Board gamers are interesting folks. They like to look back at what was hot or not in the previous year. A second favorite pastime, much like a young Luke Skywalker, is looking forward instead of focusing on the here and now. And while many of us have shelves of shame practically overflowing, what better way to add to that first-world problem than by looking forward to what’s coming in 2024. If 2023 was any indication, there’s a lot to look forward to.
Most Anticipated Board Games of 2024
Chosen by Brandon:
Leder Games has another four-letter title releasing this year, and after the success of Oath in my gaming group, I’m all in. Arcs has seen a lot of additional development since its initial crowdfunding campaign and designer Cole Wehrle has provided a lot of insight into how this is shaping up. While I’m excited for the multi-use cards and defining objectives during play, what intrigues me the most is the micro-campaign option which went into late development and remains a bit of a mystery. Supposedly players engage in an epic space trilogy over the span of three games with narrative that’s organically driven based on player choice. A three-game campaign? I’m ready to blow through at least two campaigns in the first week of acquisition.
Chosen by Tony:
When indie publisher Maxime Gauthier funded Hellbringer on Kickstarter, I was immediately intrigued. It’s a coop/roguelike game that invokes the spirit of the classic dungeon crawler Diablo. However, instead of being an exploration game with lots of plastic miniatures, it is a card and dice game that will have you fighting monsters and equipping your character. I’ve had the chance to demo it a few times on Tabletop Simulator and really enjoy the gameplay. The variety is off the charts, and it faithfully dials in Diablo’s “loot piñata” feel. I think this one will fly under the radar for a lot of people, but don’t sleep on Hellbringer, it looks to be a really interesting game!
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 45-180 minutes
Chosen by Jason:
Why am I most looking forward to Galactic Cruise for 2024? I’m boring, so what initially draws me to a game is the theme, the looks, and knowing what mechanics the game uses. A space-travel theme juxtaposed with retro art and organized by Ian O’Toole, coupled with worker placement has me counting down for lift off. I knew the designers were at Gencon this last year, I saw it from afar, and I still kick myself for not vulturing over a table just to watch this played. While I don’t typically seek out the heavy games (I don’t know if this will be one or not), I wanna see what reaches of space this one explores for me.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 90-180 minutes
Chosen by Andrew:
Have I learned my lesson about getting unreasonably excited about the next two player dueling card game that will almost for sure just let me down? I mean, after Keyforge, Flesh & Blood, Ashes, Star Wars Destiny, and Lorcana all falling by the wayside… I can’t be that naive to think this one will be different. Well… here we are. The promise of a draftable format that actually seems like it will work really has my hopes up for Star Wars Unlimited. To say nothing of the great IP and the multiple battlefields giving it a little more to set it apart. Will I be done with it by May and wondering where I’m going to store these hundreds of cards, I’ll never use again… check back later.
2 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes
Chosen by Emma:
I love deck building games. If you offer me a chance to play a new deck builder, I’ll rarely turn you down. Tanto Cuore, the tongue-in-cheek deck building game about maids serving in a manor, already has five expansions, each of which deliver pleasant and unique variations on the same basic theme, whether that’s maids serving at an Octoberfest event, maids escaping to the beach for summer vacation, or butlers surviving blizzard conditions. Memento Mori is set to be a bigger departure, taking the maids to a haunted mansion. Players will explore spooky rooms, encounter ghosts, and hold seances, on top of the traditional mechanics of hiring new staff to build your maid army and win you victory points. How this will all combine with the other Tanto Cuore expansions will be interesting to see, and I’m looking forward to the slightly zany, spooky vibes that this version is set to add to the series.
2-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 30-60 minutes
Chosen by Michelle:
I’m always planning my dream vacation to Japan and now I have another medium to explore that dream in. I’m the kind of board gamer that actually appreciates the flavor text and based on what I’ve seen so far in the Kickstarter details, there are fun facts and intriguing notes on all the activity cards. The background behind this game is also sweet as the content came from Josh Wood’s extensive research for his own postponed trip. To round everything out, cultural consultants with lived experiences in Japan and Japanese artists were involved so I’m confident that interacting with every component will be special.
1-5 Players • Ages 10+ • 45-60 minutes
Chosen by Austin:
Imperium: Classics/Legends is one of my all-time favorite solo games, and Imperium: Horizons is going to bring a lot more of it. Aside from doubling the number of available civilizations, Horizons also adds a new trading module, individual bot cards for the solo mode, and replacement cards to re-balance the original game with the new mechanics, which is a really nice touch. I also love that Horizons is keeping focus on lesser-known historical civilizations, while also embracing the wackier/fantastical side of the game with civs like Martians and Cultists.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 45-160 minutes
Chosen by April:
Last year I decided it was time to add another Garphill game to my collection, so I set out to find the perfect one for me. The only other game of theirs I own is Raiders of the North Sea, which I find okay, but it’s not a favorite. I felt the company had more to offer, so I wanted to give Shem Phillips and team another chance. I had just about settled on Paladins of the West Kingdom (which I still want to try), when the company announced a new slate of games for 2024; among them, Ezra and Nehemiah, a game that promised to borrow a bit from many of their previous designs, and a game based on an era of Jewish history that I’ve always been interested in. It’s one of just a few projects we backed in 2023 and I’m eager to play when it delivers later this year!
1-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 90-120 minutes
Chosen by Marcus:
I always like to give a good look to any dinosaur-themed games that come out. They’ve been an interest of mine since the days of Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur and Dinobones. Recent years have provided some good options, but the one that I’m really looking forward to this year is Lands of the Mesozoic. It was on Kickstarter last year and is due to fulfill sometime in the next few months. It is a little different than other recent dinosaur offerings. You’re building an ecosystem, first with lands, and then various herbivores and carnivores, ranging from the obscure like maiopatagium, to the famous like tyrannosaurus; from the tiny like compsognathus, to the colossal like brachiosaurus. The goal is a bit abstract — trying to build an ecosystem that generates the most victory points — but the gameplay seems good. It is also hard for me to say no to a game that includes the best dinosaur: parasaurolophus.
1-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 20-120 minutes
Chosen by Bailey:
Molly House is one of the first published titles out of the Zenobia Awards, a panel of wargaming hobbyists who got together specifically to find designers and titles representing marginalized groups. In Molly House, players take the roles of the gender-defying mollies of early eighteenth-century London. The game is designed by Jo Kelly, a nonbinary designer. This is their first majorly published game, with which they’ve partnered with Wehrlegig Games and Cole and Drew Wehrle. Between the subject matter and the publisher’s pedigree, it’s impossible for me to not be excited about this semi-cooperative, hidden role title.
1-5 Players • Ages 14+ • 45-90 minutes
Chosen by James:
I thought I was being smooth by skipping over Arydia in 2022 (which Brian picked) only to get Nelson’ed by the publisher in 2023. So, while extremely excited for its arrival, I won’t fall for that again and instead am going for the Cyberpunk dungeon crawler Nanolith. The waking up in a strange world brings back vibes of the Black Isle video game Torment, and the dice allocation reminds me of Terminator Genysis, with nano shocks being special abilities you can strategically unleash. Fast to set up, choose-your-own-adventure sections, narrative-driven, and tactical combat are some of my gaming love languages and Woodpecker games have me waiting, Scott Pilgrim style, for this game to arrive.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 60-120 minutes
Chosen by Spencer:
I was crowdfunding clean for a few years until 2023 came with two projects that were sequels to two of my favorite games ever, Inis and Dwellings of Eldervale. Galactic Renaissance could have easily been my pick today, but I’m feeling more excited by the wild space combat, engine building, and resource management promised by Andromeda’s Edge. Andromeda’s Edge should be delivered in 2024 with 17 unique factions. I really liked exploring every faction that Dwellings of Eldervale had to offer and expect this to be no different. In this game, different ship types with different abilities replace the various worker types in Dwellings. The tracks in Andromeda’s Edge are more than just scoring tracks; now they also provide specific benefits as you move up them, such as being able to upgrade ships, increase your hand limit, or get free actions. The streamlined battle mechanics are still there, but have been improved by a minimum target value, which will mitigate some of the luck that’s present. Retrieving your workers (ships) now gives you additional actions and resources even beyond what you received in Dwellings, so building that engine on your home base is extra important. I’ve not read every new detail about this game because I’d like to be surprised by it as I was when I first tried Dwellings. If this is as good or better than Dwellings, it’s going to be amazing.
1-5 Players • Ages 14+ • 45+ minutes
Chosen by Chris:
When I started researching this topic, I only had a shortlist of about five games I was going to choose from. Not only did none of my kin here at BGQ pick any of them, but now I have added a whole bunch more games to my “need to play” list. Thanks for that, Fam. Anyhoo, the game I’ve settled on is Windmill Valley from designer Dani Garcia and publisher Board&Dice. It’s a rondel and route-building game with interlocking wheels on everyone’s player boards. Coming off a rookie design year that included standout games Barcelona and Arborea, Garcia is now a designer who will remain on my radar until he misses the mark. He’s also releasing another game this year published by Devir called Daitoshi. I almost picked that because, well, Devir, but there’s very little information on it at the moment.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 45-90 minutes
Chosen by Brian W:
This is a Kickstarter from Mighty Boards that was supposed to originally fulfill in September 2023 but alas will not be in backer hands until early 2024 (hopefully). Fateforge: Chronicles of Kaan is an app-driven cooperative fantasy RPG game that has an emphasis on combat. The app will act as the game master guiding players through the campaign. Each adventure scene set is supposed to be flexible so 1-4 players can take as little as an hour or up to an evening to complete it, depending on player decisions and actions. I love dungeon crawlers and revel in combat, so I’ve really been looking forward to getting my hands on this one and trying it out.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 60 minutes
Chosen by Brian B:
Arydia is, by far, my most anticipated game of 2024. This is only the third game published by Far Off Games; however, I had ZERO hesitation in backing Arydia as their previous crowdfunded game, Xia: Legends of a Drift System, is one of my favorite games. Arydia is an open world, cooperative fantasy role-playing board game for one to four players. It is an original IP, has GORGEOUS art, and comes with prepainted minis. The combat looks interesting, and the open world campaign looks unique and replayable. I am looking forward to receiving this game in Q4 of this year!
1-4 Players • Ages 16+ • 60-120 minutes
A Few Extras…
New reviewer Dawn couldn’t decide on one, so she picked a few:
Botany and La Fleur for the gorgeous artwork. Inventions: Evolution of Ideas because I’m a fan of the work of both Lacerda and O’Toole. And Wondrous Creatures because it looks like a game everyone will want to play at game night.