Its 2012, Barack Obama is elected to his second term of US president, “Gangnam Style” destroys Youtube view count records, Fifty Shades of Grey sparks “mommy porn” revolution, US tops win and gold count at London Summer Olympics, Disney buys Star Wars followed by annihilating box office records with Marvel’s Avengers, Honey Boo Boo is the big reality star, Channing Tatum is everywhere, Facebook goes public and the Twilight Saga film franchise comes to an end. Equally impressive were the slew of new board games that hit the market. Below please find the best board games of 2012.
#20 Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar
Tzolkin: The Mayan Calendar presents a new game mechanism: dynamic worker placement. Players representing different Mayan tribes place their workers on giant connected gears, and as the gears rotate they take the workers to different action spots. This mythic strategy game is for 2 – 4 players and will last about 90 minutes a game.
#19 Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Robinson Crusoe takes the players to a deserted island, where they’ll play the parts of shipwreck survivors confronted by an extraordinary adventure. They’ll be faced with the challenges of building a shelter, finding food, fighting wild beasts, and protecting themselves from weather changes. The players decide in which direction the game will unfold and – after several in-game weeks of hard work – how their settlement will look. For 1 – 4 players at about 1 – 2 hours a pop.
#18 Clash of Cultures
Clash of Cultures is a civilization game in which each player leads a civilization from a single settlement to a mighty empire. Players must explore their surroundings, build large cities, research advances and conquer those who stand in the way. The winner will create a culture that will be remembered and admired for millennia. A modular strategy game for 2 – 4 players running about 3 – 4 hours a game.
#17 Mage Wars Arena
Mage Wars Arena pits powerful Mages against each other in deadly arena combat. Each Mage uses his own fully-customizable book of spells to achieve total victory over his opponent. A tactical board game, a combination of a card game and miniatures game, combining the best elements from each genre. This fantasy adventure is for 2 players and will run for about 90 minutes.
#16 War of the Ring
In War of the Ring, one player takes control of the Free Peoples (FP), the other player controls Shadow Armies (SA). Initially, the FP Nations are reluctant to take arms against Sauron, so they must be attacked by Sauron or persuaded by Gandalf or other Companions, before they start to fight properly: this is represented by the Political Track, which shows if a Nation is ready to fight in the War of the Ring or not. Each game turn revolves around the roll of Action Dice: each die corresponds to an action that a player can do during a turn. This thematic wargame is for 2 – 4 players and will go about 2.5 – 3 hours.
#15 The Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project makes you the leader of a great nation’s atomic weapons program in a deadly race to build bigger and better bombs. You must assign your workers to multiple projects: building your bomb-making infrastructure, expending your military to protect it, or sending your spies to steal your rival’s hard work! This strategy game is for 2 – 5 players and will last about 2 hours per game.
Zombicide is a collaborative game in which players take the role of a survivor – each with unique abilities – and harness both their skills and the power of teamwork against the hordes of unthinking undead! Find weapons, kill zombies. The more zombies you kill, the more skilled you get; the more skilled you get, the more zombies appear. The only way out is zombicide! For 1 – 6 players, each game should last about an hour each.
Plan, build and develop a small town into a major metropolis. Use hex-shaped building tiles to add residential, commercial, civic, and industrial areas, as well as special points of interest that provide benefits and take advantage of the resources of nearby towns. Your goal is to have your borough thrive and end up with a greater population than any of your opponents. This strategy game is for 1 – 4 players and will go for about 90 minutes.
#12 Love Letter
Your goal is to get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands while deflecting the letters from competing suitors. On a turn, you draw one card, and play one card, trying to expose others and knock them from the game. Powerful cards lead to early gains but make you a target. Rely on weaker cards for too long, however, and your letter may be tossed in the fire! This player elimination hand management game is for 2 – 4 players and will last about 20 minutes each.
#11 The Resistance: Avalon
The Resistance: Avalon pits the forces of Good and Evil in a battle to control the future of civilization. Hidden among his brave warriors are Mordred’s unscrupulous minions. These forces of evil are few in number but have knowledge of each other and remain hidden from all but one. Merlin alone knows the agents of evil, but he must speak of this only in riddles. This memory hidden traitor party game is for 5 – 10 players and will run about 30 minutes.