In this article, I present a brief review of the best classic strategy games.

nowadays there are a lot of different types of games that people, especially young adults, play constantly. Yes, those games are very entertaining, but they don’t affect our brains positively.

If you want to enjoy playing and at the same time improve your brain performance, then classic strategy games, also called abstract games are the best options.

Of course, there are some digital games that improve strategy, tactics and other skills, but not nearly as much as the ones I’m reviewing in this article.

In short, top classic strategy board games are Chess, Game of Go, Checkers, Gomoku, Xiangqi.


chess strategy board game

Chess is played by more than 200 million people on earth. It is the most popular one among all board games right now. History of chess counts more than 1500 years and it’s originated from ancient India. Then it spread in other Asian, especially Arabic countries.

Later in mid centuries, Europe got to know about this game and from that period the popularity of this strategy board game has significantly improved.

There are 16 white and black pieces on the 8×8 board and each piece moves differently. Each color has 6 different kinds of pieces: King, Queen, 2 Rooks, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights, and 8 Pawns. Each of these pieces moves differently and have different functions in the game.

The main goal of the game is to threaten killing of opponents king on the next move when the opposite side can’t do anything to stop you. but the hardest part is to master how to do that. Nowadays there are not more than a thousand people who achieved the Grandmaster title.

The ranking system is very easy: You win the games, you gain points, lose the game – lose points. When you reach 2300 points or more, you get the title of FIDE Master; 2400+ points = International master, and the top title is Grandmaster – 2500+ points.

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Game of Go

game of go strategy game

Although being not so popular as chess, Game of Go is the most complex and twisted board game of all time.

In China Go is called Weiqi, which means ‘surrounding game’. The game itself is more than 2000 years old. By the time of Confucius (around 500 BC), it had already matured to one of the essentials that must be known and mastered by all Chinese royal people.

Afterward, Go developed more moderately than in Japan and Korea. During the Cultural Revolution, the game suffered through being regarded as an intellectual treasure.

A game of Go starts with an empty board called goban. There are 9×9, 13×13 and main – 19×19 boards. One player has black stone and another has a white one. Differently from other major abstract games, here black starts first by placing a stone on any cross-line of the board. Opponent places a white stone and the game continues alternately.

The main purpose of the game is to use your stones to establish territories by surrounding empty areas of the board. The game ends when both sides pass – meaning there is not any move that benefits any of the colors. It is also possible to capture your opponent’s stones by completely surrounding them. Those captured stones are called prisoners and will take part in counting after the game.

Nowadays there are more than 80 million active players of the game of Go, but most of them are from China, Japan, and South Korea.

The ranking system of this game hasn’t changed from the creation of this game. Beginners are called Kyu players. There are 25 Kyu ranks starting from 25k to 1k. Then you are awarded as 1dan meaning you’re an amateur master. This rank goes up to 7dan; After that you get the title of professional Dan master – which goes up to 9dan pro.

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Checkers is another board game that involves creative thinking and calculating to play.

It is believed that the primitive form of checkers was a game found in an archeological dig In Iraq the game used an insignificantly different board, a different number of pieces and no one is quite certain of the accurate rules.

The game gained popularity throughout the years. In mid-centuries Frenchman came up with the idea of playing the game on a chess board.

The most popular forms are draughts played on a 10×10 board, and international draughts played on a 10×10 board. There are many other modifications played on 8×8 boards.

Two players, checkers pieces and chess board are all you need to play the game. On 8×8 version, 12 black and white stones are placed on the dark squares of the board. White starts first by playing one space diagonal move on another square; then black responds and so on. You can kill opponents piece by jumping over it.

The main objective of this board game is to use your strategy and calculation skills to advance one of your stones into the last square of opponents side, therefore gain stone advantages and killing them. The checkers game ends when one side kills all stones of the opponent.

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Gomoku – Five in a row

gomoku board game

Gomoku board game was brought to Japan around 200 BC, with the name of Kakugo (Japanese – “five steps”). Soon it converted into a national sport. Japanese historical records show that at the time of 18th century Gomoku was at its top of popularity.

Rules of the game are very simple. The game is traditionally played with Go stones on a Go board (I’ve mentioned earlier on this post) There are 2 types of game sizes – 15×15 of the 19×19.

Players alternate turns to put a stone of their color on an unoccupied intersection. The winner is the first player to make an unimpaired string of five stones horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

Because pieces are not relocated or eliminated from the board, Gomoku might also be played with paper and pencil. The game is known in several countries under different names.

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Xiangqi – Chinese chess

xiangqi chinese chess game

Xiangqi, also known as Chinese chess is not as popular as other abstract board games mentioned above, but playing it truly improves strategical skills.

There is not a verified story of this game, but according to one theory, it was invented in China a few thousand years ago. In fact, as far back as the 11th century BC in southern China, a game which is considered to be an early form of Xiangqi was played. According to ancient writings, it was used for military training and simulation.

Like regular chess, Xiangqi reflects a battle between two armies, with the purpose of catching the enemy’s general (king). Unique features of xiangqi include the cannon, which must jump to capture; a rule preventing the generals from viewing each other directly.

Areas on the board called the river and palace, which limit the movement of some pieces. Also, placement of the pieces is on the crossings of the board lines, rather than inside the squares.

Each player, in turn, moves one piece from the point it controls to another point. Pieces are normally not allowed to move through a point controlled by another piece. A piece can be shifted onto a point controlled by an opponent’s piece, in which case the enemy piece is captured and eliminated from the board.

A player is not allowed to arrest one of his own pieces. Unlike regular chess, here pieces are never promoted, although the soldier is able to move sideways after it passes the river.

That’s all for now – Best classic strategy board games of all time.

I hope you enjoyed the article, please let me know in the comments what you think about this topic.

1 Comment

  • Thanks for this wonderful post. I have a presentation next week, and I am
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