The 10 Rarest Board Games, Ranked

From simple stones moving along squares etched into the earth to beautiful tabletop sets filled with 3D features, board games of all shapes and sizes have captured the imagination for centuries and beyond. of the. Even so, some games have proven to be easier to find than others.



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While a Catania set or base Poker deck can be bought easily, other games turn out to be much, much rarer. Whether due to centuries of wear and tear, a lack of copies, or fading into obscurity, these games are unlikely to find their way onto the average gamer’s gaming shelf.

ten The Daitouryou Hanafuda deck is where Nintendo got its start

Nintendo’s history began in 1859 with the lifting of a nationwide ban on playing cards in Japan. Fusajiro Yamauchi quickly took advantage of this by printing Hanafuda cards through his newly founded company. The cards were first made by hand before growing demand led the company to explore more efficient methods.

Play like a mix of Gin Rummy and mahjong, Hanafuda can seem intimidating at first, but isn’t hard to learn. Because Nintendo has never stopped printing its “Daitouryou” Hanafuda decks, the cards are still available for any player interested in learning the ropes.

9 Fireball Island is rare despite its nostalgic status

feel like a thriller Indiana Jones –stylistic adventure, fireball island is a peak of 1980s nostalgia. The game sees players compete to be the first to claim the “Firestone Gem” atop the titular island, navigating chasms and dodging fireballs along the way .

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While the original is hard to find these days – due to its size and number of parts – remakes have seen a resurgence in recent years. These remakes include those of 2018 Fireball Island: Curse of Vul-Kar and the years 2021 Fireball Island: Adventure Race – a smaller scale twist on the original formula.

8 The modern war game began with Kriegsspiel

Kriegsspiel translates directly to “war game,“a fitting name for the granddaddy of the genre. This game would not only give birth to modern wargaming, but also lay the foundation for tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons.

Originally designed as a training tool, it quickly appealed to nobility after an extravagant set was presented to King William III of Prussia. Notably, Kriegsspiel used a role called a “referee”, the equivalent of a modern GM, which handled unclear rules and any subterfuge a player might wish their army to engage in.

seven Roger Corimer’s Trafalgar replicates a navel battle with simple parts

This 1968 war game sought to emulate the Battle of Trafalgar in miniature. It included remarkably detailed rules for ship-to-ship combat, such as breaking masts, wounding crew, and firing an enemy ship’s cannons to leave it defenseless.

Unlike many more modern games, Trafalgar used a grid of points to determine how far a unit could move, all laid out on a felt mat. The units themselves were just as simple, consisting of tiles with basic stats and images printed on them with a set of stencils to determine purpose.

6 Jati is a tile-laying game that never saw the light of day

The library games by 3M was a series of board games released from 1962 to 1974, featuring a mix of classic titles and newly designed titles, all in matching boxes that looked like antique books and fit perfectly on a shelf together.

While most M3 games received a fairly large release, jati was the rare exception, canceled very late in production. A simple tile laying game, only about 100 copies of jati were known to have been printed. They were all sent as game testing tools for the future game, and few have survived to the present day.


5 Hounds And Jackals is remarkably ornate for an ancient game

Dating back at least 4000 years, dogs and jackals seems to have been a widespread game in ancient Egypt, although the exact rules have been lost to time. However, attempts have been made to reconstruct it, using other games from the era as references.

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Much care has been taken in many dogs and jackals boards found. They were usually fashioned after animals such as bulls or crocodiles and were decorated with palm motifs. The pegs themselves wore a variety of shapes, including not only dogs and jackals, but also cats, horses, etc.


4 The Royal Game of Ur is the oldest board game in the world

Named after its original discovery in the Royal Cemetery of Ur, the Royal Game of Ur dates back at least 4600 years, if not more. Popular throughout the ancient world, it has been found everywhere from the island of Crete to the tomb of Tutankhamun.

With similarities to Senetthe Royal Game of Ur often shared a painting, being presented on the opposite side of his better-known cousin. The game had simple mechanics and saw players rolling sticks instead of dice as they raced their sets of pawns to the finish line.

3 Lewis Chess is a Viking Age artifact

Discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in northwest Scotland and dating back to the 12th century, the Lewis Chessmen represent some of the earliest Chess pieces found in Europe, each carved from pieces of walrus tusk.

Although many coins have been found, they vary in size and design, implying that 78 Chess the pieces came from at least five separate sets. The overall aesthetic was also remarkable, with distinct Norse influences, including shield-biting Viking berserkers as towers.

2 Monopoly has humble origins

Although there is some controversy surrounding the part of the concept that Charles Darrow borrowed for Monopolythere is no doubt that the initial series he produced on oilcloth is now one of the rarest board games in the world, with only one copy known to have survived.

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The unusual pieces, often resembling household items or items from a dollhouse, have their origins in Atlantic City. Various trinkets were often used as game pieces in a homemade version of The owner’s gamea precursor of what is now called Monopoly.

1 Patolli honored the Aztec god of games

One of the most popular board games of ancient Mesoamerica, Patolli lasted until the time of Emperor Montezuma. Despite this, no board is known to have survived, as the rubber sap and leather construction has not held up well over the centuries.

The plates themselves may be lost over time, but many depictions of Patolli have survived in art and writing, describing a game with many similarities to pachisi Where Parcheesi. Said to be favored by the Aztec god of games Macuilxochitl, Patolli used thrown beans rather than dice to determine movement.

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