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Thread: Digital Board Games are underappreciated

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    Default Digital Board Games are underappreciated

    So recently I've resumed my quest to play a lot of digital incarnations of Go.

    If you've never heard of Go, here's a youtube video going over the basics. Suffice to say though, once you've played Go, any game you previously thought was deep or strategic is gonna look barren and shallow by contrast... except for possibly Chess and its variants, and Othello and its variants.

    That said, this is a case where getting into one thing invariably makes me look at others in a similar ilk, mostly because in English-speaking lands digital versions of Go wind up packaged in board game collections with other public-domain games. Although usually, I find you instead get Gomoku, a tic-tac-toe style game that happens to be played with the same board and stones.

    And then you start wondering about the not-so-public-domain stuff like Monopoly and Clue, and play those or else watch the way-more-fun-than-they-should-be sessions of them on Markiplier's channel and its like...

    Okay, I dunno if this is just in my corner of the world or if this is universal, but it seems like video game versions of board games are treated as "lesser" somewhat. Like I know game collectors tend to pass over them when they see them, and you almost never see them being played instead of the actual game.

    Which in some ways I can understand if the fun of the game is just in all the shenanigans you can pull.... but in other ways I can't if your idea of fun is in making sure the other players don't pull shenanigans. Also not having to put a board together.

    So, to turn this into a question, you guys got any positive memories of video games based on real life board games? (emphasis on "real life," please no Mario Party type stuff)

    Couldn't decide if this was classic or modern since I didn't really think this should be limited to just one era.

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    I remember playing Monopoly a few times on PC well over 20 years ago, but overall I rarely played board game adaptations in video game form. I'm not sure why, maybe I should try to seek more of these out.

    Thinking back, for Gameboy there was a small collection featuring 4 board games including checkers and chess, and I did play that quite a bit. The chess game was pretty easy to beat, so I guess it wasn't really that good of a game as I'm pretty bad at chess.

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    Would that Gameboy one you owned happen to be this one? I saw this mentioned in Nintendo Power's Gameboy Player's Guide (there's a section at the back where they briefly mention basically anything out for the Gameboy at the time) but never saw it in real life.

    Chess can be really uneven. I recently played Chessmaster for the NES, and... well, I won, and I suck at Chess too. Then again I might've had it on a low difficulty. Chess is actually a game that computers are insanely good at since it can largely be boiled down to a math problem, and computers love math.

    On PC, I used to own a version of Clue called Murder at Boddy Mansion, which I thought was a lot of fun. The versions of Clue for SNES and Genesis are also great.

    I recall there also being a PC version of Battleship, which I passed on because it sounded weird, and according to LRG's Review, it actually was.... like apparently there's a "classic mode" in there but then there's also modes that try to make it more like a PC strategy game and they wind up just not working that well. I never liked Battleship as a game in general.... the whole thing is just guesswork.

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    I had that Gameboy 4 in 1 Fun Pack game and actually played it quite a bit since it was one of the few GB games I owned.( I think there was also a fun pack 2)

    I think Reversi(Othello) was my favorite on there. I played chess on it a bit too, but for any challenge it took too long to move.

    Computers are good st chess, not because it can become a math problem, but because they can play out, and keep track of all the possible moves "in their head". They make a tree of all the possible moves so many moves ahead and then make the move that leads to the best board position. They also use databases of openings and end games.

    I actually played Atari Video Chess for the first time the other night and was surprised by how decent of a game it played. It was probably on the low end of difficulty compared to modern chess games but the fact its running on a 2600 and doesn't take forever to make a move is pretty amazing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    Would that Gameboy one you owned happen to be this one? I saw this mentioned in Nintendo Power's Gameboy Player's Guide (there's a section at the back where they briefly mention basically anything out for the Gameboy at the time) but never saw it in real life.
    That's the one, it's one of my earlier Gameboy games, I think it's one of the original games I chose to get along with the system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    Chess can be really uneven. I recently played Chessmaster for the NES, and... well, I won, and I suck at Chess too. Then again I might've had it on a low difficulty. Chess is actually a game that computers are insanely good at since it can largely be boiled down to a math problem, and computers love math.
    With that Gameboy version I could beat most games on the highest difficulty setting, almost every time. With other chess programs I can barely ever win a game even on the beginner level. I rarely play or practice chess so I've never got better at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    On PC, I used to own a version of Clue called Murder at Boddy Mansion, which I thought was a lot of fun. The versions of Clue for SNES and Genesis are also great.
    I may try to pick up copies at some point, I never played the Clue board game as a kid but I've wanted to play some version of it more recently as it's more of a murder mystery type thing and I liked the movie adaptation. A video game version would be more practical as I don't know anyone to play actual board games with. There were actually several versions of Clue, some versions use 1 die and others use 2 dice, along with other revisions. It's difficult to choose which version to play, although I don't know which versions were used as a base for the video game versions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    I recall there also being a PC version of Battleship, which I passed on because it sounded weird, and according to LRG's Review, it actually was.... like apparently there's a "classic mode" in there but then there's also modes that try to make it more like a PC strategy game and they wind up just not working that well. I never liked Battleship as a game in general.... the whole thing is just guesswork.
    Hasbro released a few different PC versions of board games around that time, I remember Risk and Axis & Allies being two other titles. I don't remember playing them first hand but I may actually own copies somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    I had that Gameboy 4 in 1 Fun Pack game and actually played it quite a bit since it was one of the few GB games I owned.( I think there was also a fun pack 2)
    There was a second volume, I also own it. I got that years later and didn't really play it much, not like the first volume which was basically one of 8 games I owned for Gameboy at the time. So I owned both volumes brand new which isn't how I acquired the majority of my collection. I think the second volume contained Solitaire and other less well known games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    I may try to pick up copies at some point, I never played the Clue board game as a kid but I've wanted to play some version of it more recently as it's more of a murder mystery type thing and I liked the movie adaptation. A video game version would be more practical as I don't know anyone to play actual board games with. There were actually several versions of Clue, some versions use 1 die and others use 2 dice, along with other revisions. It's difficult to choose which version to play, although I don't know which versions were used as a base for the video game versions.
    I do remember playing the Genesis Clue game before with my wife a few times, but really there wasn't much of a reason to not just play actual board game instead. I could see newer versions doing some cool things that would be hard to pull off in a board game though.

    But your post reminded me that me and my brothers invented "Deathmatch Clue" years ago. The standard board and pieces were used except for the rule sheet we made. I don't remember the exact rules, but we'd randomly place weapons in each room and you'd roll the dice to move or attack and it basically involved getting to the weapons and trying to be the last one standing, with a bit of strategy involved in moving around the board. That ended up being more fun for us than the actual game.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    There was a second volume, I also own it. I got that years later and didn't really play it much, not like the first volume which was basically one of 8 games I owned for Gameboy at the time. So I owned both volumes brand new which isn't how I acquired the majority of my collection. I think the second volume contained Solitaire and other less well known games.
    I think I was only aware of Vol 2 because I saw it in a ROM set once.
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    I'd suggest you pick up the new Clubhouse Games for Switch when it comes out.

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    As far as actual board games go, I prefer the Master Detective version of Clue over the standard version, but I'm guessing all the video game adaptations are based on the standard version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    As far as actual board games go, I prefer the Master Detective version of Clue over the standard version, but I'm guessing all the video game adaptations are based on the standard version.
    There's several different standard versions though, just to quote Wikipedia quickly.

    During Cluedo's long history, eight unique Clue editions were published in North America (1949, '56/60, '60/63, '72, '86, '92, '96, and 2002), including miniaturized "travel" editions. However, only three distinct editions of Cluedo were released in the UK
    That's more what I meant by which version the video game adaptations would be based on. I did forget about the Master Detective version which expanded the game, I don't think I've seen a copy in person yet. Some editions only included 1 die while others included two dice, some people prefer using one die but others say it plays too slow and prefer using two dice. There's some other changes too. If I was to buy a board game version I would probably decide between the '72, '86, or '92 editions. I'd have to look up the differences again though as it's been awhile since I compared them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    As far as actual board games go, I prefer the Master Detective version of Clue over the standard version, but I'm guessing all the video game adaptations are based on the standard version.
    There is actually one MS-DOS version based specifically on Master Detective. I've never played it but I'm aware it exists.

    I own a weird one called Risk II. I'm not sure what's different between it and Risk I, but it is one I found satisfying to play solitary (Risk is a game I would never even contemplate playing with a real board, with how stupidly big your armies can get).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    Chess can be really uneven. I recently played Chessmaster for the NES, and... well, I won, and I suck at Chess too. Then again I might've had it on a low difficulty.
    You did for sure. Chessmaster defaults to Newcomer 1 difficulty, which basically plays the first move that comes into the CPU's head. TheMexicanRunner famously defeated Chessmaster in under a minute for his NESMania project, because the default difficulty played so abominably that it literally walked into checkmate, almost as though it was helping him.

    Play on any higher difficulty, even Level 1 (60 moves/5 minutes), and Chessmaster will give you a real game, comparable to a player between USCF ratings 1400-2000 (depending on the type of position it's playing). I'm a tournament chessplayer -- not a Grandmaster or anything, but strong enough that I've beaten some masters and won money in competition -- and it definitely puts up a good fight.

    As you can probably tell, I love old console chess programs. After 2000 it gets less interesting since consoles and computers sort of converge, but before that you get a whole range of programs, from the abominable to the shockingly good. The Chessmaster series is the most reliable by far, but there have been some decent releases by other companies, and the Atari 2600 and Intellivision chess programs were really quite respectable for their time.

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    What was that "cheatin' bitch" from the movie The Thing? Was that a real computer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    What was that "cheatin' bitch" from the movie The Thing? Was that a real computer?
    Yes and no, that "model" was made up for the movie so it doesn't exist. But it's actually a real Apple II in disguise playing Sargon or Sargon II.

    https://thething.fandom.com/wiki/Chess_Wizard
    http://starringthecomputer.com/feature.html?f=129
    https://scifi.stackexchange.com/ques...actually-cheat

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    What board games are we talking about? Just the classic games from old systems (since this is the classic board)? I mean...I suppose this is true.

    Old consoles didn't have a whole lot of horsepower to them, and - to be honest - board games pre-2000 kind of stink, with a few classics like Chess possible exceptions. Once Settlers of Catan came on the scene, everything changed.

    New digital board games are pretty good, even if they are distributed digitally. I have a whole bunch of them on Steam and am looking to buy more, to be honest. Playing in Tabletop Simulator (not a real "digital board game", but) has been one of my main jams during the pandemic.
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    A good Go game? In my opinion, that's Internet Game Pack for SEGA Dreamcast. It can even be played online today against other players and it includes like 4 or 5 other games to boot!

    Digital board game memories? The Clubhouse Games series for Nintendo platforms including the original for DS (and the same game collection broken into three downloadable, smaller collections for DSi and 3DS) are excellent. They even support DS Single Card play meaning that you can play the game with just one copy of it plus multiple DS / DSi / 3DS consoles as everyone else just downloads a "light copy" of the game using the Download Play function of the DS line. I believe there is also a newer one for Nintendo Switch. Can't go wrong with that Clubhouse Games series!

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    Quote Originally Posted by calthaer View Post
    Old consoles didn't have a whole lot of horsepower to them, and - to be honest - board games pre-2000 kind of stink, with a few classics like Chess possible exceptions. Once Settlers of Catan came on the scene, everything changed.
    Wait, really? Cuz I kinda kept thinking board games used to be the thing before video games took over, though the more complicated stuff tended to only have nerd appeal. I was unaware there had been any kind of resurgence.

    I've never played Settlers of Catan myself, just looking at it makes me think it'll have the same issue Risk does where non-electronic versions would just have too many high numbers (not that I can't do the math in Risk, its just how do you fit 100+ reinforcements in one territory?) That issue also keeps me from playing anything by Avalon Hill, which I've heard is likely to be even more complicated. For that same reason I'll probably never play the pen-and-paper version of Battletech (there is a fan-made digital version, I think called MegaMek, which is supposedly very accurate and also allows solo play, without you having to manually track all the variables necessary in the real game).

    ... I'm not sure if Battletech is off-topic or not, since its technically just a rulebook game and doesn't really have a board (you have to create one yourself).

    @Nz17 - Thanks, now I need to get Internet Game Pack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    Wait, really? Cuz I kinda kept thinking board games used to be the thing before video games took over, though the more complicated stuff tended to only have nerd appeal. I was unaware there had been any kind of resurgence.
    Oh yes - BIG time. While I get that you might look at Catan and think that it has a "Risk-like" play, it's not - not at all. Big differences: it is over in < 2 hours, everyone stays in the game until the end, it's generally competitive up until the end, there isn't as much of a "start position" bias and the gameboard tends to have advantage evenly distributed. It is worth checking out - it is not that complicated and it is very fun, even for people who don't like to do math. There is a light social aspect of trading with other players, too, which even extroverts can enjoy.

    Catan's rise to prominence throughout the late 1990s in Europe, and in the early 2000s here in the U.S., has spawned a big interest in new board games. There are hundreds being released every year, and there is definitely a heavy foam of cream that rises to the top - the best ones each year are really, really good and fun. It's gotten big enough and creative enough that there are evolving defined sub-genres ("deck-builders", "press-your-luck") the same way that there are video games ("platformer", "shmup", etc.). Some of the games are definitely too complicated, but others are hugely fun. My personal favorite is the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, kind of a light RPG-like game where each character has a deck of cards (weapons, spells, etc.) and you trawl through decks filled with challenges to get treasure, defeat monsters, etc.

    So...don't think there's a range where you have Chutes & Ladders on one hand and Avalon Hill's super-calculation-intensive wargames on the other. There is a wide range out there, my friend. I would start with Catan - it is a classic for a good reason, and you and your friends will be hooked for sure.
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    If anyone is looking for some really good board games to play, I recommend BoardGameGeek as they really have great documentation on a lot of good board games, both modern and classic. It's where I found games like Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective that are just really fun and not promoted very much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    So, to turn this into a question, you guys got any positive memories of video games based on real life board games? (emphasis on "real life," please no Mario Party type stuff)

    Couldn't decide if this was classic or modern since I didn't really think this should be limited to just one era.
    I used to love playing the game of Go, in midde school I would go to this Go club on a college campus to play. What do you use to play the game online or on a PC? I haven't quite found something that matches the feeling and userbase of Yahoo Games from decades ago now.

    Also, another great solution for general board games is Tabletop Simulator on Steam. It's a bit clunky, but the best solution when you can find a community pack for some of the more obscure board games that surely never got any kind of digital port, PC or console-wise.

    I played a lot of Monopoly for Genesis and NES as a kid as well.
    Last edited by Baloo; 08-02-2020 at 12:41 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo View Post
    I used to love playing the game of Go, in midde school I would go to this Go club on a college campus to play. What do you use to play the game online or on a PC? I haven't quite found something that matches the feeling and userbase of Yahoo Games from decades ago now.
    I used to use this thing called Panda-something, but I think programs like Dariush or The Many Faces of Go have inherent online capabilities that connect to certain servers (there's ones used by multiple programs).... it's worth looking into as I remember there used to even be people you could email replays to and get graded if you wanted to serious improve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tupin View Post
    I'd suggest you pick up the new Clubhouse Games for Switch when it comes out.
    I've never played the Switch version but the DS version of Clubhouse Games is a great game.

    My favorite board game-like game though is Dokapon Kingdom Playing with friends this game is amazing. I'd also like to say Culdcept Revolt(the only one I've played) is very good, so pick up Culdcept if you can.
    Everything in the above post is opinion unless stated otherwise.

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