Best Chess Alternative Board Games

board games fall into several different categories, such as guessing games, games of chance, and turn-based tile games. Some of the oldest board games are strategy-based, with chess being one of the most famous examples. Other ancient chess variations include Go and Checkers, which either use the same black and white playing area or similar strategy and planning to succeed as the winner.



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There are many modern board games that use the same game concepts as chess, whether it’s the pattern on the board or planning a series of moves in advance. Accessories can also include traditional figures, but other elements include interlocking panels, colorful tiles and creative game boards.

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seven Azul

It’s a tile game, but it’s also based on careful planning, and the winner is determined by accumulated points instead of having the best design. The game is based on a type of medieval ceramic art found in Portugal and Spain called azulejos, but this game also includes tiles outside of the conventional blue and white color scheme.

There is actually a historical reference hidden here, with the game’s goal of creating the best design for the Royal Palace of Evora at the request of King Manuel I. Each player designs their own individual tile board, with the scores counted at the end according to the patterns created and the sets completed.

6 Dead Of Winter: A Crossroads Game

Buying this game can be confusing because, like any good strategy and survival game, it has many mods and expansions to improve the replay value. This is the base game, just to clarify for those new to the franchise.

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In addition to miniatures and the game board, players also use cards to determine their supplies, companions, and next move. This is a real-time strategy game with higher stakes than simply sacrificing one piece for another. Players are responsible for an entire colony of survivors, and the choices they make could mean the safety or loss of one of them.

5 Onitama

It looks old and definitely uses a familiar vintage aesthetic, but Onitama was released in 2014. The board is simple, with the same characteristics as a classic chessboard with squares and figures, also called pawns, but the players also have the elements on their side as well as their martial powers.

Players use cards to determine their exact powers and all possible next moves. The game is won when a player succeeds in either taking his opponent’s main pawn or moving his own main pawn into his opponent’s starting square.

4 7 Wonders

A strategy game that uses building and crafting as its objective, players use decks of cards, individual game boards, and tokens to found their own nation and embark on building its special wonder. As few as three players or up to seven can play a game that combines strategy, role-playing and timing to determine the winner. Two can also play, but this requires a slightly different set of rules which are also included.

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7 Wonders combines a number of different genres, but is classified as a card development game. Players can use cards right away or store them for later, and some cards have unique situational powers that are only useful once in a while.

3 Hive

Hive is a variation of tile games that require players to build the game board as they progress. Unlike other tile games, however, the game can end without using all the tiles, and the pieces are not eliminated or canceled.

The object is to use a planned layout of patterns to trap your opponent’s queen bee in the hive, and the hexagonal tiles mimic the shape of a real hive. Two players can compete to determine who is the best Queen Bee, with one taking the white tiles and the other taking the black ones, another feature similar to chess.


2 Blockade Duo

The black and white color scheme remains the same, but instead of figurines, players move geometric shapes around the game board. Originally developed on a hexagon-shaped board designed to accommodate up to six players, this version looks more like traditional chess as it has been modified to accommodate two.

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Blockade Duo is an abstract strategy game that includes some simple but strict rules as to where and when coins can be used. A popular version of this game features pieces that snap together, so it’s also nice for a travel activity for those going to the cabin or taking a long car ride.


1 Photosynthesis

The advice for Photosynthesis seems so placid and idyllic, but it’s really a hard-fought game in the same spirit as any real-time strategy game. Even plants have to compete for resources and fight for survival, and that’s what the game is about.

Players must plan their seeding and growth carefully, but only for their own optimal cultivation times, but to frustrate and sabotage their competitors. The seasons and the movement of the sun are also factors to consider. Another version of this game was released in 2020 called Photosynthesis: under the moonlight which uses moonlight as an energy source as well as sunlight.

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