Board Games (classic) as a mechanic for Role Play

edited November 2009 in Story Games
So I have been thinking about how much I loved some of these old Board Games (Monopoly, Risk, Clue), but how much I hate them now because of their poor mechanics. But, I also can not help to think how similar some of their mechanics are to RP games.

So my first question. Has anyone turned one of these game into a role playing game before?

Secondly, does anyone else think it would be interesting to turn these games into a Role Paying Game?


  • Have you looked at Murderland?
  • Monopoly, Risk, and Clue... VERY different games.

    So Monopoly would be a game about developing real estate and driving your fellow players bankrupt. Very competitive. That would seem at odds with cooperative role playing.

    Risk - a wargame of geo politics. You'd be role playing empires. That would be different. But Risk itself is a boring game.

    Clue - murder mystery - clearly has the most potential as a role play game. I do Engle Matrix Game murder mysteries (as board games but EMGs are very role play like). There are other murder mystery games out there.

    Of course you can't do a direct take on any of the games because of copyright and trademarks. All are very much alive games made by companies with legal departments. The trouble one would go to to make such a game would be more than I'd want to do if I couldn't sell it. So.... I think I'll pass on the project.

    Now doing economic games, military political games, and murder mystery games sound cool. They can be done sooooo much better than the old classics.

    Chris Engle
  • Lots of indie games emulate chess with the stake setting. You put things on the line and really hope you don't have to sacrifice it. It would be cool if there was some kind of chain reaction thingy like in chess were you can have one double elimination of a piece directly set up a situation were another piece is taken or even another double elimination.
  • Some games for thought fodder:
    • Battleship
    • Backgammon (particularly the way the doubling cube works)
    • Chutes and Ladders
    • Candyland (yes, I said it)
    • Operation
    • Tiwster
  • The Dance & The Dawn is the one game in my mind that is most married to classic board game mechanics.
  • I disagree that Risk is boring. Risk is fantastic, just so hard to get people to play for the entire time. Monopoly is easy to finish in 2-3 hours (a typical rpg session).
  • I've seen LARPs use board game mechanics (Risk-like, Diplomacy) to drive downtime conflicts between character's forces, which in turn would feed back into the in-game, uptime resource game (e.g. controlling an area would provide resources which could be used for creating in-game items). it also fuels the in-game, uptime political stuff, obviously.

    I've used board game components (Icehouse pyramids) to make a (nascent) generic RPG: Stacktors!

    Operation would be a SWEET element to use, Lester! We have Dread Jenga... how about Medical Hospital Operation? (Paging Dr. Morningstar. Dr. Morningstar to the thread, please.) Twister has... often been used for "role playing" games. *ahem* ;)

    Seems to me that the way to use a classic board game is either as a resource allocation system for a game in which spending resources provides efficacy or grants narration rights, or use a simple, fast game as a conflict resolution mechanic, with the "character elements" (stats, abilities, whatever) providing capabilities in that game. Didn't someone here once have an idea for an RPG hook into Mastermind (maybe for an investigation mechanic)?

    LOTS of potential, here. To answer the OP: yes, it's interesting. Should we brainstorm in this thread?
  • I want to do a session of Zorceror of Zo using Candlyland's map and cards as focal points for the stories. Characters travel through each part of the land, and dealing the different colored cards creates different kinds of encounters (so, like, dealing a card with one orange square might create one kind of encounter, but two orange squares would make it a dangerous encounter, or somesuch). Players could pool thier cards to create bigger, badder opponents or add treasure or have a character be an ally, etc.

    Still in the planning stages, but it might be my winter project.

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