The 5 Best Board Game Soundtracks
When I sat down at the table for my first D&D session (as a player) I didn’t know how it would go. But when the DM, a close friend, placed a Boombox on the table and inserted a CD I started to have an idea.
The DM, Alfred had dug up an old CD that was put out by Wizards of the Coast. We were playing D&D 3.5, but the disc was most likely made for 2nd edition or something earlier. It featured all sorts of soundtracks, background noises like battles, and brief narratives to help assist in the DMing.
It also happened to have one voice actor doing a Randy Savage impression hidden in the background. Which once we spotted, played literally 20 times.
It was a great experience. It was probably my favorite. Even when I look back through the number of times I sat on the opposite side of the DM screen. The more I think about it. The more I feel like it’s the extra immersion from the soundtrack our DM had found.
The only hard thing now, is finding a solid soundtrack of songs to play with all of my tabletop games. With the endless number of streaming music services it can be hard to nail down the exact songs for your game. So I went and did a little bit of research.
So it turns out there are a number of great services run by gamers out on the web that do exactly what I was looking for. Create curated soundtracks to all of your favorite games. I put what I think are the 5 Best Board Game Soundtracks on this post, but feel free to explore others you may like.
The 5 Best Board Game Soundtracks
1. Classic Horror Soundtrack
The classic horror soundtrack features a number of tracks from the movies Van Helsing, Bram Stokers Dracula, and the tv show Penny Dreadful. They all combine to a kind of high gothic sound setting. There are loads of intense string sections and brass horns that gives a classical feel to the eerie music on the track.
This departure from your average horror soundtrack which is usually just creepy sounds and ghost noises (cue Halloween CDs). The music in the soundtrack is far more then creepy sounds. These are well produced pieces they will really get you in the horror mindset. This would be perfect alongside games like Fury of Dracula, Mansions of Madness, Elder Sign, Claustrophobia, and horror RPGs.
2. Sounds of War Soundtrack
Like the name I have given the soundtrack, these are the sounds of war. You will find tracks from the award winning video game Total War: Warhammer (which I am currently addicted to). Big heavy brass tracks with supporting drum beats that really get you wanting to charge into battle. The tracks build to intense heights with bits of subtle strings. It’s the classics you would expect for war music and are reminiscent to the sounds of Lord of the Rings or 300.
While the soundtrack has a distinct fantasy feel making it fit perfectly with Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Magic: The Gathering, and D&D. I think this could also work other genres like Memoir 44, Civilization, Axis and Allies, and Risk.
3. Action Sci-Fi Soundtrack
Do you like synth music? Because oh boy you are going to be getting some of the best synth music I have ever heard. This soundtracks draws its music from the movie like Tron. And it brings in songs from games like Eve Online, Shadow Run, and Mass Effect. If you are even a little familiar with the Mass Effect series you’ll know how good of a starting place that is.
Like I said the tracks feature almost all synth music. The tracks go from intense almost progressive jazz rhythms to eerie outer space melodies. This sound track would work well with games like Twilight Imperium, Space Cadets, Space Alert, Battlestar Galactica, and Rogue Trader.
4. Rock/Ragtime Soundtrack
These tracks call back to the budding of two genres of music, rock and jazz. You will find tracks from the 50-60s early rock with instrumentals by Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. They stand alongside early jazz pianist Scott Joplin. The early forms of rock mixed with classic ragtime date the soundtrack. Making it a perfect pairing for early American period games. Using instrumental versions allows the games to stay in the background of the games. As I have tried in the past listening to music with lyrics during games, and always getting distracted.
To pair with this soundtrack? Look for those early American period games in your collection. Games like Coal Baron, Age of Steam, Ticket to Ride, Colt Express, and Steel Driver.
5. Discovery Soundtrack
The early age of discovery and adventure. This upbeat soundtrack draws its sound from across the globe. Each track taking influences from classic regional music. The tracks themselves come from the Showtime series Tudor, games like Age of Empires III, Assassin’s Creed, and The Settlers IV. You’ll find the uniqueness of each track refreshing. With instruments like the Sitar, pan flutes, oud, and others.
Because of the wide range of regions these tracks are influenced by, you will easily be able to find games to fit. The ones that first come to mind for me are Jaipur, Lost Cities, Dominion, Splendor, 5 Tribes, and Carcassonne.
Create a New Level of Theme
With these soundtracks now at your disposal, it’s time to create some unforgettable game nights. Start to introduce them slowly as not all players will want to have music in the background. But once you start to integrate them into your play. Especially for RPGs. You will find that they take your gaming to a whole new level. Like I said in the beginning, don’t stop with your soundtrack hunts here. Search out more soundtracks to fit your needs or even make your own! There is no end to what you can do with music to enhance your game play.
Thanks for reading, and just f-ing play games!