Video games are pretty much the technological evolution of board games. The fan base for the two forms of entertainment tends to overlap a lot. Given this, it isn’t that surprising that many board games have been translated into a digital version. Chess simulators were especially popular in the late 80s and early 90s, but since then board games of nearly every type have been turned into video games. If you are looking to enjoy a board game in a digital environment, try one of the following top five video games based on board games.
5. Small World 2 – This oddly named game is created by Days of Wonder and is available as an iOS app or on Steam. The name is odd because the original Small World only existed as a board game, which implies the video game is the sequel to the board game. The game allows you to play solo against computer controlled opponents or online against other living players. Nothing is lost in the transition from board to digital. It is a perfect translation of the original board game. If you enjoy quick games based on area control and strategic decision making, you’ll love this tactical gem.
4. Lords of Waterdeep – The biggest flaw of the digital version of Lords of Waterdeep is that it is only available as an iOS app. It would certainly have plenty of buyers if it were more generally available on the PC or on consoles. Still, the game is startlingly well developed. The original board game has over a dozen unique components and lots of moving parts. The board is crowded and even a 3 player game will fill up most of a moderately large table. Yet somehow the digital version managed to compact that information while keeping it all accessible. Worker placement games like Lords of Waterdeep benefit significantly from a computer controlling all the fidgety bits. As one of the simpler worker placement games on the market, this video game adaptation is a perfect way to introduce new players to the genre.
3. Ticket to Ride Online – Days of Wonder has a particular talent at translating board games to video games. The Ticket to Ride series is a perfect example of that. Over 40 million games have been played online on the Days of Wonder website and the vast majority of those games are Ticket to Ride. The reason the game is so popular is because it is simple yet still rewards skill and games are quick, especially when the computer handles the details of shuffling cards and placing trains on the board. Unlike many old fashioned train games, this game does not have a stock market or complex rules of route checking. It is just a simple area control game that is fun in person and even more fun online due to that fact that a complete game easily runs 10 – 15 minutes.
2. Words with Friends – It may have a different name, but this game is simply a digital version of Scrabble. It seems odd that Scrabble would be so popular given that few people pull it out of the closet just to play for fun, but a digital environment changes everything completely. You no longer need to argue about whether words exist as the computer verifies all words. Additionally, you can play at your own pace. Many games will go on for weeks, but since you can play in multiple games at the same time, that isn’t a problem. The most popular version is available on Facebook, which makes it completely free to play.
1. Blood Bowl – Released both on PCs and on consoles, Blood Bowl is a faithful rendition of a little known Games Workshop game. In this game, you control a team playing a fictional future blood sport in a universe where various different fantastic races exist. The board game is a simple miniature game with a litany of complex rules. The video game is identical, but you have the option to turn off rules you don’t want to deal with and the amazing graphics will often help you forget that you are really just playing a complex board game. You can play solo, but the best way to play is against a friend in a bloody battle on the gridiron.