These days, more and more video games are making their way to the tabletop. From DOOM and BioShock to Bloodborne and Gears of War, designers of physical games are finding their inspiration in the digital world. What's great is that, unlike most movies based on video games, these tabletop offerings have turned out really well. In fact, we'd love to see even more of them, so here are our five recommendations for video games that would translate well to the tabletop.
The Legend of Zelda
Yes, there is already a board game based on The Legend of Zelda, but it came out like 25 years ago and tabletop games have come a long way since then. Since Nintendo is branching out with more movies, television shows and even theme parks these days, we'd like to see them throw their hat into the tabletop arena, too. We're thinking this would work best as a "team versus the board" sort of offering, giving players the chance to explore dungeons in Hyrule, fight baddies, open up plenty of treasure chests and eventually free the kingdom from the rule of Ganon. Games like Shadows Over Camelot or even Elder Sign come to mind, encouraging players to work together in order to face an ever-changing landscape of challenges. Throw in some rad miniatures and those bright colors Zelda is known for and this could become a family-friendly hit.
Just like with video games, movies, and television, tabletop games had a period of time recently where it seemed like half of the new offerings were focused on the walking dead. As far as tabletop games go, we've learned that games where players take on a horde of baddies can be a lot of fun. Jumping to the most obvious comparison, Dead of Winter absolutely nailed the zombie apocalypse theme, giving players a ridiculous number of plates to keep spinning while still trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. That genre is just screaming for an entry from the Resident Evil series, with iconic characters working together to gather supplies and stay alive. Or, if you wanted to go the more action-heavy route, something similar to the DOOM board game would also work well here, having the players move across an evolving map while taking out as many shambling corpses as possible.
Fire Emblem is a great strategy-based video game series, and we think it could make an equally great strategy-based board game, too. A hit from a few years back, Krosmaster Arena basically took the idea of an SRPG and turned it into a tabletop experience. The board is a grid, with all sorts of fun cardboard environmental pieces to place here and there. Players use minis representing their characters, with all of their important stats and abilities listed on convenient cards. From there, you take turns moving around the board, taking shots at your enemies, plotting powerful combos, collecting loot and upgrading your team. With Fire Emblem: Birthright and Conquest telling a compelling story of two kingdoms at war on the 3DS last year, we think that could be the perfect setting for a tabletop incarnation of the same game.
Just like the Mass Effect video game trilogy, we think a tabletop game based on the property should be big, meaty and conclude in a manner that not all players (the losers) will appreciate. Mass Effect is a space opera, and there have been plenty of board games that would serve as a great template for this tale of expansion, exploration, exploitation and extermination. Twilight Imperium jumps to mind, as well as the more recent incarnation of A Game of Thrones. Give players a map of the cosmos, plenty of objectives to tackle and battles to fight as they vie for control. If we're going to tuck in for a tabletop version of Mass Effect, we want it to be one of those day-killing affairs that boasts hundreds of miniatures and a map so big that you need a side table just to hold all of the cards, dice and other fiddly bits necessary to play.
The deckbuilding genre has really taken off in the past couple of years, and we think that would be the perfect way to bring Overwatch into physical gaming. Games like Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn and the recently launched Hero Realms have proven that you don't have to be totally symmetrical when playing these types of games, adding special starting decks for individual characters that give them a flair all their own. The other great thing about deckbuilding games is that they expand pretty easily, so you could have a one-on-one showdown just as easily as three-on-three. Also, Overwatch is full of unique Heroes that players really relate to, so that sounds like the perfect foundation for a game that comes with a set of starting characters and small expansions that let you add your favorite character to the game.