A Gamer’s Guide to Board Games – Part 5: FPS, Racing and Survival Horror

Board Game Guide - BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia

The great thing about modern board games is the sheer diversity of games out there, designed to tickle any fancy. That includes video game genres that might not seem to at first glance to be suited to a tabletop version.

In our part 4 of our board game guide, we looked at how team management and fighting games actually lend themselves pretty well to the board gaming table.

We’re ending off this series by looking at some even more surprising translations of video game mechanics into tabletop fun.

Why won’t they stop respawning?

Gears of War - Board Game

This is a genre that doesn’t translate that well to a table top format, but if immersive graphics aren’t at the top of the reasons you love FPS’s and third-person shooters, there are some games you might enjoy.

Remember the first time you ventured into a dark corridor of some decrepit location and got jumped by ugly-ass enemies?

Space Hulk: Death Angel is a game that recreates the experience of venturing into the alien-infested corridors of an abandoned space ship. Getting your positioning and tactics right are key to surviving the brain-consuming horrors.

If you’re eager to return to the settings of your favourite shooters, there are a few board games that might catch your eye.

First up is the Doom board game, a tactical miniatures game that ramps up the tension.

If you’re more of a Marcus Fenix fan, the Gears of War board game lets you relive your favourite moments from the series in a whole new way.

Finally, BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia lets you lead either the Founders or Vox Populi into glory. All of the games don’t just look fantastic – they play well.

Getting up to speed

Robo Rally - Board Game

It’s tough to find a board game that captures the special something that makes racers great as most primarily focus on brainpower or luck over hand-eye coordination.

The exception is Pitchcar, a dexterity-based game (yes, you do get those) that sees you flick your racing cars across a track. Said track is customisable, so you’re not racing around the same board every time.

If you’ve ever revelled in the joy of screwing over your friends with tortoise shells in Mario Kart, you’ll get a perverse glee out of Robo Rally.

You get to race a tiny, doomed robot through a course filled with lasers and conveyor belts that happen to lead into gaping pits. Position your robot in the right place and watch in joy as you doom your friend to be pushed into a pit.

Cardboard terror

Eldritch Horror - Board Game

Much of survival horror’s appeal rests in its ability to evoke fear, something that suits the strengths of video games perfectly.

Finding a board game that does the same requires a little more creativity, but everyone who’s ever been afraid of the thing lurking under the bed knows that imagination can often be much scarier than what you can see.

The go-to setting for inescapable dread has long been the Cthulhu mythos, and board games may have even more Lovecraft-inspired games than video games.

Top of the pile are Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror, games that place you in the role of investigators trying to stop Elder Gods from passing over to earth.Mansions of Madness confines your investigators to a single, very creepy house

Battling eldritch abominations is hard but they’re chumps compared to the enemies in Ghost Stories. This game is brutal, throwing wave after wave of ghosts at you. And, in the unlikely event you manage to survive the onslaught, you still have to exorcise the final boss ghost – and he makes the other ghosts look like bunnies.

The one thing that the above games have in common is that they’re bloody difficult – Ghost Stories is generally considered to be the most difficult board games out there.

What these games recognise is that the scariest scenario is one where you’re up against overwhelming odds and every one of your actions make a difference.

So if your fondest, freakiest moments in gaming involve waving a lamp in a vain attempt to chase away some unimaginable horror, these board games will offer that same helpless fear.

More worthwhile reading

The downfall of Konami

How Sega can become relevant again

A dicey proposition: why video gamers should also get into board games

GPUs killed the videogame star: has 3D graphics eliminated originality in gaming


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A Gamer’s Guide to Board Games – Part 5: FPS, Racing and Survival Horror

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