9 Best Board Games Based On Books

Highlights

  • Dive into the world of board games with Robinson Crusoe – a challenging cooperative game for fans of survival and crisis management.
  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle offers a dynamic deckbuilding experience that evolves with each game, perfect for fans of the book series.
  • Treasure Island is a cutthroat treasure hunting game that involves bluffing and deciphering vague clues from Long John Silver, perfect for a battle of wits.



The world of board games is huge, with hundreds of quality games that are worth a try. Many players, especially those who are new to the landscape of board gaming, can have their work cut out for them when trying to find a good game that will really connect with their gaming group.

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Thankfully, publishers have released a slew of board games based on popular books and stories. Any fans of the books that are referenced below should hurry to play these amazing board games.


9 Robinson Crusoe: Adventures On The Cursed Island

Castaway in Co-op

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures On The Cursed Island BG Box


For fans of the desert island survivor novel, or any of the books it inspired, like Lord of the Flies, this is an amazing cooperative game that is waiting to be beaten. Up to four players will take on different classes of character: the explorer, the cook, the carpenter and the soldier. Players will then try to stay alive, building shelters to avoid the weather, searching for food and defending themselves from wild beasts. If any characters die, then it’s game over for everyone.

Not only that, but players will also have to contend with completing the goal in the version of the island that they have landed on – they may have to save a damsel in distress or even exorcise a ghost. The varied gameplay and nail-biting tension in a game of Robinson Crusoe is visible from the random event deck, which can change things massively, causing untold misfortune for the party or solving a problem and pulling gasps of relief from the survivors. It is a difficult game; it can be super punishing and solid strategy can be ruined by bad luck, but for fans of the survivor genre, the classic novel or crisis management board games this is a must-try.


8 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

A Deckbuilder With Dementors

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle BG Box

Another co-op game for up to four players, but with a much bigger focus on teamwork and communication, Hogwarts Battle gives players control of one of the three main characters of the book series – Harry, Ron and Hermione – or (amazingly) Neville Longbottom. The group will slowly build a deck by purchasing cards from a sideboard that features beloved characters and items like Dumbledore or the Sorting Hat. Then, players use their decks to defeat a deck of villains who will use the dark arts to try to attain control of several locations. If all the villains are defeated before they get control of the iconic locations, then the players win.


The real flavour comes from the different game setups. There is a set of cards for each book in the series and each one represents one game. As players return to the game, the cards they can access are from later in the books and more powerful – but in turn, the threats go from being Draco, Crabbe and Goyle to being murderous death eaters or spectral dementors. For fans of the books who want to take control of the narrative, protect Hogwarts and craft powerful decks in a slowly evolving deckbuilder, there is no better game to try out. In the beginning, it feels like a light and easy deckbuilder with touches of humor for fans. By game seven, the villains seem insurmountable and the added mechanics make the game full of suspense and make every victory feel deserving of celebration.


7 Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

A Narrative Deduction Game With Holmes Himself

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective BG Box

The potential of board gaming is limitless, and no board game is a better exemplar of that point than Consulting Detective, the Sherlock Holmes game. Taking on the role of an investigator solving the crimes that plague old London, players have freedom and time that are often absent from more mechanical board games. Investigators will move around London and be given evidence, newspapers and information from the people that they question all over the city. This information can be noted down, but going to the right locations is crucial as players are scored based on how many stops they made on their way to the conclusion.


Consulting Detective sees players taking their time and thinking, either in small groups or even alone, pondering over all the clues they have been given in blocks of expository text. The physical map and the newspaper props that mount in number with every case help the game to come alive on the tabletop and the crime-solving theme invites fans to wait and mull over the clues, talking about it and mentally thinking through every possible series of events. This can really put players inside the mind of Sherlock – right up until the conclusion when Sherlock busts the case wide open and players are left amazed at all the simple pieces that they didn’t put together. Expansion sets mean the number of cases is huge and fans of the detective genre have their work cut out for them dispensing justice from Baker Street.

6 Fury Of Dracula

Hidden Movement Vampire Hunters

Fury Of Dracula BG Box


Europe, 1898. Dr Van Helsing, John Seward, Mina Harker and Lord Godalming are combing the cities as they travel. But they only travel during the day, because he stalks the night. The characters from the novel and the expanded Dracula fiction let fans of Stoker’s classic take on special abilities that match their favorite heroes. Players will be hunting for an invisible foe, trying to stop Dracula before his influence grows high enough that the vampire wins. One player, however, will be playing as the evil Count. They will leave encounters across Europe: creeping fog, evil vampire brides, and packs of wolves.


Should players get too close to Dracula, these threats will attack the hunters. But when they do manage to land on Dracula’s space, the other half of the game begins with those near Dracula dragged into brutal combat. If the players can do fifteen points of damage, across the whole map, then they win. The game is beloved for a reason, being one of the most intricate and entertaining hidden movement games of all time. The team-based gameplay lets one group laugh and communicate together while the enemy playing alone feels powerful and devious. Fury Of Dracula is currently out of print, but copies are available online and the amazing virtual version of the tabletop game is available on Steam with online multiplayer.

5 Treasure Island

Treacherous Treasure Hunting

Treasure Island BG Box


The timeless tale of treachery and deceit makes for an amazing board game. Up to four players are pirates that have captured the infamous Long John Silver. Silver has the location of a buried treasure on the island you caught him on. One player has to play as the imprisoned cook, and they will give the other players clues as to where the treasure is. Silver decides where it is at the start of the game and his clues can be as vague as ‘It is not South of the forest’. Players have personal maps that they can scrawl all over to mark where they know they don’t need to search.

The components in the game – rulers, marker pens, real compasses to draw circles across the map – make the whole game become lively and exciting, with players digging all over the map desperately trying to make sense of nonsense clues. And the real spark of intrigue here is that Long John Silver can occasionally lie. The player doesn’t have to, but they can give false information that takes a player a whole turn to verify. After a set number of turns, Long John Silver escapes and dashes across the map to get to the treasure first, giving the whole table one last chance to see where he is running and get there ahead of him. Treasure Island makes for a cutthroat and hilarious battle of wits with a fair bit of bluffing and begging for information from your friends.


4 Discworld: Ankh-Morpork

Random Victory Conditions

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork BG Box

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is a cult favorite with boundless character and quirks. The city of Ankh-Morpork serves as the setting for many of the best of the Discworld novels, and Discworld: Ankh-Morpork does not disappoint with its depiction of warring factions, chaotic calamities and explosive encounters on the streets of the city. Players take control of one of a collection of recognizable characters from the Discworld, including Lord Rust and Commander Vimes, and use the huge cast of characters in the city as a means to their questionable ends.


Each player’s character role is hidden and has a unique victory condition, so there is an underhanded and sneaky aspect while players pay for buildings in one of the 12 districts on the gorgeously detailed map of the city. The social deduction part of the game, trying to find out who is gunning for what win condition, makes it a game to talk over the table about, and the insane event cards that will see trolls attacking some districts or dragons destroying whole sides of the board make for a game with a lot of randomness but light-hearted charm. The care that the game clearly has for Pratchett’s setting makes the entire game feel like a love letter to the series and makes this a must-play for every fan of the Discworld.

3 Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Deckbuild Against The Odds, And The Gods

Arkham Horror: The Card Game BG Box


The novels of H.P. Lovecraft have been adapted into countless films and games. Still, one of the best adaptations that manages to get a hold of the themes and feeling of cosmic horror in his work is the Arkham Horror living card game from Fantasy Flight. Each player takes on a character who brings their skills, equipment and knowledge to the nightmarish adventures around Arkham. The tropey characters are easy to roleplay for any fans who want to immerse themselves in the Cthulhu Mythos: a librarian with too much knowledge, a crooked cop, or a young orphan with an eldritch heirloom. Players will build decks to try and complement each other and then start looking for clues in detailed narrative episodes with effects that make for sprawling campaigns where characters can see progression by adding better cards to the decks.


Mythos decks ensure that constant threats match the mission and the enemy danger mounts as players retrieve clue tokens and the number of doom tokens on the evil schemes increases. Every character has a massive weakness that waits in their deck, and if it rears its head at the wrong moment, a detective who has been on their trail or their chemical dependency could cost them their lives (or worse, it could mean they don’t manage to stop an evil cult’s summoning). A flavorful narrative adventure that is brutally difficult in the spirit of the unstoppable force of the cosmos.

2 Lord Of The Rings: The Confrontation

Chess-like One On One

Lord Of The Rings: The Confrontation BG


The Lord Of The Rings books, and all of the works of J.R.R Tolkien are everlasting tales of bravery and adventure. The main focus of the books is often the grand-scale battle between the forces of good and those of evil. The Confrontation is a perfect translation of those themes into a light head-to-head game where players take control of one side of the conflict in the book trilogy and face off to control Middle-Eearth or cast the One Ring into the fires of Mordor. Players start on opposite sides of a square board with control of a collection of iconic characters.

The opponents must arrange these pieces and hide the identity of each of them. Then, starting with the forces of darkness, each player methodically moves one piece – only moving one space in a tactical and aggressive game. The good team must get Frodo to Mount Doom, while the bad only need to defeat Frodo or invade the Shire with four characters. The true appeal of this game, though, comes from the alternative solutions that often appear; Gandalf dies to Saruman in Moria and returns only to engage Shelob in combat. The rules ask that players create these new versions of the story across the whole board and see if either side can outshine the events as they happened in the novels.


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1 Dune

Cult Classic Chaos

Dune BG Box

An old classic that had almost faded into obscurity, Dune has been given a recent reprint that exploded in popularity and was followed by an expansion that adds more insanity and more rules. Unsurprisingly, for fans of the dense sci-fi saga, there are a lot of rules that must be remembered that can interfere with gameplay for some newer players. But with familiarity, the game comes alive.


Each player takes control of a different faction in a pit of corruption, capital and game-long grudges. Buying items at auction pays the emperor. Shipping troops onto the board pays the Spacing Guild. The pool of money changes hands and different factions are left behind in one turn, only to come back and wipe out whole forces in the desert the next. Capturing and holding strongholds will mean victory for whichever faction can hold three at once; alliances, storms, sandworms and nuclear warfare will all pose a threat, but the most tactically sound and backstabbing leader will leave the rest of the group behind to claim victory and control of the planet of Dune.

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