The Best Video Game Tabletop Adaptations In 2023

There aren’t many mediums that can truly support or adapt video game mechanics. However, considering that most party-based video games are inspired by tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, it only makes sense that things would come full circle. There are now many tabletop games inspired by video games, some even using mechanics from their respective games as well.


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TTRPGs inspired by video game RPGs are pretty common, given that the major changes are cosmetic; but there are also games that are unique, with a gameplay loop based on the video game itself, rather than a particular genre. These can be turn-based combat games, mystery, strategy, adventure, or a combination of them. Watching your favourite video game unfold on your tabletop is a great feeling. These are the best video game tabletop adaptations you can buy right now.

Updated by Josh Coulson at 05:10 am EST on December 9, 2023: Even though a board game based on the very first Sonic titles and an expansion of the Dark Souls tabletop universe won’t be available to play until 2024, you can pre-order The Sunless City and check out Sonic Roll right now, hence them making it into this guide of the very best video games that have been turned into tabletop adventures.

Best Video Game Tabletop Adaptations

Dark Souls: The Board Game - The Sunless City

Dark Souls: The Board Game – The Sunless City

Best Sequel

Even More Dark Souls Then The Original Dark Souls Board Game

Dark Souls: The Board Game has been a thing for years, and now it has a sequel. The Sunless City is a standalone spinoff that also had backwards compatible elements you can pull from the original if you have it. Designed for up to three players, or you can tackle Lordran alone.

Pros

  • Original Dark Souls board game not needed to play this one
  • If you do have it, some of its elements are backwards compatible
Cons

  • A little on the pricey side at $110

The Dark Souls trilogy of video games will remain some of the very best ever created in the eyes of a lot of gamers. Those same gamers will also know how difficult it is to convince people who think Souls games are too challenging to give them a go. The Sunless City, about as close to a perfect tabletop recreation of the real thing as you’re going to get, may well be your ticket to convincing others to join you. Even if it doesn’t persuade them to play the video games, at least you’ll have companions on this all-new tabletop adventure, one with endless replayability.

sonic roll tabletop game

Sonic Roll

Best Retro-Style

OG Sonic On Your Tabletop

Sonic Roll is a board game inspired by the original series of Sonic games on the Sega Genesis. Designed for one to four players who will each choose an iconic Sonic character, you’ll work together to clear stages, defeat badniks, and take down Dr. Robotnik.

Pros

  • Modeled on the original Genesis Sonic games
  • Each of the four players can be an iconic Sonic character
Cons

  • Additional details won’t be revealed until 2024

I feel I can speak for all Sonic fans – at least ones over the age of 30 – when I say all we really want is for Sega to keep finding new ways for us to experience the original games. The quadrilogy so many of us grew up playing. Repackaging them every time a new console is released is all well and good, but Sonic Roll is a far more inventive way of hitting us with that nostalgia. Play alone or team up with as many as three other players, assume the roles of the original four characters, and progress through familiar stages to take down badniks and eventually Dr. Robotnik himself.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn

Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn

Best Turn Based Strategy Game

Get the nukes out

Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn is perhaps the most similar to the source material out of all the tabletop games on this list. Even the video game series’ characteristic hexagonal board has been recreated, with the option of setting it up however you want. However, you’ll have to get the expansion if you want one more player to join in.

Pros

  • Great recreation of in-game board.
  • Same art-style as the video game.
  • Much quicker than the video game.
Cons

  • More objective-driven than interaction driven.

Civilization 6 has a special place in video game history, not just for its brilliant strategic gameplay, but also for featuring a bug that made Mahatma Gandhi resort to nuclear warfare. You can now create your own version of this meme, thanks to Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn. Maybe you can make Rome a pacifist nation, or turn Egypt into a resource abundant paradise.

XCOM: The Board Game

XCOM: The Board Game

Best Cooperative Game

Your squad is Earth’s last hope

While the previous entry recreates the game almost perfectly, XCOM: The Board Game does something different. While in the game you must make tactical decisions on the field, the board game gives you a more zoomed-out approach to saving the world. You must allocate the right resources and decide when it is ideal to attack.

Pros

  • Deep gameplay loop and mechanics.
  • Can be played solo, but will be very difficult.
  • Well designed board and pieces.
Cons

  • Very different gameplay style from the video game.

The XCOM series is one of the first to come to mind when talking about real time tactical strategy games. While XCOM: The Board Game does include elements of this, it takes a more macro approach, giving players ther role of commanders overlooking the war, rather than officers dictating a single battle. It drifts away from the video game’s gameplay loop a bit, but the stakes are as high as always. And yes, if a soldier is killed in action, you need to replace them entirely.

Betrayal At Baldur's Gate

Betrayal At Baldur’s Gate

Best Crossover

From TTRPGs, to video games, to board games

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate features a unique cycle of inspiration, starting from the original Dungeons & Dragons campaign, to the video game series, and later crossing over with another board game. This intricately woven result of a TTRPG, CRPG, and an exploration based board game gives us the best of all the genres.

Pros

  • Renowned gameplay mechanics blended with a popular IP.
  • You won’t know who will betray you until you start the game.
  • An iconic setting that transcends a single medium.

Baldur’s Gate is one of the most well known fantasy settings ever created. Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is essentially Betrayal at House on the Hill but with a Baldur’s Gate setting, characters, and abilities. Layering a beloved setting from fantasy fiction onto a board game isn’t easy, but these two complement each other very well. It can easily be viewed as a sort of mini-campaign by itself; although with different gameplay mechanics.

This War Of Mine

This War Of Mine: The Board Game

Best Narrative Driven Game

War is unfair, and so is this game

Much like the video game, This War of Mine: The Board Game shows you the effect of war on innocent civilians. Players must follow a narrative-driven story and resolve exploration based encounters in order to survive until a ceasefire is called. However, this is a very dark game, and things can go bad at almost any turn.

Pros

  • Brilliantly translates the emotion of the video game onto the board game.
  • Interesting and heart breaking narrative.
  • Does not glorify war.
Cons

  • The game is made to be unfair, so you won’t always win.

In any story about war, it’s mostly the soldiers that are focussed on. However, This War of Mine: The Board Game, like its source material, tells the story of civilian survivors and the ordeal they go through in a war torn city. Players control a group of survivors for whom things can go fatally wrong in the roll of a die. It’s not meant to be a happy game, so keep the tissues at hand.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game

Best Semi-Cooperative Game

Glory to the Sunhawk

While Aloy is off saving the world, the Hunters Lodge just wants to track and kill a bunch of machines. Up to four players will take on the role of hunters, each with their own equipment and abilities, and try to hunt the designated machine. The player with the most points at the end of the game will be crowned the winner.

Pros

  • Physical adaptation of one of Horizon Zero Dawn’s best features.
  • Artwork and figures right out of the game.
  • Semi-cooperative gameplay means a lot of twists.
Cons

  • Requires multiple expansions to remain playable.

Ever wondered what the Hunters Lodge was up to when Aloy was busy doing her thing? Well, you can find out by playing Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game. Players must work together – or not – to hunt down the target machine. Each hunter has unique skills and equipment, and must get the most points at the end of the game in order to win.

The Witcher: Old World

The Witcher: Old World

Best Adventure Game

This game is a far cry from Gwent.

The Witcher: Old World does really well in adapting the three major pilars of The Witcher 3 into a board game. Travel, exploration, and combat, all have specific mechanics which they abide to. The game also features gorgeous artwork and pieces, which make for great Witcher memorabilia for fans. You can even fight the other players if you come across them.

Pros

  • Brilliantly recreates aspects of the game into tabletop mechanics.
  • Narrative elements are intriguing.
  • Players can interact even when it’s not their turn.

Roaming around The Continent and exploring its furthest reaches is one of the best parts of The Witcher 3. This continues in the board game adaptation, The Witcher: Old World. Moving away from Geralt, players will take on the roles of Witchers from different schools, as they travel across the land fighting beasts and exploring as they go.

FAQ

What is the world’s most famous board game?

Monopoly is the most famous board game as it has received a number of versions and localizations.

Which is the toughest board game in the world?

Chess is considered the toughest board game in the world due to its many advanced strategies.

What is the oldest board game?

The Royal Game of Ur is considered to be the oldest known board game in the world. It originated 4,600 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia.

NEXT: The Best Board Games For Adults In 2023

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