Some of the most world’s most expensive traditional board games take a simple concept and add luxurious materials to create unique sets. Gold, diamonds, and rare metals are combined to create board games that are pieces of art in their own right, and generate six figure price tags. Many of these board games are designed by bespoke companies like Geoffrey Parker and Charles Hollander, or are developed over many years as one of a kind pieces. Either way, these board games stretch the definition of casual gaming to create highly detailed collectable items, and include some of the following games:
The most expense chess set in the world is the Jewel Royale, and is valued at about $5 million. Designed by Boodles, the set features inlaid diamonds, as well as gold and platinum details. King pieces for the board represent 18 carats worth of gold, with each board piece specially hand crafted and detailed. Crystal balls and pearls for other parts of the board contribute to an exceptional level of customisation, making the Jewel Royale board the most expensive traditional board game in existence.
There are a few expensive backgammon boards, which include Geoffrey Parker’s $387,890 creation, and Charles Hollander’s $1.5 million set. The ancient game received a deluxe treatment from Geoffrey Parker, with a tournament sized board enhanced through the use of rare alligator and stingray materials 18 carat gold and diamonds are used for other pieces, with the board available online. Other sets by Charles Hollander have reached six figure mark valuations by designing a board around backgammon’s Mesopotamian origins. These boards feature 61082 pieces in yellow gold and other precious materials.
Jeweller Sidney Mobell designed a luxury version of this classic board game, which cost around $2 million, and took a year to produce. The board features diamonds and sapphires for playing pieces, as well as photo etchings for location boards. The game dice alone are valued at $10,000. The game is currently on display at the Museum of American Finance, and has allegedly only been used once, in a contest between Mobell and former British Prime Minister Edward Heath. Mobell’s other ventures include diamond encrusted mouse traps and gold toilet seats.
A game where the final goal is to steal the crown jewels, Outrage’s board is divided into different levels of the Tower of London. A luxury version of the game has been designed, which is worth around $9,000, and uses 18 carat gold pieces on top of a solid mahogany base. The crown jewels themselves represent the highest carat gold pieces on the board, with real emerald also used. The playing cards for the game are inlaid with gold leaf.
An ancient Asian game, Go has been a challenge for games designers wanting to push up the value of sets. While any antique sets from periods of Chinese history are typically priceless, bespoke versions that use hand carved pieces and rare stones range up to $19,000 for a complete set. The game includes rare stones valued at $4,500, as well as $1,000 bowls with grain detailing.
Matt Mynors is a freelance copywriter, currently writing on traditional board games and luxury chess sets from established board game makers Geoffrey Parker.