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Popular Abstract Board Games (Category)

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ReviewA Power Struggle of Abstract Proportions – Settler of the Boards ( [Hierarchy - An abstract game of order and power]Like| 0 comments | [+]
5 Must-have Abstracts for Your Shelf | A Pawn's Perspective image
5 Must-have Abstracts for Your Shelf | A Pawn's Perspective ( [Skud Pai Sho]Like| 10 comments | [+]
Gekitai Abstract Strategy Game Overview image
ReviewGekitai Abstract Strategy Game Overview ( [Gekitai]Like| 0 comments | [+]
10 Best Abstract Strategy Board Games [Patchwork, Ingenious, Hive, Yinsh Board Game, Santorini, Azul, Tiny Towns, Torres, Photosynthesis, Onitama]Like| 4 comments | [+]
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I haven't removed any in the last month, at least that I can remember

On my radar

  • #Aquatica (for quite a while now)
  • #Tak - this has also been on my radar for a while, but has risen up the list, I think mainly due to a rising interest in abstract games
  • #Blue Lagoon - I'd really like to try out some more Reiner Knizia games, and this one seems very approachable and easy to get to the table. Another option here is #The Quest for El Dorado.
  • #Undaunted: Normandy - highly acclaimed game by the design team of one of my top 5 games (#War Chest).

Played a game of #Underwater Cities with and and -- I felt like I was playing great the entire time and came out dead last (but by only one point), but I see now I was about 30 points under my best score, so obviously I was not doing as well as I thought! Love that game.  Nice win by

Also played #Exit: The Game - The Gate Between Worlds, one of the newer ones. I think this was my second or third Exit game - I do find them harder than the Unlock or Deckscape series, and this one had some good challenges. It might be my favorite of the Exit series that I have played so far. 

Finished up with a game of #Beez -- nice light 30 minute game, with very breezy turns. I could see where some might have some AP moments as you try to plan out a few turns in a row, but the game churns along so quickly, my family just rolled through it. They all enjoyed it enough to play it again, but not back to back. So a middlin' review for them but definitely one that stays in the collection, especially since my wife (an abstract puzzle game fan) has yet to play. 

Quite a game-filled week for me, although all online:

As mentioned below/above (no idea where my comment will appear), we finished another long running game of #Clans of Caledonia which I am a big fan of although it does melt my brain a little. Likewise played a couple of much shorter games of #Kingdom Builder which is a delightfully simple yet strategic game.

Also played #Luxor for the first time which was another lighter yet really interesting racing/set collection hybrid with some really nice mechanics. Maybe not one I would look to own but would love to play it again.

Tried #Santorini , also for the first time, and it is a delight. The BGA (Arena) version is 3D which is very cool and it is also a wonderfully simple yet tactical abstract thinker. I would love to own this one as I imagine playing it in person is joyous with the tiny buldings. 

Got in a couple of games of #Race for the Galaxy which is always a fun filler and continued my now fairly long running D&D campaign with some uni friends which this week involved a lot of beauracy and arguing with guards (as well as one almost unstoppable gnoll).

All in all a great week!

Oh boy! I'm a big Knizia fan  - we held a Kniziathon at our local gaming group, and we usually do an all-Knizia night around his birthday. :)

ALL-TIME GREATS (and I mean all-time great games by anyone, not just Knizia)

#Ra - Such a tense game that combines auctions, press-your-luck, and set collection. And you get to yell "RA!" :)

#High Society - An auction game with some similarities to Ra, but nastier. The "poorest person loses" rule and the reverse auctions for bad items are just so mean!


#Through the Desert - An area-control abstract that puts a lot of balls in the air - reaching oases, fencing off areas, putting out the most camels in a color. And it's very pretty!

#Taj Mahal - Very interesting hand-management game in which you are trying to build the best hand to win auctions. Feels like Euro Poker.

#Lost Cities Board Game  - Multiplayer #Lost Cities with racing on a variable-setup board. Play with the #Keltis rules!

#The Lord of the Rings - Seminal co-op that manages to achieve the feeling of a fellowship with a minimum of rules and chrome.


#Merchants of Amsterdam - Another Knizia auction/area control game - but with a Dutch Auction clock!

#Clash of the Gladiators - Possibly the most un-Knizialike game on the list... Dice rolling! Player elimination! Draft teams of gladiators and pit them against each other. If your gladiators die, you get to control the lions. :D


#Blazing Aces! A Fistful of Family Card Games , #Dice Games Properly Explained, #New Tactical Games with Dice and Cards - In addition to designing hundreds of board games, The Doctor has also written books about board games. All three of these are full of interesting insights into game design from a master - and they have games in them, too!

Welcome! What are some of your favorite games?

Here are some of my favorite lighter games:

  • #Century: Golem Edition - pretty quick engine-builder with a race element. It's easy to teach and has nice art and pieces, so it's a good crowd-pleaser.
  • #Kingdomino - great 15-minute domino game. Also very easy to teach, and has a nice small box. It has a puzzley feel with some tough decisions. It's got some luck in it, but definitely not too much, especially for how quick the game is.
  • #Santorini - one of my absolute favorite games, and one of the best "abstract strategy" games around. It has rules for up to 4 players, but it's essentially a 2 player game.
  • #Tiny Towns - another puzzley feeling game. It plays up to 6 players, and plays fairly quickly. If you like Tetris, you might enjoy this one.
  • #Horrified - very fun cooperative game about defeating Universal Pictures monsters such as Dracula and the Wolfman

A couple of games that we enjoy that I would consider to be a step up from the above games:

  • #Wingspan - huge hit from a couple of years ago. Engine builder about birds. Very pretty and enjoyable game.
  • #7 Wonders - this is a classic card drafting game, and was my intro to modern board games. It plays very quickly once everyone is familiar with the rules, but does take a few minutes to teach. I recommend finding a good rules explanation on youtube. There's a fancy new edition that came out recently with updated art and components.
  • #Dale of Merchants - my personal favorite deck-building game (it's actually a series of games that can be mixed and matched together)

Great week of gaming! In addition to the online gaming mentioned by , I got to play:

  • #Jinja - an interesting worker placement game with tight resources but a clever combination of area majority scoring at the end with engine building in the middle; 
  • #Whale Riders - my Kickstarter copy of this new Reiner Knizia game came in and it has gorgeous Vincent Dutrait art and simple to teach, but deep, game play. Typical of Knizia's best! My wife really enjoyed this one;
  • #Red Rising - this is my most played game this week, played at 3-4-5 player counts -- I think I like 3p best, because you have time to read the cards, affect your hand, and still keep an eye on what other players are doing. I liked this one a lot more than the rest of the Gumbo Krewe, but my sons really dug it;
  • #It's a Wonderful World - been on my list for a while, cause my nephews adore this 7W style drafting game. I was lost at first, but the second half of the game made a lot of sense. I'd play it again but not sure I need to own it;
  • #Stockpile - another one of my most played games over the years, it has long been a Gumbo fave since we learned it from the designer way back at Gen Con 2016 (maybe?) -- we played with EVERYTHING -- all the expansion goodness, and I am convinced that's the way to play; and
  • #Block Ness - very polarizing little 10-15 minute abstract game with cute Loch Ness monsters for pieces. My family adores it and the Gumbo krewe was bored. What to do! I'll just keep it at the house and introduce it to friends and non-gamers and family alike. It is fun for what it is and looks great on the table! 

Whew -- so nice to be playing in person again instead of just online, although I am thoroughly enjoying playing games with the Board Game Atlas krewe! 

Hmm, well I feel that any game that has an economic element to it (i.e. needing to pay for things with resources) can teach some good lessons along those lines in an abstracted way. He can learn how to "budget" with his resources, save up for more expensive things, learn about opportunity cost, etc. Even something like #Wingspan could teach this. Obviously there are plenty of Euro games that do this with more depth, but a game like Wingspan is quite approachable for most players, and shouldn't be an issue for a 10 year old. I'm sure more people can chime in with games that can do similar things.

Hello bubblegumstuff. We could offer much better suggestions if you give us a bit more information. What games have you played that fit as "light" from your point of view (Monopoly, Checkers, Parcheesi, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Risk...)? Are you looking for (or avoiding) any genre in particular (cooperative, abstract, Risk type, card games, etc.)?

The thing is that one player's light is another player's "too much stuff going on" so a great suggestion like JuneBloom's #Splendor could be much too light for some people or too involved for others.

Bit late to posting this week.  Had a good variety of games this week!

  • #All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 (physical, solo) First game of it.  It's a 3 player coin game with a lot of differences between it and other COIN games.  I sort of rushed the play through so it fell a bit flat and I felt I played the bots incorrectly so I ended the game early.  I'll need to give this another try!
  • #Blackout: Hong Kong (TTS, multiplayer): I picked this up for a steal a little while back and finally got a chance to play it with the gang.  I would rate it fine to good.  I'd rather play #Great Western Trail or #Maracaibo out of Pfister's games though.  I can see why this one didn't blow the world away.  But for $20 CDN it was definitely a steal of a purchase and it has a good solo mode so I'll keep it around for a while yet.
  • #SpaceCorp (physical, solo): Picked this up for a good price used.  I thought I'd play a round or two and ended up playing all three phases of the game.  This is a really fun game!  It tracks man colonizing space in three phases: Inner solar system, outer solar system, across solar systems.  Each phase has more rules to follow than the last but none of them are super complicated.  I really enjoyed playing it solo as it sort of creates a story of your corp colonizing the stars.  The actual space movement is abstracted making this a lighter game on the science than #Stellar Horizons or #High Frontier 4 All.  However, now that I've played it I have more interest in playing other game slike it!
  • #Hallertau (TTS, multiplayer): First time playing this game.  I'd call it a decent euro.  I think most of the group agreed that it was in the good range.  One person has already got it on order and we agreed it was a good one to have.  I wouldn't say it stood out from the crowd a lot but I would play it again.
  • #Heaven & Ale (TTS, multiplayer): My third play of this game.  I have to say, I enjoy it more and more every time.  The game is tight but once you have it down there is room to maneuver.  Winning can come from different directions.  Definitely one of my favourites and getting more that way each play.  
  • #Marvel Champions: The Card Game (physical, solo): Tried to infiltrate the collector's museum three times with Groot Protection.  Came close but didn't make it.  I can see why people are saying the difficulty ramps up a lot.  Should be a fun challenge!

Good week overall.


Interesting topic! #Hanamikoji was actually the game that first came to mind when I read the post title.

Another that could fit in is #Lost Cities. It's got the similar feel of worrying that you're giving your opponent exactly what they need, but you have to do it anyway.

On a different note, abstracts can often feel super tight. #Hive comes to mind first.