Box Covers on Board Games


Let's talk about board game box covers! I had a bunch of random thoughts/questions in my head so I thought I'd make a thread to discuss all about them:

1. Not really a question, I just found it funny to see "age 10-99" on #The Quest for El Dorado's box haha

2. Do you prefer the traditional or the more artistic approach?

Lesser the better is often the approach in many of the modern art forms today. And even among recent Kickstarters, some publishers will prioritize the artistic presentation of the box and don't display any of the typical info on the front. I can see why the traditional format is important if you're targetting non-hobbyists or casual gamers, but for publishers such as Awaken Realms, it makes sense that if you're targetting hardcore gamers who aren't going in blindy, then info such as age, player count, and gameplay length really don't need to be displayed on the cover (especially if it won't see retail release).

I personally prefer the artistic approach. I especially don't like to see a box cover absolutely filled with random "awards" that a game has won from all sorts of international awards or content creators.

3. How much does art influence your purchase pattern?

Does art have a big impact in making you want to look further into a game or making you completely uninterested? Who are some artists that bring out the collector's side in you, where you find yourself imagining how nice it would look to have all of the games illustrated by them up on your shelf?

I'd never purchase a game just because one of my favorite artists illustrated it. But it can be a big factor in making me want to check out a game.

The Mico has been the closest to draw out my collector's side. In the first 6 months into the hobby, I often thought about how great the North Sea and West Kingdom series from Garphill Games would look on my shelf side by side.

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Supporter11 months ago

As you know aesthetics is a huge part of board gaming for me... I love beautiful art, components, the way things feel, etc.  In fact, I am an anit-sleever because I believe a game is best enjoyed by fully seeing and feeling how it was meant to be made.

Having said that, while I enjoy good artwork on a board game box, it's much lower on the importance scale for me for two main reasons.

1. We rarely see the box when the game is being played, it's opened and upside down put aside nowhere near where we are playing.

2. I don't have a shelf for my games.  They are neatly (and safely, because I have a lot of small children) kept in a chest coffee table.  Since they aren't on display the artwork isn't that important.

Having said all that, I will say, that I do not like it to be cluttered up with all of it's accolades as you say.  I don't mind if that stuff is on the shrink wrap for marketing, but once I open the game I don't want to see all that advertising anymore.

Premium User11 months ago

I don't think my purchase habits are influenced much by art either on the box cover or on the game board/as part of the components themselves. For every visually appealing game I have in my collection, I probably have at least 2 boring looking euro style games. I think art style definitely helps garner interest via table presence but outside of that as long as the game is good/fun mechanically, it doesn't sway my purchase decisions.

Premium User11 months ago

Yep, I love an artistic box cover. I love how is looks, and I love getting "wow what is that!" questions when people come over. I don't mind if a game doesn't have a beautiful cover, or has a more "classic" style cover, but the more artistic and pretty, the better.

And I do think that it influences my purchases, but not quite as much as the art in the game does. I want the gameplay to be great, obviously, but having something nice to look at and hold makes the experience more enjoyable, and it's easier to get other people excited about playing the game if it's nice to look at.

I would not say I have a collector mindset. #Wingspan is beautiful but I feel no urgency to seek out the other games illustrated by the artists. Same for #Everdell or #Oceans.

Moderator Level 111 months ago

I want artistic on the cover. This is a big personal preference of mine. 

For the sides I want to to be like a book. I want the game name, the publisher, the designer, and the illustrator. Look at #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) for an example of what I'm talking about.

For the back I want all the information. I think that GMT Games is as close as you can come to the picture perfect box back. Here is some, not all, of the information on the back of a GMT box.

  • Number of players. 
  • How complex the believe it to be. 
  • How suitable they believe it is for solo play. 
  • Samples of: counters, cards, and the board.
  • Complete list of game components. 
  • And much more. 

So I want artistic front and sides and super practical back. 

11 months ago

Art style, also on the box, influences my "attention" phase in the AIDA process a lot.

(4 phases of a consumer :Attention (what's this?) -> Interest (hmm, this tickles my interest)-> Desire (wanting it) -> Action (buying it)) 


Although, art style could be any style to make me interested.

Your El Dorado example is obviously pretty classic and while the artistic approach is, as a whole, more pleasing, the classic one performs better in creating expectations. The first one "it is a boardgame" for example. :)

Even though, both examples underperform (for me) when it coems to expections on how it will make me FEEL playing it. No action going on, no action-snapshot,...

I like boardgames (which are, in physical nature, very static), add the action element in the artstyle. Especially for games where conforntation or direct competition are the main ingredients.
It is not strictly necessary though. I love and own many games with static art on the box and in the game components.

Thanks to the internet, we can see high res pictures and videos of what is in the box and how the components works..even physically. 

A cartoonish style can work for me with the right amount of grit AND the right amount of "simplification" like line-art and cell shading. 

Art doesn't want me to buy something more but an artyle that puts me off or just isn't my thing will make scoring drop seriously. Art doesn't need to be complicated or super high level. It needs to be balanced, fitting a certain feel and dynamic.




Owner11 months ago

Which game would you say hit that "dynamic" style really well? Has there ever been a game where you liked the idea/mechanics of the game but the overall style was a huge turnoff?

11 months ago

Well I want on a little study and found out a lot of art is rather static. 

It often pictures the landscape or geographical scope of where it all takes place.
That's a classic.

It isn't that easy to ifnd "dynamic" boardgame art.I just encountered a pictured from #Great Wall as well: pic

Nothing new but a good combo of grit and quality of detail. That's a sweet dynamic feel


I love it when it is a combo of fun and grit like

Box art Paladins of the West Kingdom

Box art Rool

Always great when something with a flair of cartoonish style can have a sinister conotation 


The art on the box of Gloomhaven is a missed chance in my opinion.
The art is beautiful but I remember it took a while for me to get over the "what's the fuss about anyway?" phase, because of me having a low expectation just because of the box art. As soon as I learned how it worked, I was very fascinated!

Art that shows some heroes and an impeding danger always work well on me. 
They chack some boxes;
the protagonist? the antagonist? the setting? the tone of voice? They are all answered in that kind of box :)
Even though they don't tell you how you fell; you'll have a certain expectation to say the least.

Take #Mice and Mystics for example. you're mice. small but clearly prepared and brave. The evil is still above you. this means in this stage, evil is still in control. Yet they obviously seem brave and up for an enemy that's ready to strike. Simple and classic but the imagination has a lot to fill because of the good balance between information given and space kept open for you to imagine. 

#Hero Quest tells you even more. It says they're will be a shitload of monsters and even if oyu are in this together, you might wind up battling some on your own, doing what your character is good at.

To answer your question; I think #Cry Havoc appeals to me as a game but the theme seemed like a bad pick. I'm a sci-fi lover but the shallow action movies about "high tech suits, big gun, mean face" thing was a thing of the past as soon the movie Startship Troopers created a milestone that the best serious effort AND satire in one.



11 months ago

Kickstarter games tend to have these fancy schmancy art asset covers because they're not fighting for attention on a store shelf.

Personally, I don't really care what the box looks like as much as what the components look like. For example, I hate the trend of logos being on the backs of cards. I'd much rather have a garish box cover and nice artwork on the back of cards, because the cards are what you play with and look at the most, the box cover quickly becomes irrelevant when it sits on the shelf.

Boo: Card Gallery | Star Realms | Deck-Building Game

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