“I’m sorry, do you have a plan to go along with that grenade?” How about a board game? Quietly, and with little fanfare, Bandai took a break from collectible card game adaptations of Japanese video games and anime to make a board game adaptation of an American video game.

Uncharted | Introduction

Uncharted Board Game Review BGB TCG

Uncharted is the video game series that reinvented Naughty Dog when their only hit franchise was Crash Bandicoot, Sony’s answer to Mario and Sonic. With three PS3 entries and a Vita adaptation, it’s safe to say it was a rousing success, with its cinematic, Indiana Jones inspired run n’ gun action. A movie or TV adaptation seemed like a no-brainer, but sadly never quite materialized.

Bandai, however–who has become noteworthy for adapting other video games and anime into CCGs and deck-building games–saw fit to go in a very different direction, and developed a board game version of Uncharted, with designer Hayato Kisaragi. In this game each player takes control of one the main characters of the series. Nathan Drake, of course, but also his buddies: Chloe Frazer, Elena Fisher, and Victor Sullivan. Just for good measure, bad guys like Zoran Lasarevic are up for grabs as well. Each character has special abilities based on their life point total and the cards they have in play.

Uncharted | Video Review

Nick reviews Uncharted: The Board Game from Bandai Entertainment.

Uncharted | Game Modes

In each of the different game modes, you try to discover treasure and take out bad guys. You’ll use action cards including starter cards-to acquire weapons to take out the baddies, or to place exploration tokens on treasure to gain victory points or special abilities. Each card in the game can be used in a number of different ways: for their ability when they’re already in play; discarded to pay for other cards; or discarded to use the color abilities of the card. Green cards can give you more actions; blue cards can you restore your life points; yellow cards will let you explore more treasures; and red cards can add to your combat total. All of the treasures and enemies are taken directly from the video games, including the powerful bosses.

In the standard game mode, you win by being the player with most victory points when the game ends, by finding treasure and defeating enemies. Of course, enemies are constantly attacking each round, and if you don’t have cards to defend with, you will take take damage. If every player but one dies, that player is the winner.

In multiplayer deathmatch mode, there are no enemy cards; rather, your goal is to directly attack the other players and defeat them, taking their cards in the process. Survival mode is the opposite; you work cooperatively with the other players (or play solo) in order to defeat wave after wave of enemies before time runs out.

Uncharted | Strengths & Weaknesses

Uncharted the Board Game Perhaps

Uncharted succeeds mostly because of its innovative card play. You must carefully manage the cards that you have, and decide the best way use them amongst the various options available to you. All the while, you need to trudge ahead and gain victory points whichever you can, before time runs out. The different special abilities of the characters, together with the wide variety of cards available, adds a lot of variety and excitement.

The game stumbles with its theme–which seems rather pasted on–and the off-putting and ugly graphic design. There are also some serious balance issues; some characters are clearly better than others, and it is very easy for one player to gain an insurmountable lead that no one can catch up to. Also, the competitive mode is clearly the main event here; deathmatch and survival are okay, but nothing to write home about.

Uncharted | The Verdict

Ultimately, for a board game based off of a video game, Uncharted: The Board Game succeeds more than it fails, and it’s a very interesting and strategic game, while still being easy to learn. Gamers of all stripes may want to give this one a shot, if only to see a blending of two of the biggest geek hobbies around: board games and video games.

Uncharted the Board Game
3.5 out of 5
by Board Game Brawl

Uncharted The Board Game Violence

Check out our Uncharted 3 Play Through Video Series here.