The world of gaming is a diverse ecosystem, with various formats catering to different tastes and preferences.

Board games and video games, seemingly disparate in their mediums, share a deep-rooted connection that extends beyond mere entertainment. This connection lies in the mutual influence they exert on each other, shaping the design principles and mechanics that define gameplay experiences.

In this article, we delve into the symbiotic relationship between board games and video games, exploring how elements from the tabletop have migrated to the digital realm, enriching game design and enhancing player experiences.

Foundation of Mechanics

At the heart of both board games and video games are mechanics—the rules and systems that govern interactions within the game world. Custom board games have long served as a testing ground for innovative mechanics, offering a tactile and social experience that fosters creativity and experimentation. From the roll of dice to the placement of tokens, every aspect of a board game’s mechanics contributes to its gameplay loop and player engagement.

Video game designers have drawn inspiration from these foundational mechanics, adapting and evolving them to suit the digital medium. For instance, turn-based combat systems in video games such as XCOM: Enemy Unknown echo the strategic depth of tabletop wargames like Warhammer 40,000. Similarly, resource management mechanics, popularized by board games like Settlers of Catan, have found their way into digital titles such as Stardew Valley, adding layers of complexity and decision-making to gameplay.

Narrative and Immersion

While board games excel in fostering social interaction and imaginative storytelling, video games offer unparalleled opportunities for immersive experiences through visuals, sound, and interactivity. However, the narrative techniques and thematic elements prevalent in board games have significantly influenced storytelling in video games.

Games like The Witcher series and Dungeons & Dragons have demonstrated the power of rich narratives and branching storylines, encouraging players to shape their own destinies within vast and dynamic worlds. These narrative-driven experiences draw inspiration from the collaborative storytelling found in tabletop role-playing games, where players actively contribute to the unfolding narrative through their decisions and actions.

Furthermore, the concept of emergent narratives, where stories arise organically from gameplay interactions, has its roots in board games such as Diplomacy and Risk game. Video games like Dwarf Fortress and RimWorld embrace this concept, generating complex narratives from the interactions of simulated characters and events within the game world.

Social Connectivity

One of the enduring appeals of board games lies in their ability to bring people together, fostering social connections and shared experiences. Video games, too, have embraced the social aspect of gaming, leveraging online multiplayer and cooperative modes to enable players to connect and collaborate across vast distances.

Titles like Among Us and Jackbox Party Pack exemplify the fusion of digital gaming with social interaction, providing platforms for friends and strangers alike to engage in laughter, intrigue, and camaraderie. These games draw inspiration from classic party games and tabletop experiences, emphasizing player interaction, communication, and deception as essential elements of gameplay.


The relationship between board games and video games is a testament to the versatility and adaptability of game design across different mediums. From mechanics to narrative techniques to social connectivity, the influence of tabletop gaming permeates every aspect of video game design, enriching the gaming landscape with diverse experiences and creative innovation.

As technology continues to advance and the boundaries between physical and digital realms blur, we can expect this symbiotic relationship to evolve further, giving rise to new forms of interactive entertainment that blend the best elements of both worlds. Whether gathered around a table or connected through screens, gamers will continue to explore, create, and share unforgettable experiences, inspired by the timeless allure of play.