I love board games. From tactical and intense action games, to roleplaying games, to euro games, to card games — the lot. Playing Monopoly GO recently made me wonder what other board games I’d love to see receive the same treatment.
Now, I don’t necessarily mean that the following board games deserve to become vacuous money-grabbing gimmicks. I simply mean that I’d love for more board games to make this leap into the digital and maybe even live service platform.
Board games that need a creative digital spin-off
The following board games would do well to have a video game spin-off that isn’t simply a digital version of the board game. Monopoly GO has turned Monopoly into a completely different product and experience that stays true to the initial values. It would be so cool to see more of this creativity in other board games I love.
Note that the following board games aren’t ranked or anything, they’re simply ten board games I think would benefit from this adaptation the best.
Battleship is an old classic, where players set up their battleships on a board and try to decimate their opponent’s battleships through guesswork. It’s highly tense, and as soon as a ship gets hit, emotions erupt from either side.
A creative spin-off could see players being able to form their own fleets where they’ll be going up against other players’ fleets. The core game mechanic would remain, but this spin-off has room for power-ups, abilities, different levels in different oceans, and even historically accurate battleships. There is so much room to turn this game from its small and consistent board game counterpart into a game with proper progression.
Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and Ladders has been rehashed in a million forms, both physically and digitally. The only game mechanic is the rolling of dice over and over again, which is strangely more fun than it sounds written down. However, due to this absence of creativity, there are many possibilities.
A Snakes and Ladders spin-off could transpire very similarly to Monopoly GO, where perhaps you advance different board layouts with dice earned over time and from events. Clearing boards is rewarding, which can go into leveling up cosmetic features or building up your own Snakes and Ladders board for other players to compete on. The possibilities here are truly off the scales and would make for a great digital adaptation.
The Game of Life
I remember playing this game very fondly with friends and family. In it, you essentially speed-run life with education, careers, properties, and families, all the way to retirement. This would be more challenging to make into a digital adaptation, but it would be incredibly fun if executed well.
There are different directions that this could take. Would we play with one character, upgrading properties and increasing the family as we advance higher and higher? Would we get through numerous characters, and bank the retirement cash for upgrades and account rewards before running again? Like Monopoly GO, we could keep advancing differently-themed boards as we get through life again and again.
Memoir ’44 is a true classic and a persistent triumph for fans of wargaming. Players go head-to-head advancing their troops from one of many scenarios against another player. The levels are asymmetrical, and strategy and tactics are just as important as the roll of your dice.
I suppose the only way to make a creative mobile adaptation would be to make it so you form your own army, and go head-to-head with players. Combat needn’t be complex like in the board game — as that’s what the board game is for. Perhaps we could build our own base camp, and unlock cool cosmetics for our soldiers, armor, and artillery. We could even do battle in different theatres, reflecting the additions to the board game.
A Feast for Odin
A Feast for Odin is a lesser-known gem that revolves around resource and inventory management. Every turn, you must feed your Vikings, but you must also be collecting points by trading, upgrading, raiding, exploring new lands, animal breeding, and so much more. There is much more to do than one game can allow.
A mobile game adaptation would be difficult here, but the core mechanics of feeding your Vikings and all of the other actions you can do could make for an exceptional mobile game of resource management. Perhaps the Vikings are only available for tasks after certain cooldowns, and by filling out your board and barns with goodies, you get to reset with more points. This creates progression and keeps all the awesome features intact.
Labyrinth is another family classic, one I played loads with my grandparents. The aim of the game is to navigate the changing maze while trying to hunt down all of your assigned treasures and escape before the others do.
A digital adaptation could see us spelunking down labyrinths to hunt for treasures for different collector sets. This doesn’t have to be multiplayer, either, or at least the multiplayer features could be in addition to braving the labyrinth.
Catan is another classic that focuses on resource management and trading. In Catan, you’ll be building roads and settlements to reap resources and rewards. Trading with other players helps you both toward your goals — so you must be careful.
There are many options open to Catan if we were to give it the Monopoly GO treatment. Every player could have their own board that they get to build up. It would be largely cooperative, as you can trade with other players. This may not make the most exciting digital adaptation, but the cozy premise and simple gameplay will be very attractive to many.
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Carcassonne is a killer game of generated lands, cities, and roads, where everyone is striving for dominance over the largest cities and the longest roads. With many expansions, this board game gets complicated real quick, but in a positive and engaging way that overwhelms people with options.
If this were to become a mobile game spin-off, we could see players building their own land with tiles they earn either over time or through multiplayer features. We could even invade our friends’ lands by placing meeples on their unclaimed cities in their boards. It could be really fun to have to plan carefully, as a conniving friend could swoop in and take your cities, even if it’s time-limited.
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a beloved game of making railways across the USA. It is a points-based game where the longest railways net bigger point totals. That is pretty much it, and yet due to the card mechanic, it is a highly strategic game of choices. Where what you do pick and what you don’t are equally important.
A mobile spin-off would really change how this game is interacted with. I could imagine it revolving around players filling out their own boards and making their own connections. Multiplayer features could revolve around derailing or stealing other players’ railways and trains, adding to your board and impeding theirs.
Cluedo is a board game of mystery and guile, where each player will be investigating rooms of a large manor to find out the details of a mysterious death. They’ll have to figure out the killer, the weapon, and the location.
A mobile game adaptation would really change the way this game is interacted with. I’d imagine there’d be numerous settings for murders, and the player will collect details and clues through multiplayer functions. You’d still have to guess the details and hope you’re right, which is the heart and soul of the game. Perhaps other players can muddy your investigation to further their own — who knows?
Now that you’re disappointed that these don’t exist already, why don’t you check out 10 must-get holiday gaming deals you can’t miss in 2023?