Top 10 Best Board Game Art of 2018
I created this site to help spotlight and share the stories behind board game art. How games look form a huge part of how we connect with them but when it comes to awards recognition we often primarily focus on the game design. To celebrate the hard work of those responsible for making our games look so beautiful I created this vote. In December I asked you to nominate the best board game art of 2018 and you didn’t disappoint.
There were over 200 different games nominated.
From those 200+ games I shortlisted the 10 most popular nominations to create a vote. I wanted to find out which of these games had your favorite OVERALL ARTWORK so in January I opened the site to your opinion once again. I asked that you not judge a game by it’s cover but look beneath the surface and to help you make your choices I included details such as the artists names, publishers, links to the game pages on Board Game Geek and photos of the games too.
I posted the top 10 in January and you voted in your thousands.
I’ve split your vote results into runners up (in alphabetical order) and the top 5, counting down to the number 1 spot. I’ve included links to the game pages on board game geek under (more info) so if you want to know more you can just hit that link. I’ve also included the publishers game descriptions and quotes from those involved in creating the games where I’ve been able to get them.
This list is a reflection of the talent in our industry.
Thank you to the publishers for supplying me with images and the community for helping out where I needed more. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted as without your input this vote wouldn’t exist. I’d also like to thank all of those who shared this vote, I run this site on my own and my voice only carries so far, with your help this became much bigger than I could have possibly imagined.
So which board game had the best art of 2018?
This might be a vote for the best but it’s safe to say all the games on this list have incredible artwork and should be considered examples of what can be done in this industry with the right people involved. One last thank you to all of the artists out there, it’s their talent that brightens up our games and is taking this hobby to new and greater heights, and now .. on to the results!
Best Board Game Art 2018 - Runners Up (alphabetical)
Architects of the West Kingdom (more info)
Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Publisher: Garphill Games
Architects of the West Kingdom is set at the end of the Carolingian Empire, circa 850 AD. As royal architects, players compete to impress their King and maintain their noble status by constructing various landmarks throughout his newly appointed domain. Players need to collect raw materials, hire apprentices, and keep a watchful eye on their workforce. These are treacherous times, and rival architects will stop at nothing to slow your progress. Will you remain virtuous, or be found in the company of thieves and black marketeers?
Images taken by More Games Please and supplied by Garphill Games
Coimbra (more info)
Artist: Chris Quilliams
Publisher: Eggert Spiele
In the 15th and 16th century, Portugal is thriving under its leading role during the Age of Discovery. Nestled in the heart of Portugal, the city of Coimbra serves as a cultural center of the country. As the head of one of Coimbra's oldest houses, you seek to earn prestige by deepening relationships with nearby monasteries or funding expeditions of the era. To reach this goal, you must vie for the favors of the city's most influential citizens, even if you must offer a bit of coin or some protective detail.
Game Artist Chris Quilliams:
”I am honored to have Coimbra nominated for 'Best Board Game Art of 2018'. A big thank you to everyone who voted for this wonderful game. It was a privilege to help create the look and feel for this game.
I also want to thank the owner of Plan B Games Sophie Gravel for helping to inspire the whole team at the time including Philippe Guerin, Marie-Eve Joly and Karla Ron. Together guys, we developed one beautiful product.
I knew Coimbra was going to be an amazing project in the early days when I played the prototype and by the time I was able to get to work I was excited. We wanted to do something special with unique qualities using both color palette and art design inspired by the different eras Portugal, not just historical art but also looking at many examples of contemporary Portuguese art as well. In the early stages there was a lot of development, especially for the characters and we could have gone in several different directions. I think when we hit upon the right look we knew we had something, it stood out over everything else. Editing is extremely important for any process and to have the trust and confidence in the people you work with makes all the difference in the world. I might have been the person creating the art but without my team I might have made very different choices and this project might not have been nearly as special. Thank you again, everyone.”
If you’d like to see more of his work I interviewed Chris back in 2017 and you can read that interview here.
Images supplied by Chris Quilliams and Eggert Spiele
Reykholt (more info)
Artists: Klemens Franz, Lukas Siegmon
Publisher: Frosted Games
Growing tomatoes, lettuce, or carrots on Iceland? What an absurd idea! But still, whoever had that idea was a genius! Geothermal energy on the island allows you to cultivate the most unexpected fruits and vegetables — an oddity that no tourist would want to miss. You are not the only farmer in Reykholt who is looking to make a fortune out of this, however, so you better be quick! The tourist season in Reykholt is short, and there are more people coming every year. Making use of the right people and having the right vegetables at the right time in Reykholt will give you the advantage you need to win the race!
Game Artist Lukas Siegmon:
”I was amazed and happy to see Reykholt next to all these other beautiful games. Thank you for your great support! I wish you a lot of fun and memorable board game experiences.”
Image 1 early concept art for the game cover. Images supplied by Renegade Game Studios and @LordBalder.
Rising Sun (more info)
Artists: Edgar Skomorowski, Adrian Smith
Rising Sun is a board game for 3 to 5 players set in legendary feudal Japan. As the Kami descend from the heavens to reshape the land in their image, it is up to each player to lead their clan to victory. Use politics to further your cause, negotiate to seek the most profitable alliances, worship the Kami to gain their favor, recruit monsters out of legend to bolster your forces, and use your resources wisely to be victorious in battle.
Images from CMON website and taken by More Games Please
The Grimm Forest (more info)
Artists: Noah Adelman, Lina Cossette, David Forest
Publisher: Druid City Games
Welcome to the Grimm Forest, where family members of the legendary Three Little Pigs organize an epic home building competition. But this is not an ordinary competition, because all the characters of the most famous Fairy Tales are around & even give a hand sometimes. Who will benefit most from Robin Hood's trickery, the beauty of Snow White, the abundant gifts of the Golden Egg Goose or the dark sorcery of the Queen-Witch?
Using only their intelligence, a handful of sharp steel tools & a few piles of resources harvested at great risk in the fields, quarries, & even the dark & deadly Grimm Forest, each player must compete to be the first to build 3 Houses & earn the title of Royal Builder.
Players are encouraged to use all the sneaky tricks they have read in the many books of Fables found throughout the country. Some will see their plans ransacked by this old villain, the Big Bad Wolf, while others will fill their cart with bricks, straw and wood. Who will brave the dangers, avoid immoral monsters & bring home victory? There's only one way to find out ... get ready to venture into ... The Grimm Forest!
Game Artists David and Lina aka Mr Cuddington:
”We are so happy for The Grimm Forest to be nominated for best art! It was such a wonderful theme to explore and we really enjoyed trying to find novel ways to represent all the already beloved fairy tale characters. We are very happy with the artistic direction and the cohesive look we achieved on Grimm Forest. We remember being very nervous about the Kickstarter campaign since we were due to have our youngest at about the same time. We ended up closing the campaign and meeting our son on the same day. Perfect timing! “
If you’d like to see more of Mr Cuddington’s work, I interviewed them on my site back in 2017 and you can see that interview here.
Best Board Game Art 2018 - Top 5
1066, Tears to Many Mothers (more info)
Artists: The Creation Studio, Ania Kryczkowska, Arkadiusz Banas, Guillaume Menuel, and Mark Bulahao
Publisher: Hall or Nothing Productions
Recreate the infamous Battle of Hastings! A promise has been broken, an evil omen is in the sky, a crown is at stake, and history is about to be made...
1066, Tears to Many Mothers is an asymmetric, competitive, tactical card game in the style of Magic the Gathering, but non-collectable. Each player, as either Normans or Saxons, musters troops and resources to overcome the various obstacles in their way before the two armies clash on the battlefield at Hastings.
Every card in the game is inspired by a real person or event from the time. With a focus on quick, tactical play and a thematic reimagining of the events of the time, there is no deck building required, each player simply grabs their deck and shuffles, then play begins.
Game Designer and Art Director Tristan Hall:
”It was an absolute privilege to coordinate a team of world-class artists in order to explore the real-life history of the period of 1066 and shine a new light on the incredible story of the Battle of Hastings. As a child the legends of King Harold and Duke William had a gigantic impact on me, and historically speaking England was never the same following the seizure of the throne by William. Whilst our artists had free rein to recreate the looks and faces of the real people from the period (as no pictures exist of them), in order to bring as much authenticity and credibility as possible to our game we heavily researched the period, purchasing books such as "Dress in Anglo-Saxon England" to outfit the characters with appropriate clothing, weapons, and armour from the period. With the funding we had it was an insane ambition to include over 150 unique and gorgeous images in the game; but the results speak for themselves and 1066, Tears to Many Mothers stands proudly as one of the most beautiful games I've ever seen.”
If you’d like to learn more about Tristan Hall and his games I interviewed him on my site back in 2017. You can find that interview here.
Images supplied by Hall or Nothing Productions
Feudum (more info)
Artist: Justin Schultz
Publisher: Odd Bird Games
Blimey! You and your blokes have been banished and stripped of everything but a few shillings and table scraps. Undaunted, you journey to a strange land to reinvent yourself and reclaim your honor! Will you farm the earth, fight as knights or finagle your own feudums? Your fate is in your hands. (And for better or worse, the hands of a steely-eyed monarch named, Queen Anne).
Game Designer Mark Swanson:
“I’m thrilled that Feudum fans love the art of Justin Schultz! His distinctive style of populating his art with whimsical characters conjures up memories of children's picture books, albeit slightly skewed. He loves to lure viewers in with 'superficially charming images,' but then reveal something more 'heartbreaking" or “daunting' upon closer inspection. Justin’s art is inspired by everything from 60’s art like Ralph Steadman and Robert Crumb to Anime and Saturday morning cartoons.”
Brass Birmingham (more info)
Artists: Lina Cossette, David Forest, Damien Mammoliti
Publisher: Roxley Games
Brass: Birmingham is an economic strategy game sequel to Martin Wallace' 2007 masterpiece, Brass. Birmingham tells the story of competing entrepreneurs in Birmingham during the industrial revolution, between the years of 1770-1870.
As in its predecessor, you must develop, build, and establish your industries and network, in an effort to exploit low or high market demands.
Game Artists David and Lina aka Mr Cuddington
”We want to say thank you to the community for nominating Brass for best art. This project was really challenging and refreshing to work on. It was a bit outside of our comfort zone, and Brass already had lots of fans, so we really wanted to do justice to the game and the gritty industrial Victorian era. We are so happy that Roxley Games trusted us to work on this project! We had the chance to work alongside an amazing team of creatives such as Damien Mammoliti, Gavan Brown and Chad Michael. We are very proud of the final product, it is the result of great collaboration!”
If you’d like to see more of Mr Cuddington’s work (including some details about Brass) I interviewed them on my site back in 2017 and you can see that interview here.
Images supplied by Roxley Games
Root (more info)
Artist: Kyle Ferrin
Publisher: Leder Games
Root is a game of woodland might and right. Stalk the woods as one of the Vagabonds, seize the initiative with the Eyrie birds of prey, rule over your subjects as the Marquise de Cat, or command the Woodland Alliance to create a new order. With creatures and cunning, you'll rule a fantastic forest kingdom in the ultimate asymmetric game of adventure and war.
Game Artist Kyle Ferrin:
"I'm so grateful to be nominated for this, the response to Root's art has been overwhelming and humbling. It's wild to think that my work has helped so many people enjoy a game I love. I'm honored. I hope I've brought smiles to people's faces with Root, and I hope to continue to do so with future projects. The pressure is on!"
If you’d like to see more of Kyle and his work I interviewed him on my site back in 2018. You can see that interview by clicking here.
Root images taken by More Games Please.
Everdell (more info)
Artist: Andrew Bosley
Publisher: Starling Games
From Everfrost to Bellsong, many a peaceful year have passed in Everdell — but the time has come for new territories to be settled and new cities to be established. You will be the leader of a group of critters intent on just such a task. There are buildings to construct, lively characters to meet, events to host— you will have a busy year ahead of you! Will the sun shine brightest on your city before the winter moon rises?
Everdell is a streamlined worker placement game that features a detailed world realized through stunning artwork. Utilizing a tableau-building mechanic, players will work to build a city of critters and constructions. Everdell is easy to learn, yet offers satisfying strategic depth and endless replayability.
Game Artist Andy Bosley:
“Hey all! Thanks so much for nominating Everdell for Best Board Game Art of 2018! I'm blown away by everyone's support and encouragement! Most projects I work on, as an illustrator, are just jobs to get done. Everdell was a completely different thing! Being a lifelong fan of the Redwall series and already a draw-er of mice, squirrels, and cute critters, I was drawn to Everdell as soon as it was pitched to me. It fit me perfectly! Starling Games put a lot of trust in me and I was able to make the world my own. I'm really proud of the work I did for Everdell and I'm so excited to see it received well by the gaming community! You guys are awesome!”.
If you’d like to see more of Andy and his work I interviewed him on my site back in 2018. You can see that interview by heading here.
Images supplied by Starling Games and taken by @BoardGameShot.
If you enjoyed this vote then consider sharing it on social media, I run this site on my own and every share makes a huge difference to how many people see my site. If you’ve got any feedback then do leave a comment below, I’m sure the artists would love to hear from you all.
Thank you for making this vote the best yet, I couldn’t have done it without you all. Happy 2019!