World of Warcraft: The Board Game
The board game: Take the biggest massively multiplayer online role playing game and take out about half of those words, and you've got World of Warcraft: The Board Game. It's definitely massive though--you get nearly 1000 different cards, tokens, chits, figures, and other components, and games take at least four hours to play through. Hey, at least you're interacting with other humans in the same room while you play--that's something, right?
Why it works: Players break off into teams of Alliance and Horde, and scour the lands of Azeroth, gaining experience and loot as they try to defeat the "Overlord." Warcraft lore flavors each of the different cards, classes, and items you find, and the game makes a grand attempt at evoking the sense of scale in World of Warcraft--honestly, all that's really missing from it are lag, raid queue times, and the horrors of trade chat.
The board game: Take all the characters, weapons, locations, and oodles of zombies from Resident Evil, and stick them in a card game--because why not? It doesn't even matter if the game fits the theme, people will buy it anyway! Trust me, you're not fooling anyone when you tell people to "explore the mansion" when all you're really doing is flipping a card over.
Why it works: Because it uses the same tried-and-true mechanics of other deck-building games--like the fantastic and immensely popular Dominion series. Players customize their deck by gathering weapons, and use them to take out zombies. It may not be score any points for being unique, but at least it's a pretty fun game to play
Doom: The Board Game
The board game: The granddaddy of all first-person shooters is turned into a cooperative overhead tabletop game, and the frenetic pace and ludicrous gibs typically found in Doom are conveyed via turn-based combat (and illustrated by your imagination). At least you get shotguns and hellspawn--otherwise why call it Doom at all?
Why it works: While the theme is a bit skin-deep, the game design itself is amazing. The modular board is made of puzzle-like pieces that fit together in any order you like, letting you play the included scenarios or create your own. The Dungeons & Dragons vibe continues even further, with movement values, area of effect attacks, line of sight, and more. Plus, one player is essentially a dungeon master, controlling the monsters as they attempt to eviscerate the space marines. In fact, the game design was so successful, that when Doom: The Board Game went out of print, they basically converted it into the wildly successful fantasy board game Descent: Journeys in the Dark.
Angry Birds: Knock on Wood
The board game: The stupidly popular physics-based bird-flinging app has its face plastered on everything nowadays, from t-shirts, to party supplies, to coloring books, to actual food, to everything else in between. So what if I told you that there's actually a fairly decent board game that replicates the experience of the game in real life--hey, where are you going? Get back here!
Why it works: Look at the picture above, and tell me you don't want to play that. You get a bunch of pieces, you construct the sets displayed on various cards, and you get to launch plastic birds at your creations with an actual catapult. It's incredibly dumb, but by God, it works.
Plants vs Zombies Risk
The board game: Like Monopoly, Risk is one of the oldest contemporary board games still being produced today, and there are countless variations based on popular franchises. Unlike Monopoly, the game of global domination is far more strategic, and it actually uses its additional source material in new and inventive ways--and the Plants vs. Zombies variant is one of the more interesting ones out there.
Why it works: First of all, Plants vs. Zombies Risk is scaled down to for only two players, meaning games are much quicker--which already makes this a million times better than plain old Risk. Second, there are several game types included, one which tasks you with controlling territories like conventional Risk, while another is essentially a turn-based version of the popular tower-defense game, complete with the same exact lawn from the video game. If you're a Plants vs. Zombies fan, this game is a no-brainer.