A new Grand Theft Auto game is on the way, with Rockstar’s recent announcement of the GTA 6 release date revealing that the immense crime-blockbuster video game series will see a new instalment in 2025.
Now that fans know when Grand Theft Auto VI will release, it’s simply a case of passing the time until it arrives. And how better to pass the time than by playing a board game with friends?
Cardboard is one of the very few platforms into which Grand Theft Auto is yet to make a leap - having spanned video game consoles, PC, mobile and even your Netflix subscription - so there’s no official GTA board game to date. That makes it somewhat of an anomaly among big-name video games, with everything from Minecraft and Dead by Daylight to Dark Souls and Doom seeing tabletop adaptations in recent years.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get close to the Grand Theft Auto experience around a table with friends, though. Whether your favourite part of GTA is roaming around an open world with pals, causing chaos with weapons or indulging in the series’ more criminal aspects like bank heists and getaways, there’s a board game out there that will let you do that without shelling out hundreds for the latest console or investing your life savings in Shark Cards.
To help satiate your hype for GTA 6’s release date, we’ve picked out some of the board games most like Grand Theft Auto - from thrilling crime capers to open-world epics.
1. The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire
A gangster board game you shouldn’t refuse
Crime classic The Godfather’s influence can be seen across the spectrum of modern crime epics, with Grand Theft Auto being no exception. While the book and acclaimed movie series has a distinctly different take on crime than GTA, the struggle of building up a crime empire while forming tenuous partnerships with allies, dealing with would-be rivals and balancing business and violence run like a garrotte wire through both.
The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire has arguably been overlooked due to being a movie tie-in, which might cause many to dismiss it. Don’t miss out: this is a fantastic board game in its own right, with veteran designer Eric Lang - of Blood Rage, Rising Sun and Cthulhu: Death May Die, among many others - creating a genuinely compelling gameplay loop that ties into the familiar theme.
As mafia families wrestling over control of New York City, players must send their gangsters around the city streets to shake down individual businesses and exert control over entire neighbourhoods. There’s all the crime tropes you’d expect here: drive-by shootings, car bombs, extortion, theft and dumping bodies in the Hudson River to sleep with the fishes.
While the board game follows the broad strokes of the first Godfather movie’s plot and takes place in 1950s NYC rather than the later neon ‘80s often seen in Grand Theft Auto, its richly thematic gameplay and playful spin on tropes of the genre make it the perfect board game for GTA fans looking to dip into some classic crime while waiting for the future of GTA 6.
2. Bad Company
Lead your own criminal crew to (dirty) riches
While earlier Grand Theft Auto games focused on the criminal escapades of a small group of characters, later games have expanded their vision to feature the player’s character at the centre of a wider criminal network or gang - often built by the antihero themselves as their criminal aspirations grow.
Board game Bad Company is all about building up your own criminal organisation, as players recruit members to their gang and gradually upgrade them, taking on heists and dodging the police all the while.
The game moves quickly as players roll dice and use them to send out their gang members into the city, gaining the resources and money needed to build up their crew and keep their car moving around the board to outrun the cops on their tail.
For those who like Rockstar’s tongue-in-cheek humour in Grand Theft Auto, Bad Company also puts a comic edge on its criminal theme. As each gang member is upgraded, their cards are overlapped to alter their appearance (and make their height grow a few inches!), leading to memorable characters with gold hands, sizzling dynamite, a wizard’s hat or a traffic cone or paper bag on their head. I’m guessing they couldn’t afford a balaclava.
Lasting only half an hour or so, Bad Company gives a bite-sized taste of the crime gang management and humour in Grand Theft Auto. But, like crime, once you’ve had your first taste, it might be harder to stop than you think…
3. Escape Plan
The tabletop answer to outrunning a five-star wanted level in GTA
Bank heists are a crime genre mainstay - and Grand Theft Auto is no different, letting players break into banks and make their getaway with thousands in cash.
Escape Plan skips the drama of the heist itself and skips straight to that getaway, Reservoir Dogs-style. The players have already pulled off their robbery and must now flee the city before law enforcement’s net closes around them. And, like in Reservoir Dogs, your once-accomplices aren’t to be trusted: it’s now every criminal for themselves.
As you race through the city, you’ll need to collect the loot you’ve left stashed around. Players’ cards will help them plan the best route to make it out with as much money as they can, aiding their own escape by distracting or avoiding the police, buying them off - and even throwing their former companions in the way. After all, only one robber can be the top dog.
As players bribe cops, hire local gangs to help them out and even employ disguises to slip past the law, Escape Plan has the feel of outrunning a five-star wanted level in Grand Theft Auto. You’ll need to use a combination of cunning and sheer ruthlessness to get out in time with your hard-earned cash - and no-one else can stand in your way.
4. Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem
Get back in the saddle, then a knife in the back
The thing with criminals is that you can’t trust ‘em - everyone has something to hide. The Sons of Anarchy board game - based on the popular TV show about motorcycle gangs - understands this, throwing players into a tense fight over territory in which they’ll need to make and break alliances as quickly as they shift gears on their hog.
The crime enterprises of Grand Theft Auto are echoed in Men of Mayhem’s battles over different criminal sites, from gun factories to businesses fronting as outlets for contraband. The businesses aren’t the only things fronting, as players hide all of their resources - from guns and cash to contraband - behind their screen, able to bluff about how dangerous they might be for other players to take on.
The aim of the game - as is often the way in crime - is amassing as much cash as you can. To do that, you’ll have to scrap with rival gangs over valuable sites, using the gang members and guns at your control to throw down - by bidding in the game. Gangs might agree to work together to take down a rival, but alliances might only last as long as it benefits everyone.
As players flog contraband through the black market - carefully avoiding any unnecessary heat from the authorities - and beef up their gang to send rivals to the emergency room, Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem’s head-to-head fights feel like rolling up on another gang’s territory in Grand Theft Auto, driving them away with a hail of bullets and fists before making any business your own.
5. Getaway Driver
Shake the cops in this two-player car chase
If you’ve ever sped through the streets of Los Santos or Liberty City in pursuit of a target or to shake the cops, this two-player board game will put you right back in the driving seat.
Getaway Driver is a fast and furious car chase between a speedy driver and the police on their tail. The police must try and plan traps to catch the driver, using their equipment - including helicopters, tire spikes and armoured cars - and control of the city to cut off their routes and stop them escaping. Meanwhile, the driver is able to use their stunt skills to outmanoeuvre the police and finally get out of Dodge.
The police add tiles to the city layout to search for the driver, before the driver whizzes across the map, choosing whether they have time to plan ahead or must risk encountering hazards or police patrols.
As the driver pulls off incredible stunts, driving on two wheels or into oncoming traffic to evade the police, and the police steadily upgrade their available equipment, Getaway Driver begins to feel like putting your pedal to the metal in GTA, handbraking around corners and hitting ramps to shake your pursuers.
6. Western Legends
Commit crime or find a more lawful way to fame in this open-world adventure
Western Legends takes place a literal world away from the crime-filled streets of Vice City, San Andreas and their ilk, transporting players back to the Wild West of 19th-century America.
While its setting may be closer to that of Rockstar’s own cowpoke epic Red Dead Redemption, the board game’s open-world feel definitely makes it worthy of Grand Theft Auto fans looking for a similar level of ‘go anywhere, do anything’ freedom while waiting for GTA 6’s release date.
Western Legends blends together the big-screen fiction of western movies with some of the real Wild West’s heroes and villains, with players able to saddle up as Bass Reeves, Jesse James, Annie Oakley and other familiar - and not so familiar - names as they set out into the plains.
From there, it’s their choice which path they take to fame or infamy, whether by pursuing a lawful role as a bounty hunter, disrepute as a bank robber or even just gambling their way into the history books in a local saloon.
Western Legends’ wide-open approach to player choice is connected to a morality system that neatly captures the karma of being a baddie in Grand Theft Auto, with crimes you commit earning an ever-bigger bounty on your head that might encourage other players to track you down for the reward.
If Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto are your go-to video games, Western Legends should be the next board game on your wanted list.