2022 has come and gone and a new year is upon us. Last year was filled with quite a few quality board games and even some great times at conventions. While we may have already closed out the year with Tony and Brandon’s Top 10 Board games from 2022, we wanted to give the rest of the BGQ team a chance to chime on their favorite board games from the year. So, with one final look back at the year, the BGQ team each picks what they think is the Best Board Game from 2022. What was your favorite game? Let us know in the comments below.
Best Board Games from 2022
Oathsworn: Into the Deepwood
Chosen by James:
While there were a lot of very good games in 2022 that could easily slot in here (Clone Wars Pandemic, Flamecraft, and Sorcerer’s Arena were all in the running for various reasons) but the elephantine sized boxes in the room that is Oathsworn takes the prize. It was an ambitious scope both in terms of the professionally written branching narrative and the unique and epic boss battles that take place in a grim-dark fantasy world where society struggles to survive against the deadly Deepwood. Every scenario also delivers a Nightmare Before Christmas styled present where you get to open a new box or envelope to reveal some horror your party of Oathsworn will have to face in the upcoming battle. The combat system is flexible allowing players to use either cards or dice and utilizes a push-your-luck system with exploding criticals allowing for massive swings in damage. Damage done is the value of the attack divided by the defender’s defense allowing you a lot of agency for using rerolls/redraw tokens or using cards for their defensive value to reduce incoming damage. Meanwhile, that massive attack that destroyed part of the boss will result in a reaction—essentially a free activation for the big bad. Then there’s the battle flow mechanic where a card advances cards in that cool-down spot that rewards strategic play and has you trying to plan out your turns. So far, through six scenarios, it’s been an epic experience. Oathsworn: Into the Deepwood was worth the wait and worthy of the praise being heaped upon it.
Chosen by Tony:
Since I already posted about my Top 10 Board Games from 2022 in our end-of-the-year list with Brandon (spoiler alert, it was Foundations of Rome), I’m going to use this slot for my favorite “new to me” game from 2022. At Gen Con last year, I got a chance to play Twisted Fables from Dimensions Games. It is a dueling game that is a riff on the old 2d fighting games. In it, you take on the role of a fairy tale creature from legend: Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Alice to name a few. You’ll battle your opponent using card play and deck building. Not only does each character have its own unique deck, but players also draft power cards to enhance their character’s abilities. Overall, I had a ton of fun with this one as it’s both creative and entertaining to play.
Cat in the Box
Chosen by Dylan:
2022 had a wealth of releases that peaked my attention, primarily because of the popularity of importing Japanese trick taking games. 9 Lives and Ghosts of Christmas were both big releases, but to me, the de facto trick-taker of 2022 was Cat in the Box. It’s not a first trick-taking game, not by any means. But it’s so cool in what it does differently.
Chosen by Spencer:
Wonderland’s War hit Kickstarter during my two-year hiatus from Kickstarter. As soon as I played it for the first time after its release, the FOMO kicked in hard. This one is right up my alley. Medium weight, but only a couple of hours to play. Tense and interactive with many viable paths to victory. Replay value is high given the faction asymmetry and various ally set ups. Many of the battles lead to stand up, memorable moments via a Quacks of Quedlinburg style bag building and resolution mechanic. The theme fits snugly, and the components (especially in the deluxe version) are stellar. This one will be in the regular rotation for years to come.
Chosen by Jacob:
What can beige do for you? In my case, quite a lot. Ok, I’m about to list some very unsexy characteristics about my favorite game of the year. It’s pretty damn beige, for starters. I know that’s a joke gamers throw around about any number of loosely themed Euros (I represent a German trade guild, you say? My dream come true! Wait, now I’m a wealthy Italian family vying for favor with the King? Get out!), and while I do think there’s a beauty to Tiletum, it’s still a beige-ass Euro (I’m a rich merchant traveling throughout Europe during the Golden Age of the Renaissance? NO WAY). That said, few games have made my dopamine levels soar quite like Tiletum when I pull off a juicy combo. It’s a big board with a big ole map with very satisfying wooden pieces, and has elements of Hansa Teutonica, another beige classic, in that pulling off pieces from your player board unlocks endgame points, while filling up the houses on your board with people also unlocks tantalizing ways to upgrade your actions. Eventually, you’re loudly talking out your turn, much to the chagrin of your opponents, and following up each move with “AND THEN…”. But hey, the hustle never ends for [insert generic mid-level Renaissance bureaucratic figure here].
Trekking Through History
Chosen by Andy:
Trekking through History is an easily taught, fun, fast-paced game with lots of replay value. Its theme, time-travel tourism, has been a dream of mine for forty-plus years. The goal is to select as many events in chronological order as possible (one sequence is called a “Trek”) without needing to start a new Trek because no events fit the sequence, while also trying to minimize the time needed to observe each event because you are limited to 12 “hours” per round in a 3-round game. Knowing when to slow your roll versus when to grab an expensive (in “hours”) event and when to start a new Trek versus trying to eke out one more event creates a very nice tension in what is otherwise a lightweight game (BGG complexity=1.86). I taught my daughter how to play in five minutes and she quickly proceeded to beat me two times in a row. Any game you can lose twice to a newbie and still love playing has to be a winner! 4-stars from Andy and here’s hoping someone asks me to play it again soon!
Scooby-Doo! The Board Game
Chosen by Chris:
My name could easily be added to any number of the games my esteemed Board Game Quest kinfolk have already mentioned. Wonderland’s War is, well, wonderful and Tony’s top pick from his separate list—Foundations of Rome—is also exceptional. But piggybacking other picks is boring so I’m going off the grid and selecting CMON’s light family cooperative game Scooby-Doo! The Board Game as my favorite. (Fellow BGQer James Wolff are I are huge fans of the Scooby brand and often derail the site’s board game-focused Discord channel with needless trivia about the various incarnations of the characters. Join the Discord and see for yourself! It’s incredibly annoying!) Sadly, the game hasn’t hit retail just yet, but its core mechanism of a villain who can initiate their turn in the middle of the heroes’ turn is an inspired design choice. With scalable difficulty (easy is very easy, while the hardest setting is basically unwinnable… that is, of course, if played with my children on the team) and quick turns make this a strong entry in the middleweight cooperative space. For fans of the franchise itself, this is a slam-dunk purchase and a surefire keeper. Jinkies!
Return to Dark Tower
Chosen by Brian W:
If you read BQG’s most anticipated Games of 2021 & 2022 then it shouldn’t surprise you that this game might appear as my best board game of 2022. I wanted to love this game even before it finally arrived but once I got it to the table it exceeded my expectations from the first to my last play. I even have a blast with it when I don’t win. The integrated app is excellent for overall gameplay and employs a unique combat system that makes defeating monsters and foes rather challenging. The app also is no cake walk when trying to complete quests or especially dungeons. The centerpiece is of course the new fancy Tower that will add corruption to the game board and will spread even more as the game becomes more difficult as you play. Overall, Return to Dark Tower is a welcome addition to my collection and I love getting this fun and challenging game to the table.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Slaves to Darkness Box Set
Chosen by George:
This was one of the nicest box sets for Age of Sigmar I have bought in a while. With Slaves to Darkness getting revamped for 3rd edition I was excited to see the new models. This box did not disappoint. This box came with the new models; 3 Ogroids, 10 Chaos Chosen, and a Demon Prince. The Demon Prince kit even has multiple weapon and head options so you can reflect which chaos god you wish for it to serve. Not only did the box come with the new models, but with a limited-edition battle tome for 3rd edition, enhancement cards to keep track of your units special rules, and warscroll cards and tokens. Overall, it was a great box with some good value. I am happy to see Age of Sigmar releases getting the Warhammer 40k treatment for these awesome preview boxes.
My Father’s Work
Chosen by Marcus:
There have been several games in the running for this, but ultimately I could go with nothing but My Father’s Work due to the sheer ambition of the game. It was a passion project of the designer, it got a big following on Kickstarter, and as a result the final production value was amazing. The components were heavily upgraded in the final version. Beyond wooden tokens like you might expect in a game of this quality, there are also some metal, and even glass jars complete with cork. All of it is nested into a well-designed GameTrayz. Opening it the first time was a fun experience in and of itself. As for the gameplay, it is not overly complex. Much of it is just worker placement, but it is fully integrated with the story, which is expansive and ever-changing. The available board and the choices you have available change based upon the decisions you and your fellow players make during the course of that story. To give you an idea of just how expansive the story options are, the game comes with three scenarios, each of which has eight completely distinct possible endings. Along the way, there are different encounters and random events that happen, and many opportunities for player interaction, ensuring that every game will be different. Prior to the game’s release there was a bit of trepidation over the necessity of an app or not, but playing the game, it is apparent that it is absolutely essential. The sheer volume of story possibilities could not be handled by anything else. The included voiceovers also contribute the final layer to the theme in a game that oozes with theme. Thematically, it really nails the Mary Shelley/Gothic horror feel. It is a great and immersive game that is worth every minute.
Photograph (originally Wind the Film!)
Chosen by Brandon:
I’m following Tony’s lead by offering up a favorite “new to me” game from 2022 since my top ten from the year was published already. I originally wanted to highlight heavy hitters Food Chain Magnate or Pax Pamir: 2E but decided instead to focus on a little card game called Photograph, originally released in 2016 under the title Wind the Film. In the same vein as the recently revitalized hit Scout, Photograph takes advantage of a system where players are unable to adjust the location of cards in their hand until they “wind the film,” shifting a single card further away from being played. This simple mechanism provides plenty of puzzly hand management as players create ascending or descending filmstrip collections based on theme and color. By being forced to play a card that is too far out of the numerical order, cards become out of focus and accrue negative points, whereas larger successful filmstrips gain players good shot bonuses. Cute artwork and clever design.
2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 20 minutes
Kickstarter Funded Narrative Boss Battler from a Small Publisher
Chosen by Brian B:
When this campaign launched on Kickstarter, I never thought the game would deliver. I referred to it as Myth 2.0 to my friends. First KS Campaign? Minis? Complex narrative and branching story? Boxes bigger than a Kallax slot? LOL—good luck.
Not only was the game delivered, but it also blew away my expectations, especially from such a small publisher. Bigger publishers should take note (*cough* Queen *cough*). I LOVED this game! The setting. The narrative. The combat system. The character advancement. All of it. This dynamic, engaging game is one of the best board game experiences of my life. It also proves that Kickstarter is GOOD for board games, because games like this would never be made in a retail only environment. I highly recommend you at least try the game once—you may be just as surprised as I was!
(Note: I was told I could only have one best board game, so I only included one. I will let you, the reader, decide if the above applies to Oathsworn or Aeon Trespass: Odyssey. Or both… 😊 )