Set phasers to stunning! I appreciate that all art is subjective. And really, does art matter if you have a great game? (Food Chain Magnate, I’m looking at you!) I’m sure most of us can name a few game designers, but what about the artists that make these games great? All of these games are the sort you want to play time and time again just to look at!

Dixit

There are a lot of artists now involved with Dixit as there are many versions and expansions available, but it was Marie Cardouat who did the original. She is probably my favourite of the current artists and I will always pick up the expansions with her artwork. Each player has six cards, taking it in turns they will be the ‘storyteller’ for the round. They choose a card from their hand, place it face-down on the table and makes up a phrase or sentence that best describes their card. Each other players chooses a card from their hand that matches that phrase and gives it to the storyteller. All the cards get shuffled and then laid face up on the table. All players except the storyteller, then places bets on which card they think the storyteller originally put in. If everyone or no one guessed correctly, the storyteller doesn’t score. If some people guessed right, they and the storyteller get points.


The thing I love so much about these cards is the amount of details you see as you look deeper into them. What one person sees won’t be the same as someone else which is what makes this game a great family favourite.


High Society

I played the original High Society a few years back. I enjoyed it, but didn’t feel the need to rush out and grab a copy. This year, Osprey Games republished it with stunning new artwork from Medusa Dollmaker and I knew now was the time to grab it! High Society is one of those great games you can pick up and start playing in five minutes. Each player starts with a set number of cards all in the same denominations. They then use these cards to bid for luxury items such as champagne and couture that are all valued between 1 and 10. Also in the deck are disgrace cards which players bid to not take and prestige cards that will help bump your end game score. However, be wary of bidding too high for anything in this game as the player with the least amount of their starting money left at the end of the game is out of the scoring.


The new, beautiful art deco style artwork accentuates and compliments this very clever little game, the art is now as elegant as the gameplay is!


Bruxelles 1893

I try not to talk about hard to get games, but no list of gorgeous games would be complete without this beautiful Art Nouveau design from Alexandre Roche. Players take on the role of architects in the 19th century trying to achieve the most successful building. You can also create works of art to increase your score. This worker placement game has a modular board, however, not all players will have access to all areas of it each turn. Actions may cost you money or may cause you to lose workers. At the end of the round players gain prestige or coins depending on where they have placed their workers during the round. 


There’s a lot to this game and it is the heaviest one on this list for sure. Yet this is one of the few solid Euros that really plays on theme and illustration to draw you into the game. I joke a lot about theme and artwork as in the heavier end of gaming there are few that combine the two. This is one game that does it beautifully!


Petrichor

Everything about this game is beautiful! From the name (which is the earthy scent produced when it rains on dry soil), through to the concept and then the artwork from Sami Laakso and Daniella Attard. Plays take on the role of clouds, floating around and watering plants. You do this by using the cards in your hand that are weather actions - wind, rain, sun or frost. Each card has a specific action and then allows you to vote on which weather condition will occur at the end of the round. If a harvest occurs at the end of a round, players get points for having the majority of water droplets on plants, but you need to make it rain and get those raindrops out the clouds! Petrichor is one of those games where you constantly need to plan moves well ahead of time and execute the perfect strategy despite it’s calming theme.


Art and theme go perfectly hand in hand here with this delightful, yet deceptive game.



Celestia

We love a bit of push your luck! While the mechanisms in Celestia aren’t very different to other games out there, the beautiful artwork from Gaetan Noir ensures this hits the table regularly.


All players start with their pawns in the airship, ready to fly across the beautiful cities of Celestia. Players start with cards in hand and take it in turns to pilot the ship (complete with rotating propeller!) They roll the dice and see if they can match them with the cards in their hand. Before they declare of they can match, all the other players decide to trust them and stay on the ship or bail out. If you exit you are guaranteed the points from exploring the current city, however the captain could keep that ship flying to the next city for bigger points, or crash and burn, leaving you with nothing to show for your adventures!


The beautiful, evocative art truly makes this feel like a flight of fantasy across the clouds. 


We all know that art has no effect on gameplay, however, a beautiful looking box will stand out on a shelf and make you more likely to buy it in the first place. The enjoyment you can get from nice board game artwork is similar to the enjoyment you can get from looking at a piece of fine art. Sometimes theme and artwork can feel very pasted on and detatched from a game, however, I feel these five games are all great examples on the art complimenting and helping the game feel more immersive.

What is your favourite board game art / artists? Lets know in the comments.