The Best New Board Games that Tabletop Players Will Love
It's that time of year again, when people's thoughts turn to holiday gifts and, more specifically, how to beef up their loved ones' gaming shelves! If you're looking for the perfect gift for your gaming friends or a something new to spice up your own gaming endeavors, check out the latest iteration of our popular list of best board games. We updated it with some of the top releases of late 2018, so there are definitely some games here you haven't seen before.
We have something new for everyone—from card games to adventure to strategy!
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. Gloomhaven uses an innovative card system to drive gameplay and is meant for players 12 years and up.
Editor's Note: This game is wildly popular and is currently out of stock on Amazon. We recommend buying it anyway and letting it ship once Amazon has more in stock. It's that good.
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!
This 3-4 player game is simultaneously a bidding and area control endeavor. Using tokens, players are able to bid against their opponents to win support and get people on your side for a revolution! Support can be gained through good, old-fashioned bribery and blackmail. Each ally is worth a certain amount of points, and the revolutionary with the most support at the end wins the game.
Each game of Revolution! requires a mix of strategy and luck, and only takes about an hour to complete.
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.
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.
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.
This 10-minute party game will have your entire group of friends howling. It's really simple to play—download the accompanying free app, select your cards, and go. Players randomly draw cards to determine their character, which could be a good guy—like a witch, bodyguard, or curator—or one of the bad guys, all of which are different types of werewolves. Basically, the good guys have to figure out who the werewolves are. If they discover the wolves, they win. If they don't, the werewolves win.
This game plays 3-7 people at a time and requires very little space, making it perfect for road trips!
Secret Hitler is a game of political intrigue and betrayal set in 1930s Germany. The players are divided into two teams—liberals and fascists. The fascists' goal is to install Hitler into power, while the liberals aim to stop them. The majority of players are liberal, with a minority of fascists. However, the fascists know who each other are, making them an insidious force to reckon with!
Secret Hitler is a great party game, as it requires 5-10 people to play. It's also one of the more adult-oriented games on this list. No little kids for this one.
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.
Explore New Frontiers
For many tabletop gamers, this is THE game of the 2018. Released just last year, Terraforming Mars offers over 200 different missions to complete for 1 to 5 players ages 12 and up.
The game takes place in the 2400s, as humans begin to terraform the planet Mars. Players must do everything from raise the planet's temperature and oxygen levels to expanding ocean coverage to make the Mars environment habitable. As the game progresses, the process becomes more complicated because more and more people will immigrate from Earth to Mars.
Players earn points for not only making Mars more habitable for humans, but for expanding civilization across the Red Planet. At the end of the game, the person with the most points wins.
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.
A Game We're Looking Forward To
For fans of the classic flash cartoon site HomestarRunner.com, Trogdor the Burninator needs no introduction. For those unfamiliar with Homestar Runner and Trogdor, click HERE. You won't be disappointed.
Ok, now that we're all on the same page, the great minds behind HomestarRunner.com have created a board game in which up to six people can assist Trogdor in his endeavors to burninate an entire village and all of the peasants who live there. Players come up against knights and archers and must defeat them to continue on their path of destruction.
The game absolutely obliterated its Kickstarter goal of $75,000, with more than $944,000 pledged when this article was posted. It should start shipping to backers in June of next year. Learn more about the game HERE.