I’m a bit of a nostalgia nut. As a kid growing up in the 90’s, and being an all around gamer, I was immersed in the action, FPS culture of that time. Nintendo’s Operation Wolf and Duck Hunt set the stage early. Then, later on, came gorier titles such as Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein. To someone sitting down to play the original Wolfenstein now, the audio will be terrible, the image grainy and the gameplay pretty static.
But at the time, sitting in front of my Intel 386, it was amazing. Dodging gunfire, finding hidden treasure while fighting increasingly difficult mobs, Wolfenstein has always had a special place in my heart.
Fast forward to about a month ago and I read an article dropping the news that the game’s publisher, Ubisoft, had granted board game rights to Archon for an adaptation of Heroes of Might and Magic III. No novice in the video board game crossover, Archon is also behind the Wolfenstein board game which I recently found out about.
Anyway, all this got me super psyched up to write about video board games and dig into the best of the best in this genre of gaming. So here we go! The 6 Sides of Gaming: video board game edition begins now.
Wolfenstein: The Board Game
Publisher: Archon Studio
Time to play: 60-90 Min
If you’ve never played any of the Wolfenstein video games, I’ll sum it up for you briefly: you play B.J. Blazkowicz, an American/Polish spy who runs around fighting Nazis and stopping their evil plots. The games tend to start out pretty tame but as the story progresses, it becomes clear there is a certain supernatural intent to this particular group of Nazis. By the end of each game, expect to see some combination of zombies and/or mech warriors.
This game is a real treat if you’re a fan of low pressure FPSs.
THE BOARD GAME stays true to video game form. Though B.J is now partying with his buddies, Anya, Oliwa, Seth, Max and Bombate, the mission remains the same: Infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein, whip some Nazi butt and stop stop Mecha-Hitler…..Easy Peezy.
wait, did you just say “Mecha-Hitler“?
Why, yes I did good sir or madame! In this board game you get to fight through zombies, Nazis AND you get to fight a crazy mech version of Hitler. AND IT IS A COOP GAME! This is like Contra or Borderlands but on a board.
I’d also like to talk about the minatures for a minute. For a board game, these are some very cool looking figurines. They’ve got expression. The one dude definitely loves kicking people. He likely also likes kicking doors. One dude has a big axe. I love it.
Look at these bad guys. Look at the Panzerhunds. These figurines are sweet. You could easily use these in tabletop RPGs like Shadowrun.
What You Get
Looking through the rulebook, the goal of the game is summed up fairly tidily,
“Wolfenstein: The Board Game is a missions-driven cooperative game for 1 to 4 players. You may choose to play individual missions or play the game the whole way through. The missions book found in the core set boasts a total of 10 missions and 4 levels of difficulty for you to try, so this game will challenge even the most hardened of gamers while providing easier options for newcomers, Eacg mission will state how it is set up, its goal, and any special rules.
At the end of the campaign, however, your main goal is to eliminate Adolf Hitler and end his reign of terror”.
This game looks dense. I believe the people who play this game will have to stick with it to get the ultimate payoff. Playing coop games is always a bit hard at first as you need to get used to the people you’re playing with. In a way, your enjoyment depends on you having a real trust in your teammates. I think anyone who’s ever played Pandemic or Dead of Winter can remember a time where your teams decisions left you frustrated and full of red-hot crazy brain.
In what I believe to be the coolest flex of this game: at the core of the Wolfenstein board game is a system built on D12s. How cool is that?
I don’t mind D6s, I really don’t. But hot damn, there’s a world of dice out there for us to roll! Gygax got on it early and look at how fun Dungeons and Dragons is. Anyway, Just a personal shout out to Archon for doing something different.
Here’s where I see this game landing: A group of friends who know each other well enough that, in a strategy game setting like this, there would be few surprises. A group of people who already have their social hierarchy laid out.
Trying to play this game with a group of domineering types (think alpha before the whole alpha thing was disproven and people decided to ignore it because alpha just sounds too damn cool to let go of) would wreck this game. This game also requires people to read the rules. Actually read them. Read the rules…to yourself.
I think some game discussion is ok and some rules will require a group communication BUT I think it would be exhausting to have to explain this game to people. That’s just me.
Here’s the payoff: if an actual team plays this game it will be a really fun time. As thick as the rules look, once learned, are going to be a non-issue. Getting to play a highly trained, special ops unit is sweet. Blasting baddies while moving through a castle and getting to do it all in the name of good is also sweet.
Wolfenstein: The Board Game looks really sweet.