Boardgames and video-games are insanely closely linked. Mainly because they’re both games.. Most gamers my age would probably say their earliest memory of gaming is in front of a screen instead of on a board. I mean, a fair few people may have played tonnes of boardgames on their consoles due to the number of digital ports without ever playing it in real life. My earliest memory of any type of competitive play came through my SEGA Megadrive on Columns. It may not have been the most complicated and mechanically complex game available at the time, but way back when it was life or death to ensure I got a better score than my old man.. Which I rarely did. And that’s probably where I got my competitive attitude towards boardgames and edged me towards playing them more and more.. But anyway, back to my point, boardgames may have been around longer than video-games but there are definite inspirations taken from either side. But my question is.. Is the excitement of these games over egged because of its link to the video-game?
The ones I’m specifically speaking about are Steamforged Games’ Resident Evil 2 and Dark Souls. Now before I start rambling I have to say that Steamforged Games are great developers and excellent at communication and supporting their community; I received a game with a damaged piece due to the post office’s heavy hands and Steamforged sent me a replacement without any fuss. Anyway, I already own Dark Souls the boardgame (still waiting on Kickstarter stretch goals but it was a massive campaign so I can wait), have played it plenty and know it’s a fantastic reflection of the game, but that’s not the point of my post. Is it a good game? Absolutely. And would I have enjoyed losing, struggling and having my team inevitably give up when faced with some of the more difficult rooms and set ups of the game had the game not been themed on Dark Souls? Probably. But that’s because I don’t like losing and the feeling of winning is indescribable… But would another gamer who hadn’t played Dark Souls? Probably not. The theming for DS is entirely around trial and error; you try, lose, try again. It’s a grind and has set a tone for loads of other video-games to follow, but I can’t see boardgames following the same suit as it’s not a desirable style of play for many people. Which is a shame as it’s quality!
Soon I’ll be receiving my copy of Resident Evil 2 the boardgame. And I’m tremendously hyped (I genuinely cannot wait!). As you may have already guessed, I’m a big horror fan and RE2 is one of those games I remember needing to switch off and run out of the room in my younger years because the polygonal giant croc spooked me. Sounds ridiculous now but at the time the fear and adrenaline the game caused through both the unknown and unexpected was immeasurable. And maybe that’s why I’m hyped for the game, I know how I felt when playing the video game and the boardgame promises so much more through different win criteria based on characters and scenarios. But would someone who hasn’t played Resident Evil be as hyped about it? Again, my worry is that they wouldn’t, which is such a shame! I’ll definitely be posting about RE2 the boardgame as soon as I receive it and it’ll be constantly on the table, but I am cautious that I’ll be having to really persuade my group to try it simply because it’s themed on a video-game.
I wouldn’t personally say that any boardgame is good/bad because it’s based on a video-game, nor would I judge it entirely on how well it reflects its theme. A game can be fantastic but poorly linked to the video-game it represents and still be fantastic. In the same way a game could be terrible to play but an excellent reflection of its theme. I guess the theming, as much as it might deter some people from playing, is a heavy element of games based on video-games… But I’d encourage people to judge a game on its gameplay, especially when it’s as quality as those previously mentioned.