Top 10 Elegant Games

  • Added:  21 day ago
  • A video listing Rahdo's top 10 elegant games. Spoilers below...
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    10. Adventure Land
    09. Capital
    08. Subdivision
    07. Concordia
    06. San Juan
    05. Isle of Skye
    04. Palaces of Carrara
    03. Forbidden Desert
    02. Railways of the World
    01. Dominion
  • Video CategoriesGaming
  • Runtime: 29:34
  • Tags for this video:  boardgames  review  

Comments: 106

  • rantsky
    rantsky 3 days ago

    I would add Patchworks - such a simple and beautiful game. And you actually make a quilt, doesn't get much more elegant than that! :P

    • Ozzy
      Ozzy 1 day ago

      rantsky I totally agree. Imo, one of Rosenberg's finest achievements to date.


  • Raphaelus13
    Raphaelus13 6 days ago

    Agree with San Juan and Concordia. I'd add Hanabi. I'll give Capital a second look.

  • Matt Tinnell
    Matt Tinnell 7 days ago

    Hey Richard I just want to express to you how much I enjoy your videos and how you have impacted me. Board gaming has brought my family and I so close and you have had an influence on that. I am very thankful for that. Thank you. (Btw Adventureland is an EXCELLENT game)

  • Edoardo Daneo
    Edoardo Daneo 7 days ago

    I find Puerto Rico one of the most elegant game ever produced

  • Matias Montes
    Matias Montes 16 days ago

    Great list. For discussions sake only, I think Dixit deserves a place in this list. Other party games might as well, like Codenames, but, like most games involving words, it has some rough edges regarding the validity of some clues. Dixit has no such issue.

  • Petteri Heino
    Petteri Heino 16 days ago

    Only Mac Gerdts games i have in my collection are Imperial and Imperial 2030. I have been thinking of Concordia. I have played it a few times and i rate it highly, but.. i think it's a bit dry.

    • Petteri Heino
      Petteri Heino 1 day ago

      I like the card mechanics in Concordia. The same kind of mechanic have been used now in the game called Assault Of The Giants, i have it but i havent been playing it yet.


    • Ozzy
      Ozzy 1 day ago

      Petteri Heino Dry doesn't even begin to describe it. I played it once and thought it was an absolute borefest.


  • 王欢
    王欢 17 days ago

    What about Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective? :)

    • rahdo
      rahdo 17 days ago

      hmm, i'm hesitant to call that an actual game. i would never want to play it competitively...


  • Nik Holliday
    Nik Holliday 17 days ago

    My No.1 would be Ra.
    A player`s turn consists just two choices*: Pick a random tile out of a bag, or call an auction. That`s it. Within that simple framework though there are so many nerve-racking micro decisions to be made that make Ra one of the most tense and yes, elegant games out there.
    * Technically there`s a third choice, but it`s a relatively rare one.

    • Ozzy
      Ozzy 1 day ago

      Nik Holliday Ra is one of the greatest games ever made. And yes, elegance at it's very best.


  • Daniel Meisner
    Daniel Meisner 18 days ago

    the second you said dominion, I hit subscribe

  • GentlemenBastex
    GentlemenBastex 18 days ago

    Your videos are very very quiet

  • Peter Ratcliffe
    Peter Ratcliffe 18 days ago

    Richard -- no "Opulent" on the list?? The very name of it means "elegance!" Plus as I recall, you were referring it as such in your review, a great review which, by the way, led me to buy the game! Otherwise, great list!

  • Yodelgames
    Yodelgames 19 days ago

    Cool video. I am glad that Dominion is on the list - love that game

  • Sushmeit Madhavan
    Sushmeit Madhavan 19 days ago

    Most of Burgundy is about as elegant as Dominion is, really. It's just the science that adds complexity.

  • Kosteri x
    Kosteri x 19 days ago

    carrara and forbidden desert are the only ones I know. Never grokked dominion.

  • BrainchildDnB
    BrainchildDnB 19 days ago

    In Palaces Of Carrara, rotating the market wheel is not optional. If you take the 'buy' action, you must rotate the wheel clockwise by one section.

    • BrainchildDnB
      BrainchildDnB 19 days ago

      I stand corrected!


    • rahdo
      rahdo 19 days ago

      in the introductory rules, that's true, but full rules make it optional :)


  • Chad Jacobson
    Chad Jacobson 19 days ago

    This is a great list. I was going to make one of my own, but you have ruined it for me. 😉 Most of these would be in mine. Castles if Burgundy is the only glaring hole I can see. Thanks. This list was one of my favorites. I think I define Elegance for myself as a high ratio of decisions to rules overhead.

  • princeneumator
    princeneumator 20 days ago

    That empty space above The Cave is really distracting haha

  • Ilona klo
    Ilona klo 20 days ago

    As far as I know you have to move the wheel in Carrara, don't have the game anymore and can't find the rules online, but I really think it was mendetory if you choose to buy stuff. You don't turn the wheel when you choose to do something else than buy stuff.

    • rahdo
      rahdo 20 days ago

      the basic rules require you turn the wheel. the advanced rules make it optional.


  • Pavel Dundr
    Pavel Dundr 20 days ago

    For me the definiton of elegance in design is Terra Mystica - everythinbg is interconnected and have it's meaningful pros and cons (most or the time multiple), and while there is a lot going on it's pretty simple to learn yet provides deep gameplay with much meaningful options.

  • Chris Hayashida
    Chris Hayashida 20 days ago

    I know that Rahdo doesn't like abstract games, but Go is still the game that I think is the most elegant.

    • dmcd7619
      dmcd7619 20 days ago

      I agree. Go is the quintessential elegant game in my mind. But is it nearly as much fun as a lot of other games? Not IMO. And as Rahdo noted, ranking the most elegant games ever would be a daunting, if not impossible, task. Ranking one's favourite elegant games is much easier.


  • Harley Grattan
    Harley Grattan 20 days ago

    Hi Richard, I was sure to see Stefan Feld games in your top 10. I do agree with Concordia but maybe a bit higher but Dominion I just hate.

  • Arnold Kopping
    Arnold Kopping 20 days ago

    I always mention Quantum to have besutifully designed mechanics. Dont know if that translates to elegance. Otherwise Evolution gets high on elegance for me. A game where mechanics are sprung from the theme, "simple" rules and components and very tactical.

  • Games Off The Shelf
    Games Off The Shelf 20 days ago

    nice list, thanks for sharing with us

  • Aaron Dovauo
    Aaron Dovauo 20 days ago

    Nice list, a couple I hadn't seen before. Looks like more Runthroughs to watch!

  • Daniel Nilsson
    Daniel Nilsson 20 days ago

    Agree on Concordia - your action each turn = play one card. That's it! Also I don't care what anyone says, the card actions and their title are clearly thematically linked.

  • xyst
    xyst 20 days ago

    Time Stories? Elegant on several different levels (art, game-play, storytelling), also surprised SR:C wasn't on the list .

    • xyst
      xyst 19 days ago

      Fair enough


    • rahdo
      rahdo 20 days ago

      TS has too many special case rules for each campaign, and too often poor or incomplete translations leaves players guessing at how things are supposed to work.


  • Alexander Moore
    Alexander Moore 20 days ago

    Only game I expected, but was absent, was Castles of Burgundy. Because I believe you've described that as your favorite Feld, based on its elegance.

    • rahdo
      rahdo 20 days ago

      yup, one of the most elegant feld games, but not as elegant as any of these


  • TJ Tubular
    TJ Tubular 20 days ago

    So games with 1 or 2 choices each turn?

  • K Wilky
    K Wilky 20 days ago

    I would add Ulm to this very elegant, smooth playing game.

  • Alex Ngui
    Alex Ngui 20 days ago

    San Juan has a second edition. any difference between the two? Which edition do you own?

    • Ramonosuke
      Ramonosuke 20 days ago

      Second edition adds the expansion buildings, which I believe is 39 or so more cards


  • Mentat1231
    Mentat1231 20 days ago

    I was definitely expecting Castles of Burgundy.... But this was a great list, and piqued my interest for a few new game possibilities.

  • Kevin Fairbrother
    Kevin Fairbrother 20 days ago

    Interesting list. I've often wondered why Dominion isn't ABCD, - as the last thing we do is Draw a new hand of cards.

    • rahdo
      rahdo 20 days ago

      good point!


  • Chris Peach
    Chris Peach 20 days ago

    Richard, look back about 3 years ago and I had little appreciation for your work but as I watch more and more sir, my respect grows, as does my appreciation for your craft. These videos are some of my favorites because you are sooo different than most reviewers taste and style wise.

  • David Kuling
    David Kuling 20 days ago

    No Roll for the Galaxy?

    • Chris Hayashida
      Chris Hayashida 20 days ago

      I guess when I think of elegance, I think of simplicity, but with hidden depth. Like Go. I think Concordia fits, too.

      Roll doesn't fit that description (for me) because the dice placement and associated rules are just a tad fiddly - especially with the powers and the "dictate" rules. They definitely cleaned up the production and consumption phases from Race, though.


    • dmcd7619
      dmcd7619 20 days ago

      He did select San Juan. And yeah, it might be the simplest of the phase games, but I wouldn't say it's the most ingenious. Conversely, Roll is certainly not the simplest, nor is it probably the most ingenious, but I think it is fair to say Roll is the most elegant. Rahdo also ranks Roll #13 and SJ #47.


    • Chris Hayashida
      Chris Hayashida 20 days ago

      I think it's a great game, but I'm not sure that any of the * for the Galaxy games could be called elegant. There's too much of a learning curve...

      I think the military rules, the production phase, and consumption phase timing all take away from the "elegance" of Race. Roll might be a little more elegant, but I'm not sure how "elegant" dice placement is to me. Definitely streamlined from Race, though.


  • undersci
    undersci 20 days ago

    Surprised there are no Feld games on the list! I thought Notre Dame or Castles of Burgundy were real contenders, the former for its simple, limited choice of actions resulting in spiraling consequences, the latter for all the complexities which come out of the simple action of using a die to take a tile, or using a die to place a tile. Still loved your list!

  • Spudkitty513
    Spudkitty513 20 days ago

    This is a really good list ... I don't think I've ever viewed a Top 10 where I agree with every game on the list. Nice job putting this together!

  • DAVID BULLITEL
    DAVID BULLITEL 20 days ago

    The city of warsaw? Is it a game?

    • rahdo
      rahdo 20 days ago

      yes, called capital. i showed the box :)


  • Dave Dogge
    Dave Dogge 20 days ago

    Talisman didn't make the list I see.

  • MrTravolta7
    MrTravolta7 20 days ago

    What!!! No Castles of Burgundy...
    You said on CoB final thoughts: "so smooth and elegant" ;)

    • Marrow Crispy
      Marrow Crispy 12 days ago

      I've recently got it, and I fully agree. To have first game go, we just ignored science at all. And the next day, we didn't play it just because set up is killing.


    • Atlas Films
      Atlas Films 20 days ago

      MrTravolta7 CoB is fairly elegant but I think the science buildings and set up take it out of the top ten.


  • Wess Foreman
    Wess Foreman 20 days ago

    Kingdom Builders and Oh My Goods! and Morels would be on my list. Maybe Onirim too, but that's a lot of shuffling.

    • Brahm Thexton
      Brahm Thexton 20 days ago

      Wess Foreman If shuffling were an issue, I don't think Dominion would be number 1 :p


  • Ian Montagne
    Ian Montagne 21 day ago

    Surprised to see railways of the world so high on the list, as it's a three player game. Thought you only went for 2+ player games. Great video once again!

    • rahdo
      rahdo 20 days ago

      RotW mexico and europe maps are fantastic 2p experiences


  • Arthur Reilly
    Arthur Reilly 21 day ago

    With "Forbidden Desert', when you check BGG there's an endless list of questions with the rules of this game. I think that makes this game neither simple or elegant. Love your videos.

    • Arthur Reilly
      Arthur Reilly 20 days ago

      I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks


    • dmcd7619
      dmcd7619 20 days ago

      Hah! And I thought maybe it was just me who found FD confusing, but you're right, there are a lot of rules questions on BGG for it. Pandemic also has a lot of questions on BGG for it as do probably most popular games though. I wasn't too surprised when Rahdo explained why not Pandemic, but I did grok it faster than I did FD. I think in the end Rahdo might have been focusing more on the interesting (ingenious?) way that the sand moves in FD. Other than the sand movement, FD is a dud in my books.


    • starlinguk
      starlinguk 20 days ago

      I dunno, I managed to play it with my father in law, and he's got Alzheimer's...


  • Tom Landy
    Tom Landy 21 day ago

    No Tokaido?

    • Kris Vos
      Kris Vos 17 days ago

      Watch marcowargamer's recent review, he explains very well how Tokaido is a lot deeper than it appears.


    • Daniel Nilsson
      Daniel Nilsson 19 days ago

      I love Tokaido for a nice zen experience though there's not much 'game' to it. I don't love it at 2p though really.


    • rahdo
      rahdo 20 days ago

      did not care for it


  • Shlomi Ben-Naim
    Shlomi Ben-Naim 21 day ago

    You and Tom Vasel love Dominion. you should have a match! one on one.

    • Truth Expose
      Truth Expose 20 days ago

      Shlomi Ben-Naim that would be cool to watch. possible rahdo? online vs?


  • Dave Koehnlein
    Dave Koehnlein 21 day ago

    Great list Rahdo! I'm so sad Palaces of Carrara isn't more readily available...I've wanted to play it for years now 😢😢😢😢

  • Andrei Nedeianu
    Andrei Nedeianu 21 day ago

    Most Kramer & Kiesling games would qualify for elegance.
    Surprised not to see Kashgar and Gold West, which alongside Concordia are some of the most elegant games I've played.
    Targi, Theseus and Samurai (or another Knizia top game) would be shoutouts for a top 20.

  • Martín Francia
    Martín Francia 21 day ago

    Where is Eclipse?

    • rahdo
      rahdo 20 days ago

      on jamfeo12's shelf


    • jamfeo12
      jamfeo12 20 days ago

      On my shelf.


  • Dimitrije Mirkovic
    Dimitrije Mirkovic 21 day ago

    Hey rahdo, or anyone else reading this comment, can you suggest me some board games for me and my gf. The game needs to be somewhat decent difficulty, she is not great with english, and I need to explain her the rules but not overflooding her with informations that it ends up she just refuse to play it. Im ordering Alchemists and it's expansion, but looking forward to buy us more games.

    • Que Parker
      Que Parker 19 days ago

      Jaipur, Carcassonne,
      Ticket To Ride USA, and depending where your girlfriend is from, they may have a map of her country that she can relate to.


    • Chris Hayashida
      Chris Hayashida 20 days ago

      I think Hanabi might be a simple, but a good co-op game.

      Splendor might be a good vs. game (and as a bonus, it plays well with up to 4, too).

      A side note: It might help to "underexplain" the games. Get her playing, and leave out a lot of the obscure rules to some of the games. It's okay if you get the rules wrong... you can get it right the next time.


    • CJ Scoots
      CJ Scoots 20 days ago

      Targi, Patchwork, and "..And then we held hands" are all pretty good 2 players games without too many complex rules.


    • Eric Cederberg
      Eric Cederberg 20 days ago

      Usually I would recommend coop games, but most of the good ones I know (other than Pandemic) are a bit complex to teach, especially if there is language issues. So I'll recommend The Voyages of Marco Polo. It is very deep and has amazing replayability but is not bogged down with complex rules. Mostly uses clear symbols that anyone can understand.


    • littleratblue
      littleratblue 21 day ago

      Metropolys, Hanamikoji, Isle of Trains, Junk Art, Mint Works


  • Paul Martin Cordero

    Hi Richard, may the force be with you.

  • Mikkel Örstedholm
    Mikkel Örstedholm 21 day ago

    Concordia - 3 expansions?

    1. Salsa
    2. ?
    3. ?

    • Dave Koehnlein
      Dave Koehnlein 21 day ago

      Mikkel Örstedholm 2. Britannia and germania 3. Gallia and Corsica...both of them are just double sided maps...but worth getting! 😃


  • pishva
    pishva 21 day ago

    oh, no Tash-Kalar?

  • Eirik Farmen
    Eirik Farmen 21 day ago

    cool subject

  • JimCroz
    JimCroz 21 day ago

    Every time you mention how heavy the box is, I always think "Why doesn't he just pick up the lid?"

  • J Young
    J Young 21 day ago

    For those fairly new to board games, this is a really good top 10 list. Can't go wrong with any of these. Such a good mix of both designers and game mechanics.
    The only game I could think of that I was kinda surprised didn't make it (based on your run through) was Carcassonne: The Castle...maybe top 20 or so?

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