The Influence of Board Games on Video Games

By Jody Feb 23, 2024

The relationship between board games and video games is a symbiotic journey that has enriched both realms of interactive entertainment. From the early days of pixelated adaptations to modern digital board game experiences, the influence has been reciprocal, shaping gameplay mechanics, design philosophies, and the very essence of player engagement. In this exploration, we delve into the enduring influence of board games on video games, tracing the evolution of this cross-medium synergy.

Foundation in Strategy and Tactics:

  • Board games have long been heralded for their emphasis on strategic thinking and tactical decision-making. Classics like chess and Go lay the groundwork for understanding and mastering complex systems. Video games, inspired by this strategic essence, incorporate elements of resource management, planning, and critical thinking into various genres, from real-time strategy to turn-based tactics.

Role-Playing Games (RPGs):

  • Board games, particularly tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, played a pivotal role in inspiring the narrative-driven elements of video game RPGs. The concept of character progression, quests, and branching storylines found in video games can be traced back to the collaborative storytelling and role-playing experiences of tabletop RPGs.

Adaptation of Classic Board Games:

  • The transition from physical to digital platforms has seen the adaptation of classic board games into video game formats. Titles like “Settlers of Catan,” “Ticket to Ride,” and “Risk” have found new life as digital versions, introducing these timeless experiences to a broader audience and providing convenient platforms for multiplayer engagement.

Card Games and Deck-Building Mechanics:

  • Card games, a staple of both board and video gaming, have influenced the design of digital games with mechanics like deck-building. Games like “Magic: The Gathering” and “Dominion” have inspired video game genres that blend strategic card play with elements of role-playing and resource management.

Digital Board Game Renaissance:

  • The advent of digital platforms has given rise to a renaissance in digital board games. Titles like “Tabletop Simulator” and “Board Game Arena” replicate the tabletop experience, allowing players to engage in board games virtually, transcending geographical boundaries and enabling global multiplayer experiences.

Board Game Aesthetics in Video Games:

  • The visual aesthetics of board games, characterized by intricate design, thematic illustrations, and tactile components, have influenced the art direction of video games. Games like “Ticket to Ride” and “Carcassonne” showcase the blending of digital and physical aesthetics, creating visually appealing and immersive experiences.

Emergence of Asymmetrical Gameplay:

  • The concept of asymmetrical gameplay, where players have different roles or abilities, is a trait often found in both board and video games. Titles like “Pandemic” and “Dead by Daylight” illustrate how asymmetrical gameplay creates dynamic and engaging experiences that challenge players to adapt to unique scenarios.

Community Building and Social Interaction:

  • Both board games and video games have the power to bring people together, fostering social interaction and community building. Whether sitting around a physical table or connecting online, the shared experiences of board games influence the social elements of video games, contributing to the growth of multiplayer and cooperative gameplay.


The interplay between board games and video games transcends mere adaptation; it represents a continuous exchange of ideas, mechanics, and design philosophies that enrich both mediums. From strategic thinking and immersive narratives to the digital reimagining of classics, the influence of board games on video games remains a testament to the enduring synergy between these two realms of interactive entertainment. As both evolve, the future promises a continued fusion of the analog and digital, creating new and innovative experiences that captivate players across diverse gaming landscapes.

By Jody

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