Board games are for everyone!
In recent years, there has been a surge in the popularity of board games that are both challenging and visually stunning. These games offer a beautiful blend of strategy and artistic merit, making them perfect for gamers of all ages and skill levels.
In this blog post, I'll share with you 3 popular board games that will not only challenge your strategic thinking but also leave you awestruck by their artwork. 🎲 ❤️
Last week, a friend of my partner's was at our place, helping us move two new couches.
He looked around our apartment and suddenly exclaimed:
"Is that a board game? The cover is so beautiful!"
It is. Very beautiful, indeed! (#1 on the list below.)
The cover image on the box is so enchanting that we've prominently displayed the game in the living room, like a decorative object.
The depicted landscape with the cute creatures is so vivid that you feel like you can dive right in. Just lift a foot and step into this dreamy, magical world.
Wait! I'm a Gamer?
However, it was game #2 (see list below) that got everything rolling.
It’s the one that got me hooked.
I admit it: I've never been interested in board games.
Yet, I always wanted to. Really, I did!
After all, good old-fashioned game nights sound like a lot of fun - a cheerful gathering, filled with laughter, chat, strategic thinking, and friendly competition!
Exploring fantastical worlds and testing your wits while having a good time with your friends or family. Board games can be a nice escape from the daily routine.
The games ... quickly bored me.
I could never remember the rules.
And the imaginary world I was supposed to immerse myself in was too abstract for me. I could never envision or conjure up that game world.
Eventually, I heard about a game that had won an award in Germany (Game #2) and bought it as a gift for my partner. A game highly praised for its gameplay tactics on the one hand, but especially for its appealing design. Beautiful visuals? I was all in.
And so, I began searching for award-winning board games to gift to my partner (who is a bigger board gamer than I am – but truthfully, I mostly gave them to him so that I could play them myself 😉).
So, turns out I've leveled up from casual observer to (occasional) gamer status! Who would've thought?
🎁 I know from experience that all the popular board games presented here make excellent birthday or Christmas gifts!
BIG PLUS: They also make great gifts to oneself - each of them has a solo-play mode.
COMMONALITIES of these Board Games
These are best-selling tabletop games that boast stunning artwork.
But they also have other great features in common.
Each game offers strategic depth, allowing players to make numerous choices and meaningful decisions. This way, a single game can last for one to several hours.
All three games offer an immersive experience, thanks to their visual design and the well-constructed and vividly described worlds you're about to delve into. Whether it's building a village, exploring a civilization, or navigating the seasons of a fantastical realm, the games provide expansive worlds.
Each game is designed for solo play. This way you can enjoy an individual gaming session if that's your preference or if no one else is up for a game.
Not all board games offer a solo play or a 2-player mode, but these three do. Have fun playing with your (gaming) partner!
Each game has received recognition and won prizes for its excellence in design and gameplay.
There are many positive things to be said about these games, but I also need to point out one thing I find challenging. Like, not game-stopping challenging, but it will take you some time to wrap your head around the rules.
Although they become clear and easy once you grasp the games, the rulebooks aren't very intuitive.
Maybe it's just me (not being an expert gamer), but I suggest checking out YouTube videos that explain the rules. There are excellent videos available.
Top 3 POPULAR BOARD GAMES With Stunning Visuals
These top three popular board games have received multiple awards and will captivate both board game experts and novices alike. (Especially those who appreciate aesthetics and enjoy good design.)
1. Everdell (2018)
The artwork of Everdell is simply STUNNING!
As I mentioned before, we even have the box on display because it's that beautiful. Moreover, the game has enough depth to it - it never gets boring, no matter how often you play.
In Everdell, you're transported into a storybook-like setting where you construct a thriving woodland city with the help of adorable woodland critters throughout four seasons.
The gameplay involves collecting resources, recruiting workers, and constructing buildings.
The game stands out with its breathtaking artwork and an engaging card drafting mechanic - each session feels fresh and exciting.
The card illustrations featuring woodland creatures are truly magical, and a charming 3D tree serves as the centerpiece of the board.
The entire board game is highly visual, almost sensual, drawing you into this beautiful woodland world.
Summary of Everdell's key features:
- Theme: A charming forest-themed game with human-like animals
- Gameplay: Worker placement and tableau-building game
- Components: Stunning artwork and high-quality components, including a 3D tree that serves as a central feature
- Player Count: 1 to 4 players
- Mechanics: Resource management, card drafting, and engine-building (you build a woodland city)
You can get Everdell on Amazon.
2. Village: Big Box (2023)
This is the board game that got me interested in the genre. In Germany, it won the prestigious award "Kennerspiel des Jahres" in 2012, a game award for the best connoisseur/expert game of the year.
Village is a worker placement game in which players take on the role of families in a medieval village, vying for fame and glory.
You play by placing your workers in different areas of the village (for example, the church, the market, or the blacksmith's shop) to acquire resources, construct buildings, and fulfill various other goals.
The big box edition comes with a lot of expansion content, such as the Inn and Port expansion (new action spaces), building tiles, and event cards (introducing random elements and challenges).
Summary of "Village: The Big Box" key features:
- Theme: Set in a medieval village with a focus on the passage of time and generations
- Gameplay: Worker placement with tableau-building
- Components: Beautiful components, including event and family member cards, and various game extensions (the Inn, the Port, Marriage)
- Player Count: 1 to 5 players
- Mechanics: Resource management, worker placement, storytelling (tableau building)
You can get Village on Amazon.
3. Tapestry (2019)
Tapestry is an epic strategy and civilization-building game.
Each player gets to build a unique civilization that progresses through time, advancing along four different tracks: science, technology, exploration, and military.
Your civilization will start at the very beginning (for example, learning to make fire) and advance into the far future (exploring space and launching spaceships).
With every action, you can expand your civilization on the map of the main board and fill up your capital city.
While Tapestry involves the development of civilizations, don't expect a realistic history-based civilization building but rather an engine-building game.
The players develop civilizations by expanding their territories, advancing on technology tracks, and achieving various milestones.
The economic engine is what will optimize each civilization's progress (for example, by generating resources).
Summary of Tapestry's key features:
- Theme: Civilization and engine-building game spanning multiple eras
- Gameplay: Civilizations with asymmetric advancement tracks
- Components: High-quality components, including landmark miniatures and resource tokens
- Player Count: 1 to 5 players
- Mechanics: Civilization, card drafting, resource management
You can get Tapestry on Amazon.
BONUS: 8 More Popular Board Games
Everdell, Village, and Tapestry are my top 3 recommendations for popular board games with poppy visuals.
If they've got you hooked and you're now in the game (literally), here are 8 more cool tabletop games renowned for their aesthetics on top of their great gameplay.
This list contains some of the best board games available today.
Intricate and challenging gameplay awaits with Scythe.
You'll immerse yourself in an alternative, mech-filled European history of the 1920s. Choose to be part of one of the five factions, each vying for dominance.
If you're a science-fiction fan, Terraforming Mars is your ticket to transforming the Red Planet into a habitable world, providing more and more people with the opportunity to live there.
You get to craft beautiful azulejos (ceramic tiles) and decorate a palace with them.
Azul is one of the more accessible games on this list, taking less than an hour, and it's great fun for kids and the whole family.
Just like "Azul", Splendor is easy to learn and a family-friendly game that can be played in less than an hour.
You get to play as a Renaissance merchant trying to acquire better resources to gain prestige.
With Gùgōng, you get to live in ancient China and help your powerful family gain influence by exchanging gifts.
Oh, and maybe you'll meet the emperor!?
Ever wanted to live in the Tuscan countryside and make wine?
Viticulture is your chance: Bring an inherited vineyard to prosperity.
Are you an experienced gamer in need of a challenge?
Feudum unfolds in a fantastical medieval world, where you find yourself unjustly expelled from your homeland, and “journey to a strange land to reinvent yourself and reclaim your honor!”. Across various epochs, you confront monsters and align with guilds such as farmer, merchant, alchemist, knight, noble, and monk.
With nearly limitless actions, it's not a game for beginners or the faint-hearted. This is a true beast of a game - it's for you if you love complex games with unique game mechanics you can play for hours.
Formerly known as "Settlers of Catan," by now, almost everyone must have heard of this classic game.
Even if it's not news to you, Catan deserves a spot on this list of popular board games (rumor has it, it's Bill Gates' favorite board game).
Over to you: What's your favorite board game?
Wishing you planty of gameplay delights,