Ah, the humble board game. Enthusiasts of this storied pastime adore the more niche titles’ strategic depth, emergent mechanics and storytelling potential, while casual players and families everywhere adore multiplayer friendship-ruiners like Monopoly or Scrabble. Whatever your personal preference, there’s a board game for you; whether it’s the spooky storytelling of Mysterium, the co-operative survival shenanigans of Dead of Winter or the straightforward beauty of Ludo, there’s bound to be something board game-related you’ll love. After all, the PS4 is home to some of the best board games.
For those of you who prefer your entertainment presented in a more digital fashion, the PlayStation 4 is a more than adequate home for board games all the family can enjoy (and some that are a little more in-depth). Here, for your perusing pleasure, are the best board game experiences you can currently have on PS4. Some of these are straight adaptations of physical games, while others adapt the spirit of the medium into a digital format.
Where would we be without Monopoly? This board game staple has rested on the shelves of families everywhere since 1935, and has gained a somewhat unfair reputation as a friendship-ender. The truth, of course, is that if your friendship or relationship is strong, it’ll survive even the most cut-throat round of Monopoly. Everyone knows the rules by now, so we won’t go over them again, but the PS4 version Monopoly Plus is arguably the definitive way to experience this iconic game. Beautiful 3D visuals complement a deep, well-thought-out Monopoly experience that allows players to choose between sets of House Rules, speed up slow play with a Speed Die and take photos of winners and losers. All of this sits alongside a perfectly-presented version of the board game we all know and love. Monopoly Plus supports up to six players locally, and each player can use the same controller, so you won’t have to shell out for extra DualShocks.
The Jackbox Party Pack isn’t really a board game in the conventional sense, although it shares a lot of its DNA with popular party titles like Pictionary and Cheat. Instead, it’s a compilation of developer Jackbox Games’ best-known and best-loved titles, packing in 5 party games for a budget-friendly price. First up is You Don’t Know Jack 2015, a comedy trivia game which offers hundreds of questions for a fresh experience each time. Fibbage XL is a bluffing game for up to 8 players, while Drawful is similar to Android and iOS sensation Draw Something (did we mention this game is controlled entirely via smartphone or tablet?). Word Spud allows the filthy-minded to coexist with the innocent thanks to its fill-in-the-blank mechanics, and Lie Swatter, which supports up to 100 players (yes, really), sees players separating fact from fiction. With five games and a huge amount of replayability, The Jackbox Party Pack is great value for money and a top-notch entertainment product, too. There’s a sequel available as well should you (somehow) exhaust this first instalment.
If the last couple of games on this list have been a bit too casual for you, then Armello is right up your street. Billed by creators League of Geeks as a “digital role-playing strategy board game”, Armello combines elements of trading card games, RPGs and tabletop strategy titles to create a rich, compelling experience that’s perfect on PS4. Armello supports up to four players, and sees each one controlling a hero chosen by their clan to ascend to the throne of the titular Kingdom of Armello. Make no mistake: although Armello is played with dice and cards, it offers just as much dizzying depth as any board game does, with dungeons to explore, quests to embark on, spells to cast and talent trees to spec characters. Armello is the perfect board game experience for those who aren’t huge fans of the more casual mechanics of Monopoly, but are looking for something to sink time into with friends.
“Well…it’s chess,” you might say, glancing at Pure Chess: Complete Bundle on the PlayStation Store. “How much better than regular chess can it be?” The honest answer to that question is, well, not much better at all; it’s chess, and chess has remained unchanged since the rules were standardised in Spain back in the 15th century. The thing is, though, chess is arguably a perfect game, so when Pure Chess is described as “simply chess”, this is an abject compliment. Pure Chess represents the mechanics of its game beautifully, with incredible HD visuals and a range of DLC packs to choose from which alter the appearance of both the pieces and the backdrop against which they’re set. Online play and local multiplayer are, of course, both available, so if you want the best possible version of the game of chess on your PS4, look no further than Pure Chess: Complete Bundle.
Okay, you got us – we’re cheating a little bit on this one. XCOM 2 doesn’t have a board game heritage per se; there is no original XCOM board game on which it is based, and the characters don’t technically move on a board. Bear with us, though. XCOM 2 is the sequel to 2012’s excellent franchise reboot XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a game which took the simulation-style gameplay of its obtuse PC predecessors and updated them with a decidedly board game-esque turn-based gameplay style. Even though the new XCOM games aren’t based on board games, they are incredibly reminiscent of same; characters resemble chunky miniatures and the action is entirely turn-based, so it’s easy to imagine a board game being created based on this new, arguably improved version of XCOM (which has actually happened). If you’re a board game fan, you’ll find much to love in XCOM 2’s mixture of base management and tactical combat, which brings to mind Dead of Winter crossed with classic wargaming.
This bundle has four favorites that will be sure to keep you busy for week on end – great for family fun. The four games included are; Monopoly Plus, Risk, Trivial Pursuit Live and Scrabble – If you are a beginner and stuck with a word, you could use an unscrambler tool. These titles are classics that are well presented within the digital format, providing a variety of challenges, you’ll be able to conquer players online, or play locally with friends and family. Be sure to include this within your gaming index if you are a fan of board games on PS4.