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Top 5 Games With Beautiful Artwork

games with beautiful artwork everdell

Are you someone who appreciates beauty?

Are you someone who appreciates a good board game?

Well, if that’s the case, you’re in the right place because we want to share with you our top tips for great games with beautiful artwork….

Everdell - Pete Earnshaw

Artist Andrew Bosley has brought to life an instantly recognisable and downright gorgeous world for 2018’s smash hit, Everdell!

A self proclaimed fan of the Redwall novels (anyone who read the original editions will no doubt spot the influence) and Don Bluth animated movies, Andrew Bosley was the absolute right choice to illustrate James A. Wilson’s modern classic. The inspiration is very clear but thankfully, considering the Don Bluth connection, the art on display in Everdell is much less trauma-inducing than the movie that haunted my childhood, ‘The Secret of NIMH’! I’ll take the cutesy mice in their rustic clothing, just no rats with glowing eyes thanks! In fact, Everdell features stunningly beautiful landscapes, architecture and textures that don’t necessarily jump out at you but instead invite you into this immersive woodland world. Through stunning colour palettes and well structured composition, it’s no surprise that the artwork on display is one of the games greatest strengths… and it’s an amazing game without even factoring in the artwork.

Everdell is one of those great ‘comfort games’; easy to learn and a joy to play. It’s a solid example of a worker placement game that finds players sending out various woodland critters to collect resources that can be used to build a thriving city. You will be building various constructions and establishments to be run by the local critters. Each critter or construction card is a delight and you will really want to soak it in as you add it to your city. The wealth of expansion content also adds some amazing art into the mix; it’s very satisfying to piece together the various boards and extra locations to create stunningly beautiful landscapes.

If you want the perfect marriage of great art and great gameplay then be sure to check out Everdell!

Flamecraft – Stefano Paravisi

Flamecraft is a light/medium weight worker placement game where the resource generation process is carried out by cute little dragons. The overall aim is to grow the players (“Flamekeepers”) own reputation by continuously producing awesome items to awe the citizens. To do so, each turn a player can place Dragons in a shop to gather resources from it. A player can also enchant a shop consuming some resources to gain a number of effects and to make the shop more valuable for the future. Strategically, players need to work to find the best way to benefit from the town overall prosperity while preventing their opponents to do the same.

I must admit that I fell in love at first sight with this game once I saw it on Kickstater. You may imagine this was due to me being a big fan of both Dragons and this type of games but in reality the cover art of the game became the spark that ignited my interest. The mechanics and the gameplay are for sure very solid, but, above them, Flamecraft is a really beautiful game, and definitely one of the most aesthetically pleasing in my collection.

Flamecraft’s greatest strength is truly the amazing artwork by Sandara that starts catching your eye right from the box. Then, when you start playing, the illustrations on the shops and the artisan dragons really seal the deal. All shops and dragons are in fact uniquely designed and have a little pun in their name. All the illustrations are igneniously thought to fit the cards and the shops in particular always show a lively and lovely environment.

The overall art is so well structured that when you play the small little town comes to life making Flamecraft a little game of wonders with dragons.

Oath - Dan Street-Phillips

We are always taught not to judge a book by its cover. That, aesthetics are not important. But when you are sitting down to stare at a game for anything from thirty minutes to twelve hours, then it has to be compelling. I have very little time for games that put no effort into its artwork. It could be the best game in the world but if it looks bland and boring then I just won’t bother. But luckily in the last 10 years the board game world has really put artwork on the forefront. With artists now being written on the boxes, names like Vincent Dutrait, Andrew Bosley, Ian O’Tool and Beth Sobel are becoming as synonymous as the designers themselves. One of the ‘Leders’ in this area is Leder Games. Since Vast came out in 2016, Kyle Ferrin’s distinct artwork has become central to the work produced by that publisher. When their biggest hit, Root, came out, this rocketed Ferrin’s style to the world. However, in my opinion, Oath is what shows Ferrin at the height of his power. Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile comes as a response to the ‘legacy’ genre of gaming. It tells an ongoing, evolving story but without destroying any elements in the box. It focuses on the storytelling of the group as every game skips a generation, allowing the citizens and landscape to slowly change from game to game. The medieval-fantasy world allows Ferrin’s whimsical sensibility to shine and with so many unique cards, the world building here is incredible. Every card is beautiful. The production is also gorgeous, with a vibrant neoprene mat and optional metal coins and resin tokens it is possibly the best looking game in my collection!

Meadow – Craig Smith

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for aesthetics in a game. There are some great looking games out there, and whilst I know that the playability of a game should be the most important thing, I want me a game that does both.

Enter Meadow.

Meadow is a wonderful set collection game where you’re taking on the role of explorers trying to score the most points by seeing a greater variety of species and landscapes. On their turn, players can place one of their pegs into a slot on the main board and pick up the related card. The pegs are numbered 1-4, so if you place a peg into a slot, you choose the card that number of spaces away from it. Once chosen, you then add that card to your collection, assuming you can meet the criteria.

Over the rounds, you’re trying to have a range of symbols visible. This is especially important towards the end of the round where the board is filled with everyone’s pegs. You can also take bonus actions on the campfire, which allow you to break the rules of the game slightly, but also allow you to score bonuses if you have the right combinations of symbols visible. The player with the most points at the end of six rounds is the winner.

Not only is Meadow a great game, but it is visually stunning. The decks of beautiful cards are just a wonder to look at, and the game is enhanced by its component quality. The cherry on top is the Downstream expansion which not only enhances an already great game, but gives you even more gorgeous cards to look at.

Dixit – Rachael Duchovny

Dixit is a beautiful game of storytelling and getting into the minds of your opponents.  It is a game for 3 to 6 players where you are given a hand of cards featuring simply strange yet gorgeous artwork that always reminds me of the surrealist era and legends such as Andre Breton and Salvador Dali.  The score markers are the cutest little rabbit meeples in 6 different colours.  You move these around the board which literally forms part of the box.

Each player starts with 6 cards featuring glorious drawn artwork.  Each player takes turns being the storyteller.  On the storytellers turn they choose a card from their hand of six, describing it by using a simple sentence.  This could include a few words such as “Toy Story” or a whole sentence such as “The boy who flew too close to the sun lost his wings”.  Once the story has been told all other players look at their cards and chooses one they think best matches the storyteller’s description.

The storyteller’s intention is to have at least 1 person guess their card but not everyone!  After the other players have chosen their card they secretly pass them to the storyteller who shuffles all the cards together before laying them face down.  Then the voting begins.  All players, with exception of the storyteller, place a number token upside down to make a secret bet on which card they think was yours.  Once everyone has made their choice the storyteller turns the choice tokens over to score.

You can really build some drama during this stage by slowly turning the bets over.  If everyone or no-one guesses the storytellers card the storyteller receives nil points but everyone else gets 2!  If at least 1 person guesses the storyteller’s card they and the storyteller score 3 points.  If any player placed a card which fooled people into thinking it was the storyteller’s card they received 1 point for each vote placed on their card.  Then it’s simply a race to 30 points taking turns around the table.  This game is a true joy to play, looking at the unique artwork and finding ingenious stories to tell it will have you racing for the expansions so you can have more and more choice of artwork.

Well there we have it folks, 5 beautiful games to really make you sit up and stare! We hope you enjoyed our picks and thanks for joining us on this little ride of appreciation.

Editors note: This post was originally published on 4th May 2023. Updated on 3rd April 2024 to improve the information available.