Hold on to your gamertags and Dualshocks because the Call of Duty franchise just announced an official board game adaptation from the studio responsible for Onitama and Furnace. Simply called Call of Duty: the Board Game, this very odd project plans to hit Kickstarter this Autumn.
Call of Duty: the Board Game will be published by Arcane Wonders in partnership with Activision Publishing, the massive company behind the longrunning military action video game series, which boasts a staggering 19 mainline entries. In a press release, the publisher said it plans to launch a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign later in 2023 and is aiming for a worldwide retail launch sometime in 2024.
Players will take on the role of operators, Call of Duty’s term for soldiers or members of a private military company who primarily execute extrajudicial violence against the non-American (and likely non-White) antagonist du jour. This tabletop translation is being presented as a competitive experience with “signature weapons” and “unique combat skills” that all combine to create “intense and immersive gaming experiences”. Whether that includes "de-escalating" civilians by pointing a gun at them is an open question.
What little of substance we know is that the box will contain plastic miniatures of recognisable characters and weapons from the Call of Duty franchise, and the mask-wearing Ghost has been shown in promotional artwork. Whether other names such as the moustachioed Captain Price will appear remains to be seen. Sessions will reportedly play out on “iconic maps” from the video games, giving the impression that the board game will draw a lot of its inspiration from Call of Duty’s popular multiplayer aspect.
Many fans in the middle of the Venn Diagram between CoD and tabletop are likely wondering if the historically traditional zombie mode will be included, which is a great question. The press release mentions “a variety of scenarios and gameplay modes” represented in Call of Duty: the Board Game but doesn’t provide many more details at the moment. What’s more likely is the inclusion of modes such as team deathmatch, Knockout and Prisoner Rescue - these lend themselves more readily to tabletop scenarios.
Call of Duty: the Board Game is just the latest in a growing number of video games announcing official board games and other tabletop spinoffs. Both Dead Cells and Slay the Spire have board games in production, and Steamforged Games has been specialising in turning big names into big boxes - their most recent being the upcoming Elden Ring board game series (and RPG) and Monster Hunter World Iceborne: the Board Game.