Whether you’re a hobbyist or creative obsessive, it’s fun to bring your creative energy to the tabletop.
But sometimes it’s easy to feel that your options are limited.
While many games encourage imaginative play, it’s hard to find a choice that lets players fully express their artistic side – whether it’s writing, acting, or collaborating together.
So, here are eight of our favourite games that are perfect for creative geniuses. Starting with-
8. Telestrations (2009)
Draw it out!
A game so perfect you don’t even have to buy it, Telestrations is as perfect for entertaining a roomful of kids as it is bringing a room of drunk adults to tears of laughter. Also known on BGG as Eat Poop You Cat, this game is played by writing a one line sentence on a piece of paper and passing it to your partner on the left. They then illustrate the phrase and pass the paper on, folding the description to hide it from view. The individual then writes their own description and the cycle repeats. A game that’s playable by anyone and skill agnostic (awful pictures are often better than skilled ones), this is the perfect choice to challenge and entertain the artists in your group.
7. Monikers (2015)
A party classic
Another party classic, Monikers takes miming and transforms it into an art form. Played with a selection of famous individuals, players grab a handful of cards from the deck and play across multiple rounds – with the team who gets the most correct guesses winning. Sounds like charades, right? Wrong. Each round uses the same cards but slowly restricts what you are able to do, resulting in you stretching your descriptive powers to their absolute limit. This starts with players being able to describe their card however they want without mentioning their name. Then you’re limited to one word, then gestures, their head alone, and finally hand puppets behind your sofa. An absolute joy that – like Telestrations – you can build in your own home.
6. Microscope RPG
The power of creation is in your hands
A combination of an indie RPG and a homework session. Microscope is a tremendous creative RPG that askes players to create the timeline of a civilization they create from scratch. Starting with the creation of existence and fast-forward to the destruction of the universe – your group fills in all the gaps inbetween. This can involve looking at specific decades, setting out things you want to focus on or ignore, and specific moments, individuals, or pieces of art. This weaves the world together into a beautiful tapestry. While having an enforced time limit on play may be necessary for inexperienced or…’chatty’ groups, it’s a perfect pick for the creative players at your table
5. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG
Make your own story in a galaxy far, far away
Capturing the best bits of the Star Wars universe (space scoundrels, and lots of ‘em), Fantasy Flight’s EoE lets players make a fantastic foray into the Star Wars universe and tell your own story in the game’s rich world. This lets your friends’ imagination run wild as they dream up smugglers, bounty hunters, and more as they travel from system to system and eventually end up crafting their own homebrew stories and missions. And what’s more, it’s totally free. Well…for an introductory game or two anyway. So you’ve no excuse to sign your gaming table up for the rebellion the next time you sit down to play!
4. Gaslands: Refuelled (2019)
A lovely day to play games
Oh, what a lovely day. An exceptional wargaming toolset, the latest revision of the Gaslands rules was released in 2019 and the game has continued to move from strength-to-strength ever since. Play involves taking part in (semi-obligatory) Post-Apocalyptic-Death-Races alongside other destruction derby modes, players grind, skid, and slam their way to victory with car-mounted weapons and an eye to constant upgrades. But the real draw for the game – the pieces themselves. No miniatures have been released and players are instead encouraged to purchase and model hot wheels cars to create their own chariot of destruction. And nothing makes players more invested than ventilating an opponent with a childhood toy you’ve pulled from the attic, spray-painted, decaled, and turned into an absolute beast.
3. Treasure Island (2018)
Can you find the treasure first?
A game that combines gorgeous art and doodling on the board. Sign us up! Released in 2018, this delight from Matagot combines deception, trickery, and swashbuckling as you try to unearth Long John Silver’s treasure from somewhere on the map. Initially marked as an x behind the payer screen, the rest of the group is given clues about where the treasure is not located. Before long, your group is drawing and scribbling on the map to figure out where the booty is buried. And if you don’t find it in time, the infamous pirate is set loose on the island to exhume his chest. A tactile delight for the senses, this game rewards creative thinkers and scribblers in your group. And while the addition of the Muppets Treasure Island soundtrack is not essential…it is highly advised.
2. Pictionary (1985)
A doodling classic
Now we’re talking. While Pictionary may be a classic with groups for a reason, our hero Vlaada Chvátil’s Pictomania more than pips it to the post. Designed to be played at blistering speed, points come from being able to guess your rival’s doodles – formalized by sliding your one guess token for the round toward them. With quick guesses incentivized by points, this becomes a rapid-fire delight as your group frenziedly tries to second guess their rivals’ doodles. A high-octane delight, this belongs on every player’s shelf no matter their artistic ability.
1. Literally Anything with Pieces
The choice is yours
“Darling, our copy of Gloomhaven has arrived” “Fantastic! I’ll just set up the paints”. One of the quiet joys of being a creative board gamer is the opportunity you get to personalize your games. And whether it’s a miniatures heavy wargame, a strategic masterpiece, or everything in-between – painting your minis is mindful, therapeutic, and a surprisingly fun group activity. This lets your pals invest in a game before a session, immortalize their pieces, or just help you with undercoating an army over a bottle of red. In fact, we may be thinking about breaking the miniatures and single-hair brushes now we’re done writing.
What board games bring out your group’s artistic side? Tell us in the comments!