Top 10 Games with Low Complexity and High Depth


Got to love a game that isn’t hard to learn or teach, but gives the players plenty to think about when it comes to strategies, tactics and other decisions. There’s way more than 10 and ranking this was tricky, so just think of this as 10 great games that meet the definition.

What are your choices, let us know in the comments!

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Credit to BGG & Scott King for imagery.
Credit to MotionArray for Adobe based templates/music


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  1. These are exactly the types of games I am looking for. I don't want games that are too shallow but neither do I want to read a huge rulebook. Also, most of the people I play with will tune out if the rules take more than five minutes to explain. The only criticism of the video is that nobody wants to just watch a talking head for 45 minutes. You need to show what the game actually looks like.

  2. Also, don't lick your fingers everytime you go to pick up a game! Maybe you're the only one who ever touches your collection, but it's still bad hygiene. I mean, do the boxes get stuck together like stacks of dry paperwork? I don't understand.

  3. I'm usually alright at guessing accents, but this one is kicking my butt. I think I get it pinned down and then he says, "these are my taahp games…," like he's from Boston. Or, "my gAd!" like he's from New York State. When he says "cared" for "card" I assume a Northern source. He sounds like a Yorkshire man who went to Yale. I give up. Clearly I need some more practice. Also, the "ph" for "th" gets a little annoying, but I'm already getting used to it.

  4. There is no way Sentinels is low complexity. Due to the interaction from the various card texts, it can be a brain burner and requires micro management

  5. I have a slightly different concept of “low complexity high depth”. Most of the games on your list are what I would call “short”…but I think there are “bigger longer” games that are still elegant and simple in terms of mechanics but provide a high degree of depth. Anyway, here’s my list at the moment:

    The King is Dead
    Tiny Towns
    Isle of skye
    Valley of the Kings
    Fantastic Factories
    Sushi Roll!

  6. Nice list, Bären Park should be a classic intro game by now, for this very reason!
    Have you ever played Gravwell?
    It's super easy to teach. It has a nice balance of chaos and calculation as you each try to predict each others choices to escape a black hole, especially for a game with basically only 6 rules.

  7. I find photosynthesis to be a bore. Points always come close no matter how hard you try. This has to do with the sun mechanic. It evens out everything no matter how well you plan ahead. Try playing randomly vs arduously and see the fruits of your labor. Pointless.

  8. So happy to see Sentinels of the Multiverse on this list.  I actually just bought the game not long ago after falling in love with it in its digital form.  Haven't gotten to play the physical version yet, but I hope that I get to soon.

  9. So funny how you lick your finger every time you're picking a game, as if it would help you in any way. Even when the game is in front of you (innovation) you still have to do it hahahahahaha

  10. Love these lists! But maybe more pictures, more to the point? It feel like having a bullet point list would help.

  11. Hi there, nice job, but you should put more pictures from the games you're talking about, would be much more enjoyable to watch, long term speaking 🙂


  12. I am disappointed that you missed to mention a pretty big game. It only has 4 rules.
    1. You take turn to place a stone on the bord
    2. If you surround your opponents stones you remove them.
    3. The bord position can´t be repeated.
    4. Score points by how large area you manage to capture.

    Easy rules. But the depth is enough that there is professional players that play it after 3000 years. I am of course talking about GO. A game so simple that it is hard to teach because it is to simple and it is played all over the world.

  13. I hear you when you say this list is subjective. Nevertheless, a video about games with simple rules should at least mention abstract games in passing. In the realm of two player games, the rules of Hex, even including the pie rule, are FAR simpler than any of your game choices. You could check the rules out on Wikipedia; search for hex board game. You can check out the complexity that results from these rules by looking at the spread of Elo ratings at Beginners start at 1500, and the top player is currently 2688, which in chess would indicate grandmaster strength. This is a lifestyle game. It's very stark and confrontational, not everyone's cup of tea. For four-player games, I recommend Blokus, Blokus Trigon, or Chaos Tiles. CT has this great "Claim your color" mechanism which deserves a look. Be warned these are heavy bakelite tiles.

  14. I would leave out most of the card games mention since you need to learn rules and all the cards.
    My top choices would be “azul” and “the hive”.

  15. How is Carcassone not in the list/n1? Or SmallWorld or FiveTribes… or 7Wonders? All pretty simple to explain and play.

  16. Great vid as always,imho you missed a couple of games, i wonder why they didn't make the cut for this list like San Juan did…Mr.jack, Santorini and dale of merchants come off the top of my head


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