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From TV to table-top: the wonderful world of Xbox card and board games

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Videogames have been leaping out of the television screen and onto tabletops since the 1980s. There was a Pac-Man card game that you played like dominoes, a Street Fighter II board game where you chased down M. Bison, and even a DOOM game that pitted players against each other as demons and marines.

The trend continues today. With dice, cards and plastic figures in hand, you can experience the Xbox universe in a whole new way. There are now themed versions of Monopoly, new twists on classic games such as Memory and Risk, and unique games that stand on their own. Here's a sampling of some of the bigger videogame-inspired tabletop titles around.

Gears of War: The Board Game
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games // Average play time: 2 hours // Number of players: 1-4 // Learning difficulty: Hardcore


What is it?
Gears of War attempts something we've never seen in a board game before: AI enemy behaviour. AI cards dictate how these enemies act depending on player actions, how close players are to completing a mission objective, and which enemies are still alive on the board. The "board" is actually a bunch of separate pieces which are assembled on the fly to create different maps each time you play. This is a rules-heavy game that takes some time to grasp, but for those who learn the complex setup, there's plenty to enjoy here, including an intense version of Horde Mode.

Is it faithful?
If you don't take cover, you die quickly.

Resident Evil Deck Building Game
Publisher: Bandai // Average play time: 90 minutes // Number of players: 1-4 // Learning difficulty: Normal


What is it?
Unlike Magic: The Gathering, which has players buying dozens of packs of cards in the hope of finding a rare one, everything you need to play a game of Resident Evil can be found in the box. Each game sees you and your opponents building decks by spending points to buy cards from a resource pile. Your goal is to explore a dungeon filled with infected enemies from Resident Evil 5 and kill them with the weapons you've drawn from your inventory. Building a good deck on the fly requires much more strategy than you've likely ever needed for any Resident Evil videogame.

Is it faithful?
There's a card called Master of Unlocking.

Risk: Halo Legendary Edition
Publisher: USAopoly // Average play time: 1 hour // Number of players: 2-5 // Learning difficulty: Normal


What is it?
Though this has its quirks, the Halo version of Risk is a rare opportunity for fans of the videogame to roll some dice and conquer the Halo rings or one of two Forge maps. The UNSC, Covenant and Flood are all vying for control, with each player given three different objectives to complete (Easy, Heroic and Legendary difficulties) in order to be declared the victor. Interestingly, in the two-player version, the Flood act as an annoying obstacle to both UNSC and Covenant forces. The Flood control certain locations and must be cleared out in order to stake your claim.

Is it faithful?
There are two sets of UNSC armies which are neither red nor blue.

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