The best combinatorial games 🧮 2022

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 2022 🧮

This list was last updated on November 28, 2022. We compared 830 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
    • 2 Players
    • 15 - 30 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn

    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
  2. Santorini

    All details for the board game Santorini and similar games

    Nominated for 7 awards.

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

    All details for the board game Onitama and similar games

    Nominated for 5 awards and won 1.

    More details for Onitama
    • 2 Players
    • 15 - 20 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    👍 Good price!24€ atAmazon.de
  4. 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
  5. 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!
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 20 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Immediately playable
    🔥 Great price!30€ atAmazon.de

    Video reviews for Hey, That's My Fish!

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

    All details for the board game Polyssimo Challenge and similar games
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 10 - 30 Minutes
    • 7+ years old
    • Immediately playable

    Video reviews for Polyssimo Challenge

    • YouTube Review for the game "Polyssimo Challenge" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  7. Hive

    All details for the board game Hive and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards and won 2.

    More details for Hive
    • 2 Players
    • 20 Minutes
    • 9+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    🔥 Great price!27€ atAmazon.de
  8. Blokus

    All details for the board game Blokus and similar games

    Nominated for 6 awards and won 4.

    More details for Blokus
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 20 Minutes
    • 7+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    👍 Good price!26€ atAmazon.de
  9. YINSH

    All details for the board game YINSH and similar games

    Nominated for 6 awards and won 2.

    More details for YINSH
    • 2 Players
    • 30 - 60 Minutes
    • 9+ years old
    • Medium difficulty
    👍 Good price!30€ atAmazon.de
  10. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small

    All details for the board game Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and similar games
    • 2 Players
    • 30 Minutes
    • 13+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  11. New York Zoo

    All details for the board game New York Zoo and similar games
    • 1 - 5 Players
    • 30 - 60 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  12. Northern Pacific

    All details for the board game Northern Pacific and similar games
    • 3 - 6 Players
    • 60 Minutes
    • 7+ years old
    • Immediately playable
  13. Blokus Duo

    All details for the board game Blokus Duo and similar games

    Nominated for 3 awards.

    More details for Blokus Duo
    • 2 Players
    • 15 Minutes
    • 5+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  14. Okiya

    All details for the board game Okiya and similar games

    Nominated for 2 awards and won 1.

    More details for Okiya
    • 2 Players
    • 10 Minutes
    • 7+ years old
    • Immediately playable
  15. TZAAR

    All details for the board game TZAAR and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards and won 1.

    More details for TZAAR
    • 2 Players
    • 30 - 60 Minutes
    • 13+ years old
    • Medium difficulty
  16. Caesar's Empire

    All details for the board game Caesar's Empire and similar games
    • 2 - 5 Players
    • 30 - 60 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Immediately playable
    👍 Good price!38€ atAmazon.de
  17. 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
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 15 Minutes
    • 7+ years old
    • Immediately playable
  18. Through the Desert

    All details for the board game Through the Desert and similar games
    • 2 - 5 Players
    • 45 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  19. Six Making

    All details for the board game Six Making and similar games
    • 2 Players
    • 25 Minutes
    • 12+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  20. 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
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 15 - 20 Minutes
    • 7+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  21. Kulami

    All details for the board game Kulami and similar games

    Nominated for 2 awards and won 2.

    More details for Kulami
    • 2 Players
    • 30 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  22. Quarto

    All details for the board game Quarto and similar games

    Nominated for 3 awards and won 3.

    More details for Quarto
    • 2 Players
    • 20 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  23. Photosynthesis

    All details for the board game Photosynthesis and similar games

    Nominated for 10 awards and won 4.

    More details for Photosynthesis
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 30 - 60 Minutes
    • 10+ years old
    • Easy to learn

    Video reviews for Photosynthesis

    • YouTube Review for the game "Photosynthesis" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
    • YouTube Review for the game "Photosynthesis" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  24. Tak

    All details for the board game Tak and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards.

    More details for Tak
    • 2 Players
    • 20 - 60 Minutes
    • 12+ years old
    • Easy to learn

    Video reviews for Tak

    • YouTube Review for the game "Tak" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  25. DVONN

    All details for the board game DVONN and similar games

    Nominated for 4 awards and won 2.

    More details for DVONN
    • 2 Players
    • 30 Minutes
    • 9+ years old
    • Medium difficulty
    👍 Good price!31€ atAmazon.de
  26. Quoridor

    All details for the board game Quoridor and similar games

    Nominated for 2 awards and won 2.

    More details for Quoridor
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 15 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  27. Iberian Gauge

    All details for the board game Iberian Gauge and similar games
    • 3 - 5 Players
    • 60 - 90 Minutes
    • 12+ years old
    • Easy to learn
  28. Barony

    All details for the board game Barony and similar games
    • 2 - 4 Players
    • 45 Minutes
    • 14+ years old
    • Easy to learn

    Video reviews for Barony

    • YouTube Review for the game "Barony" by BoardGameGeek
      Video is in English
  29. Mixtour

    All details for the board game Mixtour and similar games

    Nominated for 1 award and won 1.

    More details for Mixtour
    • 2 Players
    • 45 Minutes
    • 8+ years old
    • Easy to learn
    👍 Good price!50€ atAmazon.de
  30. Ride the Rails

    All details for the board game Ride the Rails and similar games
    • 3 - 5 Players
    • 45 - 60 Minutes
    • 12+ years old
    • Easy to learn

Didn't find the game you were looking for?

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