I hope I pull the Jill Sandwich card
Many years ago, I found a complete edition of The Legend of Zelda board game from the 1980s on eBay for a shockingly low price. I hesitated but a moment before I clicked “buy now” and waited in eager anticipation for it to arrive. Once it did, I checked to ensure it actually had all the pieces as advertised. It did and I was in Zelda heaven.
Is the game fun? Eh, it’s okay. Not the best translation of Zelda to the board game format, but certainly serviceable enough that I still play it from time to time. I do hold it in high standards compared to my other video game-board games because it at least tried to do something interesting and unique. What’s the rest of my collection? A hodgepodge of various themed editions of Risk, Monopoly, Jenga, Clue and chess. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mario chess set, but I’m a bit bored of seeing the same games slapped with a new IP every few months that we as fans are supposed to eat up. Although judging by my collection, that strategy is working.
That may be why I’m so excited about the recently funded Deadly Premonition board game. Have I played the original video game? No, but in the Kickstarter description for the project, its creators say the mechanics of it are a unique, original concept inspired by the finer points of its video game forbearer. That’s the type of thinking I want to see with video game-to-board game adaptations, and one I would love to see done with the original Resident Evil.
Let me give you an idea of what I’m imagining. You play as one of four characters from the original game, trapped in Spencer Mansion. Jill, Barry, Chris and Rebecca, all trapped with the horrors of the t-Virus inside. The game board would look similar to that of Clue, a big house you have to make your way around. Notable rooms from the game would be there; including the foyer, the dining hall, the greenhouse, the armor room, the exhibition room and that room where the spider comes down from the ceiling and scares the shit out of me.
The object of the game is to escape and each player is given a card with a certain set of instructions they alone must meet to get out. Each player has a set of cards that represent ammo and health, and as they move about the mansion they are attacked by various creatures they have to defeat with their cards. Mismanage your inventory, and you’re dead (just like the real Resident Evil).
In each room will be certain squares where you active a boss battle that is the key to escaping. Move to each room in the order demanded on the instruction card and get to the front door to escape first and you win. Draw trap cards where you die unless you can barter with the other players to come rescue you. There can even be a single player set of instructions where you have to rescue the other three characters.
Oh, and did I mention a special rule where one of the players is actually Wesker, tasked with killing the other three players?
I’ve put a lot of thought into this over the past week, way more thought than the bozos below put into their ideas for the perfect video games to get the board game treatment.
Well CJ, I do have the Resident Evil Deck Building Game! But I know it’s not the same.
Since my favorite tabletop experience (proviso: that I can’t get anyone to play because they hate it) is Arkham Horror, I’ve spent many nights figuring out how to make it work with any given game series, and one day I found the perfect match — Kingdom Hearts. For those of you who haven’t played Arkham Horror proper yet (most people prefer it’s shorter spinoffs), it’s one of many “PVE” (player versus environment) co-op tabletop experiences that have been pretty popular as of late. Instead of squaring off against your friends and arguing over hotels and Park Place, everyone is joined together to defeat an Old God boss monster in a certain amount of turns. It’s still tense but in a different way.
One of the chief components of Arkham is moving in and out of portals, so entering new Square and Disney worlds would slot in nicely. Plus, I can only assume it would be a little easier to manage, but a set of “Proud mode” rules would allow for a certain degree of hardcore play. Maybe if Mickey and Minnie were on the box I could convince folks to get in on an overly complicated four to five-hour gaming session.
Or not! Maybe I’ll just stick to 40K when it comes to my lengthy game session fix.
CJ has so little imagination. I, on the other hand, have a great imagination. The best. It’s wonderful. And with my superior intellect, I came up with Madden – The Ultimate Card Game for Ultimate Fans. Half of the Madden experience these days is their Madden Ultimate Team feature, where you essentially play a board game through a virtual medium, the feature so ingrained into the modern Madden philosophy that the special editions of the game simply come with more and better cards to use in it. So why not capitalize on that with a physical card game?
It’d work more or less the same as the video game version, except my idea would have an actual board upon which to place cards, splayed out as a formation employed by an actual football team. There’d be a spot for the QB, linemen, receivers, DB’s, linebackers, and so on. You’d place eleven cards down, one for each position, each card having a rating. Players would take turns in “attacking” the opposing defense using dice to generate “hit” strength, the stats of each player modifying the blow. If they can’t score by eliminating the opponent’s cards in ten turns, the other team goes on offense, resets cards, and so forth. It’s brilliant because it would be simple enough for even your typical Madden fan to understand, but complex to where you’d need to reserve cards for later strategy, as using them eliminates them from further use. I thought of everything, probably!
And with this EA can do what it does best – sell things piecemeal for a very high price! The base game would come with the board and enough cards to make a team, but just like in the video game you’ll have to buy more cards if you want to play! Mystery packs seem to be the method du jour for card games, so they could definitely take advantage of this method. I hope you guys like Mike Glennon because you’re about to see a ton of his 72 overall QB card in those mystery packs!
Applying the kinds of action elements that make Fireball Island and Shark Attack special to a Shovel Knight board game could work wonders at bringing those character to life. Like in the upcoming Shovel Knight battle mode update, you could choose between any of the game’s protagonists and bosses; Shield Knight, The Baz, Plague Knight, and all the rest. Each character would have a different set of attacks, abilities, and weaknesses that would either help or hinder their trip around the world map, collecting treasure and battling rivals as they go.
With the right card and roll of the dice, Propeller Knight could blow a competing knave right off the map before they were able to ransack his treasure horde, but likewise, Mole Knight may be able to dig underground to preemptively dodge that attack if he’s savvy enough. Shovel Knight could pogo off enemies heads and bounce to heights other characters may not be able to reach. Shield Knight could reflect enemy attack right back at them. The list of ways that these characters could interact with each other and with the board in a traditional tabletop setting knows no bounds.
If every game piece was an amiibo, Yacht Club could charge up to $100 for the whole package and plenty of fans would still be willing to pay up. I know I would.
If CJ has little imagination according to Wes, then I need the imagination equivalent of a bailout.
So I’m a big fan of a collectible miniatures game called Heroclix. Despite being a grid-based strategy game, it feels very dynamic even when compared to actual video games, as stats and abilities change as units take damage or heal. The other big selling point of Heroclix is that it is the one medium on the planet where you can pit DC versus Marvel in any official capacity, along with the occasional special set such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Pacific Rim, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The one thing I dislike about the game is boosters cost too much for too little, and it’s kept me from getting invested in new sets lately as a result.
What I would absolutely adore however is if someone took the beautiful dynamic stats mechanic, picked a franchise, although preferably a strategy one, and then applied the deck building game basis to it. Give a couple of maps that are iconic locations, unique scenarios for both PVE and PVP setups, and expansions with more units, maps, and scenarios. Then design future standalone releases that not only work with the strengths of a new franchise but also works with previous standalone releases from a different franchise with no problem. My wallet wouldn’t be able to resist, it would be that great. Just imagine the beautiful insanity that would result. A Fire Emblem and XCOM team up in order to stop the Zerg from StarCraft. Prinnys from Disgaea alongside Super Robot War mechs such as The Big O in order to fight against the Covenant in their Halo Wars incarnation. If it can support Heroclix sets, that would be even greater.
Now I’m going to spend the rest of the week upset that this isn’t a thing, and probably won’t be for a long time.
Beyond requisite copies of The Game of Life and Monopoly, my tabletop game experience has been pretty limited. That said, I do find modern boardgames pretty fascinating to read about, solely for the breadth of subject matter they cover, and how complicated they can seem to get.
As for a video game-based board game, I tend to gravitate towards the ones that contain bits that would make really cool toys, so a Destiny board game featuring customizable figurines would be right up my alley. Players could gear up their Guardians and play competitively or cooperatively against raid bosses or each other, with fancy little bits and bobs to represent their guns. They could even use dice shaped like engrams!
All right, I’m ready to start a Kickstarter to make all these things happen. Who’s with me?