philryuh

I'm judging board games by their cover

Edit: Twilight Struggle should really be in the "Practical/does its job/unspired" row.

Edit #2: Ok, I actually looked at the latest edition of Concordia and the cover feels much better. The pale white lady looked so odd to me on their earlier editions. The current edition also has been polished up much better and it should really be in the "Great" tier now.

4 points by philryuh - updated 57 days ago | 58 comments | report | subscribe

Skurvy5 Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Phil what’s your absolute favorite box cover?

philryuh Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Gosh that's a tough question. Give me the next 24 hours to think about this.

Skurvy5 Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’ll give you 24 minutes 

philryuh Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Darn. Well you get two picks for that. And I'm limiting it to be within the 100 games shown above for convenience sake:

#Brass: Birmingham - Breathtaking, classy, cleverly communicates theme of the game without being straightforward, emphasizes the title of the game and then drifts the eyes toward all of the details surrounding it for you to admire.

#Root - Fun illustration where you can appreciate Kyle's inking and his great selection of colors that don't overwhelm you. The title looks great. There are very few illustrators in the industry who utilize inks so it makes it more special.


Skurvy5 Supporter58 days ago | 2 points[-]

Of those two I would go with Root. Brass... it’s a nice cover but without knowing anything I wouldn’t be able to tell you what that game was about. 

We still need to do that segment where we ask kids what games are about based on the cover. 

philryuh Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

I like that Brass keeps it mysterious. But yes, you're left with little info. Makes me wonder what's shown on the back/bottom of the box haha. I sure would love to give this game a try.

I wonder what your kids would have to say about some of your games :)

Hopefully we'll be able to do something with this idea some day!

Skurvy5 Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Can’t wait! I think it would be much fun. 

Skurvy5 Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Cool idea! I’m curious why you put Rebellion so low but Imperial assault so high. They are essentially the same cover just with a different focus. 

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

I attached a side by the side comparison of Concordia's cover art in one of my comments but it wasn't showing up. hopefully this one does!


Skurvy5 Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

The new cover is much better. 

Sliddell11 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Dude I like this. There are so many games in drawn to because of its cover. Agricola was a game originally I was turned off to because of its art, but later found it to be one of my favorites! Now I like the art weirdly enough haha 

When you say “flaws” for the aw come to last row, what are some specific flaws you see in these titles? Just curious!

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Some of the games in the last row are uninviting because of bad art or theme, or generally has some issues in the drawing. And really, I mostly mean that it looks bad. I'll give several examples though:

Dominion titles - The newer ones look fine. Some of the older titles (especially if it's the first edition) remind me of bad CGI in old TV shows, where the main subject of the illustration is rendered differently from the background and creates a pasted on look (some of the newer titles look much better though). Dominant Species slightly gives off that vibe as well and Race for the Galaxy does also. Roll for the Galaxy should actually be in the "Good" tier.

Concordia - I edited my post to mention that Concordia should really be in in the "Good" tier now. The older edition looked horrible where the lady was way too pale and the overall lighting was very unnatural. The colors did not work together at all and the way they placed the two characters in the foreground along with the arch and the rest of the people in the back looked odd. The newer edition does a much better job at conveying the same message but with everything blending together very well.

Agricola, Caverna, etc. - Just overall bad drawing. Let's take Agricola as an example. Stylistic choices aside, I might be missing something, but the sun is in the background while the overall lighting suggests there is another light source in the front of all of the figures and the house. A lot of the lines don't make sense either in terms of perspective (remember the stuff about vanishing points and perspective lines in art class during school? haha) and the artist chooses to show shadows here and there in an inconsistent way. To be clear, this is my first time picking apart a board game cover but it just goes to show why it's hard for me to like the illustrations on these games. Of his works, I think Clans of Caledonia is done much better.

Great Western Trail - This and many other games that feature closeup of floating heads cut off at the shoulder level. It's never appealed to me and it never will. Especially in the case of GWT, the neck looks too short and I can't unsee it.

Skurvy5 Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Lol GWT is the poster child for horrible box art. 

Sliddell11 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Gotcha! That’s a lot of interesting insight! Its  crazy how much art can influence someone buying a game. Some “good” games are never bought because of the initial artwork

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Here's a comparison for you @Sliddell11. Notice how they also changed the lady's line of sight. The combination of pale white lady with cold lighting AND staring straight at you needed to change :)


Sliddell11 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Oof yeah that’s bad..

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

I attached a picture in my previous comment but it's not showing up :(

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Bummer.. that’s okay! Just another comparison?

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Never mind! I see it in my notifications window but not here? Haha 

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Sliddell11 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’ll also say, I kinda like the Roll for the Galaxy cover... but it could be just because it’s one of my favorite games haha 

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

I mentioned it in the comment but I dumped it together with Race for the Galaxy when I was making the tier. After looking it up, the cover for Roll for the Galaxy is much better and should be in my "Good" tier.

Skurvy5 Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Roll is a pretty cool cover. It looks very science fiction-y. 

Sliddell11 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Cool, reading it now!

sdirrane Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Fun.  I like it.

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Glad you like it! I'm curious which of your games you'd consider as top-tier art material.

Skyw3rd 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

I'm a big fan of this idea. I've got Root boxes and Scythe set on end displayed as art on top of my kallax.

Sliddell11 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’ve always been drawn to Root because of its cover art...it’s so good!

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Hope to see Root on my shelf some day too xD

Edit: I'd totally place Root on the top, along with maybe Robinson Crusoe and one of the Brass games. Also, Raiders and Architects just look so cool next to one another.

Skyw3rd 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

I've got four boxes now after my #Root: The Underworld Expansion and #Root: The Clockwork Expansion arrived this week. It's great stuff. I have a few Kyle Ferrin prints at my house too. I'm a fan for sure. Funny though that Oath doesn't really do it for me.

nealkfrank 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Interesting, two games that stick out to me are Orleans and Star Wars Rebellion. I think orleans box art is one of the worst out there. Worse than Dominion lol. It’s like a freshman Graphic Design student made it! But you had it midish tier. What appeals to you?

then Star Wars rebellion to me conveys a deep widespread game well and it’s pretty awesome!

Sliddell11 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Dude Orleans is so bad😂

nealkfrank 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

I gave it zero chance up until recently, it is a game I would play for sure! But the art does nothing for anybody lol. 

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Haha those are my thoughts exactly... I mean look at Agricola:

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]


nealkfrank 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

HAHAHA That zoomed in pic got me good. 

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Haha dude I thought you’d like that!

nealkfrank 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

The art in Agricola is something I think about close to never when I play it lol. 

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

I feel like over time it’s really grown on me! It is a really light hearted game and theme that it kinda makes sense. Even tho it’s super ugly /lame at first hahaha 

nealkfrank 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

I don't know if I would say Agricola is light hearted...its nickname is Misery Farm...

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Hahaha true... but the melodice playlist and all the smiling faces!

nealkfrank 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

It is misery farm shrouded in joyous sounds and feelings...

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Like I’m actually embarrassed when people see that on my shelf because I feel that it exposes the depth of my nerdity... haha

philryuh Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

What's inside the box at least looks better to me :)

For other games like Puerto Rico, what's inside completely turns me away.

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Definitely! Some games are just bad on both... sadly...

nealkfrank 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

I thought the same way, then I watched a play through of Puerto Rico and the gameplay really appeals to me. The art direction on the original edition was...basically non-existent...the building were all text! They have added some flair on the newer editions but it is a drab game visuallly. 

Skurvy5 Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

It looks like something I could draw... which is to say it’s very bad. 

Sliddell11 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Haha but I’m sure you’re great at other things!!

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Glad you brought that up :) 

The culprit behind all these top euros with... interesting artwork is Klemens Franz. His artwork alone honestly makes it almost impossible for me to purchase any of these games, and it really feels like a wasted opportunity. And while many of them are downright questionable (you can see a lot of them in the bottom most row), I think I'll be able to live with some of them like Orleans. Hence, I assigned them to a row where some of them have a potential to grow on me and become "ugly duckling cute" kind of status (Twilight Struggle should really be in the "uninspired" row). 

As for Rebellion, I placed it there even though it looks nice because I couldn't tell from the small image but it seemed like they mostly took images from the movie. So I think it does its job of looking good but ultimately doesn't stretch the imaginations. In contrast, I placed Imperial Assault much higher because it's an original illustration that does a good job of depicting the Star Wars vibe. 

So to answer your question again, Orleans' artwork doesn't appeal to me but it's one of the few that I can live with.

nealkfrank 58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Franz definitely does have distinct style! It is funny, of the games that he has designed Orleans is the one that is most "ugly duckling" to me! The other designs are benign to me!

Interesting, I was thinking about this last night. Rebellion really is a rethinking of the movies. It is the empire chasing the rebels and the rebels running for their lives, essentially what happens the majority of the original trilogy, so I can understand why they went that direction with the art. I do respect though that it is probably on the lazy side from an artists perspective!

philryuh Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

Yeah, I basically placed covers that used existing images in a category of its own. I have no problems with it since it's an obvious choice that does a good job but I wanted to place the original illustrations higher up!

Also, I think Klemens Franz did a much better job on the board design on Orleans compared to the other games he's worked on. He likely did some research to evoke the vibe of Medieval art style.


philryuh Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

From Orleans' board:

nealkfrank 57 days ago | 1 point[-]

I really like the art of the game itself, I totally agree he pulled from real art of the time. Pretty awesome!

WadeB1977 59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Ha! I do that with books as well...lol

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Art to me is the first barrier to entry. There are just way too many good games coming out with good art these days and I'm sure it's similar in the book world haha

Marshwiggle92 Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

This is a great idea. I see some of our opinions diverge a little. But that is just to be expected. 

philryuh Supporter59 days ago | 1 point[-]

Can you give an example of which ones you would've placed at the top (and which would be way lower compared to where I placed them?)

It's fun hearing other's preferences on this!

Marshwiggle92 Supporter58 days ago | 1 point[-]

There is a bunch of stuff I would either move up or down one notch, no biggie. The ones that are most different ar..... 

#T.I.M.E. Stories I would put at great. 

#Terraforming Mars would be bumped way down. 

#anachrony would be in the top row. 

#Mage Knight would be in the in the uninspired row along with #Caylus Board Game, #Russian Railroads,  and dad of winter. 

I'd bump #The 7th Continent up to personal favorite along with #Rising Sun

There are probably others. 


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