You May Also Like: Land vs Sea
A runaway smash in 2021, Land vs Sea came out of nowhere to become one of the most popular games of the year. A puzzly tile-laying game best at 2 players, the goal in Land vs Sea is simple; lay tiles to build large areas to score the most points. Some of the greatest games have that great blend of simplicity but some additional depth that make them endlessly replayable. If you enjoyed Land vs Sea and are looking for something similar, we've put together our top 5 board games you should give a try next.
|Number of Players||1-4|
Another breakout hit from 2021, Cascadia is a drafting and tile-laying game that takes place in the Pacific Northwest. This game challenges players to create the most harmonious ecosystem by putting together habitats and placing wildlife tiles upon them.
In the game, players take turns building out their own terrain area and populating it with wildlife. Each player begins with three hexagonal habitat tiles (there are five types of habitat in the game), and on their turn choose a new habitat tile that's paired with a wildlife token, they then place that tile next to their other ones and place the wildlife token on an appropriate habitat. (Each tile shows 1-3 types of wildlife from the five types in the game, but only one tile can be placed on each habitat.) Four tiles are on display, with each tile paired at random with a wildlife token, so you must make the best of what's available — unless you have a nature token to spend so that you can pick your choice of each item.
The goal is to place tiles and habitats so that the number of points earned is maximized. Points are score in a variety of interesting ways that change each game, through random wildlife goals for each animal drawn at the beginning of the game. Maybe hawks want to be at least two spaces from other hawks, while foxes want many different animals around them and bears want to be in pairs. Can you make it work?
|Number of Players||2-4|
Ohanami is a bit of a departure compared to the other games on our list. BUT it is a great card game in its own right, that has a lot of the same elements as Land vs Sea. Also featuring beautiful artwork on the cards, with colourful images of Japanese Zen gardens filling all 120 cards used in the game.
Like Land vs Sea, Ohanami is about pattern building, but instead of laying tiles to score points, players draft cards and place them in rows based on a few guidelines. The game consists of three rounds, with scoring taking place at the end of each round, with additional bonus scoring at the end of the game.
At the start of a round, each player receives a hand of ten random cards. Players then choose two cards, and pass the remaining ones to the player on their left. All players reveal their chosen cards at the same time, then decide whether to use none, one or two of them in personal rows of cards. When starting a row, any card can be used; but to add a card to an existing row, that card must be higher than the row's highest card, or lower than the lowest one. A player can't have more than three rows of cards and any cards not used are discarded from the game.
At the end of each round players score points based on the number of cards of a specific colour in each row. After Round 1, each player receives 3 points for each blue card in their rows. After Round 2, each player scores 3 points for each blue card and 4 points for each green card. Players continue building on the same rows until the end of Round 3, where they score their blue and green cards again, as well as 7 points for each grey card in their rows. Finally, players also score extra points for any pink cherry blossom cards they have anywhere in their rows.
|Number of Players||2-8|
Tsuro has been an abstract strategy favourite since its initial release in 2005. Featuring beautiful artwork and elegant simplicity, it offers depth through its unique decisions as you try to control the movement of your token. This tile laying game has players laying tiles to extend the path their token passes through while trying to avoid travelling off the edge of the board.
This becomes increasingly difficult as the board continues to fill up with more and more tiles, as players place more tiles their paths may extend to connect with yours and cause havoc. With each game taking about 15 minutes, we find this one being played multiple times in a row when it hits the table.
|Number of Players||2|
|Publisher||Smart Zone Games|
Keeping with the tile-laying masterpiece theme, Hive is a highly addictive abstract strategy game designed for two players. Made up of twenty-two pieces (11 black and 11 white), with each piece having a different creature on it, with its own unique way of moving.
Hive is unique in a number of ways; there is no board so it can be played on any flat surface. There is also no setup to the game. The first player places a tile and the game continues from there, with the pieces played forming a pattern that becomes the playing surface as the game progresses. Pieces are never eliminated and there is no requirement that all are played before the game ends. Players are simply trying to completely surround their opponent's queen, while also trying to block their opponent from doing the same to yours.
|Number of Players||2-5|
What would a list of the top games featuring tile-laying and pattern building mechanics be without Carcassonne? There isn't much to say about this one that hasn't been said by countless board gamers over the years. Yes, it really is THAT good. Regardless of whether you enjoy Land vs Sea or not, everyone should play it at least once.
During the game, players draw and place a tile with part of a landscape on it. The tile may feature a road, a city, grassland, or combination of some or all of these. The restriction lies in that it must be played adjacent to tiles that have already been played AND connected to a feature of the same type. Roads to roads, cities to cities, you get the gist of it. Players also have the option of placing one of their meeples on a specific type of land, essentially claiming it so that once it is completed, or enclosed, they will score points.
That short description really doesn't do the game justice. With numerous expansions and countless reimplementations and licensed versions, there's a reason why this game still hits the table after more than 20 years.