How to Turn A Board Game into A Virtual Game

Today, I want to talk about how to turn a physical board game into an app.

We’ve all played really fun board games before, likes Chutes and Ladders, and Monopoly. People loved to play them. How great would it be to translate these board games into apps?

So here a few things you can do to make this a reality.

1. Create an exact replica of the board game.

What you need to do is you need to create an exact replica with wireframes. You take a bunch of paper, or you do it on your computer, and you wireframe-out the gameplay itself. What would this app look like? Translate this and all the gameplay mechanics. How do you turn this exact board game and put it on a phone or an iPad, or another platform?

2. Redesign the game to make it your own.

You can keep all the same game plays, the same idea, use all the same rules and directions. But now you start to change the names, the words, and the graphics. You reskin this app that you just repurposed out of the box and you start to make it your own. You have to make it look a little different.

3. Change the rules a little bit to make the game your own.

You want to innovate here. Anytime you have a game, you want to make it unique, make it new.

The best way to do this is to go find other board games, and pull out gameplay pieces from that. So what happens if, on Chutes and Ladders, instead of rolling dice, you now have a spinner that you pulled from The Game of Life.  And on Chutes and Ladders, instead of the characters being the young kids, maybe they’re all the characters from Monopoly or whatever. You can start to pull different elements from other board games.

Once you have it at that point, you’re getting pretty close to having a unique product that you can at least launch and start to get feedback on.

One of the biggest reasons why board games are so successful in the physical world is because it’s absolutely necessary to have other people playing.

When you make it virtual, that is something that is often forgotten. When you’re building a game on a digital format, you’re not always thinking about how to make sure that this has to have more than one person.

One of the most powerful parts of board games is the multiplayer aspect of it. It makes it a little bit more difficult to build the app, but that is what will make the board game that you’re building really successful.

The true nuts and bolts of how to get this done just comes down to the first step, which is copying the game into wireframes and into a digital format. Just doing that will get you pretty far down the path and follow through. And then finally, keeping that idea of being multiplayer, that’s where the magic of these board games comes through.


  • RIOT June 9, 2017

    Yeah, I instantly thought about multiplayer. There has been an age-old website in polish internet (kurnik) which translated the most popular board games into web apps – its power was its simplicity – you just log in and play with randoms, sometimes difficulty settings were available. And there was also chat – mucho, muuucho fun, especially if you were winning, you could got called names >>> emotions >>> social aspect >>> profit!

  • James Stubits February 21, 2018

    I have a Copyrighted board game I need on a Phone app.The information you are explaining is over my head.You can view this game on YouTube.Just go to YouTube and type James Stubits.I am willing to pay for this process.Can You perform this for me?The 7.38 minute video is my best explanation.This means the World to me if this can be done.Thanks in Advance.PLEASE Reply.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 21, 2018

    Great question James. We can definitely help you digest this info for your specific board game. I had my Project Manager Mark reach out to you via email. Best,

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