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2019 Trend: Board Games Going Digital (Upcoming Titles Included)

People usually associate board games with cardboard, plastic, meeples and miniatures. Things you can touch and place with your own hands. Until recently playing them on computers or consoles was rather niche (unless you count Tabletopia etc.). Sure, titans like Monopoly were often adapted into video games, but more complicated titles in most cases weren’t. Recently though, more and more publishers decide to go digital and… they succeed.

What interesting adaptations are coming this and next year? Happy reading!

Tainted Grail – In Development

One of the most exciting, upcoming digital board game adaptations is the Tainted Grail. A Kickstarter hit of 2018 is on its way to PCs and possibly other devices as well. The project was announced after the campaign had ended. It’s an unique case, as the video game will cover a different story than its board game counterpart. Backers of the original campaign are supposed to get their beta codes sometime this year. The whole idea was a surprise to people who pledged. Interestingly: Awaken Realms has created a whole new division to take care of the game.

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Wingspan – In Development

Wingspan. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

One of the biggest surprises of this year’s GenCon. The award winning game about birds is about to appear on Steam. Considering how difficult is to find a copy lately, this might be a great solution for people who’d like to try it (or for the fans, as there are thousands of these).

SEMrush

Apart from adapting the mechanics and adding the possibility of AI / online play, the game will get enriched with great looking animations of all the birds. And since the art was one of the main driving points here, it sure looks tempting. 

Steam

Other Titles by Stonemaier Games (2020)

Scythe designed by Jamey Stegmaier is a common view, no matter which board game cafe I visit in my city. The game, set in alternative 1920s is not only beautiful, but plays really well. The digital version got released for PCs near the end of last year and features single player mode with AI, hot seat and online play. According to fans and reviewers: it’s great.

Next year, yet another hit by J. Stegmaier is about to become a video game. Viticulture in its digital edition will have a deep tutorial made to reach out to even more new players. Charterstone will likely be a bigger challenge to create as it belongs to the legacy genre. Still, the company is willing to adapt it and believes it will work. Building new town facilities might feel less meaningful (as you’re not using up stickers), but at the some time, certain people might prefer that approach.

It seems like Stonemaier Games wants to make all of their games into digital titles at some point.

Scythe on Steam

Gloomhaven – Early Access Until 2020

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Number one game on BGG was adapted into a video game, but currently, only the early access version is available. We’ll have to wait for 2020 for a proper launch. Digital edition adapts Gloomhaven quite faithfully, but it’s still too barebones to rate it. 

So far only 4 starting classes out of 6 can be chosen and there’s no co-op multiplayer yet. A new mode called “adventure” was introduced to make up for the early access limitations. It allows playing Gloomhaven roguelike style – with procedurally generated dungeons.

Gloomhaven on Steam

Terraforming Mars – Out on Steam, Beta for iOS and Android

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Another beloved game, that was just begging to be ported into a digital medium. The adaptation is out for PCs and a smart device version is currently under development. The game feels like a faithful adaptation with a tutorial and an additional online mode. You can also try your best against the AI, but it’s sadly not too smart and doesn’t make up for a human player. Terraforming Mars was released with plenty of bugs so you might want to wait a while, until the game gets some improvements.

Terraforming Mars on Steam

As you can see, tons of popular board games are getting turned into Steam, iOS and console titles. Other big names include Root, Sagrada, Mage Knight, Raiders of the North Sea, Five Tribes and many, many more. While nothing beats playing with cardboard for me, digital games allow for better tutorials, the ability to play online with friends (and random people) and might add elements of storytelling that wouldn’t work in the classic version. Also: when it comes to iOS/Android – you can play them anywhere.

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