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What is the most board game like video game?


hey there. I was just thinking about this and seems like an interesting topic. However, one rule is that PC versions of board games are excluded.

So, What is the most boardgame like experience you had with a video game?

I am torn between these two:

Hand of Fate:
the deck building is awesome and the infinite re-playability even better. The voice acting is just superb too… Really amazing game BUT (big but there) the art style of the action sequences breaks it a bit for me and its what I like less. Not the mechanics, just the art style. A more Dark Soulish style would fit the overall theme better imho.

Paradox Games
Hearts of iron for a war game especially HOI III where you have a hex board for your military units (HOI IV is terrible by comparison), Crusader Kings or Europa Universalis are in my opinion Tactical/strategical boardgames ported to the PC and then all the complex mechanics that would make the game clonky and hard to follow (looking at you World in Flames!!) are taken care of by the computer making these games amazingly good and, if you want to, amazingly dificult. Of course you usually play offline (never managed to follow a game online to the end… Too much dedication needed and I need to take a break every once in a while).

What do you guys think? Another good contender could be the combat mission series of games especially when you PBEM or with a friend in hotseat.


Duelyst. I t plays like a ccg but with a board. Reminds me of Mage Wars.

FTL. It is like Space Alert!


I would definitely say any kind of Tactics game (Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre) or the Disgaea series of games are very similar to board games.


Card Hunter, anything by Cryptic Comet (Solium Infernum, Armageddon Empires, Occult Chronicles).

Possibly treading the line with these. The first is a DnD style dungeon party card game (free to play too). The others are turn based card games as well, and are pretty much digital board games.


I did not know card Hunter. Immediately installed and going to try it out before bed. It is an implementation of D&D but it is an interesting one. I think it falls under existing games just applied for the computer since it uses the same systems (Roll D20s) but on the other hand Neverwinter knights 2 or Baldur’s gate do too and I consider them computer games… Interesting problem.

EDIT: My bad, the game does work differently. I think this is a sure contender. It is awesome. Bought basic edition just to support. Thanks for the tip!


Fate of the World is a deckbuilding game where you, well, try to save the world from climate change.


It’s a great game. The equipment dictating the cards each character gets is really great. Not impossible to implement in a physical game, but switching gear around would be a pain not computer aided. Also love the art style.


Appropriately, it’s next to impossible to win without the hindsight of trial and error. :stuck_out_tongue:


That is one of the things I love about board games. They are generally harder since you are playing with other people. Computer games sometimes feel dumbed down for the sake of making you feel special. And lack of decent AI…


I don’t know how fair that is. Board games aren’t harder because you’re playing with other people, they’re harder if and only if they’re supposed to be. A great many board games are easy, some painfully so. Forbidden Island on its easiest settings is quite simple despite being designed to take on a cluster of several brains. Even many games that are competitive don’t actually scale with the skill of the players involved due to various mechanics lowering the skill ceiling–in particular certain kinds of randomizers. I don’t think anyone would ever call Uncle Wiggly or Pictionary or CAH or Dixit or Telestrations “difficult” games. You might notice a theme in that list–games designed for children, families, parties and other settings or audiences where relatively simple rules that create minimal-investment experiences with varying degrees of reward for that minimal investment. We can do much the opposite, though, with video games.

Much like board games, people who are really good at certain kinds of difficult video games can pretend that video games aren’t very good at being difficult on purpose … but it doesn’t take “decent” (here meaning, of course, really, really good but in a way that disparages AI design I presume :wink: ) AI to have a difficult game. Dark Souls, VVVVVV, Super Hexagon, N, Street Fighter V–video games can use many of the same tricks to make games difficult. Restrict your capabilities, force you to optimize narrowly plausible outcomes, pit you against other players … none of these tricks have anything to do with cardboard.

And, most relevantly perhaps, while I enjoy Fate of the World my tongue in cheek joke was intended to be a bit of a criticism of the games arbitrariness; while I’m sure its creators tried to use solid research to build their speculative fiction, it is a wholly capricious one with invisible metrics that–due to the lack of true automation–board games almost never have. The invisibility of many of its systems require not system literacy or cleverness or practice of a difficult but clear execution but raw guess-and-check practice against unknown metrics that don’t necessarily have a basis in evidence let alone information you as a player have access to. Fate of the World not being “dumbed-down” is not a result of it being more like board games, its a result of it being opaque and arbitrary in a way typical board games are not mechanically capable of being.

Sorry if I sound a bit spikey, but as an avid gamer on boards of both silicon and cardboard I don’t have terribly much patience for nonsense like video games tend to be too easy. “Blockbuster” AAA titles tend to be easy, sure! But that’s a bit like complaining that films generally aren’t very interesting when you don’t go to see interesting films but read only the books that most interest you. If you feel spoiled for choice in one medium over the other, perhaps you’ve simply learned to better ignore everything Hasbro churns out. :stuck_out_tongue:


I am a pc gamer too. And yes you are right, some boardgames are easy too. But, usually, I find boardgames like agricola less forgiving than a PC game.

As for games being dumbed down, look at the first XCOM and look at the new ones. The new ones are a walk in the park compared to the original and when they make it harder it is usually AI exploits like giving the AI a free movement when detected. Other games like total war just shower the AI with money so they can build more stacks. Compare it to medieval 1 where you had more of a challenge and you see the trend there. Battlefield also became a twitch shooter. Gone are the maps from Battlefield 1942 where you needed to walk/ride for 20 mins to get to the action.

Then you compare it to a human opponent in a boardgame with decent mechanics and it just works better…
That said, there are ones that work well and the examples I gave for instance are pretty solid. Paradox games tend to work well. I can still lose Crusader Kingdoms even if I know the mechanics by heart because the AI jut builds an alliance I don’t have the strength to stop.

I got fate of the world and it is very interesting but lack of tutorial is annoying as hell. It makes the game unnecessarily harder. I don’t think that what happens is arbitrary to the point board games can’t be. The AI is probably drawing a consequence deck seems perfectly feasible but, we don’t see that so we don’t have a clue.


My point precisely. This is not something strictly analog board games are typically capable of. If there’s a “deck” we draw from it or a player draws from it. Board games are much more dependent on open-source mechanics, as it were.

Oh dear, this is exactly the sort of guff I was worried I should apologize for projecting onto you.

You’re mixing metaphors here. The change in shooting mechanics in Battlefield and the change in its map design are relatively distinct phenomena. For one thing, Battlefield 2 retained these sprawling, slower paced maps. Battlefield 3 had a somewhat more chaotic mixture of map types as well as faster tanks and trucks. For another, many of 1942’s maps were big without being smart or interesting. Walking for 20 minutes to get to the action is not a virtue in an action game–and let’s not pretend BF1942 was trying to be an early ARMA II! It was an action game through and through with some bizarre pacing decisions that had interesting knock-on effects for players who were sufficiently patient and enterprising to swim all the way around to the back side of a tightly defended Wake Island …

But along with that memory needs to come the memory of why you had to do that. You had to do that because against players who were skilled at shooting things, defense was phenomenally easier than attack and matches were long and slow. Players had to resort to desperate measures to escape an otherwise utterly boring meat grinder on maps that could have used a fair bit of tweaking. BF1942 was a far cry from some of the sharp map design that cam into play in BF2.

I can come with you this far: BF3 and BF1 are too frenetic for their scale. Maps are too big and matches are too long for how quickly death comes, how mobile some players are, how effective planes are, and how every other vehicle is a glass cannon. Things don’t sync together quite right. It needs the full-spectrum slow down of alpha-era Ace of Spades or underpopulated BF1942 maps … or it needs the tighter quarters and cleaner execution of BF2’s best maps and BF3’s slightly less good best maps. The massive scale just doesn’t mix well with the pace of firefights.

But then we hit some snags, such as the conflation of needing to walk for 20 minutes and the game being “smarter.” Or the equation of fast paced shooting games and being “dumber.” Counter Strike: Source is still arguably best tactical shooter I’ve ever played. It is nothing if not a twitch shooter. The thing about real-time tactics is that they do involve making tactical decisions in real time. What you’re doing, to me, is taking the excesses of brand/franchise based marketing and pounding it with a hammer until it looks about the right shape to prove that games have gotten worse over time. ARMA II and ARMA III are newer than BF1942 but they are slower and deeper. I never played X-Com, but I love turn based strategy games and I’ve found plenty I quite enjoy for a good challenge. The first that comes to mind is Frozen Synapse but maybe that’s also too “dumbed down” for you. Arnold Schwarzenegger sure doesn’t look like he used to either, but that’s hardly proof that Hollywood has run out of muscle-bound action stars.

And then we get to AI. We do not have artificial humans. This is not news to anyone. Yet, we’ve seemed to manage “good” AI in games from decades both past and present without managing to build a real life CP30 or GLADOS for our troubles. Many people get a spooky feeling of effective AI while playing Arkham Horror of all things! Clearly, AI design isn’t about having a fake human that plays by the same rules. So if “good” AI isn’t a fake human playing by the same rules as the human, how do we define an AI “exploit?” I could put up with calling things like giving the AI complete information in a game with fog of war or other sorts of hidden information an “exploit” for the convenience of the metaphor, but when we start calling things like alien pods in XCOM:EU getting to move on discovery an “exploit” … come on now, that’s just willful refusal to accept the game on terms even remotely approaching its own. The alien player isn’t you. It’s an asymmetric game. Aliens do not follow the same rules as player soldiers. This is not an exploit and it’s not strictly speaking new. Last I checked X-COM had its fair share of nasty tricks and surprises …

I think this sums up my issue with your rhetoric pretty cleanly. If you take 1) A good board game with good mechanics 2) A human opponent of reasonable skill, you get a better result than … what? A video game with bad mechanics and an AI that’s poorly matched to those mechanics? A game that’s not supposed to be difficult in the first place? Because you don’t get better results than 1) A good video game with good mechanics with 2) a skilled human opponent.


I really can’t be arsed to do a proper reply so here are a few of the points:

Battlefield for me is the game that I like to play when I don’t feel I can take on Arma or Squad that day. And the difference between 1942 and 1 is the scale of the map imho.

I am aware of the AAA game industry problems and I can play other titles which are more challenging but, why can’t we have it both ways? I also like pretty games. The XCOM mechanic I talked about for me is indicative of a bad AI since it is not competitive without extra help. Look at it this way, if I had the extra movement the AI has, the game would even more of a walk.

The rest is basically differences in opinion I think. Do let me know if I missed something that you consider important.


Calling it “bad AI” strikes me as misleading at best. XCOM:EU might have been too boring or easy for you, but plenty of games that are well balanced and challenging have an AI–or analogue–that follows different rules from one or more of the players. As in countless assymetric board games–single player, competitive and cooperative–video games have no reason whatsoever to use a symmetric ruleset when trying to create distinct behaviors.

You’re playing against a system. It isn’t cheating that one side moves first in Chess, or that one side is assigned skill-based handicaps in Go. It isn’t cheating that the Corp follows different rules to the Runner in Netrunner. That still holds when you play against a system that does not include a human opponent. Calling asymmetry “cheating” or “exploits” represents a refusal to engage with the rules of the system.

You obviously have no obligation to like XCOM:EU, and if you didn’t like that the alien pods got a chance to hide when discovered instead of having simulated turns from real starting positions every second of the game prior to discovery that’s fine too. Calling it cheating or an exploit is just obtuse, though. This serves numerous purposes–it makes turns move faster, decreases resource use and loading times, allows for aliens to present the humans with more interesting challenges more consistently, it mimics patrolling patterns while again saving resources, avoids the difficulty of having aliens and humans have different LOS/FOV, gives cautious players an advantage over the aliens, etc. One of the reasons XCOM:EU is too easy is that the player gets too many special abilities, tools and rules exceptions while the Aliens have relatively few ways to deviate from the core mechanics making them much more predictable. It’s especially strange that you consider the game too easy and complain about mechanics that were designed to make the aliens more of a threat! Perhaps you’re not quite so sure what you wanted out of the game as you think.


I fell a bit in love with Armello, and simultaneously out of love with it.

First, the good:

  • The variety of characters and their different abilities keeps the game fresh; also, abilities that seems underpowered or overpowered tend in the long run to actually be extremely well balanced.

  • The strategy gets deeper the more games you play. Without going intensely down the rabbit hole of describing these things, suffice it to say that there is a great world of depth to be found, if you go looking.

  • The game is quite beautiful looking. In the same way as a well crafted board game, it adds to the theme, and it’s quite nice to stare at for an hour or so.

  • The multiple paths to victory ensure that even a poor start won’t normally ruin your whole game. This is important in a game that you’ll be committing to multiplayer for an hour every game.

Now the bad:

  • Still wildly unstable. The game crashes maybe one out of five games, either completely freezing, or when a character loses a connection or actively exits, leaves all of the characters standing there staring, waiting for the turn to move forward, but it never does. This happens an unacceptable amount, and has been a problem since the game’s inception, and still isn’t fixed. Yet, the developers have the time, energy and resources to…

  • Constantly release garbage DLC, that is overly expensive, or outright anti-consumer. They released a “Seasons” DLC that gave you Fall and Spring, where Fall is absolutely gorgeous, and spring looks completely mailed in. You can now buy alternate costumes for your characters for $6.99 EACH. In a game with 12 characters, when everyone has an alternate, it would cost you $84 to own the alternate costumes. The game has dice sets that you collect by getting a key or a chest at the end of every game… every time you use a key to unlock a chest, you get a dice, but this system has wildly poor RNG… to the point where it is routine for people to get 12 chests in a row, with no keys (and everyone in the trading forums is asking for keys, so it’s not just one person’s luck). But fortunately, they sell keys, for like $1.50 each, or you can buy them on the marketplace, for which they get a cut of the artificially inflated prices. Also, the dice drops themselves virtually guarantee that even if you play hundreds of games, you will not collect all of the dice. Do you need any of this? NO. It’s all cosmetic. But it’s insulting that they continue to release this crap without fixing the literal game breaking bugs in their multiplayer.

  • You only get key and chest drops when you finish games… and games crash, CONSTANTLY… which means you are constantly in the process of crashing a game 45 minutes in with no key or chest to show for it, and the whole point of the dice/keys/chests is to incentivize play. So they’ve basically given you something to lose in addition to your time when they crash a match.

When the game actually works, and you’re playing with great players, it’s very similar to a good board game. But that is too rare to make up for the other offensive practices of the game.


Just noticed this and had to plug a true '90s classic: SSI’s superb Panzer General. It’s your basic hex & counter game, but with a campaign spanning the entire European Theater, funny German-accented mission briefings, light animation (that you almost immediately turn off to save time), and great depth. I bought it when it came out in 1995 for my 3DO (which I still have btw) and spent many a night refighting Kursk until the first streaks of dawn appeared at the window. Great board gamey game. I miss it. There were several sequels, but Panzer General was always the best.


Surprised no one mentioned Mousechief’s games. Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble and 7 Grand Steps both play like board games. Granted, they both do things that would be extremely hard to do in a board game, but that’s probably why they are video games.


Pit People by the Behemoth is very boardgamey.


Because of the board? Then you can name every hexbased turn based strategy game :slight_smile:


the most board game-like video game I know is Armello.

If you do not care about drops and collecting dice you will probably not be affected much by their monetization strategies.

I’d recommend getting the DLCs beacuse I personally enjoy the variety of approach given by a moltitude of characters. They do are VERY different from one another.

I consider it a virtual boardgame and regularly play it as such. This means I play it a bit every few weeks/months and it always satisfies that specific appetite of mine.

If I had three other friends owning it I would probably play it once a week since, as for many boardgames, it is waaay more enjoyable with friends than it is with random strangers.

If you happen to really like the game, you might even want to throw a few bucks at them for the seasons DLC. Basically a reskin of the game board to depict the four seasons. I like having the board change from game to game. Besides being pleasing to the eye it also takes away some repetitiveness.

Between The Humble Store and Steam sales you won’t have a hard time getting the complete experience (Game + Usurpers DLC + Bandit Clan DLC + Seasons DLC) for a ridiculous price. Just keep an eye on it and you might get everything for around 10$. :grin: