The Best New Board Games in 2022

New board games, from Elder Scrolls, to Risk: the best of 2022.
Odin Odin (180)
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The Covid-19 pandemic threw board game design and distribution off its track for a few years, slowing down releases that should have made it out earlier. However, the pandemic also dramatically increased interest in board games, as people suddenly found themselves at home more often and with a bit more free time on their hands sans a ridiculous commute.

Board game complexity has also been on the rise over the last twenty years, with a huge field of games entering development and getting published. These frequently offer new twists on classic mechanics, but some diverge, taking inspiration from different mediums, mixing media with technological integrations, or challenging players to approach their games in novel and more immersive ways.

2022 looks like a great year for board games of all types and styles, as we finally see the release of some games that have been in development for a long time, as well as tie-ins to big names in the pop-culture sphere (such as the Marvel franchise or the videogame scene). Others are new takes on classic games and game styles, rewarding players who love the tried and true systems with something that feels at one fresh and nostalgic.

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Frosthaven
Frosthaven
Playing Time Players Difficulty
30-120 minutes 1-4 Steep learning curve

The only outpost in the harsh northern region of the world is on the brink of destruction. Harried by vicious and mysterious threats on all sides, Frosthaven would need great warriors and leaders to survive the coming winter… unfortunately, all it has is you — haunted wanderers with nowhere left to go. Can you fight back the invaders and build a thriving community, or will the frost claim it all?

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Inside the game

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Frosthaven

Frosthaven follows in Gloomhaven’s footsteps as an epic board-based RPG. In fact, this title raised over twelve million dollars during its Kickstarter campaign, proving just how many fans out there were clamoring for a sequel to the beloved original.

A game like this is a bit like playing D&D, though more accessible in many ways; it’s a time commitment and something intended to be returned to again and again as you and a group of friends tackle the designed scenarios and uncover the secrets of the frozen north.

So, You’ve Been Eaten
So, You’ve Been Eaten
Playing Time Players Difficulty
30 minutes 0-2 Easy to learn

So, you’ve been eaten.

Don’t worry, this is simply an occupational hazard.

In fact, it is fairly common among Deep Space Miners (5th class), and some say that it is almost unavoidable. And, well, it is. Especially since the Crystals that you seek happen to be inside giant space Beasts. To mine them, you need to, well, be eaten.

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Inside the game

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So, You’ve Been Eaten

So, You’ve Been Eaten is a really clever little game where a miner faces off against the digestive microbes of the monster that swallowed them in order to collect a number of crystals before they are reduced to nutrient paste by the beast’s stomach! There are three different game modes, including an “automated” version where the game “plays itself” through pre-arranged card systems.

This game looks like so much fun, and I definitely plan on pre-ordering a copy.

ISS Vanguard
ISS Vanguard
Playing Time Players Difficulty
90-120 1-4 Steep learning curve, reasonably easy play

ISS Vanguard blends the vast experience of AR designers, gathered in projects such as Nemesis, Tainted Grail, Etherfields, Lords of Hellas and This War of Mine: TBG. The story crafted by one of the best Polish authors Krzysztof Piskorski (the lead writer of Tainted Grail) will bring you right into the middle of an epic space opera with hard choices, unimaginable discoveries, and unlikely allies. And to give this game a unique look, we brought in a new lead artist, Dominik Meyer, who created an inspiring vision, based on a golden age of space exploration stories.

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Inside the game

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ISS Vanguard

ISS Vanguard bridges the world of board games and roleplaing games, creating an immersive epic science fiction adventure that players will want to get lost within. As you and your group play this game, you’ll cooperatively tackle a huge storyline that seems reminiscent of games like Mass Effect and epic sci-fi series like Star Trek and The Expanse. I love cooperative games more than adversarial ones by far, but to be able to play out such a great detailed story with friends beside me is definitely something that has me hooked when I look at this.

Familiar Tales
Familiar Tales
Playing Time Players Difficulty
45-120 1-4 Easy

Sinister forces have cast down the royal family of a far-off kingdom, and now the future of the royal line rests entirely upon a wee infant. Her only protectors are a band of wizard’s familiars who have disappeared into the wilderness with their young charge. A sorcerous usurper’s foul hand stretches wide across the land — how can simple familiars save a child from such evil?

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Inside the game

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Familiar Tales

Familiar Tales is a storybook cooperative game, where every choice the players make impacts the development of the tale, and the development of the child in their care! I love this unique take on co-op gameplay; taking care of a kid and protecting it from evildoers is a time-honored fantasy trope, and it clearly looks like this is following in the proudest of these traditions.

I’m not sure how I feel about having a required app alongside the game, I generally dislike involving electronics in a game like this, but I could see it being okay as long as I could run the app offline with airplane mode on.

Unmatched: Marvel Series
Unmatched: Marvel Series
Playing Time Players Difficulty
20-40 minutes 2-3 players Easy

Unmatched is a miniatures dueling game featuring fighters of all kinds – from the page to the screen to the stuff of legends. Each hero has a unique deck of cards that fits their fighting style. You can mix and match fighters from any Unmatched set. But remember, in the end, there can only be one winner.

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Inside the game

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Unmatched: Marvel Series

Unmatched: Marvel Series is a truly epic fighting game, one of the best (and best-designed in terms of art style) games around. They’ve tackled a host of great, and sometimes hilarious, pairings in the past, but they’re bringing something new in 2022, an epic sprawl from the Marvel universe. This is actually four different sets, each of which can be played singly or may be combined with the others for huge melee sorties.

  • Redemption Row - featuring Luke Cage, Ghost Rider, and Moon Knight
  • Hell's Kitchen - featuring Daredevil, Elektra, and Bullseye
  • Teen Spirit - featuring Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, and Cloak and Dagger
  • For King and Country – featuring Black Widow, Black Panther, and Winter Soldier
Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes!
Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes!
Playing Time Players Difficulty
20 minutes 1-2 players Easy

The Roman Republic is coming to an end, but not before a power struggle between Caesar and Pompey. Players will command their legions, strategically deploying them to key battlegrounds to try and seize control of the provinces and become ruler of the republic.

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Inside the game

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Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes!

Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes! is a simplified, abstracted wargame that features a number of cool possibilities and area-control mechanics that make me very excited. These days, board games are one of my favorite ways to spend time with my partner, and we’re always looking for new games to play for our weekly game nights (a huge necessity after two years of limited social contact due to the pandemic!) and we’re always on the lookout for new two-player games that will be fun to learn and play.

The size of this little game, added to the speedy gameplay itself, makes this a winner for me, and I cannot wait to add it to my list.

Stellaris: Infinite Legacy
Stellaris: Infinite Legacy
Playing Time Players Difficulty
90-150 minutes 2-4 Complex learning curve, medium play

Based on the acclaimed Stellaris PC game, Stellaris Infinite Legacy offers everything you love about 4x board games with the customization and emergent story that makes the Stellaris PC game special. Stellaris Infinite Legacy is an accessible 2 hour 4x board game for 2-4 players (2-6 with Empires Expansion) with easy rules that grow based on your choices during play.

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Inside the game

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Stellaris: Infinite Legacy

Stellaris: Infinite Legacy follows the original video game closely and, if you know anything about me, you know that I love Stellaris. It’s currently the best grand space strategy game around, especially once you take modding into account. But how well will it translate into the physical world?

Honestly, I’m so excited for this because Stellaris already has all the making-of components to be an incredibly epic board game. The functionality of the video game will be deeper, of course, but once certain elements of play are abstracted out or simplified, the core that remains is perfect fodder for an afternoon of deep and immersive space empire building.

Arcs: Collapse and Conflict in the Void
Arcs: Collapse and Conflict in the Void
Playing Time Players Difficulty
60-300 minutes 2-4 Steep learning curve, Reasonable play

Arcs is a short campaign game that is usually played over a number of episodes/sessions (usually 2 to 4). Each episode takes 60-75 minutes and the full arc of a campaign can be played in 3 to 5 hours. It's easy to save your progress in between episodes or you can play it over a single long session. Unlike Oath, the game requires the same set of players for all episodes and supports only three or four players.

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Players are very much in control of the game's narrative. But there were some important changes from Oath. If Oath atomized the kinds of mechanical/narrative changes that occur over a campaign game or RPG, Arcs is just a little more narratively chunky. There are more narrative set pieces and explicitly branching narratives. But, the game clearly works in the tradition of how we tell stories here at Leder Games. These are player-driven narratives that give folks tools to tell their own stories.

Inside the game

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Arcs: Collapse and Conflict in the Void

Okay, so Roots and Oath are some of the best games around if you like deep immersion, rougelike experiences, and wonderful narrative growth — so extrapolating from the brilliance of those two games into everything Arcs: Collapse and Conflict in the Void is supposed to be hints at a board game of seriously unbelievable proportions.

Now, this isn’t set to release in 2022, rather the Kickstarter will go live in 2022, and that means there will be a solid wait time for the final release. However, Kickstarters = lower costs for backers and a game like this will run a fair $$$ in retail. Since it’s from such a reputable company, you know they’ll deliver, so it makes no sense not to grab this now and get in on the ground floor.

Endless Winter: Paleoamericans
Endless Winter: Paleoamericans
Playing Time Players Difficulty
60-120 minutes 1-4 Above-average complexity

Go back to 10,000 BC and lead the nomadic tribes that shaped American history. From hunters and gatherers to thriving tribal communities. During your travels, you will settle new territories, explore new discoveries, chase game, and build megalithic structures that will last for ages.

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Inside the game

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Endless Winter: Paleoamericans

Endless Winter: Paleoamericans has a lot to recommend it beyond the cool theme, including a unique blend of game systems that hybridize deck-building, area control, tile placement, and set collection — this means we’ve got a game with a large degree of play complexity, but for a surprisingly light (comparatively) learning curve.

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar
Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar
Playing Time Players Difficulty
90-150 1-4 Text

In Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar, you play through twelve adventures in which you customize an entirely unique game board and breed new dinosaurs you cannot unmake. Your team's fateful choices will have a lasting impact, creating your own Isla Nublar story. Your experience will culminate in an endlessly replayable game of your own creation.

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Inside the game

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Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar is, as the name suggests, a “legacy” game, which means that you actually alter the game board and components during play. This can be accomplished through stickers, scratch-off areas, sealed envelopes, and even destructible cards. What looks exciting about The Legacy of Isla Nublar is that re-playability has been figured in, and the game has been designed to ease you into the legacy-style play, making it a very friendly introduction to players new to this type of game.

Frostpunk
Frostpunk
Playing Time Players Difficulty
120-150 minutes 1-4 Difficult to learn

In Frostpunk: The Board Game, up to four players will take on the role of leaders of a small colony of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world that was hit by a severe ice age. Their duty is to effectively manage both its infrastructure and citizens. The core gameplay will be brutal, challenging, and complex, but easy to learn. The citizens won’t just be speechless pieces on the board. Society members will issue demands and react accordingly to the current mood, so every decision and action bears consequences.

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Inside the game

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Frostpunk

Frostpunk follows the same theme as the Frontpunk video game, and with Frostpunk 2 coming out in 2022 as well it seems like this is going to be a really exciting year for those of us who want to experience a post-apocalyptic frozen wasteland… y’know, before the real-world corporations actually implement that feature here.

This looks like such a blast, and will pit you and your “council” of friends against the greatest struggle of humanity — which, sometimes, includes the worst elements of humanity itself.

Risk: Shadow Forces
Risk: Shadow Forces
Playing Time Players Difficulty
120 minutes 3-5 Reasonable for beginners

Risk: Shadow Forces is a legacy-style game. You will write on your game, mark it, put stickers on it, and even throw away parts of it. Every game played will change every future game. All players shape how their world evolves: its history, its cities, even its factions and how they fight. Cards and stickers will come into play. Unlock new rules and watch events unfold with each game. No two games will ever be the same.

Watch the video:

Inside the game

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Risk: Shadow Forces

Risk: Shadow Forces takes Risk in a whole new direction, opening up the landscape with both a legacy-style of play (where the game board and components are permanently altered during the course of play), and a variety of exciting strategic gamestyles that can be dramatically altered by warlord figures who add an addition experience of dramatic action. With both a skirmish style of play and a global domination style, this one looks like the hottest Risk release in a long time.

Skull Canyon: Ski Fest
Skull Canyon: Ski Fest
Playing Time Players Difficulty
45-60 minutes 2-4 Very accessible

To get your ski on in Skull Canyon: Ski Fest, you need to collect and turn in matching sets of slope cards. Each set you turn in lets you ski a run on the mountain, earning victory points, fame, and a spot on the run scoreboard that tracks who performed best on each run. The higher a run's difficulty rating, the more cards you need to collect to complete it — but you'll also score more points and earn more fame.

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Inside the game

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Skull Canyon: Ski Fest

Skull Canyon: Ski Fest steps things back a bit from some of the other big games coming out in 2022, offering a great introductory game for players who like titles like Ticket to Ride and want to expand a bit beyond that. The theme is fun, the component quality looks solid and vibrant, and it’s nice to see something that feels like a classic game but offers some updated thematics and mechanics to keep things interesting.

Vampire: The Masquerade — CHAPTERS
Vampire: The Masquerade — CHAPTERS
Playing Time Players Difficulty
30-60 minutes 1-4 players Reasonably easy to learn

Vampire: The Masquerade – Chapters takes place in Montreal, after the appearance of the Second Inquisition and the fall of the Sabbat. Designed around three pillars — story, strategy and roleplaying — the game merge the best elements of RPGs and board games in a totally new way.

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Inside the game

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Vampire: The Masquerade — CHAPTERS

Vampire: The Masquerade — CHAPTERS is basically a narrative, cooperative, storytelling game that hybridizes the experience of playing a classic pen and paper RPG with the ease-of-play and structure of a board game. Honestly, this game has me so very excited. You’ll get to play through a massive range of scenarios, upgrade your characters, and really get that RPG experience from play as you go along.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – The Adventure Game
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – The Adventure Game
Playing Time Players Difficulty
60-120 minutes 1-4 players Reasonable learning curve

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – The Adventure Game is a 1-4 player co-operative game of adventure and exploration across Skyrim. Players take the roles of heroes involved in epic quests, working together to defeat their enemies and exploring the vast expanse of Skyrim. You will be able to choose character miniatures like the Khajiit, Nord, or High Elf; plan your strategy with weapons or spells; and fight your way through forgotten mines, Draugr-infested tombs, or ancient Dwemer cities to find ancient treasures and increase your power.

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Inside the game

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – The Adventure Game

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – The Adventure Game puts you in the role of a group of Blades, the Emperor’s secret bodyguards, and you advance through a campaign comprised of numerous quests and chapters.

There is so, so, so much to be excited for here, not the least because it’s a fresh Skyrim experience, which I know we all want anyway. But, what’s so exciting in this game, is that it pulls in a huge and complex RPG experience, dynamic story progression, dynamic combat, dynamic character creation… there’s a lot going on in this game, and the re-playability of it is seriously insane. It’s also a game where the single player version actually looks super playable (not something that is always the case with board games that offer a solo mode).

I haven’t looked this forward to a board game in ages.

Odin Odin (180)
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If there is a defining trait to human beings it is, perhaps, our desire to be entertained.