Sunday, March 9, 2014

Using Boardgames in your Roleplaying Games

The story of how the board for Avalon Hill's game Outdoor Survival was used in the early days of Dunegons & Dragons to run outdoor adventures has been well documented.  Looking at the board it makes perfect sense as it has most of the terrain that one might expect to encounter along with convenient markers that can be used for castles, villages, and encounters.  Overall I think that it's  good use of a nice game board from what I think was an otherwise dull game.  Supposedly Outdoor Survival was one of Avalon Hill's better selling games because it tended to be sold in gift shops at national parks.  In any case it's a lovely board, and it got me thinking of boards from other games that could be used in some manner for my roleplaying games. 
Board from Avalon Hill's Outdoor Survival

First up is the board from the Odyssey 2 game Quest for the Rings.  While Quest for the Rings wasn't technically a boardgame, parts of it were played on a board, so I'm including it here.  This board while very attractive doesn't possess the same functionality of the Outdoor Survival board as it has no hexes, and the grid the overlays the board is fairly large, but the board itself could be used as a ready made GM's campaign map.  I mean, who wouldn't want to visit places like The mountains of Myrgard or The Dragon's Bog?
Quest for the Rings Board
Another of my favorites comes from another Avalon Hill game, Wizards Quest.  My dad and I used to play this when I was younger, and while it's really not much more than fantasy Risk, I've always been fond of the board.  This one has better region delineation than Quest for the Rings, but it's not as good as the nicely ordered hexes from Outdoor Survival.  Still, in a pinch it could be used in actual play to track character movements between cities or adventure sights.  In the end though, I think that this board is still better suited for use as a GM's campaign map for a small scale campaign.
Wizard's Quest Board
Moving back to hexes, I think that the map boards from Avalon Hill's Panzerblitz would be well suited for small scale outdoor adventures in areas covering a few dozen miles.  The Panzerblitz boards also have the advantage of being able to be positioned in a variety of ways, thus increasing variety.
Panzerblitz Boards

There are of course a ton of boards from other games that could be used as well, like Dragon Pass, and SPI's Sword and Sorcery.  Does anyone have any favorite boardgames that they have been inspired to somehow incorporated into their roleplaying games?
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