Thursday, April 3, 2008

Board Games meet Video Games

Thank you random blog for compiling a list of video game to board/card game conversions. They're not like movie to game adaptations, where the fundamental mode of consumption has shifted from passive to interactive. Both video games and board games are obviously interactive mediums, but the type of interaction is very different. Video games are limitlessly virtual, where board games are physical, tangible things. The challenges involved in converting something from virtual to real while keeping the same spirit fascinates me. What aspects of the video game experience are important enough to demand a real physical object in your hand? Do you keep the same core game mechanics?

So I clicked through some of the links to look at the more interesting conversions. I skipped the CCGs, as that I'm not interested in tempting another expensive trip through those types of games. I'll take the Card Game part, but I could happily skip the Collectible aspect.

Starcraft: The Board Game (review, picture)
Real-Time Strategy games grew out of turned-based strategy games, which in turn grew out of board wargames, so it's natural to see Starcraft come full circle. Certainly the thought of moving around hydralisk miniatures sounds awesome. From the reviews it sounds like a pretty solid game, with enough variety in victory conditions to mix it up while preventing long games.

Halo Action Clix (review, picture)
Of the three reviews I read, none of the reviewers were familiar with Halo... which blows my mind. I mean, most of the value of these cross-over games is in the brand, right? But it seems there is a whole set of people who are interested in video games but don't play them (either because the games are too violent, or the controls are too complex, or whatever), and a board game adaptation is great approximation. I personally have a hard time wrapping my head around how a turn based wargame can capture the spirit of Halo deathmatch. But a lot of people seem to dig this one, and the miniatures look rad, so power to 'em.

World of Warcraft: The Board Game (review, video review, picture)
Yes, there is a WoW board game. And apparently it's epic in length and a little grindy… just like the real thing! I'm actually very intrigued by this one. It sounds like they distilled down character development, traveling, questing, and looting into a nice board game. It sounds a bit like the Middle Earth CCG that I used to play back in the day (which was great, but way too complicated for it ever to be as awesome as it was in my head). The WoW board game is compelling as an accelerated version of the MMO, but keep in mind that means a game takes only about five hours… yeah.

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