Video Games That Started as Table Games


Video Games That Started As Table Games


One thing that’s often overlooked about video game franchises is their roots, where they came from and what influenced their growth over the years.

Some are more straightforward than others, like the Call of Duty series for example, but others have more auspicious origins.

Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale
Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale

One of the most iconic and widely successful video game franchises around actually comes from board game origins.

Originally started in 1974, this humble game let players create their own adventures from nothing more than imaginative storytelling and some hand drawn character sheets.

Players had their surroundings, characters and monsters described to them by their chosen Dungeon Master and their actions ruled by the roll of a dice.

It’s still an incredibly popular game after being around for forty years, with millions playing it. In fact even a lot of notable celebrities like Vin Diesel, Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams and Star Trek’s Whil Wheaton have all proudly said they are prolific D&D players.

This game has since moved onto the video game market with various spin-offs over the years from Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes, Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate and the more recent Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale.

It’s a franchise that’s constantly growing and will be around for years.

Warhammer 40K

Warhammer 40k
Warhammer 40k

Originally starting off as a table top game featuring the imposing figures of the Space Marines, a burly cast of heavily armed religious sociopaths who serve an almost godlike figure called ‘The Emperor’.

It’s since branched out into the video game market with variants in real time strategy, fixed point dungeon crawler and more recently the third person action genre.

It’s a franchise that’s almost infamous in the way it’s portrayed by its fans and the sheer brutality of the games universe, like Dungeons & Dragons it’s one that will be around for years to come.



One title that surprisingly started off from board game roots is the Civilisation franchise.

Originally published in the UK back in 1980, the game pitted players against each as they tried to make their civilisation the most dominant one.

This could be done in a variety of ways from trading commodities, advancing far enough in the evolutionary chain to reach a set of conditions to win the game such as advanced medicine or creating a world wonder. From there a move onto video games was inevitable as an outing on the SNES in 1991 proved how successful the franchise could be.

It’s since evolved into a highly successful video game series spanning different variations, but more noticeably the Sid Meier’s version of Civilisation.

This reimagining was of a more action orientated game as players took it in turns to conquer areas on a map for resources to then in turn invade each other.

There was still the option of evolving your civilisation and trading, but this was more catered towards getting the player buffs and benefits. These could then be used to either conquer their rivals or advance their civilisation to the point of winning the game.

Battle Tech

BattleTech (3d map!)
BattleTech (3d map!)

This one is especially worth a final mention.

Starting back in 1984, this board game franchise was influenced by the Japanese Mecha anime’s of the 60’s and 70’s.

It involved players using a variety of different mechs to fight their battles. Gameplay was conducted with dice, spread sheets and hexagonal maps to portray sprawling battlefields.

Although it may not seem like much, this franchise is worth mentioning because it was the first ever game to involve Mechs and subsequently is the source of influence for some of the most iconic Mechs franchises.

Games like Mech Warrior, Heavy Gear and more recently Titanfall on the Xbox One and PS4.

Arguably without that first step into unknown territory with Battle Tech, we wouldn’t have had these fantastic games with giant robots.

But it’s not just video games, a lot of successful casino games came from the humble origins of board games.

Bingo Cards and Chips

Bingo for example is one of the most popular online methods to win money, yet it started off as a simple card game (If you want to learn more about Bingo games check

Board games may be dismissed as a waste of time with the introduction of the newest and latest consoles and games. We shouldn’t forget how much of an impact these simple things have had on the developing world of video games, without them we wouldn’t have some of the fantastic video games we enjoy and love.

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