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Cooperative board games don’t have to have great art to be good games, but in many cases it’s the art that helps to make games memorable. Also, I always know that it will be easier to talk people into playing board games when the games look good on the table.
This was not the easiest list to put together since there are so many cooperative board games with really nice art. For example, I thought for sure that Too Many Bones would show up on the list, but it ended up at number 11.
Unlike all of the other rankings on this site, these are just my picks, though I did get some input from other members of my group. Unsurprisingly, a lot of these games can also be found in our Top 40 Co-op Games.
Okay, to the list! Here are the 10 cooperative board games that I think have the best art:
10. Spirit Island
Year: 2017 | Artists: 14 artists
I like the look of the map in Spirit Island, but it’s the spirit artwork and the card art that earned the game a spot on this list. The truth is that Spirit Island would still be a good game even with average artwork, but the art that they chose to use takes it to that next level. It helps that the player boards are large so you get a good look at your unique spirit throughout each game.
Read our Spirit Island review
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9. Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time
Year: 2017 | Artists: Matthew Dunstan, Brett J. Gilbert
All of the art in Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time is nice, but it’s that board that does the job of pulling you into the theme. It’s a clear overhead view of the professor’s mansion, which gives the game great table presence and makes it very easy for players to move around the board.
Read our Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time review
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8. T.I.M.E Stories
Year: 2015 | Artists: Ben Carre, David Lecossu, Pascal Quidault
It was extremely important that the artists did a great job on T.I.M.E Stories since the game is so much about the storytelling and exploration. What’s really impressive is that the artists have had to match each scenario’s unique theme and they’ve done a fantastic job of bringing each of those time period’s to life on the cards.
Read our T.I.M.E Stories review
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7. The Big Book of Madness
Year: 2015 | Artist: Xavier Gueniffey Durin
The illustrations in The Big Book of Madness are top-notch and really do make you feel like this magical book has some fantastical monsters coming out of it. Xavier Gueniffey Durin, who also did excellent work on Seasons, made unique art for all of the students, monsters, and spells in the game, and the main board itself is very attractive.
Read our The Big Book of Madness review
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6. Ghost Stories
Year: 2008 | Artist: Pierô
A lot of horror games have gruesome-looking miniatures that are meant to pull you into the games’ scary worlds, but I don’t think any of those miniatures compare to the card art found in Ghost Stories. Just about every ghost in this game is memorable because of the work that Pierô did on their cards. The village tiles are also great, giving the game a nice, cohesive look when it’s on the table.
Update: Also worth checking out is Last Bastion, which was created by the same designer and artist combo.
Read our Ghost Stories review
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5. Unicornus Knights
Year: 2016 | Artists: 15 artists
I’m not a huge fan of the anime art style, but I love the look of Unicornus Knights. The tiles and the character cards are nice and bright, and each character has a very distinctive look. The artists had to do a good job of making each character stand out since so many of them are spread out around the board during the game.
Read our Unicornus Knights review
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4. Mechs vs. Minions
Year: 2016 | Artists: Danny Beck, Tysen Henderson
Plenty of people think Mechs vs. Minions is one of the most well-produced board games ever. Every bit of artwork in the game – from the cards to the large tiles – really pops. I’ve actually gotten distracted by the art on my cards a couple of times when I was supposed to be programming my mechs. This is one of those games that most people would be happy to leave out on their tables because it looks so nice.
Read our Mechs vs. Minions review
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3. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
Year: 2011 | Artist: 62 artists
The cards in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game look amazing. It’s easy to visualize what’s going on during each adventure because every card gives you a clear look into the world. To be honest, I buy the new expansions as much for the new art as I do for the new characters and encounters that the designers create.
Read our The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game review
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2. Legends of Andor
Year: 2012 | Artists: Michaela Kienle, Michael Menzel
Michael Menzel, who also did the art for Stone Age and Pillars of the Earth, is probably my favorite board game artist. In my opinion, Legends of Andor is the cooperative game with the best board art. Seeing that beautiful map of Andor makes the adventures so much more enjoyable. Legends of Andor is one of my group’s top co-op games, and the artwork is a big reason why we like it so much.
Read our Legends of Andor review
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Year: 2015 | Artists: Igor Burlakov, Xavier Collette
Without fantastic art, Mysterium probably wouldn’t be a good game. It needed to have great artwork because players have to give and get clues based on the images on each card. You can play this game 20 times and still find new little details on those cards. The artists did such an awesome job of making these surreal images that look amazing on their own while also creating puzzles for players to solve.
Update: Mysterium Park, which is a streamlined version of Mysterium with a new theme, also has amazing artwork.
Read our Mysterium review
What cooperative board games do you think have great art?