Musical Chairs: Music and Board Games

I abhor silence. I need to have music playing. It doesn’t matter if I’m drawing, reading a book, studying or working, music just makes it all better. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else feels the same way.


When it comes to board games, I like having a soft playlist of instrumental music, like Vanessa-Mae, or some softer acoustic stuff, like Carla Bruni or Katie Melua. It’s pleasant background music, allowing for conversation to carry on over the music. I impose this on my gaming group and so far, there haven’t been too many complaints. Sometimes, a wild track will appear and after removing it from the playlist, order is restored to the galaxy once again.

Music To My Ears

There are times when you need something a little more specific than generic indie tunes and that’s ok! I came across an interesting website called Melodice, a site that makes custom playlists based on the game you’re playing. So if you decided that you’d like a good ol’ game of Ticket To Ride: Europe it brings up this rather pleasing playlist, containing mostly classical tunes, from Chopin to Strauss to Brahms. If you and your brood pulled out Camel Up they suggests songs from the Civilisation and Age of Empires soundtracks, clearly pulling the Egyptian theme as tight as they could. The songs are not intrusive for the most part but there are exceptions as they are mostly collated by the users of the site. There are options to report incorrect songs or suggest new songs, if you feel like anything clashes too much.

The list of supported games is huge but there will be the odd unsupported game. The more popular games have larger playlists, like Star Realms with it’s impressive 30 song playlist. It’s a decent enough site, especially if you’re lazy and don’t feel like trawling through your own music library.

If you’re a tabletop gamer, you could also try Tabletop Audio, which offers up ambient music with different themes to match your storytelling requirements. There’s plenty there that you could apply to other games as well, not just RPGs. It offers you the mp3s as downloads as well, meaning you don’t need to stream it each time. It does steer more towards ambient sound than ambient music, but I think that works in its favour.



If you have a Chromecast or a similar streaming device, you could stream YouTube playlists to the TV but I find that this can cause distractions, especially if you have it tuned to 80’s playlists or similar highly visual videos. Tame Impala do a good job of distracting with their music videos, as do Twisted Sister. If your TV is facing away from the group this can work but I think that streaming music works best without the visuals.

What do you guys think? Do you have music when you play? What do you throw on the gramophone when you play? Sound off in the comments!

Post Author: Mark

I like playing board games. When I'm not playing, I'm thinking about playing or thinking about what to buy next (when I have money). I'm drawn to games of all types, I'll try anything once. Illustration is my other main source of joy and one day I'll merge the two.