Board game studio Awaken Realms has contracted with GSC Game World to create a board game based on the Stalker universe. The creators are promising to bring the same atmospheric richness to the board game that fans of the videogame expect. It'll launch as a crowdfunding campaign on Gamefound (opens in new tab), a standard for the board game industry, sometime this spring.
A trailer accompanying the announcement is overlaid with the fanatical voice of a man proclaiming his love for The Zone. Composed mostly of small animatic scenes of the Zone itself, the trailer shows a spooky swamp, field of bloody poppies, a bridge being destroyed in an anomaly detonation, a glowing artifact in a tree, and a strange muddy half-collapsed house.
"I serve her, I care for her, I receive her gifts," says the narrator of the Zone—so, you know, classic zone fanatic cultist stuff. Probably not the good guys.
The board game is described by Awaken as a "cooperative 'zone-crawling' story-driven experience based on stories from the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. Each story will consist of 2-4 scenarios to play through, and players should expect to spend approx 2 hours per scenario." The description sounds a lot like other modern miniatures-heavy dungeon crawling board games, especially those of the kind that Awaken Realms is already known for.
The campaign page and images released by Awaken Realms show off pre-renders of game components like miniatures, cards, and tokens. The miniatures revealed so far include several Stalkers, a soldier, a gas-masked Snork, a tentacle-faced Bloodsucker, and a hulking Pseudogiant. The miniature renders are pretty detailed, so my guess is that the finals will be a resin of some kind.
Awaken Realms is the creator of one of the more beloved recent survival-horror board games, Nemesis, which holds a very high Rank 18 on Boardgamegeek (opens in new tab). For once, honestly, I have zero critique of the studio being chosen for a licensed game. Give me my pick, really, and Awaken Realms is actually the currently working board game studio I'd choose to make this game as someone who loves both Stalker and boardgames, since Awaken Realms is both Eastern European and has a clear love for the genre they're making here with a proven track record of delivering fun games. For the curious on their prior work, Nemesis has a digital adaptation on Steam (opens in new tab).
You can find the pre-project page for Stalker: The Boardgame on Gamefound (opens in new tab), and learn more about Awaken Realms on their website (opens in new tab).