One of my favorite aspects of board gaming is the ability for a game to pull you into a theme and world that only exists on your table. To this end, art plays a huge role in bridging the gap between a game’s mechanisms and theme. While art is very subjective and reasonable people may disagree, the artists below have more than done their part to bring tabletop games alive.
Top 10 Board Game Artists
10. Catherine Hamilton
Catherine’s catalog of board game art starts and ends with Evolution and its various expansions and spin-offs. That said, Evolution is a game I was initially drawn to because of its art and continue to enjoy. Each trait card has a unique watercolor creature that helps to visualize the species you are playing.
9. Ryan Laukat
Ryan’s position on this list is unique in many respects. Not only he is the artist for the games from Red Raven–he is also the designer and publisher. Titles such as Eight Minute Empire and Above and Below often grace our tabletops. But, those additional responsibilities notwithstanding–his art speaks for itself.
8. Heiko Günther
Heiko’s work has been showcased in so many games. My favorites include Tesla vs. Edison, Peak Oil, and Glory to Rome. The Networks also includes Heiko’s work and is one of the best looking games in recent history. The art is somewhat offbeat and stylized in a way that works well.
7. Xavier Gueniffey Durin (Naiade)
Regardless of any other work, Naiade would likely find inclusion on this list based on the strength of the art in the Brazilian version of Coup alone. His most well-known art pieces probably come from Tokiado, but he has also provided art for Big Book of Madness, Seasons, Lords of Xidit, and many others.
6. Marie Cardouat
Marie Cardouat’s has worked on only a handful of games, yet has created hundred and hundreds of pieces of art for board gaming. Each of the wonderfully illustrated cards in Dixit are Marie’s work, including many of the subsequent expansions. Dixit is a game that is all about the card and the stories you can create based simply on those pieces.
5. Beth Sobel
I was first introduced to Beth’s artwork in Viticulture, one of my favorite games of all time. The art works perfectly with the laid-back working in a vineyard feel of the game. More recently she has worked on Trickster: Champions of Time, Lanterns, and the upcoming Path of Light and Shadow.
4. Fernanda Suarez
As much as I love good art in games–I normally look for mechanisms that interest me first. Fernanda’s work in Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn is an exception. The game’s art grabbed me and made me pay attention. She has also worked on Dead of Winter and Raxxon for Plaid Hat Games. Fernanda’s character art is unrivaled.
3. Ian O’Toole
Ian O’Toole is often tasked with the challenge of creating art for games from Vital Lacerda, who ranked at the top of my favorite board game designer list. This is a particular challenge because these heavy Euro-style games often require a lot of attention to the graphic design and really puts a lot of focus on making the art helpful for players trying to learn and understand the game. Ian has done this beautifully in Vital’s games that include The Gallerist and Lisboa. His other credit include Trick of the Rails, Red Scare, and the upcoming (and amazing looking) Stephenson’s Rocket.
2. Kwanchai Moriya
It seems like in the last year or two Kwanchai’s art is all over the board gaming hobby. In 2017 alone his credits include: Flipships, Isle of Monsters, Island Hopper, Kokoro, Favelas, Coaster Park and others. Not to mention Dinosaur Island, one of my favorite looking games to come out recently. Kwanchai’s art has a unique quality that you can clearly tell it’s his as soon as you see it–yet all of his games have their own slightly different feel to them.
1. Vincent Dutrait
Vincent Dutrait is one of the first board game artists that I “learned” by name. When you first enter the hobby, the names of artists isn’t necessarily one of the things you pay too much attention to. And then I played the game Discoveries: The Journals of Lewis & Clark. I was so impressed by the artwork that I dug in and learned more, eventually finding the original Lewis & Clark as well. These games stand out to me as some of the best artwork to ever be produced in board gaming.