10 Best Video Games Based On Board Games, According To Metacritc

Against all odds, board games were not crushed by the growing video game medium. Certainly, they aren’t nearly as large, but the medium wasn’t replaced. There is definitely an argument to be made that long-form tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons are more popular now than ever. They’ve certainly reached out into the digital and film spaces.

But there are also more traditional family board games like monopoly which have been branching out into video games since the 80s with titles like Pictionary† Some of these board game versions have even ranked quite highly. Review aggregator site Metacritic lists which of their outings is the best.

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10 Pandemic: The Board Game (2013) – 83


A map from the video game adaptation of Pandemic.

pandemic is a cooperative board game about spreading disease across the world. Players work together to cure everyone in order to win the game. The game was a hit that inspired a Flash version which in turn inspired the video game counterpart Plague Inc. This ouroboros then inspired a major video game release of pandemic in 2013.

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The game was originally released for iOS but also came to Steam. There are four diseases that the player must carefully monitor. It’s a little more hopeful than Plague Inc., where the win condition is global infection. Unfortunately, this game was delisted from modern platforms last year.


9 Club House Games (2006) – 83


The original Clubhouse Games for DS has games like cards.

Fans might be familiar with the Nintendo Switch version from a few years ago. However, the Clubhouse Games series actually began as a classic Nintendo DS game. The game is a compilation of forty-two card, board, and tabletop games from around the world. In fact, the selection of games is different between the Japanese and international versions.

As a compilation it’s pretty thorough, also including action games like billiards and darts. The board game selection has plenty of classics like checkers, shogi, and chess. Of course, most of these games are made for multiple players. The online multiplayer through the Nintendo Wi-fi connection.


8 Chess Ultra (2017) – 83


Chess Ultra has a marvelously detailed 3D chessboard.

There are tons of software for playing Chess out there. Any Chess video game needs something to help it stand out from the chaff. Chess Ultra accomplishes this with stunning 4K visuals. The game also supports VR.

It comes with an absolute bevy of features. The game has Twitch support, multiple different AI tested by grandmasters, and a variety of boards to choose from. The game also has online support with crossplay and leaderboards. In fact, the game even records the player’s ELO score and helps them improve.


7 Monopoly Tycoon (2001) – 85


Monopoly Tycoon is a simulator version of Monopoly.

Most board game video games are direct adaptations of the game. Monopoly Tycoon actually takes a much different approach. Based on popular simulation games of the time, players actually own stores and locations on the streets from the game. Dice have even been removed to make it a better simulator.

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Money is actually earned by selling products and using it to buy more property. The railroads and public works are also included but are actually acquired by auction. The game features all the streets from the original with three additional blocks. Players can fight against AI or multiplayer through LAN.


6 Summoner Wars (2012) – 86


Summoner War has a loading screen for matchmaking.

Unfortunately, this game is no longer playable. The Android and iOS versions are unfortunately too old to play on modern platforms. It’s a real shame, as Summoner Wars is easily the definitive version of the game. The original board game is weird and obscure and not easy to acquire these days.

The game is about assembling an army to control the planet of Itharia. It’s a combination of a deck-building card game but with board placement elements. The game features a ton of factions to pick from with unique spells and units of their own. Critics at the time said it felt like a fusion of RISK and Magic: The Gathering


5 Elder Sign: Omens (2011) – 87


Key art for Elder Sign Omens has a detective pointing a gun next to a logo.

Elder Sign: Omens is a video game adaptation of the spooky board game that’s perfect for Halloween. Like many horror board games, it’s full of Lovecraftian themes. A team of investigators must investigate various locales to stop the emergence of an ancient one and there are plenty of different locales that can be investigated.

One advantage of video games is that expansion content can be included. The Steam release has tons of content for this game including seven different ancient ones that can be fought and over thirty unique investigators with different abilities. Finally, there’s plenty of content with over 200 individual levels.


4 Blokus HD (2010) – 88


Gameplay and title screen for block fitting puzzle game Blokus HD.

Puzzle games are typically thought of as a video game exclusive genre. Especially ones about fitting small rectangles together, which calls to mind Tetris† That niche is also held by the board game market in the highly addictive Blokus† for mobile platforms, Blokus HD is easily its best adaptation.

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The game features crisp visuals and in-game point counters so players don’t need to keep count. It contains both the four-player original and the two-player Blokus Duo. Some critics did also think the graphics were too complex for a simple game. In any case, it’s a great substitute if one doesn’t have the physical game on hand.




3 Ticket To Ride (2011) – 91


Ticket to Ride's title screen has a bunch of people about to board a train.

Ticket to Ride is an adaptation of the German board game of the same name. It was developed by Next Level Games, developers of the Mario Strikers games, and is one of their longest-lasting projects. The original game from 2004 was on browsers but has grown. It has Playstation 4 and Xbox One versions, although the 2011 iOS version is considered the best.

At the beginning of the game, the players acquire cards that represent train cars. During the game, they acquire additional cards that represent trains and cars with the goal of securing entire routes. The game ends when at least one player has no more trains and the winner is determined by how many fruitful routes they have. The game also includes additional downloadable maps.


2 Carcassone (2010) – 91


Carcassone's tile-based gameplay sits on a table.

This turn-based strategy game was one of the first board games on the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Arcade, although once again it saw more success with its mobile port. This is a game of map tiles that are placed over the course of the game. Players also receive follower meeples that are used to claim land. The game ends when all land tiles are placed and the winner is who has more of it.

Part of the reason carcassone saw so much success over other board games when it was released was due to its original content. Many video board games simply included the original game as is. Carcassone not only included quality of life features like tutorials and online, but also an expansion. The base game included content from the expansion The River included for no extra charge.


1 Scrabble for iPad (2010) – 94


Gameplay of words spelled in Scrabble for iPad.

become game Scrabble seems like one of the best fits for video games. The problem with the game has always been the matter of what words are and aren’t allowed. Turning it into a program fixes this issue. Unfortunately, none of the digital forms of Scrabble were reviewed well until 2010’s Scrabble for iPad

The title really speaks to the time in which this game was released. Tablets were more common at the beginning of the Tens, and using one as a substitute for a bulker board made a lot of sense. Nowadays tablets are rarer, but Scrabble for iPad still reigns supreme with its novel features like online play and leaderboards. Most unique and exciting was its ability to send a player’s rack of letters to players’ iPhones while the main game is played on the iPad.

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