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Do you judge a board game by it's cover?

Do you judge a board game by it's cover? I totally do. In order for me to like or buy a game, the game needs to have good artwork. The cover usually reflects the artwork inside the game. If I don't like the cover, I usually immediately disregard it when I'm browsing the internet for sales. 

It's astounding how awful some covers are. They look like covers of old school books that I'm forced to read. Anyways what about you guys? How do you judge covers?

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Owner2 months ago

Yes. There are too many great games with great art and components that it's easy to pass off on games with absolutely horrendous art. If a game has an interesting premise in terms of theme and mechanics, I'm much more likely to be gracious toward the art side of things, but if there's a game out there that I have zero knowledge or initial interest in, then art usually serves as the first barrier for me. I also tend to think that if the art is terrible and seems to hurt the game more than enhancing it, then I sometimes question the level of effort/investment that the creator has put into the project. Likely not a fair judgment to make sometimes, but it just speaks of how rarely I find myself gravitating toward the new new game out there. The usual exceptions I make are the classic euros where they look lackluster, but I've heard too many great things to pass off on them.

On the flipside, a game with fantastic art will immediately get me to click and check out more info since it stands out among thousands of games. And typically, it's not too hard to tell if a game is all art and no substance.

2 months ago

Agreed. I have to hear lots of good things about a game in order to look past its bad cover

2 months ago

Art means a lot to me, but gameplay means just as much.  Having both is the perfect combo.  I recently aquired #Empires of the Void II which fills both criteria, as does #Call to Adventure. #Tang Garden is beautiful, I would say the gameplay is a little less compelling than the art.  Then again I have a lot of games that are great where the art is just serviceable, but not bad, like #Chinatown and #Medici.

2 months ago

yes, gameplay is also very important, I'm just too much of a judge of art I think

2 months ago

I tend to lean to being attracted to games with great art and theme, including the cover. Despite that though, all that counts for is making it to my watchlist. I never make a judgement call on the actual game until I know the feel and how it plays. A bad cover may not grab my attention on the spot but I mayyy eventually come around to it if the gameplay/theme/fit is right for my collection. 

During the beginnings of starting my collection I came across #Pipeline which I think has a beautiful cover. Did some more research and found that the actual game as a whole wasn't calling to me or was a good fit for the collection at the moment. 

2 months ago

Yeah, that's probably the best way to handle covers. I'm probably too judgemental, but I just really hate bad covers

Premium User2 months ago

I won't not buy a game due to the cover but it is going to have a hard time grabbing my attention with a boring cover.  The back of the box also had better tell me generally speaking what the game is like and the components in the box if it wants a chance.

However, if I find out about a game through online reviews and I think I'll like it then the cover is irrelevant.

2 months ago

yes, I think that is the relatively same situation with me, but I would just be a whole lot more convinced if they worked on a better cover. The purpose of a cover is to help advertise their game, isn't it?

Supporter2 months ago

Yes and no. I tend to be fairly forgiving when it comes to art in games in general and covers are no exception. I won't reject a game simply in the basis of art - if the theme or mechanics seem interesting then I will still research and possibly add the game to my wishlist. 

That said a game with great art is more likely to catch people's attention so it really is in the best interest of the developers to do the best they can. 

Supporter2 months ago

I would say, in general no.  I have to take the whole package into consideration.  For instance, I don't love the cover art for #Clans of Caledonia becuase I'm not the biggest fan of how the people look.  However, a deeper look at the game shows that the majority of the art you are interacting with isn't the people.

Additionally, components go a long way in table presence for a game.  Again, in the case of #Clans of Caledonia it looks awesome on the table with the board and components, and the non human art of the game.

But... I do judge a game if the overall component/art/production quality are very low.  It's going to be hard for me to love a game if I just find the whole package unappealing.

2 months ago

yeah, I'm sure this is one of the many exceptions. At least this game cover actually looks like a board game

Supporter2 months ago

Yes definitely can judge if all 3 of those subjective components of a game are bad. Wise words from you here Scott. 

Supporter2 months ago

Premium User2 months ago

Haha love the school books analogy. And of course this is a great question. The first thing that came to mind for me was #Lorenzo il Magnifico. The box looks absolutely dreadful and the artwork isn't much better. But I assure you it is an excellent game. Not like I've ever seen it on a shelf anywhere but I would 100% pass by it without second thought if I knew nothing about it.

2 months ago

I also thought the school book analogy was funny because I've had that same thought. Some game boxes look like they belong in the classic literature section of Barnes and Noble haha.

2 months ago

yes exactly, those bewilder me

2 months ago

That indeed looks like a bad cover. I'll take your word for it that it is a good game

2 months ago

Ever since the first time I have played #Agricola and #Caverna... No never again...

2 months ago

I think the covers are meh. I played Caverna once though, and it was pretty fun. I don't remember what all the artwork waws like though.

2 months ago

Oh definitely. At first glance I don't think many people would want to play those games. 

Premium User2 months ago

I couldn't tell you how I heard about #Agricola, probably simply on BGG somewhere. At the time, I was even newer to the hobby as I am now and was open to trying just about anything. The art definitely didn't bother me one bit and I'm so glad for that.

2 months ago

I know seriously! Honestly the art started to grow on me anyways..

2 months ago

You have played Caverna?

2 months ago

Yeah! It was probably 4 years ago? 

Supporter2 months ago

Of course the cover does make a first impression on me. I still throw up a little bit inside of my mouth every time I see a picture of #Roads & Boats. This is in spite of me really wishing for a copy of the game.

But, I do try hard not to let those first impressions stand in the way. That being said, there are over 121,000 listings on bgg. And, I don't have time to research 120k games. So, I do think that the covers do help weed out, just a little bit, which I choose to research and which I choose to ignore.

Premium User2 months ago

I think this is the first time I've ever clicked on the link for Roads & Boats and I feel you there.

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But of course with such an inviting name like Roads & Boats, how could you say no? :P

Supporter2 months ago

It is a truly spectacular piece.

2 months ago

That indeed looks horendous. I know there are plenty of expeptions, but I don't see why some people just can't make a good-looking cover

Supporter2 months ago

I suppose that beauty is somewhat in the eye of the beholder, but, I haven't heard anybody praise the way that Roads and Boats looks.

Supporter2 months ago

It would be in a developer's best interest to have a universally attractive cover. But perhaps due to budget or other constraints they can't always make it happen.