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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > June 2018 (#19) > Board Game Soundtracks

Board Game Soundtracks

Musicians and gamers are letting the tabletop sing with custom soundtracks and sound effects. Here’s why you should tune in


Syrinscape’s Catan soundboard

Video games do it. Television and movies too. They even have an Oscar for it. So why are official soundtracks not a serious part of the tabletop industry? Many gamers use atmospheric music to accompany their games – medieval harpsichords for Carcassonne or Howard Shore’s inimitable Lord of the Rings score for any of the many Tolkien-themed titles – but few developers weave in a soundtrack when designing a new game.

Some have – notably the immersive Japanese journey game Tokaido, which commissioned an official score for a collector’s edition – yet by and large soundtracks are a DIY element for tabletop gamers. As a result, many thematic music websites and playlists have sprung up and are a well-used tool for gamers.

For a hobby that has increasingly focused on immersion in theme, why have developers ignored a device that is so relied upon by Hollywood and Silicon Valley?


Perhaps the most natural crossover comes in the horror genre. Composers and musicians have the power to send shivers down the spines of the audience. Would Hitchcock’s infamous shower scene in Psycho have been so effective without the slashed strings of Bernard Herrmann? It is not surprising, then, that horror games lend themselves to being scored.

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About Tabletop Gaming

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