The Best New Board Games that Tabletop Players Will Love
If there was a golden age of board games, 2019 would be it. Though traditional board games like Monopoly and Candy Land aren't going anywhere, there are more gaming options than ever before. In fact, 5,000 new tabletop games were introduced in 2018 alone! The proliferation of complex, interesting, and addictive games like Codenames and Pandemic have allowed a new generation of gamers to hang out at home sans screen, which is exactly why you might want to think about starting your own game night. Below, find our list of the best new board games that will keep your dinner guests, kids, and family members entertained for hours.
Use Your Influence
Gùgōng hit the market just in time for the 2018 holidays and has been gaining popularity ever since. (Makes sense, considering it blew away its initial Kickstarter goal of €30,000, eventually raising €266,515). It's a game for 1 to 5 players in which players take on the role of powerful Chinese families trying to gain influence and secure an audience with the emperor. They do this through an innovative card swap system, using "Gift" cards to complete in-game tasks that lead to "Victory Points." The person with the most Victory Points at the end of the game wins.
There are lots of ways to earn Victory Points, from participating in building the Great Wall of China, buying jade, or sending servants down the Grand Canal to trade with people outside of Beijing. Taking between an hour and an hour-and-a-half to finish, this is sure to be a staple of your upcoming game nights.
Yes, this is a game that has to do with competitive birding, but hear us out. Wingspan, from the same people who developed the immensely popular game Terraforming Mars, has one to five players who act as bird enthusiasts looking to attract the best birds to their wildlife preserves. Basically, the more birds you attract to your habitat, the bigger and better the habitat becomes. There are 170 bird cards, and each bird can set off several chains of events that impact your preserve.
The end goal is to create the strongest habitat of all the players, which involves collecting birds, laying eggs, and gaining food tokens through dice rolling. The winner is the person with the most points, which can be accumulated from birds, eggs, food surplus, and bonus cards.
This game takes a little over an hour to play and while it may seem like it has a pretty tame concept, it's super-competitive, with reviewers noting how quickly they were sucked into its world.
Another game that began its life on Kickstarter, Rising Sun raised more than $4.2 million for its developers, obliterating its original $300,000 goal. Three to five players battle for control in feudal Japan and every player chooses a clan, each of which brings its own unique advantages to the game. There are two phases to game play, the Political Phase, during which players prepare their clans for the second phase: War. The Political Phase can be spent recruiting new fighters, marshalling their forces, and training their existing clan. There are also Train Political Mandates, which allows players to spend capital earned in-game on bonuses like monsters that can bring strength to your existing forces.
The War Phase is where the action is, and is also when dominance over each area of the board is decided. This part of the game requires cunning and the ability to bluff to win battles and take opponents' coins.At the end of the game, players earn points for the number of coins they have and the battles that they have won. The player who has the most is the new Emperor!
Game play is 90-120 minutes, and reviewers online rave that gameplay is always different, ensuring that no one gets bored as they battle for supremacy.
A Game from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
If you look up to a certain scruffy-looking nerf herder, this is the game for you because it lets everyone play as a scoundrel. The point of this four player game is to build up your own mythos and make your mark on the galaxy, playing as either a bounty hunter, a mercenary, or a smuggler. Players to go on missions like bounty hunting, along with taking dangerous jobs for some of the scum of the universe. These missions come in the form of cards. The more successful you are, the more fame (or infamy) you gain. As you get further into the game, you can even hire ne'er do wells like Han Solo, Jyn Erso, and Boba Fett to join your crew.
Be forewarned, though—building up a mythos takes time and gameplay for Star Wars Outer Rim can last up to 3 hours. The first person to earn 10 fame tokens is the winner!
Impress Your King!
Architects of the West Kingdom is set at the end of the Carolingian Empire—for non-history buffs, that's central and western Europe around 850 A.D. One to five players seek to impress the King and maintain their status by building landmarks, which requires collecting materials, hiring apprentices, and keeping an eye on the workforce. Finishing a construction project earns a player Victory Points. But it's not that easy—rival architects (other players) will try to undercut your progress. And, while sabotage may seem the fastest way to get ahead, morals matter. If you make too many under-handed deals, it will impact your Virtue and impact your Victory Points.
This game is recommended for players age 12 and up and has a 60-80 minute play time. It ends once a set number of construction projects are finished. The player with the most Victory Points at game's end wins.
Solve A Crime
So the coolest thing about this game, which involves crime investigations, is that there's a virtual reality (VR) component. The game goes beyond the physical board, locations, characters, and items with an app that allows players to choose their scenario and follow a story. The goal is the catch the killer in the shortest time possible.
This game is ideal for 1-4 players, and should take between 60 and 90 minutes to complete.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Were you and your crew obsessed with those Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid? Want to relive that thrill as an adult? Gloomhaven is the way to go.
Gloomhaven is for 2-4 players and typically offers between 60 and 120 of playtime per game. Players must work together to clear out dungeons, gain experience, and expand their story, which can be built upon game-after-game. The game uses an innovative card system to drive gameplay and is meant for players 12 years and up.
Discover Mysterious Beasts
In this game, players are cryptozoologists working to uncover an elusive creature. Each player is given a handful of clues, and everyone must cajole their opponents into revealing information. But if you reveal too much, another player will find the creature first! Misdirection is a Crypid's player's best friend.
With a modular board, five clue books, and a deck of setup cards, there are hundreds of possible Cryptid scenarios to play through. Players can also augment their game with an app.
Build a Civilization
This game was the talk of SPIEL 2018, an international gaming and novelty trade show that takes place each year in Essen, Germany. In Teotihuacan: City of the Gods, players strategically move workers to research technologies, build a pyramid, collect precious items, and climb the steps of the great temple. Different board layouts mean that the game can be played differently each and every time. The game uses a "dice as workers" concept that keeps gameplay interesting. There's even a solo mode if your game night falls through!
Tell a Story
In this magical kingdom, a princess, a knight, and a dragon are looking for adventure. It's the players' job to build the kingdom around them by laying down tiles to build the landscape around them. Players are able to create mountains, forests, and plains and guide the princess, knight, and dragon in accomplishing objectives written on the pages of each player's "Book." As an objective is accomplished, the player is able to read that page aloud. The first player to read their entire Book wins.
This game is meant for players ages 8 and up. Each game lasts about 30 minutes and 2-4 people are able to play at a time.
Make Friends...and Enemies
To win this strategic card game, players must assemble an army of seven unicorns to become the Righteous Ruler of All Things Magical. You start with a Baby Unicorn in your stable and through card-drawn upgrades, downgrades, and magic, you can build your army. Be aware, though, that cards impact other players, so it's very possible that you'll make a few enemies along the way looking to thwart your progress!
This game is best for players aged 14 and older and can accommodate as few as 2 players or as many as 8.
Taking place after the apocalypse, Remnants is a survival game in which players must build a compounds and fight to survive raiders and mutant creatures looking to bring them down. Players are able to send survivors into the "Badlands" to find different resources, which are acquired by rolling dice. These resources can be used to buy weapons, defense, and special development cards. You then use resource cards to stay alive and fend off attacks.
Meant for 2-4 players age 13 and up. Each game of Remnants lasts about 1 hour.
Search For Gold
With more than 100,000 possible board layouts, Quest for El Dorado is an ever-changing, deck-building, adventure game for 2-4 players ages 10 and up.
Players take on the role of a group of daring adventurers searching for the lost City of Gold. Throughout the game, players can accumulate equipment to assist them on their quest. The first player to find El Dorado and cross into the city is the winner. Each game takes about 60 minutes to complete.
Players don't just love this game, it's garnered industry attention as well. It was a finalist for 2017 Game of the Year.
Grow a Forest
This strategy board game has players planting and shaping an ever-growing forest, taking trees through their full life-cycle from seedling to full-bloom. Players must take care though, as they grow their forests, as trees need sunlight to grow and those left in the shade are unable to earn points.
Each player of Photosynthesis gets his or her own board. The game comes with gorgeous pieces representing 4 species each of small, medium and big trees.
Photosynthesis accommodates 2-4 players and was created for ages 8 and up.
Create a Universe
The objective of this game is to become the Grand Architect of the Universe—a lofty endeavor indeed! Stellium is a game for ages 10 and up in which gamers play as the first Divinities to appear from the Chaos. As these divinities, players work to align astral bodies (in the form of gorgeous multi-textured marbles) in accordance with goal cards. Whoever earns the most goal cards by the end of the game is the winner.
Stellium is for 2-4 players and has a play time of between 30 and 60 minutes.
This chaotic and raucous game is fantastic for parties. Players scream and shout as they work together to try and repair a malfunctioning spaceship on the brink of being sucked into a black hole. Team coordination is a huge part of the game, as each player is responsible for repairing malfunctions in their own individual sectors of the ship. If one person fails, everyone fails.
Each round only lasts 5 minutes, so players have to work quick to find all the right tools to get the ship into tip-top shape.
For 3-6 players, this game can get a little intense and is best for ages 10 and up.