CreativeArtificial intelligence in boardgames

Artificial intelligence in boardgames

In the last few years, we have seen a huge resurgence in the popularity of boardgames. One of the driving forces behind this is the increasing use of artificial intelligence in these games. In the past, boardgames were often reliant on human players to make decisions and take actions. However, with the increasing use of AI, we are seeing more and more games that can be played without any human input. This allows for a more immersive and engrossing experience for the player, as well as giving the developers more control over the game’s difficulty level. Artificial intelligence can be taken over by a computer or app, but also by game elements such as cards and dice. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the best examples of artificial intelligence in boardgames. We will also explore how this technology is changing the gaming industry and what it could mean for the future of gaming.

What is AI?

There are many different types of artificial intelligence (AI), but in general, AI can be defined as a computer system that is able to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, natural language processing, and decision-making. In the context of boardgames, AI usually refers to a computer- or dummy player that is designed to mimic human behavior. The goal of most AI players is to defeat human opponents by making moves that are “intelligent” in the same way that a human player would. One of the earliest examples of an AI player in a boardgame is chess. In the early days of chess computers, the goal was simply to create a machine that could beat a human opponent. This was achieved in 1997 by Deep Blue, a chess computer developed by IBM.

Garry Kasparov (left) plays against Deep Blue. The man on the right executes only the moves calculated by the computer. (Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP)

There are also many commercial boardgames that use AI, such as the Ticket to Ride series and Catan. In these games, the AI is used to manage the game’s economy or provide opponents for human players. AI can also be used in more creative ways in boardgames. For example, some games use AI-generated images or music to create unique experiences. Other games use machine learning algorithms to generate new rules or challenges based on how the players are performing.

Nowadays, there are many different types of AI players available for boardgames. Some are designed to beat human opponents, while others are meant to be used as tools for training or practice. There are even some AIs that are specifically designed for children’s games, such as tic-tac-toe or Go Fish.

What are the benefits of artificial intelligence in boardgames?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can provide a number of benefits for boardgames, including:

-Improved game play: AI can provide more challenging and varied gameplay, making the game more enjoyable for players.

-Increased replay value: With AI opponents, players can have a different experience each time they play, increasing the game’s replay value.

-More immersive gameplay: Some boardgames can benefit from the use of AI to create a more believable and immersive game world. For example, games that take place in space or on other planets may make use of AI to control enemy ships or aliens.

What are the best boardgames for artificial intelligence?

There are a number of boardgames that feature artificial intelligence in some way, shape, or form. Some of these games are specifically designed to be played against an AI, while others simply offer an AI option for those who want a more challenging experience. Here are some of the best boardgames for artificial intelligence:

1. Chess

One of the oldest and most classic boardgames, chess is also one of the best for artificial intelligence. There are a number of chess programs available that can provide a tough challenge for even the most experienced players.

2. Go

Another ancient boardgame, go is reputed to be even tougher than chess for artificial intelligence. There are few go programs available, but those that do exist can offer a serious challenge.

3. Shogi

Shogi is a Japanese variant of chess that has been gaining in popularity in recent years. A number of shogi programs are now available, and they offer a good challenge for those looking to test their skills against artificial intelligence.

4. Hex

Hex is a two player abstract strategy board game in which players attempt to connect opposite sides of a rhombus-shaped board made of hexagonal cells

How to get started with artificial intelligence in boardgames?

If you’re interested in using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve your boardgaming experience, there are a few things you’ll need to do to get started. First, you’ll need to find a game that supports AI players. Second, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the basics of AI programming.

Not all boardgames support AI players, but many popular ones do. If you’re not sure whether your favorite game supports AI, check its documentation or ask the game’s creator. Once you’ve found a game that supports AI, you’ll need to learn how to program AI players for it.

There are many resources available for learning AI programming, but one of the best is the book “Artificial Intelligence for Games” by Michael Buro. This book will teach you everything you need to know about programming AI players, from the basics of pathfinding to more advanced topics like decision trees and Monte Carlo methods. Once you’ve learned the basics of AI programming, you can start experimenting with different ways of making your AI players smarter. Try different algorithms and techniques until you find something that works well for you. With a little effort, you can use artificial intelligence to take your boardgaming experience to the next level!

So far, we have not considered dummy players or game mechanics that take over the control of certain elements in games and do this entirely without computer programming but with the help of physical elements and fixed processes. These can also be called AI. Such elements are popular, for example, in cooperative dungeon crawler games. With the help of AI, enemies are controlled. Examples of this are “Gloomhaven”, “Mage Knight” and “Nemesis”. If you run out of players, the AI can also simulate a fellow player. This is often found in Eurogames like “Ark Nova” or “Wingspan”. The mechanic is often calles “automa mode”

How does Artificial Intelligence change the game playing experience?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in boardgames can take on many different forms. It can be used to create more challenging and realistic opponents, or provide players with new and unique gaming experiences. One of the most popular ways that AI is used in boardgames is to create more difficult opponents. This can make the game more challenging and exciting for players who are looking for a greater challenge.

Additionally, AI can also be used to add new elements to the game that would not be possible without it. For example, some games now feature “cooperative” AI opponents that work together with the players to create a more dynamic and enjoyable experience.

Overall, AI in boardgames can greatly enhance the playing experience by providing players with more challenges and opportunities for unique gameplay experiences.


Artificial intelligence is a fascinating topic, and one that is only going to become more prevalent in the coming years. Boardgames are one area where AI can be used to create a more challenging and fun experience for players. We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of how AI is being used in boardgames and why you should consider trying out a game with AI next time you’re looking for something new to play.

About the author

Fabian Eggers

Head of Marketing Meet2Play
“The process of creativity needs to be supported by the digitalization. Community and togetherness are key to future game experiences“

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