2022 is in full swing and with a new year, comes new games! Every January the BGQ crew looks ahead to potential new board game releases that have caught our attention. These are games that, for various reasons, we just can’t wait to get our grubby little hands on. So let’s skip any more of the preamble and just focus on the good stuff: the board games.
The Most Anticipated Board Games of 2022
Frostpunk: The Board Game
Chosen by Tony
Last year I chose Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood of Venice for my most anticipated game of the year and it ended up coming in at #2 on my Top 10 Board Games of 2021 list. I’m definitely hoping that Frostpunk delivers on the same video game to board game experience. If you haven’t played it, Frostpunk is a post-apocalyptic video game where you are running a settlement of survivors trying to eke out an existence in a world covered by snow and freezing cold. I tried the demo on Tabletop Simulator during their Kickstarter campaign and loved how they captured the bleak, back-up-against-the-wall feeling from the video game. It did remind me a little of This War of Mine: The Board Game in that there are tough decisions to make and not everyone will survive. As the team has been working to improve the game since the Kickstarter closed, I can’t wait to get my hands on this game and see how it holds up.
1-4 Players • Ages 15+ • 120-150 minutes
Chosen by Brandon
Waylaid by worldwide shipping woes is the next release from Euro designers Simone Luciani (Grand Austria Hotel) and Nestore Mangone (Newton). Coming to shores sometime in early-to-mid 2022, Darwin’s Journey looks to feature lush production and artwork, on top of a worker placement, contract fulfillment, and set collection framework, based around the memories of Charles Darwin’s adventure through the Galapagos. The unique mechanism here is the way that workers must train as a prerequisite to some of the placement spaces thus becoming more powerful over time. It may sound like more of the same, but a solid euro that doesn’t rock the boat too much can be just as satisfying as the next flashy design. Comfort coming out of 2021 seems like a safe bet. I’m ready to sail, explore, train, and let the gentle waves of discovery wash over me and up to three other friends.
1-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 60-120 minutes
Chosen by Jason
My two oldest are starting to get to an age where we are going to begin playing a little bit more mature games. I have wanted for some time to engage them in some sort of RPG, a place where we could bring imagination play, creativity, and social learning to life. I think CoraQuest is going to be a good starting point for that. Created and developed by father/daughter duo Dan and Cora Hughes, CoraQuest is a dungeon crawl-style game that gives kids a chance to work together, go on quests, get loot and fight monsters. They’ll be able to make characters they can print off and play them next to the characters that come in the game. They can even make their own monsters and quests, all of which will spark creativity and investment into the experience. There was a lot of love and community interaction during the funding campaign, with selected artwork from children being a part of the fabric that makes up the experience. As of my writing this, CoraQuest will be here this week and I’m excited to see what my kids come up with.
1-4 Players • Ages 6+ • 45-60 minutes
Chosen by Chris
The correct answer to this inquiry is, of course, any of the four pending releases from Stefan Feld’s City Collection, particularly Marrakesh, the lone new design in the series so far. But seeing as how those were supposed to start arriving nearly eight months ago at this point, I can’t reliably pick any of those. So instead I’m going with Orlando Sa’s upcoming Pessoa, which is a hybrid euro that has its players acting as unique intellects who exist in a single body. It’s based on the career of Fernando Pessoa, a writer who felt he didn’t have a singular persona across his works and therefore produced material under a variety of different heteronyms, which is Pessoa’s own term for the different styles within him. The theme alone is fascinating and I’m hopeful that the mechanisms will live up to it. Also: some Feld, please.
1-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 45-75 minutes
Return to Dark Tower
Chosen by Brian W.
I’m sadly repeating my most anticipated game from 2021 which Restoration Games would tell you has been delayed due to a myriad of factors (most of which we can all, unfortunately, relate to) but should be arriving soon. This is a sequel to the 1981 grail game, Dark Tower, which was an innovative game for its time. Return to Dark Tower pays homage to the original but has vastly updated gameplay and technology of the classic game. It now employs two modes of play: competitive and cooperative and uses unique heroes, abilities, and companions. The technology is now an integrated app for combat with many more options for players to influence the results and rewards. The centerpiece of Return to Dark Tower is again a Tower but it now ties into the app and that will spread corruption to the heroes and their lands throughout the game. I backed this on Kickstarter over 2 years ago and have been eagerly waiting since.
1-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 100-120 minutes
Oathsworn Into the Deepwood
Chosen by James
Between normal crowdfunding delays and the world’s shipping woes it’s tough to anticipate what’s actually going to be received this year so I’m going to pick something that is shipping soon. Oathsworn is a narrative-based, boss battler where you and your friends play as a group of adventurers called Oathsworn who protect the last bastions of civilization from the dark forest that’s taken over this grim fantasy world. The game is split into a narrative-driven town phase where you adventure about town and then a battle phase. During the town phase, you may unlock bonuses or penalties for the battle as you explore different areas of the various towns. The game promises unique encounters using their battle flow card-based combat system where you can advance the cooldown on your ability cards by playing other cards. This ambitious game is steeped in lore and has gorgeous art and I am excited to explore the world, open boxes of monsters, and battle back the evil that lives in the Deepwood.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 30-90 minutes
John Company: Second Edition
Chosen by Dylan
My gaming tastes have changed drastically. Years ago, I would have avoided heavy economic games at all costs. But in 2021 alone I played 10 different 18xx titles. So why not include a new 18xx as my most anticipated game? Because John Company: Second Edition is releasing, and it joins the economic half of my new tastes with the other half: negotiations. From the light ones like GoodCritters or Bohnanza to the multi-hours beasts like Dune, Maria, or Diplomacy, negotiations are my jam. So when combining the two, you get this fragile look at history where the players must work together to operate one of the most notorious stock companies of all time. The production, like Pax Pamir Second Edition before it, is remarkable to see. While I dropped out of backing it early in 2021, and after spending much of the year playing Cole Wehrle’s Oath have me regretting that decision, even if I rarely have the group that could get John Company played regularly.
1-6 Players • Ages 13+ • 90-240 minutes
Chosen by Spencer
AEG has been putting out some great titles lately. I’ve also heard good things about this John D. Clair guy. This would be my first foray into card crafting, which had not drawn me in with previous iterations. But as part of a 4x, fight-y pirate game? Yeah, I’m in. It looks to provide an epic and interactive adventure with a not-too-long playing time. There’s also a really cool-looking cube tower for battles. Is it anything more than a gimmick? I hope so. I also hope I can actually find a copy of this game at retail or otherwise.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 90-150 minutes
Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG Boxed Set
Chosen by Alex
While we are definitely a board game household, our game group has been playing RPGs with for well over a decade. Since late-night and marathon weekend sessions really are not in the cards anymore due to work and family obligations, I (as the perma-GM) am always looking for ways of getting away from time-consuming character construction, tomes of rules, lots of math, and long campaigns. I had picked up the early release of Mothership and liked what I saw, and the 1st Edition Boxed Set looks like it is going to fulfill all my needs for an immersive system that is also rules-light. Also, it’s science-fiction and space-based, and it is a well-established fact that those make any game superior.
Machina Arcana 3rd edition
Chosen by George
I couldn’t believe this game flew under my radar for so long. I had to back it when the 3rd edition Kickstarter went up. Machina Arcana is a pulp steampunk dungeon crawler that is dripping with Cthulhu Mythos. With a massive number of characters and new expansions, this is one of my top anticipated games for the year. The game seems heavily narrative based, and the art is absolutely gorgeous. It also has a reputation for being quite punishing, as a mythos game should be. The massive amount of content along with the narrative storytelling is sure to be a hit with my gaming group.
1-4 Players • Ages 13+ • 150 minutes
Chosen by Andrew
Economic games are one of the go-tos for my gaming group. Oftentimes this leads us toward very heavy euros and 18XX games. But what if you don’t have 3-6 hours to devote to a single game? Well… historically the answer to that has been Stockpile. A great game of market speculation and people reading that will continue to exist in my collection. But this year we will also get Bear Raid from designer Ryan Courtney (who also designed Pipeline, one of those heavier economic games). The game is essentially just buying and shorting stocks based on limited information. But you can also spend your actions influencing how prices may adjust—with some die-rolling randomness to keep you on your toes. It’s only a couple of pages of rules and plays in under an hour and I’m excited to get it to the table.
3-6 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes
My Father’s Work
Chosen by Tahsin
I love new and interesting designs that try to innovate on existing ideas. Renegade Games isn’t synonymous with innovation, but this title might prove that wrong. It’s a series of scenarios that tie together a narrative of exploring the gothic horror/science of the player’s ancestry. All those keywords seem to check the right boxes for me. Add in the fact that my family’s on board for the repeat play experience, and I’m hoping that any future shut-in time will lead to gaming fun time. The other cool aspect of the production is an app that’s used to track some game elements. The Kickstarter is slated to deliver in February, but more than likely we’ll see this sometime before the summer.
2-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 180 minutes
Arydia: The Paths We Dare Tread
Chosen by Brian B.
I love cooperative campaign games with narrative, exploration, adventuring, skills, and leveling up. There are many options scheduled to be released in 2022, but the one I am looking most forward to is Arydia: The Paths We Dare Tread. Far Off Games and Cody Miller, designer of Xia: Legends of a Drift System and lover of unusually long game titles, successfully funded this game on Kickstarter in August 2021. Arydia looks to push the narrative to the forefront by rewarding players with role play points and offering meaningful decisions that will impact the campaign. The unique characters, prepainted minis, and gorgeous art round off the package of the game I am most looking forward to play in 2022!
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 60-120 minutes
Thanks for the post and all the great information! You mention such a variety of games, not only in the main listing but in your descriptions as well. I see you mentioned “Maria” as a great negotiations game. I have it and yet to play it, supposed to be a great, unusual 3 player game. Still recommend to dig into it??
I think you may have missed Rivers of London RPG by Chaosium and Ben Aaronovitvh.
Maria is not only an incredible negotiation game but (in my opinion) one of the best wargames of all time and one of my favorites, hitting my Top 5 overall. It’s intimidating due to length and rules, but the rules are frontloaded and end up being fairly simple in play. The combat is my favorite of all time. The negotiation comes in the form of short-term alliances where the winning nation must be stopped by the two losing factions. Once that fire is put out, a new fire ignites in the form of one of those two factions becoming the player closest to victory. The component count is also incredibly low for such a detailed wargame.
Our thoughts on Gloomhaven are well documented.
Thunderworks is a great local developer I’m not seeing any of their stuff