Board games have been making a comeback lately, and that may be due to the introduction of online emulators that allow access to tabletop games, providing the capability of continuing and stopping play at the player’s convenience. The introduction of this technology has been beneficial because there has been a plethora of new and interesting games that will receive a lot of play in 2022. Also, now that the average nuclear family is inside and playing more games because of Covid, they may become more heavily invested in the market. Quality of the games themselves seem to be progressing profusely with a larger market as well. Here are some of the most interesting games that will take over 2022.
The most anticipated sequel of a classic board game is Fall of the Mountain King. Its predecessor In the Hall of the Mountain King was well received and reviewed. Players balanced objectives with the help of trolls to gain the most honor and win the game (Norris) (https://gametyrant.com/news/in-the-hall-of-the-mountain-king-review-a-game-of-mountainous-proportions&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1643745374133203&usg=AOvVaw0PhSauXioYXH32-hUuodXr.) The tile-placing game solidified itself within the board game market, and the next game in the franchise intends to do the same.
(Prototype in figure) Photo by: Jonathan H. Liu
Fall of the Mountain King is a prequel, so it is set within the same world and will utilize the same terminology. The game itself will be relatively new though because it is more of a defense building game that also focuses on the relations between the factions of trolls that helped you in the first game. The board itself also looks different than the original, but still contains familiarity. It is more simple and not overdone.
There are turns in overall gameplay, and that is what makes the prequel so exciting. It is steering towards a more action-packed theme. Using the same lore, the game will focus on the ancestry of your trolls, trolls with special abilities, and battle phases (Liu) (https://geekdad.com/2021/06/kickstarter-tabletop-alert-fall-of-the-mountain-king/&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1643745374134204&usg=AOvVaw2fHlyw7XcY3kdPGdUMVxUF). Considering the first game was relatively tame from an action standpoint, the influx of battles for new territory and the introduction of game affecting gnomes, will give the franchise an edge that can be further built upon in the future.
In 2022 we are still under the grip of an international pandemic, but that means there is more time to stay in and play board games. There may not be a more relatable board game this year than Pandemic Legacy: Season 0. It was released in late 2021, so it will receive most of its turnout in 2022. It could belong in the updated classics because the base game has been around for a while. However, the game's namesake and unpredictability makes it more relatable and relevant for 2022.
Season 0 has some differences from the base game and seasons 1 and 2 because it is a prequel to the entire franchise. In terms of mechanics and story, there are many changes to the rules and how you navigate the game in general (Borck) (https://geeksundergrace.com/tabletop/review-pandemic-legacy-season-0/&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1643745374134934&usg=AOvVaw0WGp3bHpqeDa3z0xzAlKFZ). The biggest difference in the game from past Pandemics, and the pandemic in real life, is that the fate of the pandemic lies in the hands of spies. The change in direction adds some more intrigue to the gameplay. Most of its charm comes from the game constantly changing. One session is not like any other, and that is true to normal Pandemic fashion.
A big question may be whether people will be too tired of the current pandemic to play Pandemic. That may be true for people who are not loyal fans of the series, but the franchise does have a fanbase that will pick this next season up off the shelves in 2022.
Best New Digital Tabletop
Gloomhaven is another title that was released towards the end of 2021 that may receive a lot of attention in 2022. It is a large RPG where the player is given a mercenary to fight in various combat scenarios. It has been well regarded as a tabletop, drawing comparisons to Dungeons and Dragons, and now it will become fairly solidified in the digital industry.
(Photo by: Asmodee Image)
The digital version looks relatively similar to other digital turn-based games like Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy, and Return of the King in terms of graphics. Although, it does seem a shade darker than the previously mentioned titles, and that compliments its dungeon crawler themes and progression. The digital form has simplified the game entirely as common players no longer need to deal with the large number of pieces. The information in the digitized version is collected well and remains straightforward.
The biggest appeal is the transfer of quality (Theel) from the physical version to the online version. The ability to play games like these with family and friends is the most enjoyable aspect for a lot of players, and that aspect has not left even though it has gone digital. In fact, the digital version has implemented great single player mechanics that keep the game just as fun even if there is no one else but one person playing.
Best Upcoming Deck Builder
Endless Winter: Paleoamericans has been a very anticipated game for a couple of years. Instances of the game have been around since 2020 (Kickstarter), but its credited release is 2022. The game has garnered buzz for some time now because of the digital versions that have surfaced, so it will be interesting to see if the game will rise to the hype or lose some of its motivation. If the game proves itself to be solid, then it still might be a game worth sinking into.
Players take over Paleoamericans and lead them through multiple eras, leaving a legacy of their tribe along the way. Dictating the course of an entire group of people has never seemed easier. It just takes the right cards. The mechanics are specifically catching the eyes of board game lovers.
There are cards with multiple uses, placeable tiles that change the accessibility of certain abilities, and effects that come into play as your tribe progresses (Boardgame). The mechanics do seem complex. However, it does not seem like it will be a mess considering what has been released and whether it can be refined.
The pieces look refined and crisp: market ready. The physical version also attracts family audiences considering the appearance, color, and simplicity of the pieces. It looks like a promising time and may be a big hit during 2022.
All in One and Possibly More
A new game in production, Origin Story, has only just now been revealed, and it may be a blend of most of these games. The three co-creators are comprised of two brothers: Jaden and Graysen Yocom, and their close friend Frank Olvera. The board game is their first foray into tabletops, but their stake in the industry may be solidified through their ambitious outlook on the development of entertainment. The game is currently under production and is almost at a beta level of testing, so it may take towards the end of 2022 for release. However, the anticipation may build after an interview with the creators left a great impression after a few revelations. They unveiled that the board game will be based off a comic they are releasing under the same name. Both will contain villains, heroes, and monsters with unique abilities, new twists, and connected storytelling.
Co-creator Frank Olvera spoke on the mechanics saying they “begin with symbolized classes that each player obtains and remains in affinity with. Each class has unique powers and represented candidate cards. The candidate cards have specialized abilities that help affect the board. There are marketplaces to recruit candidates, resource dice to afford candidates, and turn based card draw. The board actually has effective tiles where candidates are placed, and an interwoven scoring system where most actions and objectives successfully completed with candidates lead to points” (Sapp et al). The combination leaves a lot of calculation and systems that have to be kept track of, but the creators say that a digital version of the game is under production as well.
Graysen Yocom remarked that “The physical version will have a unique feeling that you can only get with all the pieces in front of you. A different authenticity” (Sapp et all). The physical board itself will come with many interesting pieces. It is made of tiles interlocking in 5x5 rows creating a square, but they are symbolically divided into class territories by matching symbols.
(Photo by: Jaden Yocom)
The creators are attempting to combine old mediums with new practices. Co-Creator Jaden Yocom mentioned that music may play a part in the accompanying comic as the production team is experimenting with adding sound within the pages of the comic book itself. His background as musical artist “Jaded” has aided experimentation with the musical themes that their aspirations dream of. The interesting experimentation and attempts at adapting the medium in innovative ways shows the interest the creative team has in the execution of their overall vision which includes their board game.
In 2022 Origin Story may be released with some other fine board games listed. Either way the competition seems fun, and board games winning means there are more players who are winning. The digital age doesn’t seem like it will completely take over either. There’s just a different feeling to actually owning the physical copy, setting it up, and playing. Leaving the board on the table as a trophy for everyone to be reminded of will not be going away any time soon.
Borck, Andrew. “Review – Pandemic Legacy: Season 0.” Geeks Under Grace, 26 Nov. 2020, https://geeksundergrace.com/tabletop/review-pandemic-legacy-season-0/.
Liu, Jonathan H. “Kickstarter Tabletop Alert: 'Fall of the Mountain King'.” GeekDad, 16 June 2021, https://geekdad.com/2021/06/kickstarter-tabletop-alert-fall-of-the-mountain-king/.
Norris, Devon. “In the Hall of the Mountain King Review: A Game of Mountainous Proportions.” GameTyrant, GameTyrant, 22 Sept. 2020, https://gametyrant.com/news/in-the-hall-of-the-mountain-king-review-a-game-of-mountainous-proportions.
Sapp, Aaron, et al. “Interview with Origin Story Creators.” 14 Jan. 2022.
Theel, Charles. “Gloomhaven's Digital Adaptation Is a Marvelous Turn-Based Dungeon Crawler.” Polygon, Polygon, 13 Oct. 2021, https://www.polygon.com/reviews/22723403/gloomhaven-digital-review-pc-steam-mac-gog-adaptation.
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Writer's Bio: Aaron Sapp is a persistent researcher and writer who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2021. He tends to write in the fields of entertainment, eWaste, and sociology. The Bay Area and Los Angeles based writer is influenced by literature, Hip-Hop, social injustice, and family values. It is normal for him to approach journalistic writing in a way that retains an unbiased approach, sticking to just the facts. He values authenticity and strives to help other writers explore ideas without compromising their own style and voice, and wishes to inspire willpower with all future projects. His hobbies outside of writing include music production, physical activity, and creating different forms of therapy. Read more articles by this author