The nights are drawing in, the days are cooling down; it’s the perfect time of year to snuggle up with a blanket, a warm drink and a cosy board game.
Best cosy games
- Three Sisters
- Creature Comforts
- Azul: Master Chocolatier
- Critter Kitchen
Whether your idea of a relaxing afternoon is getting lost in a wholesome world, tackling friends in a cute game or general comforting vibes, we’ve put together a list of the best cosy board games to play tucked up on a cold afternoon.
Whether they have relaxing gameplay, comforting art or a perfect theme for the festive season and beyond, these are the cosiest board games to play right now.
1. Three Sisters
Roll dice, grow veggies and build a garden
When it comes to the most cosy mechanic in board games, roll-and-writes would definitely be up there. Three Sisters is one of our absolute favourites for this time of year.
The game is all about growing the very best garden to score the most victory points and win. Each round you roll dice and assign them to actions then take turns using the numbers to perform actions in your garden. But there is so much more than just rolling dice and growing vegetables. You are an industrious gardener, planting veg, tending an orchard, visiting farmers markets, keeping bees, growing flowers, stocking a shed full of tools and tricks, all to make your garden the very best it can be.
You can even play the game solo too, which is always a nice addition to have in your collection. There’s a lot here to get stuck into here; if you’ve been craving a roll-and-write with some good complexity and a relaxing theme of pottering around your garden, plant Three Sisters on your table next game night.
Help adorable dragons work hard with magic
When it comes to cosy board games, Flamecraft may be the crowning entry. It’s set in a wholesome world where dragons help people by roasting bread, brewing coffees, tending forges and all sorts of helpful little tasks. Your job is to help these tiny beasts do their very best work and make sure you do it better than anyone else. You collect dragons and place them in shops to build up pools of resources and perform enchantments to enhance their work - all in the hopes of collecting the most victory points and winning the game.
Flamecraft was voted the Best Board Game of 2022 at our Tabletop Awards - and for good reason. The game is absolutely adorable and genuinely really fun. Both the fancy dragons that help you score points and the available shops can change from game to game, so there’s good variation each time you play. There’s not much intense interaction between rounds, you’re just slowly working your way towards victory points so it’s a nice chill option for an afternoon.
Plus, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the art. Every single card has a unique dragon on it. We could spend an entire article just going through all the components in this box really, so you best believe it’s the first option we put on the table when anyone asks us for a cosy games afternoon.
Surprising strategy in a cute box
What’s more cosy than cats tucked up in bed? Nothing. So obviously the adorable strategy game Boop had to make an appearance on this list.
It’s basically like an expanded version of tic-tac-toe or noughts-and-crosses. The aim of the game is to get three of your cats in a line to win. However, they start as tiny kittens and can only grow into the older felines after you get the babies in a row. To stop the other player, you’ll not only be placing your cats to intercept them but, as you do, you’ll boop the other cats away. However, that also includes your own kittens, so you need to think a few steps ahead to line up your cats and find the perfect spot on the bed to win.
While straining your brain with complex plays might not feel cosy for everyone, Boop is worth reaching for when you’re looking to chill out with a partner or friend on a cold afternoon. With a soft little mat as the board, that you could just lie your head down on, it’s clearly a cosy option.
4. Creature Comforts
Prepare for winter with adorable animals
The nights are closing in outside - and on the table, as you race to get ready for winter in Creature Comforts. This is a cosy board game all about making your home the very best for hibernation during the cold winter months.
You play as woodland animals working throughout the year to collect resources like mushroom and yarn, crafting them into comforting blankets and wholesome stews, ready to hunker down once winter comes along. Everything you do is adorably autumnal and gives the perfect vibes for a cosy gaming session. Like come on, jam making and knitting? Let us just move to this world!
Each round you send your little critters to different places across the valley to activate different abilities. Be it collecting more resources in the forest, crafting new homewares in the workshop, or trading with the owl. Yes, everything is that cute. To win, you need to collect the most points for all the ways you’ve made your home more cosy. If this game doesn’t get you in the spirit for a blanket and hot chocolate, we’re not sure what will.
5. Azul: Master Chocolatier
Classic tile-laying with tasty chocolates
As a classic for cosy game lovers, Azul likely needs little introduction. But for the current season, the Master Chocolatier version is the perfect fit.
Like the original you’re drafting tiles to place on your board, scoring extra points for specific patterns and sets. This time, however, they’re themed around delicious chocolates. The game pieces look good enough to eat - so we’d recommend having actual chocolates on hand to save breaking your teeth. The new version also comes with an extra side to the player board which adds a twist to your game, so if you’re already a fan and are looking to sweeten your games it might be time for an update.
If you’re new to the tile-laying sensation, it might seem like an overly simple concept, but it quickly becomes addictive. Each time you play you want to do it all over again to try and get that perfect board state. With such simple gameplay, it means you can truly relax and while away an afternoon watching a movie or chatting to friends while placing delicious-looking tiles.
Maps are fun now, especially when you draw them
Roll-and-writes are just the cosiest genre. Cartographers sees you charting the world to find the very best land for the queen. Over four seasons you’ll be turning over cards to discover areas of villages, rivers, forests and farms, filling in your sheet to create the very best setting according to her royal degree - the scoring cards at the top. However, along your journey there will be monster attacks that mean other players fill in areas for you, perhaps messing up your perfect cartography plans. At the end of the game, the winner is the person with the most points collected over all of the rounds.
Sitting and drawing maps feels like the perfect relaxing activity, where you can get as creative as you like with sketching. There are also a bunch of expansions to take your cartography to all new lands and even start new goals as the maps and rules expand the game to include snowy mountains with fearsome giants and exotic markets to trade through. If you want a cosy game to keep you busy, then grab a pencil, as Cartographers is your new favourite.
7. Critter Kitchen
Critters compete to have the tastiest restaurants
If you already know and love Flamecraft, but are looking for something new, allow us to introduce you to Critter Kitchen. From the same publisher and with the same artist as Flamecraft, you already know it’s going to be a cosy delight.
It’s restaurant week in Bistro Bay and you’re all competing to show you’ve got the best kitchen. You’ll have to select and complete food challenges, all while building up to serve an amazing meal to a food critic with specific tastes at the end of the game.
But with every other restaurant in town working towards the same goal, ingredients are hard to come by. Each day you’ll have to secretly select where each of your chefs visit from the various markets and vendors in town. Do you send a quick chef to sneak in and grab the prize cheese, or a strong one who can carry home a stack of vegetables? Or do you scout new ones to help you land the fish you’ve been dying to pick up.
Critter Kitchen has a great element of competition as you all fight over ingredients and challenges, hoping to score the most, while still feeling fun and cosy thanks to the adorable setting and lovely art. It's not currently out yet, but you can find updates on the release and late pledges on the Cardboard Alchemy website. Plus, there’s soup - what’s more cosy than soup?
Follow Critter Kitchen via its Kickstarter campaign.