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Board games keep getting bigger and bigger in terms of popularity. 2019 was a fantastic year for board games, with some really awesome games having hit store shelves this year.
With so many new games, it can be hard to decide which games to add to your collection. After all, playing board games isn’t a cheap hobby, and as much as we’d like to, there’s just enough money to buy every game released.
Don’t worry, though, because we’ve gone through the big games released in 2019 to find the best of the best.
This is a fantastic game with a solid 8.1 rating on BoardGameGeek. It’s a card-based game that’s considered medium weight, which makes it good for both beginning players and more hardcore board game fans.
Wingspan is all about birds—each player is trying to attract birds to their preserve, and the winner of the game is one who racks up the most points by the end. According to the creator of the game, anyone who enjoyed Terraforming Mars and Gizmos will enjoy the mechanics offered by Wingspan.
Horrified is a co-op game where each player must work together to survive attacks from the famous Universal Monsters. It has a solid 7.9 rating on BoardGameGeek. Not only do you need to survive the relentless monsters, but you also need to save villagers and follow certain mechanics to defeat the monsters.
There are seven different monsters in the game, and each has different mechanics that change up the game, making for greater replay value. The game is fairly easy to play and get started, but if you choose one of the more complicated monsters, it can actually be quite difficult.
3. The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth
This is one of the highest-rated games on BGG from 2019 with a score of 8.2. It’s a campaign-based game, which means it’s a bit of a time commitment to play. Each session is actually one adventure within a larger campaign, so it’s the kind of cooperative game you and your friends can keep coming back to. It’s totally worth the commitment because the gameplay is incredibly deep and fun for groups of 1-5 players.
What really makes this game stand out is the fact that it’s supported by an app. It’s always nice to board game creators use the technology available to push gameplay mechanics forward.
Playing through a round of Tapestry will take a while, as an average game takes 90 minutes to two hours. But it’ll worth it for you and your friends, because this is an incredibly fun board game. Designer Jamey Stegmaier creates a civilization-building game that rivals any of the great video games in the same genre.
Tapestry is a bit on the expensive side compared to some games out, but when you consider the amount of time you’ll get out of your purchase, it’s definitely worth it. The game has a respectable 7.6 rating from over 4,000 reviews on BGG, so you can have confidence that it’s a good one.
5. Aeon’s End: Legacy
As far as reviews go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one with a higher rating than Aeon’s End: Legacy, as it has an impressive 8.3 on Board Game Geek. This isn’t the first game in the Aeon’s End universe, but the creators were quick to point out that original isn’t required to play the new one. However, because it takes place in the same universe, it might make sense to at least have a baseline level of knowledge of the previous game and its expansions.
This is a co-op deck building game that can be played by up to four players. You’ll be building characters as you make your way through an extended campaign. And when you finish the campaign, there’s an endgame that’ll allow you to keep playing indefinitely, which makes this game a great value proposition.
6. Escape Plan
Escape Plan, designed by Vital Lacerda, has a 7.8 rating on BGG from over 2,000 reviews. The premise is quite interesting, as it sees each player trying to gather as much loot from a successful robbery as they can while avoiding the police. You’re working against the other players and police with the goal of being the richest robber of the bunch when the game ends.
Escape Plan is quite complicated and difficult, so it’s not a game that’s particularly friendly to new board game players. However, if you’re comfortable with learning deep mechanics and really going deep in a game (the video explaining the rules is 45 minutes long), you should find that Escape Plan is quite rewarding.
7. Tiny Towns
Tiny Towns has a 7.5 rating on BGG from just under four thousand reviews. The gameplay is all about building a thriving town on a 4x4 grid. The player with the highest score (most successful town) ultimately wins.
Tiny Towns supports up to six players, so this is the perfect game to snag if you have a larger group of friends who are looking to jump in and play. It’s also quite beginner-friendly and short, so you should be able to play through a game in about an hour.