“It's ime to kick ass and chew bubblegum”, once said a legendary shooter hero and described the necessary content of a first-person shooter quite aptly. It's not about a nice story and often not about finely crafted game mechanisms: what counts is the fun of the game.

Tactical shooters are an established element from the gaming sector that is popular with fans. Now even the world of analog games is being influenced by it - simply because the target groups seem to be merging more and more. There are no longer gamers on the one hand and board players on the other. If you look at the implementation of board game implementations by popular brands such as “This War of mine” or “Dark Souls”, one could almost speak of a kind of cross-platform development. A current trend is the rebirth of first-person shooters for the gaming table at home.


Ask: The board game from Pegasus Spiele

Thrill to kill: tactical shooters as board games
Thrill to kill: tactical shooters as board games

Overwatch, Battlefield 1 or the evergreen Counter Strike are just three examples of successful tactical shooters: these days there is a lot of shooting. Resourceful developers of analog game concepts have now rediscovered this trend. The new releases are not reinventing the genre of “shooter board games”. Pegasus Spiele set foot in the arena around seven years ago and started playing the strategic board game Frag - Gold Edition localized such a project. The board game, which is often praised and sought after by gamers, is no longer available in stores. On online platforms such as Ebay, but also via The Amazon* However, lovers of this classic can buy a few copies in German. If, on the other hand, you do not attach great importance to localization, you will get the English-speaking one Variant* at significantly lower prices. Even if you don't want to buy this title from the field of shooter board games, you should at least take note of the title - after all, it is considered to be a kind of forefather of the fairly manageable genre. The age of the board game can already be recognized by the design of the game material. Frag - Gold Edition Visually it doesn't make a bad impression, but it is unusually poor in detail, almost crudely illustrated - and therefore fits perfectly into today's times, in which retro-graphic is to be understood as a quality feature. You have to know that this shooter board game originally came from Steve Jackson Games and the basic version was published in 2001.

4 to 6 players enter the analog battlefield with virtual roots. Before the first shot is fired, the players make their own avatar, which they can adapt to their personal needs. A real tank with a lot of life energy but comparatively little firepower is just as possible as the weak-chested glass cannon, which causes immense damage in return. This system should look familiar to experienced gamers of tactical first-person shooters - including the blockbuster game Overwatch* Blizzard Entertainment relies on exactly such a game idea. at Frag - Gold Edition The name says it all: it's about blowing the lights out on the opposing players. If the life points of an avatar drop to zero without being healed immediately, the figure is considered “fragged”, ie defeated. But the player is far from dead, because real shooter heroes don't die forever in computer games, they respawn. And then prove themselves again in battle - of course without the previously captured equipment. 

Movement and attack rules are closely based on the virtual template: anyone who is in the player's field of vision can be shot at. Fights are rolled, as a board player is familiar with. The power-up fields and special markings on the game board are a real treat. In the former, players with a lucky hand can roll equipment. The latter bring a tactical component into the game process in that the player incorporates the fields into his movements. Everything repeats itself until one player has scored 3 frags.

Frag - Gold Edition is therefore not a strategic heavyweight, not a miracle of complexity and also not a visual delicacy, but the board game impresses with its uncomplicated, fast and entertaining gameplay - and thus relies on exactly the three components that make up modern first-person shooters. 

Adrenaline from the Heidelberger Spieleverlag

Thrill to kill: tactical shooters as board games

In the strategic board game Adrenalin, which is published by Heidelberger Spielverlag in this country, is a high-tech combat suit that is actually the star of the game. The framework for action is defined by a post-apocalyptic scenario: the world is on its last breath and even the surviving factions know no peace. Instead of fighting out conflicts in the classic way, a new sport is invented without further ado, in which fighters fight each other in an arena. What happens is determined by the genre-typical processes: moving, collecting power-ups and weapons and shooting the enemy before you can be hit yourself. Damaged combat suits also provide a speed boost that lets the avatar whiz through the arena.

Needed Frag - Gold Edition only a four-page set of rules, you have to work through 12 pages for a game of adrenaline, which are, however, excellently designed and beautifully illustrated. Depending on the number of players, a different structure of the arena is recommended, up to 5 players can take part in a game. Modern online shooters often contain smaller humorous inserts and also Adrenalin as an analog variant, there is no exception: the characters are cool, crazy and always well armed. It's about collecting as many points as possible. This is achieved through enemy hits and kills. Nerdy PvP expressions like “First Blood”, “Killshots” and “Double Kills” are firmly anchored in the rules of Adrenalin. Fits well because it appeals to shooter fans in particular. Tacticians mark their targets for a damage bonus.  

Shoot: Card Game from Game Absorber

Thrill to kill: tactical shooters as board games

Shoot: Card Game by the Danish publisher Game Absorber is the dream of every student flat share. The shooter game does not contain its own game board, but uses the respective conditions of the game location, more precisely the gaming table. Messy flat-share dining tables offer just as good coverage as Grandma's Sunday porcelain. The characters can also be freely chosen if desired. Donald Duck who wants to camp behind the Ritzenhoff coffee pot in order to eliminate his opponents from a safe distance will be addressed by the game idea just as much as the Playmobil firefighter, who emulates John Rambo personally and assembles his weapons from everyday components. The game is played with cards: weapon cards, item cards, action cards - all the details from popular computer shooters that can only be roughly pressed into a card format can be found at Shoot: Card Game Use. The rules are simple and can be learned in less than 15 minutes GAME'16 could convince himself.

The most important basic rule: you shoot what you see. What you can't see, you can't hit either. Instead of a classic deathmatch (which is also possible), the players fight in a capture-the-flag mode over a flag to be conquered, which must be brought back to the home base. Anyone who is shot respawns and starts at their own starting point. The heroes are moved over card lengths, which serve as units of measurement. The simple game principle unfolds enormous fun potential, but also wears out - even die-hard shooter fans shouldn't indulge in any illusions. On the other hand, the constantly new battlefields, which are built from what the household has to offer, provide motivation. You can ambush your opponent while standing on a piece of Gouda or you can make your way under the protection of a row of beer bottles to the opposing flag. With such an open game principle, rule modifications are not only desirable, they are absolutely necessary. Shoot: Card Game lives from the creativity of the players and from the social interactions - and thus in the end becomes more communicative than any online shooter in which only short commands are shouted into the microphone in addition to insults. 

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