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The Best Games Of 2024 – June


Every year there seems to be more and more games released and so many of them simply disappear into the dusty realms of However, there are those that stand out from the crowd and make a real splash in the tabletop world. We are now only half way through 2024 but there are games from the last year or two that are showing their staying power and if you had missed them, now really is the time to delve in and give them a try. Below are five such games. All which were released within the last two years but are now really shining bright, some with expansions coming and others that are still pretty hot off the press.


First up was one of the biggest surprises of the year so far. Back in January, Stonemaier Games dropped the bombshell that there was to be a spin-off from one of the most popular and most successful games in recent memory, Wingspan.

Wingspan, having sold over two million copies since its fairly recent release of 2019 has taken the hobby by storm. It has a number of expansions already released, a few more announced, a big box storage solution as well as a jigsaw puzzle line of its beautiful artwork. It’s even been seen on Coronation Street! It sees you collecting bird cards in a tableaux in front of you enabling you to pull off powerful actions as the game goes on. It not only kicked off designer Elizabeth Hargrave’s career but also flooded the hobby with nature themed games in an attempt to get a fraction of the market space created by Wingspan. Well now we have Wrymspan.

As the name suggests, we are now dragologists, collecting information on wryms and dragons. Despite taking its inspiration from the Wingspan system, it offers a very different game play. You now have to explore and excavate caves before you can entice dragons there and you also get to hatch eggs into little baby creatures and help them grow. Connie Vogelmann’s design also adds guilds that add a rondel mechanism to the game making it a lot thinkier and more challenging than its predecessor. The artwork by Clémentine Campardou is a gorgeous watercolour which keeps the feel of the game in a natural, albeit fictional, world. This is definitely not your parent’s D&D world of dragons! If you have played Wingspan then learning this will be easy but even coming to it fresh, the theme really helps you understand the choices you have and guide you through the gameplay.

As someone who has played a lot of Wingspan, I have quite quickly taken to the wyrms a lot more and seen it replace that spot on my shelf. Afterall, is there anything more exciting than exploring beautiful caves to discover a myriad of magical creatures to capture in your journal only to earn your place in one of the most prestigious guilds known to the natural world?! I thought not.

Sky Team - Harvey Brewer

When I heard about this feature, there was one game I just knew I had to write about – Sky Team. Having only been on the market for around a year, it has already garnered several accolades, including two esteemed Golden Geek awards for best two-player and best cooperative game. It’s become a firm favourite in my household thanks to its addictive, but never repetitive, gameplay that keeps the game fresh and exciting.

The premise of Sky Team is very simple: Players take it in turns placing dice onto the 'control panel’ to change various settings and gauges; such as the axial tilt, the speed, or the fuel use of the plane. Certain spaces require certain numbers, compare both players’ dice, or are exclusive to one player, thus it is important that players are mindful of each other’s responsibilities as they place their own dice, and try to put themselves in each other’s shoes. This creates a somewhat interdependent system which is unique to Sky Team in that it is just as important to focus on your own tasks as it is to be mindful of your teammate’s – making for exciting and tense gameplay.

Oh, and you can’t talk whilst placing your dice – so expect lots of nail-biting moments as you watch your teammate place their last dice, hoping you made the right choice earlier in the round! There is something very special about Sky Team, which sets it apart from most other games released last year, and I think that is the fact that it brings something entirely new to the table. It’s a cooperative game that challenges players to decide on their priorities, often before you’ve even rolled your dice, before completely smashing your plans as you watch in horror at your co-pilot placing that six right where you didn’t want them to! The unique combination of luck and strategy is handled expertly in a way that simply can’t be faulted, and this marriage of themes is exactly what makes this game perfect for any gaming duos looking for something new. Go and get Sky Team, you won’t regret it!

Earth - Pete Bartlam

If you are looking for best games to play now, it’s hard to look beyond Earth. A game that looks fabulous, is great to play, with up to 5 players, with a “Simultaneous Prosperity” rule that that means everyone is involved every turn, plus a top rated solo mechanism and an almost infinite number of set up variations so no two games are the same. It’s easy to see why it has won a Golden Geek award for Best Medium weight Game of The Year.

Earth sees you select an Island with an associated Climate and Ecosystem from the 52 double-sided cards that give 25,600 possible starting points. It’s up to you if you choose a harmonious blend or give yourself an extra challenge with more difficult conditions. Either way you strive to build a 4 x 4 tableau of plants from fungi to mighty trees and possibly terrain from the 283 Earth cards. You “pay” for said plants with soil and the larger plants can Grow with physical, stackable, wooden towers up to 4 high and capped by a Canopy. You aim to get your plants into high scoring juxtapositions and you can also try to create the conditions that will let some of the various Fauna – animals and birds – thrive there for more VPs.

There are 4 possible Actions: Planting, Composting, Watering and Growing. These let you add plants to your tableau, improve them, get more soil or more plant cards, with the brilliant “Simultaneous Prosperity” rule meaning everyone does some of this each turn, just not as much as the Active player. These actions are colour coded and linked cards in your tableau will generate further benefits. Play it once, you’ll enjoy it. Play it again and it will be totally different and just as enjoyable. Just play it!

Heat Pedal to the Metal - Northern Invasion Stu

If you were to look over my Board Game Geek profile summary you would see that I don’t play many competitive board games outside of tournaments. This is primarily because one or two members of my family do not deal particularly well with losing. We therefore generally tend to lean towards cooperative games where we either win or lose together. However, we make an exception for Heat: Pedal to the Metal.

Heat is an exceptional game. Its modular rule set means that introductory sessions of the game can be very simple and it is easily learned by even young family members. However, once you build up to using all of the plug-ins (such as car customisation, artificial intelligence for non-player racers and random weather events) the game becomes an absolute joy to play with just the right of complexity to keep it interesting but fun for all ages.

The game plays fairly quickly meaning that it is possible to get through a full race in under an hour and we find that the option to link together races in championship seasons is the icing on the cake for Heat. Knowing that the outcome of one particular race isn’t the end keeps even my family members that don’t enjoy losing games interested and upbeat despite their not making the podium. If you include sponsorship goals and specific objectives for each race, which are included in campaign play, everybody has something to aim for and winning isn’t necessarily the most important thing. We have enjoyed playing so much at home and at our local games club that we have even had trophies made for 2024’s local winners and losers.

The base game includes six cars, four tracks and everything you need to play three fixed championship seasons. However it is fine to randomise the championship seasons so you are not stuck with only the three set campaigns in the box. Whilst it’s great fun playing multiplayer with up to six players, the AI system is such that solo play is equally enjoyable - which isn’t always the case with solo systems sometimes seemingly tacked-on as an afterthought. The recent Heavy Rain expansion has added an additional driver, more car upgrades, more sponsorship goals, two tracks and another championship season to the game. Given that there is space within the base game box for eight cars we shouldn’t have long to wait for yet another expansion. Very exciting.

There have been many great games over the past couple of years but for me Heat Pedal to the Metal rightfully stands out as one of the must have releases that I am certainly going to be playing throughout 2024 and beyond.

Scholars of the South Tigris - Hannah Blacknell

Garphill Games design games that really hit for me. Scholars of the South Tigris is the second in the series (with Wayfarers and Inventors) and I will not shy away from the fact this is a big game. There is a lot going on, but I really love it. The theme of this game is that you are trying to translate scrolls into Arabic in the hopes of compiling knowledge in the sciences. This is done using action selection cards and dice as workers. The game is based around colours and colour mixing and as such it is a delight on the table. The board here is big, and contains loads of different areas where you can take different actions. The main aim is to gain points, but the ways you can do this are varied. You can translate scrolls, these will be worth points innately but they also offer additional end game scoring opportunities and direction for the rest of your game. You can gain points during the game by taking control of the three houses of wisdom for in game and endgame benefits. There are points and special abilities to be gained by employing and retiring translators, and you can boost your in-game income as well as gaining points by bumping the tracks in the centre of the board.

All of this coupled together with the smooth as butter dice manipulation and colour mixing has me on tenterhooks from start to finish in this game. This to me is a true masterpiece, I enjoy the solo and the multiplayer versions and I enjoy the standard and the extended epic versions of the game too. I love the graphic design, and the component quality is high as you would expect from Garphill Games. If you are wanting to get your teeth into a new meatier game then I really think you cannot go wrong with this one.

Every year there are more and more games coming out making our tabletops a much more exciting place! These are just some of the highlights of the past couple of years but if you are after more then you can try out the huge campaign Oathsworn, the newest legacy game Ticket to Ride: Legends of the West, or the cute little tableaux builder Forest Shuffle. And if you are looking ahead then, for me, the most exciting game on the horizon is Arcs from Leder Games, the designer behind Root and Oath. A space game of exploration that can be played as a one off or as a three act campaign. Whatever your tastes 2024 is a great year for gaming!