Published on November 4th, 2013 | by Luke Turpeinen
5 More Licences That Deserve A Board Game
“I just can’t get enough, I just can’t get enough!”
A while back, our amazing author Nicole wrote an article about five licenses that she would like to be turned into board games. That was a really cool list, and I was surprised and curious at some of her choices. This lead me to think of my own list of franchises I’d like to see turned into a board game of some sort.
Disgaea is one of the best games of the Tactical RPG video game genre. TRPGs are different from other video game RPGs because they typically have a battle system that uses some form of grid, making positioning much more important than other games. In many ways, Disgaea is a complicated board game already, which really makes the idea of having a brightly-colored anime tactics game that much more exciting.
A Disgaea game would differ from other tactics based games, like Super Dungeon Explore, by bringing in elements of the video game to the board. These elements could include persistent zones that affect stats, the ability to pick up and stack team mates, being able to initiate combo-attacks, bribing officials to change the match’s rules, and a solo mode with semi-randomly constructed battlefields and enemies. There are many ideas that Disgaea can offer the board game world if we’re willing to include them.
4. Iron Chef
Despite the popularity of celebrity chefs, from Iron Chef to Anthony Bourdain to Epic Meal Time, there don’t seem to be many cooking board games. Iron Chef stands out specifically because of the show’s focus on team management, well timed recipes, and efficiency of action.
The video game industry has tons of cooking games, mostly low-end phone apps or Facebook games, but many of those ideas would translate very easily into a board game. I see Iron Chef as part worker placement, where you assign actions to your kitchen staff and sous chef, and part set collection, where you need certain ingredients or technique cards to complete recipes. The more difficult the recipe is to complete, the more points it would be worth and final plating would have a low enough dish maximum that completing high-difficulty dishes would be necessary to win. This kitchen based game is definitely 5-star quality.
The Modern Fantasy genre doesn’t get as much attention as it should. The popular television show Supernatural, especially the first season, is a wonderful monster-of-the-week serial set in the rural United States. Modern Fantasy shares traits with traditional fantasy: the characters roam the country side looking for clues of malign supernatural influences in an attempt to hunt the evils of the night. Supernatural does this in the context of two brothers riding a vintage car, listening to 80s rock music, finding adventure and romance where they can while completing their unrewarded duty of keeping ignorant humans safe.
A game based on the world of Supernatural could have similarities to Arkham Horror or A Touch of Evil, two games where cooperating to defeat evil is central to the theme. Alternatively, it would be fun to have a game where every player plays as a rival hunter trying to solve problems with your own particular brand of justice, the brand that doesn’t like others interfering with your work. The theme could be used from everything to set collection to deck building, but no matter how it’s done the game should be made.
I have a hard time believing that anyone who is reading this site has not at least heard of Minecraft, but if you haven’t, it’s pretty cool. It’s essentially an open world game with a huge emphasis on crafting and discovery. Minecraft is kind of like what would happen if you took the plot out of an Elder Scrolls game, then crossed it with the LEGO franchise. The game is surprisingly deep and is very good at sucking you into the world of building things out of blocks.
When I think of a Minecraft board game, I imagine a dungeon delve/resource management game: like if someone mixed Descent with Agricola and then cut the rules in half. You might even include multiple paths to victory, one that has you gain victory points for killing random monster spawns and one for crafting the coolest items. Balance could be achieved by making the crafting system dependent upon the discovery of new materials, which would require exploration and monster killing, while making the exploration portion ramp up in difficulty as the game goes on, which requires players to craft increasingly better items. Add in optional griefing rules, some great wooden cubes and this game would rake in the players just like the real Minecraft.
For those that may not be aware, MOBAs are the Next Big Thing in online multi-player video games. The term is an acronym for Multi-player Online Battle Arena. You may have heard of games of this type: DotA, League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and Smite are all examples of the MOBA genre. These games are insanely popular, World of Warcraft in 2008 kind of popular, and they are also team-based competitive resource management games. It really boggles my mind why some sort of board game franchising arrangement hasn’t been made yet, but such is the world.
If I had my way, a MOBA game would be superficially similar to the Blood Bowl Team Manager card game. In Team Manager, the game you play revolves around a number of sports matches happening on the board that you can assign star players to. The more, or better, players you assign to a game, the more likely you are to win that game which then secures you upgrades or victory points. You could take that basic assigning mechanic, and instead of having “games” that you win, you could have lanes that must be won to clear out towers/defenses in order to take out the other player. This set up would also be able to accommodate team play by increasing the amount of lanes or including jungles, so that multiple players on the same team can spread out if they wish. In fact, I think I’ll start playtesting these ideas right now!