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a sucker for beautiful boards
aristides mytaras
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After recently opening up Pillars Of The Earth I was awestruck by the board illustration. Looking through the beautiful artwork and detail I realised how much I appreciate beautiful gameboards, so I set out to make a list of beautiful painted-like boards. Being large, is always a plus!

Note that I am not looking for beautiful abstract boards, like hekla or yinsh. (although I'd be tempted to add hekla, its a beautiful board). I am looking for more "detail" and a handpainted feel, possibly moving away from geometric forms.

Still, if it's beautiful and, most of all, feels special, then it probably is, and it belongs here.

So there it is, I am a sucker for beautiful boards!

feel free to add, just get a feel for the list by my submissions first!
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1. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:183]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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The inspiration behind this list, pillars has some amazing detail and craftsmanship. Some like how there are no specific shapes to hold cubes etc (market), some don't. The designer could have gone further with this and not even provide so evident placemarks for the headworkers.
It's as if you have to get familiar with an area and play on it.
In my humble opinion, the letters are a bit large (but they have to be readable, dont they) and composition-wise it seems a bit cluttered, but, still, overall one of the most beautiful boards I own.
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2. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:368]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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Another favorite board, I find this truly wonderful and a joy to play on. Clear area borders, doesnt hinder play at all. This is most likely photoshoped, not hand-painted.
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3. Board Game: Siena [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2822]
aristides mytaras
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I do not own this yet, but I understand it's a good game, and the board looks spectacular! Looking forward to seeing this up close..
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4. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:273]
aristides mytaras
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Thurn und taxis is a beauty..
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5. Board Game: Terra Nova [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1576]
aristides mytaras
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Terra Nova is played on a very nice board. Although totally abstract as a game, the board lends a different feel to it.
I am happy to say this is a picture of a game I was part of! (I think I was yellow)
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6. Board Game: Colosseum [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:309]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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Colosseum is played on a large high quality board. Although not spectacular to look at at first, there is excellent detail and the feel I enjoy, of playing on a map-like area, is definitely there.
When pieces get on there it's a busy and fun place to be!
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7. Board Game: Formula Dé [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:434]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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Formula De deserves a mention here. The boards are of amazing quality, a joy to play on.
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8. Board Game: Niagara [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:896]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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Niagara is a nice place to be, very nicely painted, with all those places to put diamonds on..
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9. Board Game: Highlanders [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:4603]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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I have not yet had a chance to play this, but I recently bought it just for the board! It is quite big and beautifully painted, with the castles scattered along the river's edge.
The playing pieces are plastic though. ouch.
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10. Board Game: Scotland Yard [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:917]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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This may look like an odd submission to this list at first, but the Scotland Yard board is very appealing. A nice place to play in, and one of the first games I bought primarily for the board.
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11. Board Game: Bonaparte at Marengo [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:777]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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This is an odd submission to this list, but it does feel very special. Have not had the chance to play yet, but I own the game and simply love the look and feel of it. It's one of those boards that draws me in, inviting me to play. If only I had a wargame-happy buddy.
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12. Board Game: Elfenland [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:629]
aristides mytaras
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I do not own this, but it looks like I would enjoy the board (and probably the game). Painted map-like feel, artwork looks very nice.
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13. Board Game: Elfenwizards [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:6292]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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This looks like a board I'd enjoy playing on (sadly I dont own the game).
Unique, nice artwork, dreamy, must find a way to get this at a reasonable price...
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14. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:163]
aristides mytaras
Greece
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Although tile-based, the board and the tiles are beautifully painted and atmospheric.
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15. Board Game: Justinian [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:4544]
 
Johan Pettersson
Sweden
Smygehamn
Skåne
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I don't know about the game, but the board i so beautiful, like an old Byzantin mosaic
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16. Board Game: Alchemist [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:1969]
Oh! Look at my wrist! Gotta go.
United States
Central Point
Oregon
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It's sad that there isn't a better shot of this board. Hint hint.
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17. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:148]
David Kahnt
United States
Laurinburg
North Carolina
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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I personally find this board very appealing and easy to look at.

-DK
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18. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:706]
Davido
United States
California
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Magic Realm is another tile-based board, that is absolutely stunning.
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19. Board Game: Taluva [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:332]
jonathanWC
Japan
Sendai
Miyagi
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Another tile based one. But I love how you get to build such a colorful islands in 3 demensions while playing. I think most of the excitement of the game for me comes from seeing what shape the "board" will take. The pieces add to the flavor.
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20. Board Game: War of the Ring (first edition) [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:40]
Tom Hancock
United States
Charleston
West Virginia
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Hard to find a good shot of the board in BGG's bloated database of WotR photos, but this is a really pretty board in my opinion.
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21. Board Game: Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:362]
skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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Cary Grant, 1904 - 1986
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If you are going to talk about beautiful boards, then you have to add Maharaja.
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22. Board Game: Pax Romana [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:1389]
skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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Although not may all agree, but I find this board just awesome.
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23. Board Game: Mexica [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:530]
Dan Rosewater
Switzerland
Zürich
Switzerland
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If you like the artwork of Tikal then Mexica should be appealing as well to you (as it's a part of a trilogy along with Java).
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24. Board Game: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:90]
Dan Rosewater
Switzerland
Zürich
Switzerland
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This game board is not the only beautiful component of the game
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25. Board Game: Divine Right [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1844]
William Wood
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I've always liked the art on this board. There are some bright colours and a lot of brown (which may make it a bit uneven-looking), but the illustration style was something I tried hard to copy when I was a kid making D&D maps and such -- especially the forests and mountains...

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