it because it’s still a fun object imo and I’d want to get it out again sometime I think.

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That’s also a very very good take. (Need to tell my Paradox-addict colleague)

Any other games that “give the feels” of the computer game while not explicitly being themed that way?

Trouble is, I don’t play that much video games any more. Stellaris and Hearts of Iron are the easiest to replace. But Stellaris got good ideas like randomised factions that I haven’t seen until Age of Innovation or how similarities/conflicting ethos can heavily affect inter-species relations. The latter one was pretty revolutionary when it was developed.

One idea could be to have a space 4x that is primarily focused on their ethos model where ethos can be used as combos with other things and diplomacy with NPCs and players can have bonus/penalties when ethos are similar/conflicting. Which nicely illustrates the trouble of Realism when trying to sell a controversial but highly beneficial foreign policy to your own public.

One thing though: I still don’t see a board game that does feudalism well like Crusader Kings. I would like to play Fief, but it seems too overwrought and long.


I keep seeing ads for the Kingdom Rush tabletop edition. And some years ago I remember toying around with ideas on how to make a tower defense board game. I love Kingdom Rush, super tempted.

But I’m going to give it some time to see how it lands and if it works. And there’s always the question of why not spend that time playing Kingdom Rush?

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According to BGG’s Category system, I own 6 games that meet the criterion “Video Game Theme”

8Bit Box

Never played it. Bought it for my partner because she saw it at the FLGS one time and spent several minutes checking out the back of the box. We’ve opened it and looked at the components a few times, but never actually played it. However, I don’t think this one meets the spirit of the thread, despite meeting the letter.

Billionaire Banshee

Bought this one because it looks fun, if not awkward because everyone I know is in a long-term relationship. So far: unplayed.
This one also, I believe, doesn’t meet the spirit of the thread because it’s Video Game tie-in seems to be “pixelized art”

Railways of the World

So, I’m pretty sure this Category: Video Game Theme is just wrong; there appears to be only a coincidental relationship between Railways of the World, formerly Railroad Tycoon, and the Sid Meier Railroad Tycoon series.


Yeah, so, I’m running out of things to say about games that are in Category: Video Game Theme but… don’t have… anything to do with video games?

Vikings Gone Wild

Oh, finally a Video Game adapted to a board game! Haven’t played either; can’t say much other than the board game seems likely to be culled just as soon as I can get around to playing it.

Frostpunk: The Board Game

Ha! Haha! Finally, something truly apropos! I won the BGG contest; I have no interest in playing this game or the videogame inspiration because it’s just too dark and bleak of a theme – a game that has a mechanism for children becoming sick and hungry just isn’t where I want to put my brain, thematically.
I’m currently talking to a BGG user about a potential trade to move this one along.


This and Project L are the two in my collection in this category. I’ve been with Project L since the beginning and, well, I guess you could implement it as a video game, but that’s true of almost everything…


Battle con is the most off brand computer game thing as a board game I’ve played. I’m in the weird spot of rating it highly but having sold it all on as its too particular for playing most often. 2 player only game that really benefits from opponents who have a similar level of experience with the game and knowledge of the character they’re each playing and knowledge of the character their opponent is playing. I think that when I was young and playing Confrontation if I was less inclined for miniatures painting this could have been a lifestyle game contender. It wasn’t out then and life has changed so I’d only buy if I had one regular gaming buddy who enjoyed it and it’s what we did. Like if I had a neighbour similar to @pillbox in his previous residence who popped over of an evening for an hour every so often. I really like the game but don’t have the conditions


Now that you mentioned BattleCon, I think Guards of Atlantis captures the MOBA video game genre better than most MOBA board games - mainly because these games are often 2 players, and one component of MOBA gameplay is team dynamics.