It’s 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.
OR SEE THE: Best Board Games Of The Decade 2010 – 2020
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#20 | Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar
Just making the list of the best board games of 2012 is about the original 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.
FOR MORE: Buy Tzolk’in The Mayan Calendar
#19 | Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
A fun adventure game just making the list of the best board games of 2012 follows an iconic family. 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.
FOR MORE: Buy Robinson Crusoe
#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. This game on the list of the best board games of 2012 may be towards the end of the list but it was an easy add.
FOR MORE: Buy Clash of Cultures
#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. As far as 2-player options on this list of the best board games of 2012, this is a fantastic choice.
FOR MORE: Buy Mage Wars Arena
#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. The list of the best board games of 2012 wouldn’t be complete without a big property like Lord of the Rings.
FOR MORE: Buy War of the Ring
#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! The game is genius and rightfully deserves a place on the list of the best board games of 2012. This strategy game is for 2 – 5 players and will last about 2 hours per game.
FOR MORE: Buy The Manhattan Project
#14 | Zombicide
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. If you like Zombies, you will like this best board games of 2012 game.
FOR MORE: Buy Zombicide
#13 | Suburbia
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. If you like Sim City or town building, this entry on the list of the best board games of 2012 is for you.
FOR MORE: Games Like Suburbia | Buy Suburbia
#12 | Love Letter
Moving into the middle of the list of the best board games of 2012 is the lightweight 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.
FOR MORE: Buy Love Letter
#11 | The Resistance: Avalon
At number eleven on the list of the best board games of 2012 is a social deduction party one. 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.
FOR MORE: Buy The Resistance Avalon
#10 | Terra Mystica
Terra Mystica is a full information game without any luck that rewards strategic planning. Each player governs one of the 14 groups. With subtlety and craft, the player must attempt to rule as great an area as possible and to develop that group’s skills. Taking turns, the players execute their actions on the resources they have at their disposal. This territory building strategy game is for 2 – 5 players and will go 60 – 150 minutes. Terra Mystica is a classic and an easy add to the best board games of 2012.
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#09 | Seasons
This epic game finds the greatest sorcerers of the kingdom gathered for the legendary tournament of the 12 seasons. An easy pick for best board games of 2012, it is a tactical game of cards and dice that takes place in two phases. First is the “Prelude” phase consisting of a card draft where you build a 9-card deck. Next comes the “Tournament” where players roll dice to establish a variety of actions. A strategy game for 2 – 4 players and will go for about an hour.
FOR MORE: Buy Seasons
#08 | Descent: Journeys in the Dark
Descent: Journeys in the Dark is a board game in which one player takes on the role of the treacherous overlord, and up to four other players take on the roles of courageous heroes. During each game, the heroes embark on quests and venture into dangerous caves, ancient ruins, dark dungeons, and cursed forests to battle monsters, earn riches and attempt to stop the overlord from carrying out his vile plot. The games go for about 2 hours.
FOR MORE: Buy Descent Journeys in the Dark
#07 | Tokaido
In Tokaido, each player is a traveler crossing the “East sea road”, one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. While traveling, you will meet people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas, and visit temples and wild places but at the end of the day, when everyone has arrived at the end of the road you’ll have to be the most initiated traveler to win. This beautiful journey game is for 2 – 5 players and will run about 45 minutes. Out of all the games on the list of the best board games of 2012, Tokaido is certainly the best looking.
FOR MORE: Tokaido Page | How To Play Tokaido | Tokaido Review | Games Like Tokaido | Buy Tokaido
#06 | Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
In Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, you become an animal breeder of horses, cows, sheep and pigs and try to make the most of your pastures. Players start with a 3×2 game board that can be expanded during play to give more room for players to grow and animals to run free. Sixteen possible actions are available for players to take, with each player taking three actions total in each of the eight rounds. An easy choice for the best board games of 2012. Made for 2 players for quick 30 minute games.
FOR MORE: Buy Agricola
#05 | Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
To set up the game, players choose a mastermind villain, stack that particular villain’s attack cards underneath it, then modify the villain deck as needed based on that villain’s particular scheme. Players then choose a number of hero decks – Spider-Man, Hulk, Cyclops, Wolverine, etc. – and shuffle them together. You build up your hero decks to attack the villains. A game for 1 – 5 players that will run about 45 minutes each.
#04 | Lords of Waterdeep
In Lords of Waterdeep, you take on the role of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep, secret rulers of the city. Through your agents, you recruit adventurers to go on quests, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city. Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions, and hinder – or help – the other lords by playing Intrigue cards to enact your carefully laid plans. A strategy game for 2-5 players for 60 – 120 minutes.
FOR MORE: Games Like Lords of Waterdeep | Buy Lords of Waterdeep
#03 | Android: Netrunner
Receiving the bronze medal on the list of the best board games of 2012 is an amazing card game. Android: Netrunner is an asymmetrical Living Card Game for two players. Set in the cyberpunk future of Android and Infiltration, the game pits a megacorporation and its massive resources against the subversive talents of lone runners. Corporations seek to score agendas by advancing them while runners need to acquire resources, buy hardware and developing systems to hack security. This bluffing card game will run about 45 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Android Netrunner
#02 | Mice and Mystics
In Mice and Mystics, players take on the roles of those still loyal to the king – but to escape the clutches of Vanestra, they have been turned into mice! Play as cunning field mice who must race through a castle now twenty times larger than before. The castle would be a dangerous place with Vanestra’s minions in control, but now countless other terrors also await heroes who are but the size of figs. A strategy game for 1 – 4 players lasting about 60 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Games Like Mice & Mystics | Buy Mice & Mystics
#01 | Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
Taking the top spot on the list of the best board games of 2012 is one from a galaxy far far away. Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful Rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Whatever your chosen vessel, the rules of X-Wing facilitate fast and visceral gameplay that puts you in the middle of Star Wars fiercest firefights. A customizable war game for 2 players that will last about 30 – 45 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game
OR SEE THE: Best Board Games Of The Decade 2010 – 2020