The best abstract♟ board, card & dice games 2024

Looking for a really good party game where the game experience and the game mechanics are the most important things? Then we have just the thing: A list of the 30 best abstract♟ games 2024.

What are abstract games?

In an abstract board, card or dice game, the theme or scenario is not important. So in abstract games, the focus is on the game experience itself.

Many classics are abstract games

Many of the classic board games around the world, including Chess, Go, Checkers, Xiangqi (Chinese chess), Shogi (Japanese chess), Backgammon, Reversi (marketed as "Othello") fit into the category of abstract games.

Some in addition also "combinatorial".

Many abstract games also happen to be "combinatorial", meaning there is no hidden information, no non-deterministic elements (such as shuffled cards or dice rolls), no simultaneous or hidden movement or set-up, and (usually) two players or teams take a finite number of alternating turns.

Abstract is more likely to be understood as "theme-less"

The term "abstract" here should be understood as a synonym for "theme-less" or "theoretical". An abstract game thus does not contain a theme and setting. Abstract games are primarily about the game experience and the game mechanics - not about the scenario in which it is set.

List of the best abstract♟ board games 2024

This list was last updated on March 31, 2024. We compared 4557 board games for this list and selected the top 30. There's also a print version for this list.
  1. Cascadia

    All details for the board game Cascadia and similar games

    Cascadia is a tile-laying and token-drafting board game that features the rich habitats and diverse wildlife of the Pacific Northwest. It combines strategic tile placement with wildlife conservation themes.

    Nominated for 24 awards and won 12.

    ⭐️ Spiel des Jahres 2022

    More details for Cascadia
    • 1 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 45 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  2. Azul

    All details for the board game Azul and similar games

    Azul invites you to step into the captivating world of Portuguese artistry and craftsmanship. This board game draws inspiration from the introduction of azulejos, originally white and blue ceramic tiles, by the Moors. The tiles found a new home in Portugal when King Manuel I, during a visit to the Alhambra palace in Southern Spain, was enchanted by the exquisite Moorish decorative tiles adorning its interior. Filled with awe and inspiration, the king promptly ordered the embellishment of his own palace in Portugal with similar decorative tiles. As a skilled tile-laying artist, you are tasked with the prestigious mission of adorning the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora.

    Nominated for 30 awards and won 19.

    ⭐️ Spiel des Jahres 2018

    More details for Azul
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 45 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    👍 Good price!34€ atAmazon.de*

    Video reviews for Azul

    • YouTube Review for the game "Azul" by Shut Up & Sit Down
      Video is in English
  3. Patchwork

    All details for the board game Patchwork and similar games

    Patchwork is a two-player game where you compete to create the most beautiful and high-scoring patchwork quilt on your personal 9x9 game board.

    Nominated for 11 awards and won 3.

    More details for Patchwork
    • 2 Players
    • 15 - 30 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    🔥 Great price!16€ atAmazon.de*

    Video reviews for Patchwork

    • YouTube Review for the game "Patchwork" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
    • YouTube Review for the game "Patchwork" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  4. Project L

    All details for the board game Project L and similar games

    Project L is a dynamic and visually appealing board game that combines tile-matching with engine-building elements. It's designed to challenge players with its strategic depth, encapsulated within an elegant and simple design. The game features unique triple-layer 3D puzzles and attractive acrylic pieces, making it not only a test of intellect but also a delight to play.

    Nominated for 4 awards and won 1.

    More details for Project L
    • 1 - 4 Players
    • 20 - 40 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  5. Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game

    All details for the board game Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game and similar games

    Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game is an engaging and compact solitaire tile-laying game that has captured the hearts of players with its simplicity, strategic depth, and quick playtime. Garnering acclaim by winning the 2018 9-Card Nanogame Print and Play Design Contest, Orchard challenges players to skillfully manage a limited set of resources — in this case, nine double-sided cards — to create a flourishing orchard.

    Nominated for 1 award and won 1.

    More details for Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game
    • 1 Players
    • 5 - 10 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Immediately playable
  6. Onitama

    All details for the board game Onitama and similar games

    Immerse yourself in the world of Onitama, a dynamic two-player abstract game offering perfect information and a randomized starting setup on a 5x5 board. Both participants begin the game with five pawns each, strategically placing the main pawn at the board's center.

    Nominated for 6 awards and won 1.

    More details for Onitama
    • 2 Players
    • 15 - 20 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  7. Santorini

    All details for the board game Santorini and similar games

    Santorini is a beautifully re-imagined strategy game that combines abstract elements with accessible gameplay, suitable for a wide range of players.

    Nominated for 7 awards.

    More details for Santorini
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 20 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  8. Sagrada

    All details for the board game Sagrada and similar games

    Sagrada is a visually striking board game where players draft dice to create beautiful stained glass windows, combining strategy and aesthetics.

    Nominated for 12 awards.

    More details for Sagrada
    • 1 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 45 Minutes
    • 14+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    🔥 Great price!30€ atAmazon.de*
  9. Azul: Summer Pavilion

    All details for the board game Azul: Summer Pavilion and similar games

    Azul: Summer Pavilion takes players back to Portugal to embark on an artistic challenge of crafting a summer pavilion, a task assigned by King Manuel I. As master artisans, players must use their skills to construct the pavilion using the finest materials while efficiently managing their resources.

    Nominated for 7 awards and won 3.

    More details for Azul: Summer Pavilion
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 45 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    👍 Good price!35€ atAmazon.de*

    Video reviews for Azul: Summer Pavilion

    • YouTube Review for the game "Azul: Summer Pavilion" by Shut Up & Sit Down
      Video is in English
    • YouTube Review for the game "Azul: Summer Pavilion" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  10. Mandala

    All details for the board game Mandala and similar games

    Mandala is an intriguing two-player game that combines strategy and contemplation. Players compete to collect valuable cards by building mandalas, but the true value of these cards only becomes clear as the game progresses. It's a delicate balance of strategy and adaptation, set against the backdrop of a symbolic ritual.

    Nominated for 3 awards and won 1.

    More details for Mandala
    • 2 Players
    • 20 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn

    Video reviews for Mandala

    • YouTube Review for the game "Mandala" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  11. War Chest

    All details for the board game War Chest and similar games

    War Chest is a distinctive bag-building war game that requires players to skillfully manage their army both on and off the battlefield.

    Nominated for 2 awards.

    More details for War Chest
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 30 Minutes
    • 14+ years old
    • Easy to learn

    Video reviews for War Chest

    • YouTube Review for the game "War Chest" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
    • YouTube Review for the game "War Chest" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  12. Azul: Master Chocolatier

    All details for the board game Azul: Master Chocolatier and similar games
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 45 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  13. NMBR 9

    All details for the board game NMBR 9 and similar games

    NMBR 9 presents a unique puzzle game where numbers take on significance only when they rise above the ground level. The game encompasses twenty cards numbered 0-9, each appearing twice, and eighty tiles numbered 0-9, each composed of squares arranged in different configurations. Players embark on a captivating journey where they draw cards, select number tiles, and strategically build their own tile arrangement. The goal is to maximize points by constructing multi-level structures and showcasing their numerical prowess.

    Nominated for 4 awards.

    More details for NMBR 9
    • 1 - 4 Players
    • 20 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Immediately playable

    Video reviews for NMBR 9

    • YouTube Review for the game "NMBR 9" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  14. Calico

    All details for the board game Calico and similar games

    Calico is a delightful, tile-laying board game that combines the art of quilt-making with the charm of cats. It's designed to offer a relaxing yet engaging puzzling experience for players.

    Nominated for 11 awards and won 3.

    More details for Calico
    • 1 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 45 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    👍 Good price!45€ atAmazon.de*
  15. Cabo

    All details for the board game Cabo and similar games
    • 2 - 5 Players
    • 30 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Immediately playable
  16. Noctiluca

    All details for the board game Noctiluca and similar games

    Nominated for 1 award.

    More details for Noctiluca
    • 1 - 4 Players
    • 30 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Immediately playable
  17. Tsuro

    All details for the board game Tsuro and similar games

    Tsuro offers a blend of simplicity and elegance in a game that revolves around laying tiles and guiding your token along an evolving path. This game, known for its brief playtime and broad player range, challenges you to outlast others in a journey across the board, navigating an increasingly crowded space filled with potential pitfalls and unintended directions set by others.

    Nominated for 1 award.

    🔥 Deal: 40% cheaper than the best Geizhals deal, likely for a short time only!

    More details for Tsuro
    • 2 - 8 Players
    • 15 - 20 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Immediately playable
    🔥 Great price!48€ atAmazon.de*
  18. boop.

    All details for the board game boop. and similar games

    Nominated for 3 awards and won 2.

    More details for boop.
    • 2 Players
    • 20 - 30 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Immediately playable
  19. Nova Luna

    All details for the board game Nova Luna and similar games

    Nova Luna is an abstract tile-laying strategy game that focuses on careful planning and decision-making. Players are tasked with fulfilling objectives by placing tiles strategically, creating a unique and engaging gameplay experience.

    Nominated for 4 awards.

    ⭐️ Nominated for Spiel des Jahres 2020

    More details for Nova Luna
    • 1 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 60 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn

    Video reviews for Nova Luna

    • YouTube Review for the game "Nova Luna" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  20. Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

    All details for the board game Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra and similar games

    Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra is a visually striking and strategic board game designed by Michael Kiesling. It offers a unique twist on tile drafting, focusing on creating beautiful stained glass windows.

    Nominated for 4 awards.

    More details for Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 45 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn

    Video reviews for Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

    • YouTube Review for the game "Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  21. District Noir

    All details for the board game District Noir and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards.

    More details for District Noir
    • 2 Players
    • 10 - 20 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Immediately playable
    👍 Good price!13€ atAmazon.de*
  22. SHŌBU

    All details for the board game SHŌBU and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards.

    More details for SHŌBU
    • 2 Players
    • 15 - 30 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  23. Ingenious

    All details for the board game Ingenious and similar games

    Ingenious, also known as Einfach Genial, is a strategic tile-placement game that challenges players to think tactically about color scoring. It's a game that balances individual progress with the need to perform well across different areas.

    Nominated for 14 awards and won 7.

    ⭐️ Nominated for Spiel des Jahres 2004

    More details for Ingenious
    • 1 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 45 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  24. Hey, That's My Fish!

    All details for the board game Hey, That's My Fish! and similar games

    Embark on a frigid escapade with Hey, That's My Fish! as players compete to secure the most fish using their waddle of penguins. Each turn unfolds a strategic journey as players guide their penguins in a straight line across hex-shaped ice tiles, each adorned with 1, 2, or 3 fish.

    Nominated for 8 awards and won 1.

    More details for Hey, That's My Fish!
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 20 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Immediately playable

    Video reviews for Hey, That's My Fish!

    • YouTube Review for the game "Hey, That's My Fish!" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  25. Assembly

    All details for the board game Assembly and similar games
    • 1 - 4 Players
    • 10 - 20 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Immediately playable
  26. Reef

    All details for the board game Reef and similar games

    Reef is an abstract strategy game where players embody the role of a coral reef, engaging in the growth and expansion of their reef through careful selection and placement of colors and patterns.

    Nominated for 1 award.

    More details for Reef
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 45 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  27. Qawale

    All details for the board game Qawale and similar games

    Nominated for 1 award.

    More details for Qawale
    • 2 Players
    • 15 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Immediately playable
  28. Qwirkle

    All details for the board game Qwirkle and similar games

    The abstract game of Qwirkle unfolds with 108 wooden blocks, each featuring six different shapes in six distinct colors. Unlike traditional board games, there is no designated board; players utilize any available flat surface.

    Nominated for 12 awards and won 2.

    ⭐️ Spiel des Jahres 2011

    ⭐️ Nominated for Kinderspiel des Jahres 2011

    ⭐️ Nominated for Kinderspiel des Jahres 2011

    More details for Qwirkle
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 45 Minutes
    • 6+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  29. Cribbage

    All details for the board game Cribbage and similar games

    Cribbage is a classic card game with a rich history, dating back to the early 17th century. It's a game that combines strategy, skill, and a bit of luck, making it a favorite among card game enthusiasts.

    More details for Cribbage
    • 2 - 6 Players
    • 30 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  30. Hive

    All details for the board game Hive and similar games

    Hive is a highly strategic two-player game that stands out for its versatility and unique gameplay mechanics, involving a variety of insect-themed pieces.

    Nominated for 4 awards and won 2.

    More details for Hive
    • 2 Players
    • 20 Minutes
    • 9+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    👍 Good price!27€ atAmazon.de*

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