Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game is now available for pre-order from Steamforged Games!
Horizon Zero Dawn is an action role-playing game in which you are a hunter venturing through a post-apocalyptic world overrun by robotic creatures. First released on PlayStation 4 in 2017, the game received critical acclaim and became one of the top 10 most sold PS4 games by early 2019. And on August 2018, Steamforged Games launched the Kickstarter for Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game and finished the campaign at around $1.8M.
Should You Pre-Order? (Available from October 16, 2020)
At $99.95, is Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game worth pre-ordering from Steamforged Games?
The answer to that is highly subjective, although backers of Steamforged Games' previous campaigns may say otherwise. But as someone with zero stakes in this and having no background in Horizon Zero Dawn, here are my general thoughts toward board game adaptations of video games:
Games like these tug at the heartstrings of fans. It promises to deliver that same rich world-building and action-packed gameplay onto the tabletop, and this pre-order option would look so much more enticing to me right now had I had 100+ hours of gameplay under my belt.
The Limitations and the Risk
Different mediums have different strengths and weaknesses, and things get lost in translation. An attempt at a direct replication of an open-world game such as Horizon Zero Dawn could be riddled with complications and housekeeping, or take on a more abstract approach that could focus on capturing the heart of the theme but with simpler gameplay. Either way, it'll be like a person watching a movie of his or her favorite book—you'll need to embrace the differences or be ready to tear it apart. Lastly, this all assumes that the creators are fully invested in making a true board game adaptation. How is their track record?
How do you portray a video game setting onto the tabletop while appealing to the tactile nature of board games? Highly detailed miniatures, and lots of them! Again, this will be a $99.95 game. I sure hope the mechanisms involved will make a deep gameplay.
I may sound cynical, but it's only because board game adaptations of video games have that much more weight behind them. They appeal to nostalgia, and boy that's tough when you're already used to finding all sorts of ways to justify your next acquisition.
So, how do you feel about this game? Will you pre-order Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game?
If you have zero interest in the pre-order, you can at least appreciate the PC edition in full glory right here:
Steamforged Games has just announced a 2021 Kickstarter for a Monster Hunter: World board game!
For those who aren't in the loop, the Monster Hunter franchise is a series of fantasy action role-playing games in which you play as a Hunter. You fulfill quests from the locals to slay or trap Monsters of epic proportions, cooperate with other Hunters who wield various different weapon archetypes (e.g. sword, axe, lance, bow, etc), obtain valuable loot, and upgrade your gear to put up resistance against devastating elemental attacks and suit up for your next adventure.
Coming from Steamforged Games.
Steamforged Games has released a series of Kickstarters based on high-profile game franchises, including Dark Souls: The Board Game and Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game. These releases, including the upcoming Monster Hunter: World Kickstarter, all share the commonality of an expansive universe, the promise of delivering the sense of adventure and wonder onto the tabletop, an expensive big box game with high quality miniatures, and... risk. Why?
Darks Souls amassed close to $5M in pledges and Horizon Zero Dawn finished its campaign at around $1.8M. And Monster Hunter: World board game adaptation will no doubt pass the $1M mark. Record-breaking numbers, but the comment section for Dark Souls Kickstarter is filled with complaints from those who've yet to receive a complete product even after multiple delays. While it's understable that a project of this scale would be fraught with nightmares, in the end, backers understandably want what they were promised, and Steamforged Games will have more hoops to jump through in order to break its records while alleviating the concerns.
Capturing the Expansive Monster Hunter Universe
Now, let's look at the positive. These games are irresistible to back because they promise to deliver the exciting gameplay of a popular video/PC game to a tabletop. Plus, providing an awesome table presence and tactile experience with high quality miniatures.
And based on some of the game mechanics shared by Sherwin Matthews, the lead designer, the gameplay also sounds promising. The key here is to rein in an expansive, open-ended universe to create a compelling tabletop session for your gaming group, and players will have to make crucial decisions to effectively make use of a limited number of campaign "days". Do you need to explore and gain more information on a Monster? That will cost a day. Do you need to prep your gear using your latest loot? That will cost a day. This sounds like a nice mixture of risk vs. reward that is consistent with the theme, and I like the sound of where it's headed. And as someone who loves games with a sense of progression, it's always a welcome news to be able to pilot a character that grows from game 1 to 10 and progressively gets stronger to an urecognizable point (likely in the form of deck-building).
So, will you take the risk of backing this monster box coming to Kickstarter in 2021?