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Box Art of the Year Awards (1880-2014)
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What makes great board game box art? Theme? Color? Simplicity? Detail?

It is completely subjective and impossible to agree on what the best box art of a particular year might be. But there is no doubt that good box art is recognizable.

I am a huge fan of board game box art. It may be the mood the art conveys or the theme that you can smell oozing from the box. An average cover might become that something special just with the addition of a border or a unique font for the title. It can be hard to pinpoint what makes a game's box art work or why it may trigger a response.

Some boxes are beautiful...
Metropolys, 2008

some comical...
Rustlers, 1980

some action packed...
Air-Attack, 1943

some just plain awesome...
Game of Voyage Round the World, 1926

some way cool...
Jungle Shooting, 1920

and some chilling...
Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945, 2005

Here is my list of the best board game box art for each year since 1880. I picked out no more than five of the most notable games from each year. My choice for the best artwork of the year is listed first and displayed a bit larger. Unfortunately, not every worthy game could make my list. Some hurt more than others but I soldiered on trimming each year to no more than five games.

Obviously, a list like this is completely subjective but you will no doubt find a great representation of some superlative artwork. I have gone year by year and game by game to pick my favorite or most notable box art. Curse my compulsive completism! If anything, I hope you take the time to peruse this list. There are some great games representing not only the game itself but the era it was conceived. It is like flipping through a favorite family album or a history book. From zeppelins to tanks, Route 66 to space battles, these games are a snapshot of the world and their times. Thanks to all the wonderful artists and their great work!

It is likely that some of the games listed were newer edition's artwork and do not belong in the specified published year. Please let me know if you find anything out of place. Older games often have estimated publishing dates but I still included it with the year that BGG has it listed.

For the most part I began with the oldest games and worked my way up to present day. This allowed me to experience the evolution of the art and see games that really broke the mold in their time. What might seem "old hat" today may have gotten my attention by "breaking the mold". Unfortunately, this is a two-way street and some truly great art that had been done many times before may have lost out to another game that went somewhere new. There were also times when two games would have similar themes in the same year and I may have only chose what I thought was the better of the two. I wasn't usually conscious of these decisions but looking back I know that it occurred. I also discovered I was partial to zeppelins that I was not aware of. Just some thoughts to let you see where I was coming from.

I welcome any responses for games that I may have overlooked or those you don't agree with. Who knows, maybe I'll have to edit my list.

I hope you enjoy these 'Gems of Art'.
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101. Board Game: Eisenbahn-Spiel [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1915


Publisher: Hertig & Cie

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102. Board Game: Jack & Jane In An Aeroplane [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1914


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Spear's Games
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103. Board Game: Honey Bee [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1913


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Milton Bradley

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104. Board Game: A Voyage Through the Clouds [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1912


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Spear's Games

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105. Board Game: War Tactics or Can Britain Be Invaded? [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1911


Designer: Arthur Renals
Publisher: Lowe & Carr


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106. Board Game: Reise durch die Schweiz [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1910


Artist: Emil Heinsdorff
Publisher: Jos. Scholz



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107. Board Game: Boy Scouts [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1909


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: National Games, Inc.


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108. Board Game: Game of Four and Twenty Black Birds [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1908


Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers


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109. Board Game: The Piggeries [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1907


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Spear's Games
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110. Board Game: Quien Sabé [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1906


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Parker Brothers
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111. Board Game: Life Savers Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1905


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Milton Bradley



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112. Board Game: A Motor Tour [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1904


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Spear's Games

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113. Board Game: The Tailless Donkey [Average Rating:3.92 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1903


Designer: (Uncredited)
Artist: Molly Blake
Publisher: (Unknown)

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114. Board Game: What's His Name? [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1902


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Parker Brothers


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115. Board Game: Hand of Fate Fortune Telling Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1901


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

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116. Board Game: The Greasy Pole [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1900


Designer: (Uncredited)
Artist: (Uncredited)
Publisher: (Unknown)




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117. Board Game: Salta [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1899


Designer: Konrad Büttgenbach
Publisher: Spear's Games




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118. Board Game: The Young Athlete [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1898


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Chaffee & Selchow




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119. Board Game: Game of Trip Round the World [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1897


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers




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120. Board Game: Yale-Princeton Football Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1896


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers






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121. Board Game: The Game of Bombardment [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1895


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers, Milton Bradley





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122. Board Game: Lost in the Woods [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1894


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers


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123. Board Game: The New Pilgrim's Progress [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1893


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

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124. Board Game: The Game of Rival Doctors [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1892


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

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125. Board Game: Hunt the Hare [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Box Art of the Year - 1891


Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers




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