Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Guide to Board and Card Games Based on Video Games (1971 to 2007)

Why do companies produce or license board and card games to be created from their video games?

Brand recognition. Either they hope the board or card game will make a few bucks based on the popularity of the video game series, or they hope that the board or card game will increase sales to the video game through brand recognition.

Nintendo takes this a step further and celebrates itself, rather than its games, as a brand (Nintendo dominoes, Nintendo UNO, Nintendo Monopoly).

For this reason, the history of board and card games based on video games is not one of great games, with some improvements as of late.

What is the difference between a board or card game based on a video game and a video game based on a board or card game?

Video games based on board or card games, or movies, need inherit only the theme from the game they imitate. For instance, the first Civilization computer game was originally based on a board game of the same name, but aside from the idea of civilization-building, the play and the mechanics of these games had nothing to do with each other. Update: see comments for a correction about this example.

The exception to this is a direct translation of a board or card game into video game format, such as a computer version of Risk or Settlers of Catan on the XBox. These invariably disappoint unless they can be played multi-player, because usually the fun part of older board games was the player interaction, not the game play itself.

On the other hand, a board or card game based on a video game generally tries to mimic not only the theme and story of the video game, but some element of the game play. Therefore, if, in a video game, Mario jumps barrels, moves up levels, and avoids a gorilla, the board or card game is going to try to get all of those elements in the same order. The mechanics may be different: instead of pushing buttons and moving a joystick you'll play cards or roll a die.

As a result, unless the original game was board or card game like to begin with, the resulting game has some heavy constraints to overcome.

The good news is that companies have begun to discard this old notion of how to make licensed board and card game in recent years, instead creating tabletop games that only match in theme, just like the reverse procedure. As a result, the quality of this genre of game has shown some improvement.

The bad news is that many of these games are pretty much now loss leaders to get people to buy into the video game with little originality or creativity. Witness the large number of new and useless CCGs based on recent video games, included in the packaging or given away at conventions.

While video games are challenging to your hand-eye coordination or logic, most board and card game adaptations relied entirely on spinners or dice, making them entirely unchallenging. Some of the designs are cute recreations of their video equivalents, but without the interesting mechanics to back them up.

Another challenge for adaptations is how to take an essentially single-player game and create a game for two to four players. In some cases, the game is something akin to multi-player solitaire, while in others each player takes on the role of adversary for his opponents.

About This List

In the following listings, dates are given as video game/board game. When unknown, I write UNKN; if you can fill these dates in for me, I would be much obliged.

Some video games spawned numerous board or card games, and these are mentioned. A board or card game marked with an asterisk (*) is somewhat more interesting than the usual, either in my opinion or so I have been made to understand.


Whac-a-Mole: 1971/2004

Theme: bop things on the head as fast as they appear.

This card game is a dexterity speed game. It also earns the title of "longest time differential between the original electronic game and the board or card game".

Pong: 1972/1977

Theme: hit the ball back to your opponent.

The game here is actually an electronic game as well, called Blip. It was a rather strange game, but a good game for its time. A mechanically moving LED moved back and forth between the players. You had to push the correct button out of three on your side depending on which one the "ball" was heading towards.


Video gaming was outside the home at video arcades. Board games were a natural way to capture the home market. With console gaming just getting off the ground, board games were still comparable in market share. The arcade game vendors sold board games the way they now sell T-shirts, hoping to capitalize on a brand.

Space Invaders: 1978/1982

Theme: shoot slowly descending aliens and avoid getting hit by falling bombs.

This was an unlicensed game named Invaders. If I understand correctly, you roll the dice to determine which column your piece lands in and then collect an invader from that column.

Asteroids: 1979/2003

Theme: shoot the moving asteroids which break into smaller pieces, and avoid getting hit by them.

An unlicensed free print-and-play game which involves moving 3D origami figures around the board and shooting them, using numerous dice.

Berzerk: 1980/1983

Theme: avoid getting touched by rapidly moving robots.

Milton Bradley.

Centipede: 1980/1983

Theme: shoot the centipede which breaks into pieces when hit, and avoid getting hit by the pieces or other critters.

Milton Bradley.

Crazy Climber: 1980/1986

Theme: climb a building using window ledges while weird people throw things onto you.

Appears to have some choices in movement, at least.

Defender: 1980/1983

Theme: seek out and shoot the alien ships as they try to abduct humans. Save the humans from falling after an abduction.

Milton Bradley.

Pac-Man: 1980/1982

Theme: eat all the dots in a maze while avoiding getting eaten by four critters.

Milton Bradley. There was also card game 1982 which played like a fancy version of war.

Bosconian: 1981/UNKN

Theme: shoot things before they shoot you.

An unlicensed free print-and-play game that uses dice, pencil, and paper.

Donkey Kong: 1981/1982

Theme: climb a building and rescue the girl by jumping over or hammering the barrels thrown at you by a big monkey.

Milton Bradley. You are sometimes required to actually roll a barrel across the board. This was also card game 1983, and a board game 1999. The latter involves some sort of card drafting mechanic. There's also a toss and pitch POG game 1995.

Frogger: 1981/1981

Theme: cross a river or road by jumping from one moving object to another without getting eaten, drowned, or squashed.

Milton Bradley. Interesting in that it gives you action points. Not interesting enough to make a good game, however.

Joust: 1982/1983

Theme: fight against realistic gravity effects to stab the things trying to eat you.

Parker Bros.

Ms Pac-Man: 1982/1982

Theme: same as Pac-Man.

Milton Bradley.

Jungle Hunt: 1982/1983

Theme: jump to avoid the dangers.

Milton Bradley.

Pitfall!: 1982/1983

Theme: jump to avoid the dangers.

Milton Bradley.

Pole Position: 1982/1983

Theme: navigate a race course as quickly as possible.

Parker Bros.

Popeye: 1982/1983

Theme: collect items while avoiding the bad guys.

Parker Bros. Also a card game 1983.

Q*Bert: 1982/1983

Theme: jump onto each square while avoiding the bad guys.

Parker Bros. Also a card game 1982.

Turbo: 1982/1983

Theme: navigate a race course quickly.

Milton Bradley.

Zaxxon: 1982/1982

Theme: shoot everything and don't crash.

Milton Bradley

Blue-Max: 1983/1983*

Theme: shoot everything.

The board game is a full-fledged and well-respected GDW war game. I'm not entirely sure how much of the game was based on the video game of the same name.

Dragon's Lair: 1983/1983

Theme: choose the right path through a dragon's lair at every room; hesitation equals death.

Milton Bradley.

Early Console

Game consoles are now eating into Christmas morning presents, but various crashes, missteps, and poor game quality in the early 80s caused some critics to see them as a temporary fad. These board game tie ins are mostly curiosity pieces. The board game market sat on its laurels during this period, producing nothing interesting or new.

Lode Runner: 1983/1986

Theme: climb around picking up the boxes without getting trapped in a pit.

Designed by one of the video game's designers, players try to navigate several mazes while opponents send guards to catch them. I don't know how it plays.

M.U.L.E.: 1983/2004

Theme: an economic game of survival and cooperation to keep your colony alive.

The board game is the free print and play game L.L.A.M.A.; another free print and play game is Q.U.L.E. 2005. These games were only developed recently, so appear to be potentially decent games.

Super Xevious: 1984/1985

Theme: shoot things.

A dice based combat game by the video game publisher (Namco).

Tower of Druaga: 1984/UNKN

Theme: navigate a tower picking up treasures, killing monsters, and rescue the princess.

A dice based dungeon crawl game by the video game publisher (Namco). Probably 1985 or 1986.

Dragon Buster: 1985/1986

Theme: navigate a dungeon picking up treasures, killing monsters, and rescue the princess.

A dice based dungeon crawl game by the video game publisher (Namco).

Commando: 1985/UNKN

Theme: shoot things.

A roll and move game by the video game publisher (Bandai).

Ghosts N' Goblins: 1985/1989

Theme: kill things, pick up treasure, and rescue the princess.

A roll and move game by the video game publisher (Bandai).

Gradius: 1985/UNKN

Theme: shoot things

A roll and move game by the video game publisher (Bandai), but it appears that you may at least have choices over the direction in which you move.

Super Mario Bros.: 1985/1988

Theme: navigate various platforms, avoid getting shot, pick up the treasures, and rescue the girl. This is the best selling video game of all time.

Milton Bradley. Another board game The Great Ladder Race 1989 is a dexterity game where you try to move your Mario or Luigi up a ladder. Another roll and move by Waddingtons 1992, as well as a completely random Waddingtons card game 1992.

There is also a newer dexterity electronic game 2006 and dexterity non-electronic balancing game 2006.

Tetris: 1985/1989

Theme: orient and fit falling blocks to create rows of complete lines.

Build rows with plastic pieces and crowd your opponent to hinder him from doing the same. By Tomy.

Textor 1994 is a print and play two-player game, and Tetris Tower 3D 2004 is a game with a Connect Four like grid and a timer.

The Legend of Zelda: 1986/1988

Theme: explore a world, gain powerups, find secret passages, kill monsters, and rescue the girl.

Milton Bradley. While still a dice rolling random game, the game play involved cooperative movement and multiple winners or losers in each battle, which was somewhat interesting.

Fourth Generation

By now you're probably wondering how I'm dividing my video game ages. Unlike the divisions on Wikipedia which measure the bit capability of the consoles, my divisions are based on theme and game play.

First gen games were simple sports games, second arcade game shooters, and third abstract shooter, maze and adventure games. Fourth generation is when direct hand-to-hand fighting and visceral blood and gore entered the video gaming world, and not coincidentally when I dropped out of playing video games.

Once again, nothing exciting was happening in tabletop gaming at this time. Milton Bradley was having some success with their Gamemaster series, including Axis and Allies and Fortress: America. Chess was growing in popularity, role playing games were pretty much at a standstill, and the last good board games were Boggle and Trivial Pursuit in the 1970s. Despite the success of Super Mario Bros., board games again sat on their laurels and lost the American media spotlight.

This is when the media began referring to board games as last generation's entertainment. (Of course, it's worth remembering that the tabeltop gaming world probably still dominates the video gaming world, even today (in 2008). Most people forget that tabletop gaming includes the billions of people who play Chess, Go, Poker, Xiang-Qi, Bridge, RPGs, CCGs, and so on, i.e. more than just Hasbro and Ravensburger. Then again, is someone who plays Chess online a board gamer or a video gamer?)

Double Dragon: 1987/1989

Theme: punch and kick people, rescue the girl.

By Tiger Electronics.

Final Fantasy: 1987/1999

Theme: an RPG of discovery, spellcasting, combat, resources, and exploration.

FF has gone through a number of versions over the last twenty years. Some of the later versions included card games that a player's character could play within the video game experience. Some of these were turned into actual card games, including Triple Triad and another called Tetra Master 2001.

Mega Man: 1987/2004

Theme: Jump platforms, avoid dangers, stop Dr Wily.

The linked board game is Megaman NT Warrior Battle Net. I'm not sure what the "NT" is for. There's also a CCG 2004, and a licensed Settlers of Catan game 2005 (one of the very few).

Sim City: 1989/1995

Theme: create and sustain a virtual world population

The game is a CCG created by Mayfair games.

Railroad Tycoon: 1990/2005*

Theme: create and sustain a virtual railroad system.

The board game is rather late in coming, but that only means that it was released in a better board game age. The board game is ranked rather highly, although it suffers from a series of distracting physical production problems.

Wing Commander: 1990/1995

Theme: shoot things and rise in the ranks of the Air Force, onwards to victory.

The game is a CCG.

Sid Meier's Civilization: 1991/2002

Theme: build a thriving civilization through several epochs of history using resource management, war, and diplomacy.

The video game is based on the original classic board game Civilization 1981*, one of the few bright spots of the 1980s board game scene. The original board game had an equally lauded sequel, Advanced Civilization 1991*. The new board game, which is based on the video game, is not particularly well regarded, so much so that an open source project was created to replace it.

Sonic the Hedgehog: 1991/1992

Theme: jump platforms, avoid critters, pick up treasures.

Sega's answer to Super Mario Bros. The game is by Milton Bradley. There was also card game 1992. The Sonic franchise includes TV shows and so on, and there is a CCG based on one of the cartoons Sonic X 2005.

Street Fighter II: 1991/1994

Theme: punch and kick people.

The original Street Fighter 1987 didn't spawn any games, as far as I know. The board game is by Milton Bradley. There was also a War-like card game 1994, and an RPG.

Super Ghouls N' Ghosts: 1991/1991

Theme: kill things, pick up treasure, and rescue your fiance.

A dice based move and combat game.

Mortal Kombat: 1992/1995

Theme: punch and kick people.

The game is a CCG called Kard Game.

Fifth Generation

The rise of online gaming and computer-like consoles brought video gaming into movie mode with nice graphics and smooth game play. They also got gorier and more violent.

Board and card games finally began their media comeback. In America, you had Magic: the Gathering, whose effect was felt in the video game world as they began pumping out specialty CCGs to go with their video games. Dungeons and Dragons began working on 3rd edition, Chess matches captivated the world, and Texas hold'em fever began surging.

Nevertheless, with the perception of the decreased value of board game tie ins, many of the games in this period only produced board games a decade or so later.

With American board game manufacturers unable to break out of their strategy of endlessly licensing old games, European board game companies began producing incredible new games with revolutionary game play, such as Settlers of Catan, El Grande, and hundreds of other titles which heralded a new game genre: the Eurogame. These games were partly a reaction to the overly violent video games, which are less popular in European countries such as Germany.

At the end of the century, American manufactures finally brought out Cranium, as well as a number of somewhat languid DVD games.

Doom: 1993/2004*

Theme: shoot the hell out of everything you see, find the keys, and escape

The board game is rather late in coming, but that only means that it was released in a better board game age. The board game is a cooperative game of several players versus one player who controls all the monsters.

Doom is created by Fantasy Flight Games, which is the closest thing to a video game publisher in the board game world; not because it simulates the game play of video games directly, but because it creates highly complex and visually interesting games using themes lifted from video games (other games by them still to come later in this article).

Myst: 1993/2000

Theme: find clues, solve puzzles, and explore many worlds.

The game is a strange competitive game of assembling a puzzle.

Shadowrun: 1993/2003

Theme: make runs in a cyberpunk setting.

There were three earlier video games based on the pen and paper RPG Shadowrun, including the one linked above, another in 1994, and another in 1996. Another came out in 2007.

The game is a Clix mini-game. I don't know which game (if any) would be considered its inspiration.

X-Com Tactical: 1993/2004

Theme: acquire resources and go to war.

A print-and-play game based on the first game in the franchise.

Warcraft: 1994/2003

Theme: harvest resources and wage magical warfare.

The board game is by Fantasy Flight. Following the World of Warcraft MMOG, Fantasy Flight released the highly regarded World of Warcraft 2005*. There is also a well regarded CCG 2006*.

Pokémon: 1996/1999

Theme: an RPG word of trading and battling anime characters

The CCG is one of the most successful of all CCGs published in this era, and was aimed primarily at younger players. Like Nintendo, there are dozens of games based on the franchise itself, including: Monopoly Pokémon 1999, Battle Disk Competition 1998, Battle Dome 2005, Build n' Battle 2005, Battling Coin Game 1998, Champion Island DVD Game 2007, Adventure Game: Pokémon Emergency 2000, Master Trainer 1999, Master Trainer II 2001, Master Trainer III 2005, S.S. Anne Game 2000, Silph Co. 2000, Tower 2000, Trading Figures Game 2006, Pokemon Sorry 2000, and Pokemon Yachtzee Jr UNKN.

SpyCraft: 1996/2004

Theme: make choices and follow intrigue while protecting the U.S. president from assassination.

The game is a CCG.

Tamagotchi: 1996/1997

Theme: keep your virtual pet alive by typing in the correct sequences.

A card-driven board game.

Touhou Project: 1996/2006

Theme: shoot everything, and avoid a massive barrage of shots back at you.

This is a CCG called Rumbling Spell Orchestra.

Atelier of Marie: 1997/2006

Theme: adventure in a Japanese fantasy world.

A self-published card game made by a fan.

Fallout: 1997/2001

Theme: a post-apocalyptic game of karma and combat.

The tabletop game is a small scale war game by Interplay called Fallout: Warfare.

Tom Clancy's Politika: 1997/1997

Theme: conquer the world.

The video and board games both play somewhat like Risk.

Vampire Savior: 1997/UNKN

Theme: punch and kick the monsters.

The game is a CCG.

Starcraft: 1998/2007*

Theme: harvest minerals, build resources, wage interstellar war.

The game is another in the classic line of Fantasy Flight games, which means an excellent (if long) game in its own right.

Age of Empires II: 1999/2000

Theme: collect resources, build your civilization, and wage warfare.

The game is a CCG.

Neopets: 1999/2003

Theme: maintain your pet and live in a simulated world

Milton Bradley. There is also a CCG 2003.

Roller Coaster Tycoon: 1999/2002*

Theme: build an amusement park, manage resources, and attract happy visitors.

A mass market game by Hasbro, it's got a decent reputation for its event driven cards and choices. Recommended as a light gaming experience with non-gamers.

SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash: 1999/2000

Theme: an online CCG based on fighting games.

The card game is the paper equivalent of the video game. A similarly themed game is Capcom Crossovers 2004.

Tokimeki Memorial 2: 1999/1998

Theme: develop your physique and personality and get dates.

This is a dull looking dice based game. The interesting thing here is that it seems to have come out before the game on which it is based.

Sixth and Seventh Generation

Game consoles are now as powerful, or more powerful, than computers, and game graphics are DVD quality. Many games are massively complex, yet they have a play life of no more than about a year or so. A notable exception are MMOGs which are adaptable and expandable on the fly.

The most popular video games are new and unique casual games with interesting decisions and choices. The typical online game player is a woman in her thirties, which also influences the types of games that are developed.

New Eurogame mechanics are slowly spreading to both American board games and to the video game world. The commercial board game world is once again growing, but it is also merging with the computer game world. Various companies are testing generic electronic gaming tables, and many board and card gamers now play online.

Fatal Frame: 2001/2005*

Theme: survive in a haunted house by killing the undead and solving the puzzles

An unofficial, unlicensed fan-produced print-and-play game, supposedly quite good.

Crimson Skies: 2000/2003

Theme: aerial combat to save the U.S.

The game is a Clix mini-game. Originally a board game concept, it became a video game, and then a revamped video game. The Clix game is based on the newer video game.

Halo: 2001/2007

Theme: use a lot of different futuristic weapons to kill mechs aliens; especially known for online play.

The game is a Clix mini-game.

Age of Mythology: 2002/2003*

Theme: build and manage resources in a mythological world and wage war.

A fairly well regarded expansive game from Eagle games.

Kingdom Hearts: 2002/2006

Theme: a strange RPG combat game with Disney and anime characters.

The game is a CCG.

Anno 1503: 2003/2003*

Theme: build and maintain a medieval city state.

A well regarded board game by Klaus Teuber, the designer of Settlers of Catan.

Eve: 2003/2006

Theme: A MMOG set in a sci-fi universe where training and other real skills matter as much or more than combat.

The game is a CCG.

MapleStory: 2003/2007

Theme: defeat monsters and gain resources in this fantasy MMOG.

The game is a CCG.

Tomb Raider - Angel of Darkness: 2003/2003

Theme: explore a world, collect artifacts, shoot creatures.

The board game is a take-that game of shooting and blocking your opponent.

City of Heroes: 2004/2005

Theme: Be a superhero and beat up villains.

The game is a CCG.

Sid Meier's Pirates!: 2004/2007

Theme: control a ship, collect treasure, and fight.

The video game is a remake of an earlier one from 1987. The board game went through several prototypes but never actually materialized.

Age of Empires III: 2005/2007*

Theme: collect resources, build your civilization, and wage warfare.

Unlike the previous AoE II which was a simple CCG based on the game, this is a full-fledged epic board game which great bits and great game play.

Big Brain Academy: 2005/2007

Theme: solve a whole lot of puzzles of different types.

A light party game.

DragonQuest: 2005/UNKN

Theme: buy things in town to kill random monsters.

The video game series is based on an anime series which dates back to 1989, which explains why there are Dragon Quest board games appearing throughout the 90s, including Dragon Quest Dungeon 1990, which plays something like Battleship.

The above linked board game is a card driven dungeon game of exploration known as Death Palace. Additional games based on the video game series include Dragon Quest 1 and 2 UNKN based on the first two video games, which are card and dice combat games, Dragon Quest: Battle Arena UNKN, which is basically a four way card game of War, and Dragon Quest Dungeon R 2006, which appears to be a reworking of the original 1990 board game with added elements from the video games.

Dynasty Warriors 5: 2005/2005

Theme: slash, kick, and punch people.

The game is a CCG.

Epic Battles: NONE/2005

This game is a collaborative CCG tie in to both Midway's Mortal Kombat and Capcom's Street Fighter III.

Universal Fighting System: NONE/2005

By coincidence, this is another collaborative CCG tie in system of games that references multiple fighting game genres from multiple companies. It also draws on the Penny Arcade comic strip.

Anno 1701: 2006/2007

Theme: build and maintain a Renaissance city state.

A card game by Klaus Teuber, the designer of Settlers of Catan.

Auto Assault: 2006/2006

Theme: kill people with your guns and cars in a post-apocalyptic world.

The game is a CCG.

The Witcher: 2007/2007

Theme: brew potions and explore and fight as a witch.

The game is a CCG.

Can you fill in any missing info or correct my mistakes? Send me an email or post a comment.

Yehuda Berlinger

Updated: additions based on comments: Pokemon, Starcraft, Mega Man, others ...

Update: A number of people mentioned Frag 2001 (plus expansions) from Steve Jackson Games, which is a board game meant to play like a first person shooter video game, although not based on any one specific game.


AZMos said...

This is a great list! I've been reading for a year but haven't commented before.

Two comments on the list regarding Nintendo - One, Nintendo's original business was creating and selling playing cards. So, the Nintendo name on card games predates videogames. Two, you have left out Pokemon, one of the most successful videogame to CCG translations.

Thanks for the listing and the descriptions.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Thanks, Ari.

I knew about Nintendo's history as a card game industry, so no surprises there.

But doh! to me for missing Pokemon. Actually, I thought the card and video games were both based on the anime series. But I stand corrected.


Simon J said...

I'm still amazed that there has never been a Gauntlet game.

gnome said...

Now, that was (actually still is) a brilliant list. Brilliantly brilliant. As for me, I quite enjoyed Doom and Civilization, though I've only played the later only once.

Keep it up my friend!

Anonymous said...

Great job, as usual, highlighting an interesting aspect of the game hobby we might not have thought about.

By the way, the connection between the board and computer games of Civilization may not be so simple. This website, http://www.gis.net/~pldr/fah.html, tells a different story. But then again, Wikipedia seems to have another explanation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization_(series).

Anonymous said...

Starcraft has a board game. Though I haven't played it personally yet I bought it for my brother a bit back and he has good things to say about it.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the StarCraft board game (or maybe you didn't), another Fantasy Flight production. This one's interesting because it very loosely adapts some of the mechanics from the thematically similar FF game Twilight Imperium.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Starcraft! How could I forget? One of this year's biggest games.


Schwal said...

in Halo you fight aliens, not Mechs. but great list.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Megaman, the TCG by Decipher Inc.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Thanks, Joe. Oops, forgot to edit the Halo info, schwal; next time.


Troy Goodfellow said...

David M is right about the Civilization thing. The computer game was not, in fact, based on the board game. As you note, the mechanics are too dissimilar. I've interviewed Sid Meier and he says that he only became aware of the Avalon Hill game once development was very far along. To prevent any copyright or trademark issues, Microprose then bought some rights to the name Civilization. The rest is legal history.

SageCat said...

There is also Steve Jackson's Frag boardgame which is based on first-person shooter video games in general rather than any specific video game

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Thanks for the Civilization history.

Sagecat: I saw Frag and didn't think it quite fit.


tool said...

I doubt that the Blue Max board game had anything to do with the video game. "Blue Max" is a slang term for a particular WWI German medal, and has been used for other games that definitely have nothing to do with the video game (e.g., an Aces High expansion).

There's another Tetris boardgame which was released around the same time as the main one you mention which apparently is more interesting. It was released in the UK and probably elsewhere, but not in the US.

The Lode Runner board game as if it might actually be worth playing. I hope to obtain a translation eventually and try it.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

tool: Somewhere I had a source that the video game Blue Max inspired the war game, but I can't find that source now. I can't see how I would have made the match, otherwise, since I never played either game.


Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Great list, although I think the main reason why companies like Nintendo have board games as well is purely for branding purposes. I would think that the last thing a video game company wants to do is have a consumer spend money on board games rather than their core product, so a lot of the board games tend to be more generic.

iapetus said...

A possible oddity - Crimson Skies. The video game was based on the outstanding FASA board game, but later became a 'Clix' game off the back of the video game. Whether you believe this second game incarnation was based specifically on the video game or can be seen as an extension of the original board game (with which it shares none of the mechanics, regrettably) is up to you. :D

Anonymous said...

In the vein of SJG's Frag, there's Cheapass Games' Brawl, a card game that does an impressive job of simulating fighting games like Street Fighter, though it's not based on any such game in particular. It doesn't quite fit the theme but it might be of interest.

Anonymous said...

A couple more to add to your list...

Dragon Quest Dungeon R: A battleship-like dungeon crawler featured very nice miniatures of characters and environment tiles from Enix's popular RPG series. It's different than the one DragonQuest game you already have posted.

Pop'n Music: A card game based on Konami's music game series. Can't tell you how it plays... never translated the instructions!

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Anon: added both, although the link for the Pop'n Music card game is fairly weak.

Adrian: Interesting. Many of the Clix runs are based on video game series, including Halo, MechWarrior, Shadowrun, and Crimson Skies.


Anonymous said...

Two corrections/additions:

-Mechwarrior is based on FASA's tabletop combat game Battletech (and the spinoff Mechwarrior RPG), which began in the mid-1980s. Mechwarrior-the-PC-game was a licensed adaptation of those - one case of a "board game" predating a video game (FASA's Shadowrun, Games Workshop's Warhammer & 40K would be others).

-There was at least one other Tetris board game released in the U.S., late '80s or early '90s, by Milton Bradley & featuring flat-cardboard tiles on flat-cardboard rectangles with grid markings. The site you link to has one pic of the box cover mixed in with the different Tomy, plastic-blocks version.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

bc: thanks for the Mechwarrior tip. You're the second to mention a mysterious Tetris game that I haven't listed. Anyone have a link?


Anonymous said...

There's also City of Heroes card game and Heroclix figures.

Anonymous said...

Cool list. You might want to add the Neopets card game
It's based on the Neopets virtual world, which is a series of loosely linked games

Unknown said...

The original Dragon Quest was actually released in Japan in 1986, and the anime you mentioned was based on one of the games in that series. It was called Dragon Warrior in North America until 2005, due to copyright issues.

Brian Shurtleff said...

Were tabletop RPGs intentionally not included on this list? I guess you did title it "A Guide to Board and Card Games Based on Video Games"...

But if all tabletop gaming is what you meant to cover, then the Fallout video game series also spawned at least one, but I think a couple of unlicensed tabletop RPGs.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Anon: City of Heroes added, thanks.

Rik: Neopets added, thanks.

Jeff: Now I'm all confused! I'll reread Wikipedia.

Brian: I guess it would depend on how many RPGs I would have to add. I'm curious as to their quality.


tool said...

Here is the other Tetris board game.

tool said...

Actually, now that I look at the BGG entry for the Tetris game more closely, it's combining the US and UK games. I'll fix it.

Anonymous said...

There was also a CCG based on the .Hack series which pulled more of it's influence from the video game than the anime.

Unknown said...

I'm impressed that you actually included Rumbling Spell Orchestra; both the video games and the card game are fanmade (but not free).

Just as a note, it's not strictly a CCG in the modern sense, since the cards are never sold in random packs, only in pre-assorted ones. Still, there is a deckbuilding element and players wishing to build a physical deck typically need to buy at least 2 packs.

RavenWorks said...

What about Spore, which is apparently going to be its own CCG?


I recall a quote from Will Wright saying how the stats on the cards could be used to play a Spore tabletop CCG once you print them out, but I can't find the quote so I'm unsure if I misinterpreted it...

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Ravenworks: when it exists, I'll add it. Right now it's just a theory, I believe.


Anonymous said...

Great list. Jsut a minor add on: The Board game of Warcraft (plus expansion) and World of Warcraft are two different tiles - the former, described here, is based on the now classic computer game, while the later tries to rebuild the Online RPG.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

You're the second to mention that Warcraft is a different game from World of Warcraft. I'll make the correction.


Tom said...

Throneworld (1997) was based Phoenix, a completely computer moderated PBEM game done in the late 80s / early 90s by Don Woods (of Adventure fame) and Steve Goodman. Phoenix, in turn, was based on a board game by Steve Goodman (which I have never seen). In my design notes to Throneworld, I discuss some of the design issues I encountered upon turning a PBEM into a boardgame.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Tom: Thanks. I'm not sure it counts if it first started as a board game.



Anonymous said...

Hey yehuda! I really appreciate to know that us jews know the time line of our gaming industry! But its really shocking that the Pac Man game came out in the 1980! Someone needs to update my journal!
I myself love the game pac man and really grew up on it, but now as im older the history of the game is interesting too!

המשחקיה said...

great list, Yehuda- quite a bit of work.

While it's not official, I'd say the PC game Interstate 76 is based on Car Wars

Unknown said...

Hi, great list. I myself love the Zelda game. Also, I am suprised that no publisher ever created a Command & Conquer board game. Some of these games can still be purchased from eBay.


Unknown said...

Great information here! I was stocked to find out so much about publishers coming out with some many video games to board games.

I recently purchased Zelda to collect and to play from eBay. Also, I am suprised they never created a Command & Conquer game.