Computer games and board games have long ceased to exist in their own worlds. The almost symbiotic relationship between the two industries has been generating new surprises for years. The Scandinavian publisher Paradox Interactive recently recognized that the mechanisms of video games can be used as an excellent basis for board games. With Crusader Kings, Cities: Skylines, Hearts of Iron and Europa Universalis, other computer games will soon appear as physical game variants. Fans can at least play the strategic board game Crusader Kings - The Board Game support already now via Kickstarter.

Europa Universalis: From board game to video game to board game

The ways of a good game are unfathomable. How closely computer games and board games can be connected is shown by the announcement by the Swedish publisher Paradox Interactive, which will bring the Europa Universalis game back to the domestic board game tables.

Back? Exactly, Europa Universalis began its triumphant advance as a board game before Paradox decided to bring the idea of ​​the historical strategy game to the screens. For Paradox Interactive, the constant further development of the global strategy game Europa Universalis was something of a maturation process. The way for the success of the Europa Universalis brand was paved by the French game designer Philippe Thibault, who is still known today for his masterful strategic game ideas.

Europa Universalis was a revelation for all those board players who wanted to fight strategic board game battles away from the common world war scenarios. Even in the board game variant, Europa Universalis was characterized by complex game mechanisms that appeared to have been created to be used to design a computer game. Like almost all Paradox Interactive titles, the digital version of Europa Universalis was anything but a mass product.

Paradox Interactive brings board games to Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Cities: Skylines and Hearts of Iron

The strategy game served a niche and was primarily intended to appeal to players who would like to deal extensively with hidden numbers that are hidden behind the graphic Manisfestationen shown on the screens. Playing video games from Paradox Interactive is like going through a never-ending Excel spreadsheet over and over again. That was the case over ten years ago - and it is still the case today, even if Paradox has meanwhile started with more beginner-friendly titles such as the city-building game Cities: Skylines Attempts have been made to establish itself on the mass market with strategically dense games. With success.

It goes without saying that Paradox Interactive uses the successful brands to develop board games from the basic ideas. The computer games Europa Universalis, Cities: Skylines, Hearts of Iron and Crusader Kings will gradually appear as physical game versions. The latter title is already available as a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, where fans are already offering their (financial) support. In any case, one thing is already noticeable: With its strong focus on the implementation of several games as board games, Paradox Interactive is focusing on a completely new type of "cross-platform gaming", which other publishers are also welcome to take up in the future.

Other projects: Cities: Skyline and Hearts of Iron

The board game implementation of the computer game Hearts of Iron, which Paradox Interactive launched in the video game version in 2005, is certainly of interest to fans of epic World War II battles. Several expansions and sequels have appeared over the years, the most recent being Hearts of Iron IV in June 2016. With a duration of up to eight hours of play, the Hearts of Iron board game is more likely to be classified as a niche game.
While a large part of the strategy games published by Paradox Interactive can be classified as not very beginner-friendly, casual gamers can pass the time with the city building simulation Cities: Skylines. Also used as a board game Cities: Skylines consequently belong to the entry-level titles in the segment of strategy games. 

Further details about the board games Hearts of Iron and Cities are not yet known. However, it can be assumed that information will not be long in coming: after all, the licensor Paradox Interactive has announced the implementation for 2018. 

Crusader Kings as a board game: Crusader virtues

The numbers speak for themselves: Crusader Kings is so popular as a board game that the financing target of the Kickstarter campaign was exceeded after just a few days. Fria Ligan (Free League Publishing), a Swedish games publisher that has already successfully brought Mutants onto the market, is responsible for the board game implementation. For the fans of Crusader Kings, these are good conditions to be able to play the title as a strategic board game variant in the future. Crusader Kings is a computer game from 2004 that focuses on medieval real-time battles. The board game for Crusader Kings now wants to build on the success of the digital template. If you look at the feedback from the backers so far, the omens are at least good: after just a few days, the kickstarter campaign is over 208.000 euros (as of May 24.05.18, 48.000) and exceeds the set financing target of almost XNUMX euros many times over.

Paradox Interactive brings board games to Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Cities: Skylines and Hearts of Iron

Free League Publishing tries to map the familiar setting of the template as detailed as possible on the game board. In the strategic medieval board game, 3 to 5 players fight for supremacy in Europe at the time of the Crusades. As is now common with such board games, detailed miniatures should provide the atmospheric depth and highlight the dramatic game events in an appealing way. The playing time is generous: between two and three hours pass before the end of a game. According to Free League Publishing, the game idea is based on four important pillars:

• Character development
• Progressive actions
• The need for forward planning
• Historical accuracy

Each of the four pillars was already included as a basic game element in the Crusader Kings template. Even if a number of complex mechanisms have to be merged in order to function when converting a computer game as a board game, the features of the digital template are clearly recognizable. Fans will appreciate that - and board game strategists are looking forward to a new physical grand strategy board game.

The board game variant was announced on May 19, 2018 at the in-house convention of Paradox Interactive in Stockholm, the PDXCON. The Swedish publisher has released a short video trailer to match this.

The game principle of Crusader Kings - The Board Game doesn't sound particularly innovative at first. On the contrary: experienced board players already know many playful details from other, similar strategy board games. The various royal families strive for power and influence, which is noticeable in a playful way by taking provinces and occupying knight figures. The countless diplomatic tricks that affect what is happening are probably more exciting. These social interactions consist, among other things, of forging alliances and alliances, which suggests that Crusader Kings - The Board Game noticeably improves in quality as the number of players increases. Players have to face challenges that already caused difficulties for medieval kings: with whom do you have to marry in order to steer the balance of power in a favorable direction? Where should troops be moved? How does one get rid of unpleasant heirs as a king?

In Crusader Kings - The Board Games, game actions are represented by cards, of which each player chooses two face down to initiate his turn. In addition to the mentioned marriage, players can, among other things, erect buildings, advance the story, raise taxes or even attack. In Crusader Kings - The Board Game it is important to predict the opponent's moves as much as possible and not just have to react to enemy tactics. Another highlight that will create excitement are the so-called "events" that are triggered by the action cards. From the birth of a child to the plague epidemic, there are many conceivable medieval events, which should create a dense atmosphere. Character traits, which are represented by green (positive) and red (negative) tokens, provide additional fine-tuning. With the possibility of acquiring properties with gold, the number of strategic options for action continues to increase. And because the heirs are also endowed with character traits, it is advisable for players to always keep an eye on the royal family relationships. A board game that is set in the age of the Crusades cannot avoid playing the brutal knight battles. In Cruder Kings - The Board Game, crusades are an important factor in earning large amounts of victory points: those who make it to Jerusalem with their army will be richly rewarded.

If Free League Publishing succeeds in bringing all of this strategic content to the game board without disturbing lengths tarnishing the game experience, Crusader Kings - The Board Game could actually become a serious alternative for tactics fans. Mainly because overflowing strategy board games with a medieval focus and the use of pretty miniatures are comparatively rare.

Crusader Kings - The Board Game is not only the first title from Paradox Interactive or Fria Ligan to find its way from the screens to the game boards, but at the same time probably a first test run to see how the response from the fans is at all. Crusader Kings - The Board Game is expected to be released in November 2018 and costs around 60 euros to purchase.