10 Strategic Board Games Like Chess – Have You Seen These Alternatives?

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If you love strategy games and are looking for board games like chess that you can play, then you've come to the right place. We've selected 10 alternative options that are engaging, fun to play and difficult to master...

Let’s check them out – here’s a quick list of our favorites and where to find them

ImageProductWhere to Buy
Yellow Mountain Imports Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) Magnetic Travel Set (9.5 Inches)Xiangqi

  • Two sets of pieces in black and red
  • Magnetic travel board
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    Yellow Mountain Imports Shogi Japanese Chess Game Set - Wooden Board with Drawers and Traditional Koma Playing PiecesShogi

  • Two opponents try to take the other player’s pieces
  • Beautiful hand-painted pieces
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    Thai ChessThai (Makruk) - Black & White - THE Traditional Game of ThaiMakruk

  • Very similar to chess, otherwise known as Thai Chess
  • Easy for new players to play
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    Cathedral Wood Strategy Tabletop Board Game ClassicCathedral

  • Two players battle to build castles
  • Players build their own castles while preventing others from claiming their territory
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    Courtyard a Medieval Game of ChallengeCourtyard

  • 2 players in medieval period fight for more land
  • Each piece has its own ability and personality
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    Xiangqi

    Yellow Mountain Imports Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) Magnetic Travel Set (9.5 Inches)

    • Contains two sets of pieces in black and red so that players can easily distinguish between their pieces and the ones that their opponents are using

    • Magnetic travel board allows players to take this game with them on the go without worrying about accidentally losing pieces on the way

    • Two players compete against each other to try to take the other person’s pieces, while still protecting their own.

    • By taking turns, players try to attack, while at the same time, they defend their own pieces.

    • Players have to be able to come up with a strategy that they will use against the opponent, but because each move will change the board, they also need to be willing and able to make adjustments and changes to their plans as the game progresses.

    • New players will benefit from the comparison to Chess, as this will make it much easier for them to understand the pieces and how they interact with each other.


    Shogi

    Yellow Mountain Imports Shogi Japanese Chess Game Set - Wooden Board with Drawers and Traditional Koma Playing Pieces

    • Includes full English instructions for players who are not familiar with the game and its mechanics.

    • Two players are opponents and try to take the other player’s pieces through a series of moves and at the same time try to keep themselves from being attacked and killed.

    • All of the pieces are hand painted, which adds a lot of beauty to the set and makes it a little different from any other sets that you can buy in a store.

    • Great strategy game for anyone who loves trying to analyze the moves that another player will make and is willing to try to stop them by sacrificing their own pieces or moving them to threaten the pieces that the other player has.

    • Comes with all of the parts that are needed to get started.

    • There aren’t any mechanical or electronic components to this game, which makes it ideal for a lazy game night where players want to stay quiet.


    Chaturanga

    • This Chess-like game is made for 4 players who are all going to compete against each other on a square board.

    • Players can decide to try to win as an individual, or they can team up with a partner in order to try to defeat the other two opponents.

    • Many of the pieces move in the same way as orthodox chess, which makes this game fairly easy for most players to begin playing, especially if they have experience with playing chess in the past.

    • Even though the basic rules are very straightforward, there are some advanced rules that are much more difficult to understand, so learning to play with someone who already plays Chaturanga is a good idea.

    • The game can be played with or without dice, depending on the style of game that players want to enjoy.

    • It is also possible or players to gamble on the game, if they want to add another element to the overall gameplay.


    Makruk

     

    Thai ChessThai (Makruk) - Black & White - THE Traditional Game of Thai

     

    • Considered to be very similar to modern Chess, is also called “Thai Chess.”

    • This similarity makes it generally very easy for new players to understand how to play the game, although Makruk does tend to require a lot more strategy in order for players to be able to win the game.

    • This game is often compared to the endgame of Chess, and it can be very stressful and requires a lot of thinking on both parts.

    • All pieces have their set moves that they are able to make, and players take turns moving their pieces in an effort to defeat their opponent.

    • There are a number of different alternative rules that can be used during any game, which will help to speed up the game or make it more enjoyable for certain players.

    • When the pawns are gone, players have to complete the game in a set number of moves, which will change depending on what pieces are still on the board.


    Cathedral

    Cathedral Wood Strategy Tabletop Board Game Classic

    • Two players battle against each other as they attempt to build castles on top of the board.

    • Players need to know not only how to build their own castles but also how to prevent their opponent from being able to claim territory on the board, as this will get them closer to winning the game.

    • Ideal for players who are 8+, as the rules are very straightforward and relatively easy to understand.

    • Includes the board, 28 wooden buildings, and 1 cathedral.

    • Opponents need to have a strategy in mind in order to stop the other player from being able to build, but they also need to be able to adjust their plan quickly as the game progresses and changes to the board are made.

    • If players are able to surround an opponent’s building then they can remove it from the board, freeing up space for different buildings to be played.


    Hnefatafl

    • This game of strategy features two teams that are unequal.

    • The attacking team tries to capture the king, while the defending team has the goal of helping the king to escape.

    • The attacker has 2 times as many players, but the defender is the player who has the better advantage during the game.

    • Players take turns when moving their pieces, and they can move just one per turn, as far as they want, as long as it is in one direction and doesn’t jump over other pieces in the way.

    • Capturing pieces involves placing two pieces around the opponent’s piece, in a sandwich, which will cause the piece to be removed from the game.

    • Beads are used to record how many turns have been taken.

    • Once the king has been captured, the board resets, and players switch teams, with the attacker trying to escape in fewer turns.


    Courtyard

    Courtyard a Medieval Game of Challenge

    • 2 players are set in a medieval period where they have to fight each other for more land to improve and increase the amount of property that they own.

    • Each piece has its own personality and ability and is involved in a certain power structure, which means that players need to understand how their pieces move and the ways to best use them to their advantage.

    • Kings have to reach the safety of the courtyard in order to win.

    • While the moves are very simple and the gameboard looks a lot like Chess, this game is very challenging and requires strategic moves in order for a player to be able to win.

    • Courtyard is placed right in the middle of the game so that both players have equal opportunity to reach it during the game.

    • Even beginning players can tend to be very competitive with this game once they have a firm understanding of the rules and are able to come up with their own strategy to win.


    Tile Chess

    • Unlike the traditional game, this version can be played with up to 4 players so that everyone can join in on the fun.

    • Since most people already know the standard moves that each Chess piece is able to make, this game is quick and easy for players to pick up.

    • The games usually last between 1 and 2 hours, and setup is very fast and easy, so players can start enjoying the game right away.

    • Payers take turns in moving and placing their tiles on the table, and since there isn’t a board, the game can sprawl.

    • While some strategy games take a long time for each player to decide their move, it’s much easier to see the moves that you want to make with this game, which prevents a lot of downtime while other players are placing their tiles.


    Arimaa

    Z-Man Games Arimaa

    • 2 players try to get their rabbit pieces across the board to the other side without being stopped by their opponent’s larger pieces, such as camels and rabbits.

    • While this game is simple enough for young children to learn, it requires a lot of strategy and planning ahead, making it ideal for adults to play, as well.

    • There are millions of possible games that can be started, depending on the opening moves that both players make.

    • Players have to take their turn, which is great for teaching patience in younger children, and players also need to be able to plan ahead a few moves so that they are prepared when their turn comes.

    • Both offense and defense are important if players want to be able to defeat their opponent.


    Hive

    • Often compared to Chess, Hive involves players putting tiles down on the table to try to attack their opponent.

    • The insect tile pieces create a board that is ever-changing and can make it difficult to try to capture the opponent’s queen tile.

    • While this strategy game features fast-paced play, players need to be able to plan ahead if they are going to successfully protect their own queen while at the same time being able to threaten their opponent.

    • There are no dice or cards used in this game, so players need to understand how each tile works and what will happen once they play it.

    • Made for just 2 players, this game is easy to play in a short period of time, and since the board is always changing as more tiles are played, there is very little chance of repeating the same game twice.

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