Going Analog

Where video game industry veterans introduce great board games to video gamers

6 of our favorite board game box arts

Bless your eyes with a look at these beautiful board game boxes.

Thankfully, no one has ever said you shouldn’t judge a board game by its box art. (Or at least we hope they haven’t because that’s exactly what we’re about to do.) We know that it’s the game which really matters, but a gorgeous cover can go a long way in convincing players to sit down at the table -- or at the very least turn a terrible board game into a mantlepiece attraction.

Things have come a long way since the board games of the ’90s, and quality art is now almost an expectation rather than a surprise. To that end, we’re not aiming to list every beautiful cardboard case out there. Nor will we claim that our picks are the best of the best; art is subjective, after all. But here are six of our favorites!

Wingspan

Best board game box art Wingspan
  

Who are the artists?

Natalia Rojas, Ana Maria Martinez Jaramillo, and Beth Sobel

Why we love it:

Whether you enjoy a spot of birdwatching or not, It’s hard to deny the appeal of Elizabeth Hargrave’s 2019 hit Wingspan. The beautiful hummingbird emblazoned on the front serves as a gateway to the gorgeous designs within, and a peek at each box side reveals another detailed bird to be admired.

Wingspan is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest and most informative games we’ve ever played, and the theme and art provide a far broader appeal than most board games can muster. In fact, the art of Wingspan is so beloved that you can buy more than 200 prints of its birds on Natalia Rojas’s online store. With solid gameplay to back it up, it’s no surprise that Wingspan took home the prestigious 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres award. Winner winner, chicken dinner indeed. Wait, are there chickens in Wingspan?

Barenpark

Barenpark best board game box art

Who’s the artist?

Klemens Franz

Why we love it:

Bears are an underappreciated comedy animal. Typically relegated to terrifying threats in video games and movies -- we’re looking at you, The Revenant. That poor bear just wanted a hug -- these big furry beasts spend most of their time goofily climbing trees, scavenging for berries, and awkwardly avoiding near-sighted elderly humans. What we’re trying to say is that bears are lovely, funny creatures, and thankfully Phil Walker-Harding’s Barenpark cover isn’t afraid to show their silly side.

One look at Barenpark’s front-and-center brown bear is enough to put a smile on our face. Nonchalantly resting his paw on the frame, he looks up lovingly at the park ranger beside him, probably wondering once again why that silly human included koalas in their supposedly bears-only enclosure. Sometimes you just need a good giggle when you break out a board game, and even the fanciest cover art the world can’t compete with that. 

Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945

Fire in the Sky the great Pacific War

Who’s the artist?

Nicolás Eskubi

Why we love it:

Just look at that cover. Most board game boxes attempt to draw the eye via flashy colors, grotesque monsters, or cutesy designs. Nicolás Eskubi’s box art for Fire in the Sky throws all that aside for a design that uses simplicity to create one of the most impactful covers we’ve ever seen. 

Older war games have a bit of a reputation for being fusty, dry experiences, and most assuredly brown, green, or gray when it comes to color scheme. Don’t get us wrong: Tetsuya Nakamura’s Fire in the Sky is very much a complex, heavy handed game of that era, attempting as it does to convey the struggles of the Pacific Front of World War II. But thanks to Eskubi’s box art, it’s also one that might see someone under the age of 50 pull it down from the shelf. They may not even regret it once they’ve finished learning the rules three hours later.

Parks

Parks beautiful board game box art

Who are the artists?

Fifty Nine Parks Print Series

Why we love it:

Remember when we said bears were great? We weren’t just messing around, because they’re back again for Parks’s gorgeous box. The lush greens and flowing water on the front of this compact package purvey a real sense of nature while still retaining a distinct art style. One look at Parks’s cover and you know you’re in for a visual feast inside.

The artists comprising the Fifty Nine Parks Print Series are on a mission to relay just how verdant and varied the National Parks of America are, and it’s wonderful to see their work enter the board game space in such impressive style. Parks is a game that really makes you want to get out there and explore... by sitting inside with a board game. Listen, flights to and around America are expensive, OK?

Scythe

Scythe great board game box art

Who’s the artist?

Jakub Rozalski

Why we love it:

The work of Polish illustrator and concept artist Jakub Rozalski was bouncing around the internet long before Stonemaier Games got to work on Scythe, but that doesn’t lessen just how lovely this box is to look at. 

The combination of peasants attempting to go about their day-to-day lives while cavalry and steampunk mechs wage war in the distance is immediately enticing. Scythe’s box is one which wouldn’t look out of place in an art exhibition, though considering the National Gallery still hasn’t replied to our requests, we might have to set up our own board game showcase.

The Oink Games collection

favorite board game box art oink games

Who are the artists?

Oink Games (we couldn't find an individual artist - let us know if that's you!)

Why we love it:

It’s not often we wax lyrical about publishers, but Oink Games has secured a special place in our hearts for their dedication to small box, easily transportable games. They wouldn’t be on this list for size alone, however; we’re not that obsessed with space-saving. Thankfully, they’re also lovely to look at. Each game uses a simple glossy finish in one major color, with only a few icons or embellishments. With straightforward art and a box that tiny, you know you’re in for a light, breezy treat of a game when you crack open a box.

Individually they’re nice to look at, but it’s as a unit that the Oink Games collection really stands out. The bold colors of each box mesh wonderfully when stood together, tempting you to add just one more to your stash. Like a pig greedily foraging for truffles, we want them all, regardless of quality. Speaking of which, you wouldn’t have a copy of Insider there, would you? We wouldn’t normally make a fuss, but we could do with a spot of red in our lineup.


Check out more gorgeous board game boxes, or let us know your favorite, through the Going Analog Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. You can also keep up to date with the latest gaming news and chatter by listening to the GoingAnalog podcast.