The best combinatorial games 🧮 2021

Looking for a really good game where there is no chance? Then we have just the thing: A list of the 30 best combinatorial games 🧮.

What does "combinatorial" mean in games?

Combinatorial is a term from mathematics. Combinatorial games have finite or countably infinite discrete structures. I.e. in combinatorial games you can predict all possible moves - in contrast to games of chance.

Definition of combinatorial games

Almost all combinatorial dice, card & board games meet the following definition:

  • no hidden information
  • no randomness during gameplay (random setup (e.g. TZAAR, Fischer Schach 960) is allowed)
  • typically two players or teams (or one player/team against one computer)
    • but rarely more teams are possible (e.g. Blokus)
  • finite number of rounds
  • players/teams act alternately (i.e. do not move simultaneously, not in real time)
  • no memory needed
  • draw possible - but usually there is a winner
  • theme allowed, but not mandatory

Combinatorial does not necessarily mean "abstract

Often the two categories "abstract games" and "combinatorial games" are mixed together. However, abstract refers only to the subject of the game. Abstract games do not require a story or scenario in which the game "takes place." In combinatorial games, a theme is not required (e.g. Blokus, Shōbu), but possible (e.g. Santorini, [Patchwork])(/patchwork)).

List of the best combinatorial games 2021 🧮

This list was last updated on March 4, 2021. We compared 445 board games for this list and selected the top 30. There's also a print version for this list.
  1. Patchwork

    All details for the board game Patchwork and similar games

    Nominated for 11 awards and won 3.

    More details for Patchwork
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime15 - 30 Minutes
    • Age8+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy

    Video reviews for Patchwork

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Patchwork" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Patchwork" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Patchwork" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Patchwork" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
  2. Santorini

    All details for the board game Santorini and similar games

    Nominated for 6 awards.

    More details for Santorini
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime20 Minutes
    • Age8+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
    💸 Too expensive!30€ atAmazon.de
  3. Onitama

    All details for the board game Onitama and similar games

    Nominated for 5 awards and won 1.

    More details for Onitama
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime15 - 20 Minutes
    • Age8+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
    💸 Too expensive!21€ atAmazon.de
  4. YINSH

    All details for the board game YINSH and similar games

    Nominated for 5 awards and won 2.

    More details for YINSH
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime30 - 60 Minutes
    • Age9+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: medium
    🔥 Great price!26€ atAmazon.de
  5. SHŌBU

    All details for the board game SHŌBU and similar games

    Nominated for 3 awards.

    More details for SHŌBU
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime15 - 30 Minutes
    • Age8+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
  6. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small

    All details for the board game Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and similar games
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime30 Minutes
    • Age13+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
  7. Hive

    All details for the board game Hive and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards and won 2.

    More details for Hive
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime20 Minutes
    • Age9+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
  8. TZAAR

    All details for the board game TZAAR and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards and won 1.

    More details for TZAAR
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime30 - 60 Minutes
    • Age13+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: medium
    💸 Too expensive!31€ atAmazon.de
  9. Gaia Project

    All details for the board game Gaia Project and similar games

    Nominated for 10 awards and won 2.

    More details for Gaia Project
    • Players1 - 4 Players
    • Playtime60 - 150 Minutes
    • Age12+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: hard
    👍 Good price!61€ atAmazon.de
  10. Hey, That's My Fish!

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

    Nominated for 8 awards and won 1.

    More details for Hey, That's My Fish!
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime20 Minutes
    • Age8+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: very easy
    👍 Good price!13€ atAmazon.de

    Video reviews for Hey, That's My Fish!

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Hey, That's My Fish!" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Hey, That's My Fish!" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
  11. Terra Mystica

    All details for the board game Terra Mystica and similar games

    Nominated for 17 awards and won 13.

    More details for Terra Mystica
    • Players2 - 5 Players
    • Playtime60 - 150 Minutes
    • Age12+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: hard

    Video reviews for Terra Mystica

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Terra Mystica" von "Shut Up & Sit Down"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Terra Mystica" von "Shut Up & Sit Down"Sprache
  12. Blokus

    All details for the board game Blokus and similar games

    Nominated for 6 awards and won 4.

    More details for Blokus
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime20 Minutes
    • Age7+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
    👍 Good price!25€ atAmazon.de
  13. Six Making

    All details for the board game Six Making and similar games
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime25 Minutes
    • Age12+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
  14. Tak

    All details for the board game Tak and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards.

    More details for Tak
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime20 - 60 Minutes
    • Age12+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy

    Video reviews for Tak

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Tak" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Tak" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
  15. Polyssimo Challenge

    All details for the board game Polyssimo Challenge and similar games
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime10 - 30 Minutes
    • Age7+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: very easy

    Video reviews for Polyssimo Challenge

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Polyssimo Challenge" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Polyssimo Challenge" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
  16. New York Zoo

    All details for the board game New York Zoo and similar games
    • Players1 - 5 Players
    • Playtime30 - 60 Minutes
    • Age10+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
  17. Photosynthesis

    All details for the board game Photosynthesis and similar games

    Nominated for 10 awards and won 4.

    More details for Photosynthesis
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime30 - 60 Minutes
    • Age10+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
    😕 Questionable price27€ atAmazon.de

    Video reviews for Photosynthesis

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Photosynthesis" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Photosynthesis" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Photosynthesis" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Photosynthesis" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
  18. Through the Desert

    All details for the board game Through the Desert and similar games
    • Players2 - 5 Players
    • Playtime45 Minutes
    • Age10+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
  19. Blokus Duo

    All details for the board game Blokus Duo and similar games

    Nominated for 3 awards.

    More details for Blokus Duo
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime15 Minutes
    • Age5+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
    🔥 Great price!27€ atAmazon.de
  20. Fields of Arle

    All details for the board game Fields of Arle and similar games

    Nominated for 6 awards.

    More details for Fields of Arle
    • Players1 - 2 Players
    • Playtime60 - 120 Minutes
    • Age13+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: hard
    💸 Too expensive!51€ atAmazon.de

    Video reviews for Fields of Arle

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Fields of Arle" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Fields of Arle" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
  21. DVONN

    All details for the board game DVONN and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards and won 2.

    More details for DVONN
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime30 Minutes
    • Age9+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: medium
    👍 Good price!26€ atAmazon.de
  22. Okiya

    All details for the board game Okiya and similar games

    Nominated for 2 awards and won 1.

    More details for Okiya
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime10 Minutes
    • Age7+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: very easy
    💸 Too expensive!13€ atAmazon.de
  23. Kulami

    All details for the board game Kulami and similar games

    Nominated for 2 awards and won 2.

    More details for Kulami
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime30 Minutes
    • Age10+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
  24. Battle Sheep

    All details for the board game Battle Sheep and similar games

    Nominated for 3 awards and won 2.

    More details for Battle Sheep
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime15 Minutes
    • Age7+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: very easy
    👍 Good price!25€ atAmazon.de
  25. Blokus 3D

    All details for the board game Blokus 3D and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards and won 2.

    More details for Blokus 3D
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime15 - 20 Minutes
    • Age7+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
  26. Quarto

    All details for the board game Quarto and similar games

    Nominated for 2 awards and won 2.

    More details for Quarto
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime20 Minutes
    • Age8+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
  27. Medina (Second Edition)

    All details for the board game Medina (Second Edition) and similar games
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime60 Minutes
    • Age10+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy

    Video reviews for Medina (Second Edition)

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Medina (Second Edition)" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Medina (Second Edition)" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Medina (Second Edition)" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Medina (Second Edition)" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
  28. Barony

    All details for the board game Barony and similar games
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime45 Minutes
    • Age14+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
    😕 Questionable price39€ atAmazon.de

    Video reviews for Barony

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Barony" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Barony" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache
  29. Mixtour

    All details for the board game Mixtour and similar games

    Nominated for 1 award and won 1.

    More details for Mixtour
    • Players2 Players
    • Playtime45 Minutes
    • Age8+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy
    🔥 Great price!50€ atAmazon.de
  30. Small Star Empires

    All details for the board game Small Star Empires and similar games
    • Players2 - 4 Players
    • Playtime10 - 30 Minutes
    • Age13+ years old
    • ComplexityComplexity: easy

    Video reviews for Small Star Empires

    • YouTube Review vom Spiel "Small Star Empires" von "BoardGameGeek"
      YouTube Review vom Spiel "Small Star Empires" von "BoardGameGeek"Sprache

Didn't find the game you were looking for?

We're positive that you'll find it in one of our other lists! To make the search easier for you, we split our website into different categories. The following board game categories will help you find the right list: