Boardgames as RPG GM Tools
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
Why
Many boardgames aren't able to be RPG's themselves, but include components that can be tools for the harried RPG GM.

Having played two such games in under a week, I figured it's time to start this list. Really, the list belongs exclusively on RPGGeek, but then I can't add Boardgame items...

I've been threatening to create such a list as a tool for harried GM's for years.

What To Add

Board games that...
1. Are clearly a boardgame in play
2. Have non-miniatures/tokens components that can be repurposed to RPG play
3. Are not part of an RPG line.

What To Include
Use the Boardgame as the item.

Include discussion of what components, how to repupropose them, and what RPG's.

(I will simply delete entries without any discussion of the utility.)

What Not To Add

A lot of games tie in to RPGs, but aren't useful GM tools. Examples of that include anything in the Battletech line - the RPG is part of the line. From the Mechwarrior point of view, They're just setting building, and don't add much to RPG play.


A few are RPG's themselves - Car Wars, Melee/Wizard, Battlestations. So, please, don't add them.

Please don't say anything about miniatures within - that list has already been done. And the tokens are just cardboard replacements for miniatures. Any game with miniatures or tokens can be so repurposed and so it's not a useful addition.

Anything added for just the maps or maps and bits. That's neither repurposing, not of particular value to a GM outside the minismode almost unique to D&D.

Any game played for flavor as is.

ANY OF THESE ADDED WILL BE DELETED.

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: rpg-tools [+] RPG-GM's/SG's [+] [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Claustrophobia [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:188]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
flag msg tools
"To be honorable and just is our only defense against men without honor or justice." -Diogenes of Sinope
badge
"Today is the yesterday you won't be able to remember tomorrow" -Pinkwater
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Lots of nice, thick, sturdy tiles for hidden cave exploration - the PCs can only see into the next tile. You can either build a whole cave system in advance and record it, or simply shuffle and do random draws.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Decktet [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:1822]
Mike Everett-Lane
United States
Brooklyn
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Decktet has its roots in RPG, and there's a chapter in the Decktet book ("You Meet At An Inn") on using it as a GM tool. A few other things of note:

Decktet Character Background Generator

The Pandemonium Deck -- using the Decktet as a Deck of Many Things for Pathfinder

Generar aventuras ratoniles con Decktet -- generating Mouse Guard adventures
4 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Firefly: The Game [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:276]
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The game is ship-as-unit, with crew being aditional components.

The utility is for a harried firefly GM looking for a few plots for adventures. There are over a hundred discrete missions, and about 50 "aim to misbehave" cards - which are essentially mission encounters.

This makes it a wicked cool tool for adventure design. Just add a couple of aim to misbehaves to what's shown to represent typical RPG-level numbers of encounters, and figure out how many travel cards to draw for their trip.

Also, it's a great visualization of the system that instantly clues you in to where the alliance holds sway.

So, yeah - it can be a useful tool.

As a game, tho', it's a bit fiddly. Also, it doesn't even include all the major population centers from the 'Verse.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:723]
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
All kinds of goodness for use with Spirit of the Century, Justice, Inc., Gangbusters (1st & 3rd Edition), Call of Cthulhu, The World of Indiana Jones, (Torg): The Nile Empire, or other 1920's/1930's pulp/noir settings.

The location cards are straightforward. Major cities of the era, major regions of Earth.

The Item and Adventure cards are also great - they tell you a very pulpy thing to go get/explore.

The enemies cards are a mix of generics, nazis, and mobsters. Shorten the deck if wanting to avoid them. Likewise, the exploration cards have the event and cliffhangar sides, and can be shorted by pulling ones out of your campaign theme.

The event cards are less useful, but still can be used to add non-target encounters and such.

City cards can be used to add a variety of city encounters to adventures. Like events, many are not overly useful.

Allies cards give great ideas, but are most useful for backstory generation (esp. for SOTC).

Adding the Fortune and Glory: Rise of the Crimson Hand expansion adds cultists - for good RPG play, especially for COC, this is a great add on.

Oh, and the cards are thick. VERY thick. And laminated.

And, it's a pretty good game, too!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Outdoor Survival [Average Rating:4.64 Overall Rank:15289]
the manatee
United States
Burbank
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Let's go old school...

Back in the day, many a D&D campaign made use of the this board to handle overland/outdoor adventuring. Some pushed it a bit further and adapted the rules of OS to D&D as well.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Real People [Average Rating:5.46 Unranked]
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
There are no photos of the card backs in the gallery, but each lists several personality traits, possibly for use to seed NPCs.

See HelloGregor's video, What To Do With Real People Cards
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1841] [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked]
Neal Sofge
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RPGers tend to excel at modification of a given system/situation when given some constraints, and not as good at totally freeform creativity. This is a whole line of dice with goofy symbols on them, with themes like Voyages, Actions, or Enchantment. Should be good for when you don't have the spare brainpower to come up with something off the top of your head -- a roll or two will let you cherry-pick some constraints to jumpstart that part of your mind.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Scrabble Up [Average Rating:4.54 Overall Rank:14158]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
flag msg tools
"To be honorable and just is our only defense against men without honor or justice." -Diogenes of Sinope
badge
"Today is the yesterday you won't be able to remember tomorrow" -Pinkwater
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This has an interesting game timer: you place a marble in the top of the track and it winds its way to the bottom. I've adjusted the angle so it takes about 12 seconds. I make sure they see - and hear it - once before the game so they have a sense of how long from marble in to marble out. As the marble descends, you can hear the marble slightly speeding up as each zig or zag is slightly shorter than the previous.

When timing in an RPG session gets tense and when they've dithered for a while when it should be fast, I announce, "Marble going in!" Aaaahhh! The tension is palpable as they quickly rattle off what each character is doing. Lovely!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: The Simpsons: Don't Have A Cow Dice Game [Average Rating:4.33 Unranked]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
flag msg tools
"To be honorable and just is our only defense against men without honor or justice." -Diogenes of Sinope
badge
"Today is the yesterday you won't be able to remember tomorrow" -Pinkwater
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I use one of these dice when the party has an NPC encounter I didn't plan, such as, "Let's ask in the nearest shop."

This gives me the basic personality of the unexpected NPC.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Star Explorer [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:8661]
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This ancient and recently rereleased as a P&P game has the most excellent world encounter tables. It's an ideal add-on to the same-universe and same-publishers RPG Starships & Spacemen. It also is good for other Star Trek RPGs shooting for a TOS, TAS or Reboot feel.

The world encounters in here are great for fleshing out one's worlds and missions in S&S. The list is more extensive than S&S, and includes a goal type. But it also provides low enough detail that one can flesh out the encounters in a variety of ways in the RPG.

Also note: A crew team is only 2 people. So that 50 team BC is only 100 characters...

And while fiddly, it's a fun game, and can also be played PBP easily enough, too. (I've run it as a PBP.)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Star Fleet Missions [Average Rating:4.40 Overall Rank:15096]
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This dog of a game is a pretty nifty source of inspiration for Star Trek RPG's.

The mission cards are wonderful little blurbs of color text, and suitable for inspiring missions upon which to send PC-commanded ships.

Ignore the ship cards. Well, actually, if using the SFU, they're pretty good for saying "You encounter THIS, but not so good for the rest of the Trek milieux options.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.