Top 5 Favorite Abstract Games
Since we're talking about theme and genres of games, how about the genre of no theme! Many games have "pasted-on" themes, but there seems to be a subset of games that you can call abstract, because the theme is either truly non-existent, or only exists to make the game prettier. These tend to involve moving pieces around a board, and usually (not always) feature a discrete win condition, rather than a "highest score wins" style end game. These are my favorites!
- #Santorini - I believe this should be in everyone's collection. It's such a simple game to learn, but the gameplay is so deep, and the replayability is pretty much endless, especially when using the God power cards. This is truly a top 5 game for me. I've preordered the sequel #Santorini New York, and will likely buy whatever rumored deluxe version of this that comes out next year.
- #War Chest - I just acquired this game after having it on my wishlist for several months, and I was not disappointed! I have one play session under my belt (3 plays), but I could see this becoming my #1 overall. It's not a 1 minute teach like Santorini and several other abstract games (probably 5 minutes), but MAN is it fun.
- #Hive (Pocket) - this is such a great little game. Very simple rules, but tons of room to think tactically. This one is the most "chess-like" game on this list, but I enjoy this one so much more. The Pocket version is nice and portable to boot.
- #Onitama - I only have a couple of plays of this one as well, but it's a lot of fun. Again, simple rules, but lots of room for tactics. Excellent components, as well.
- #Azul - a modern classic, and a wonderful game with a fairly simple ruleset once you get past how scoring works. Most people here will know about this one. It's different than the rest of the games on this list, as it doesn't really involve a spatial element in the same way. There's no moving pieces around a grid, just placing tiles in columns/rows. I haven't played either of the sequels yet, but they look fun as well, especially #Azul: Summer Pavilion
Do you have any favorite abstract games that would fit on this list? Here are some I'd like to try but haven't had the opportunity: