Videogame developers will take inspiration from anywhere. The fact that CSI, Duck Dynasty, and Lost all have digital equivalents is proof of that. Board games are no exception, and have be around for a long time. Remember winning copies of Monopoly from cereal boxes? Even Magic: The Gathering jumped onto the bandwagon, joining the likes of Warhammer and the well known but rarely played Hasbro board game packs. I’m talking about that weirdly dramatic Risk game you could trial on the 360.
While board games get turned into videogames all the time, it rarely happens the other way around. Yet 2017 marks the year that all changes. Both Super Hot and Dark Souls are expecting to either release or start production next year and hopefully more games will follow. These aren’t the first video-to-board games though; there’s a whole list to choose from.
Let’s start with the most obvious one. It seems nowadays that you can’t throw a pair of dice without them accidentally landing on a licensed Monopoly board. Whether it’s Pokémon, Call of Duty, Mass Effect or Fallout, almost every major gaming franchise seems to have jumped on the Monopoly bandwagon. There’s even Farmville Monopoly, though I’m not sure anyone has ever bought it.
The fun part of these licensed games is the unique places you can buy and the inevitable gloating about owning all of the property in the Nuclear Wasteland (congratulations?). Still, don’t be fooled into thinking picking up a copy of your favourite game turned Monopoly will be too different from any other Monopoly. Relationships will end, but you will always have your tiny pewter Mako.
Dragon Age: Origins was the beginning of my modern gaming career. It was the first game I bought that didn’t come bundled with my console. You better believe that I played through that game multiple times and tried every single alternate beginning. Being an avid player of tabletop games growing up, you can imagine my excitement when I realised that Dragon Age had it’s own tabletop role playing game. Unlike some of the more recent Dungeon and Dragons games, Dragon Age RPG is played purely with your imagination. And dice. Dice are important.
Published by Green Ronin, Dragon Age RPG takes place during the Blight of Dragon Age: Origins and takes you through a similar adventure to that of the game. You start off as a Grey Warden, recruited by Duncan and are set to try and take down the Blight. Aside from that the rest of the story is up to whoever is running the game, but Green Ronin does offer several official story sets that can be bought physically and digitally from their website.
As a big fan of tabletop games, playing this was a no brainer for me. The most surprising thing however is that Dragon Age RPG is very simple. Rather than using a combination of twenty, twelve, eight, ten, six and four sided dice, you play mostly with three six sided dice. One of these three dice is coloured differently to the others and is referred to as the ‘dragon die’, a special die that contributes to several different elements in the game. It’s an easy system to wrap your head around and allows both new and returning tabletop players to get right into it. The use of stunts brings an element of unpredictability to the game and allows you to do all of the heroic actions you wish you could have done in Dragon Age: Origins. Stunts are performed when you roll doubles during an attack, and depending on your dragon die roll you get to choose from a selection of extra moves to take that turn.
As the name suggests, the aim is to get cake and screw the rest of the people you’re playing with. The board is made up of testing chambers that are slowly moving towards GlaDos’ second favourite killing method, the furnace. You struggle against an ever moving board, trying to protect your cake as you move from one side of the board other. It’s not the easiest game to get the hang of, but after a few rounds you get a feel for it.
It’s quite neat to have to constantly pull the board apart, and it adds to the feeling of pressure, similar to when GlaDos decides it’s deadly neurotoxin time. It also comes with a free code for Portal 2 on PC which you can struggle to give away because at this point I’m pretty sure everyone in the universe has a copy.
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