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Top 20 Games Of 2022

games of 2022 - libertalia

2022 has been an absolutely brilliant year for the board game hobby. There have been so many amazing games of 2022 released via retail and crowd funding projects, gaming is becoming more mainstream with mentions in both film and tv, and board game cafes are now the place to hang out with your friends rather than the pub.

This year also saw the proper return of gaming conventions with an amazing newcomer Zatu Con ’22 in London. This was easily one of my favourite board gaming moments of 2022 and you can see why in my review. I can’t wait for Zatu Con ’23 and I urge you to book your tickets as soon as they become available.

Another personal highlight was being accepted as a blogger for Zatu. I feel very honoured to be writing with an amazing team and everyone who works for Zatu are the loveliest people you will ever meet.

My Board Game collection has certainly bulged over the last 12 months and I had to source new storage solutions. I cannot claim to have played everything that this year has offered but I have certainly played a wide variety of games and the following 20 are my personal highlights. Some quick provisos; some of these games were released earlier than 2022 in some territories, or they were crowdfunded a few years ago and finally found a retail release this year. It might also be that some games were released very late last year or with a limited print run so they only become readily available this year. Lastly I, like many gamers, have a shelf of shame and some amazing 2022 games have yet to be played for which I am sorry.

Provisos aside, I hope you enjoy this list of my favourite games of 2022.

Libertalia Winds Of Galecrest

Stonemaier Games knocked it out of the park with this release. It brought back a game that has long been out of print and included new rules, more cards and some of the best components you will ever get from a ‘non-deluxe’ release. This is a really cutthroat take that pirate game which is great fun across all of the player counts (one to six).

Every round you are trying to outwit your opponents to claim the best ’booty’ by using your hand of pirates. All players start the game with the same pirates but as you progress through the rounds everyone’s hand of cards become different. This leads to players pushing their luck and succeeding whilst others hold back and find they have left it too late to play that amazing pirate and sometimes the other way around.

Please don’t be put off by the take that element of the game as it perfectly suits the pirate life theme and even if you have a bad turn or round you can always make it up later on.

A perfect game from the long list of games of 2022 for those get togethers with your gamer friends.


A very new game to the list is Orichalcum from designers Bruna Cathala & Johannes Goupy. This two to four player game combines many different mechanisms to create a really fast and exciting experience where you are invested in every players turn from the start of the game to the incredibly exciting finish.

Unusually, this game ends immediately when one player reaches five points and they have no monsters on their island. There is no catch up for other players or tie breakers, instead the game just ends and I love it.

The main mechanism at play is drafting of an action card which also includes new land for your island and possibly a monster. There are benefits for combining lots of the same type of terrain and also for mixing them up. You battle the monsters with a very forgiving push your luck dice roll and you also collect temporary points which could be stolen in an instant from your opponents.

The game has a very small rule change for two players and I especially love the game at two players because of it.


When I first heard about this game I was a little unsure as I don’t normally like real time games. But as soon as I played it for the first time I was hooked. So for this reason, it had to be on my top games of 2022.

This is a cooperative game all about keeping your kites in the sky until the grand finish. The kites are cleverly represented by sand timers which need to be flipped constantly to keep the sand moving. As soon as a timer runs out of sand you lose. Each player has a hand of cards which have different colours on them. These colours are the same as the timers and in turn order each person plays one card and flips any timers whose colour is shown on the card.

The games difficulty can be increased with extra modules that are included in the box which means this game is perfect for family get togethers or as a fun filler in gaming meet ups.


I have written about Kohaku several times this year and that is for a good reason, the game is brilliant.

In Kohaku you are building your perfect koi pond by drafting both a landscape feature as well as a fish each turn. You then place the tiles in the most optimum position to score the most points at the end of the game. This game does not cause any hate drafting or blocking of opponents as there are always so many different tiles you can draft. Also you are not restricted in your placement of the tiles to a certain grid size or shape which makes for a very freeing experience. The game also includes a solo mode which is brilliant.

The graphic design is amazing with little UV spots which sparkle under the light giving the impression of ripples in the water.

If you need a relaxing game from my list of games of 2022, this is the one for you.

Distant Suns

You have played roll & writes as well as flip & writes, but have you ever played a choose & write?

In distant suns you are mapping the galaxy as you fly your ship to discover aliens, space artifacts, new worlds and more by using a choose & write mechanism.

On your turn you choose what type of shape you want to use but also that of your opponents. This leads to difficult decisions as you may really want to use a certain shape but it may mean that you will give your opponent exactly what they want. The game has many different ways of scoring points and has variable round lengths depending on the choices made by all of the players.

If you like roll & writes but are looking for something new and different, this is the best game from games of 2022 for you. It doesn’t hurt that the game looks amazing and the components are top notch.

Switch & Signal

Do you like cooperative games? Do you like train games? If the answer to either of these is yes you need to get Switch & Signal from Kosmos games.

In this game you are tasked with collecting different goods from the cities and delivering them all to the port before you run out of turns. If you rush too much you could cause problems as trains sit at red signals for too long or block each other from entering the city or, in the worst case scenario, they could crash into each other.

The game includes two maps and various ways of increasing or decreasing the difficulty. It is really good fun as you try to solve the ever moving puzzle and could even be played with young train enthusiasts as it is a cooperative game.

Get On Board

Talking of transport have you played Get On Board? A game all about collecting passengers for your bus route and dropping them off at the right destination all whilst trying to avoid congestion but still reaching those valuable tourist spots.

This is a flip & place game as you turn over a card to see what shape you will need to build your route on the shared map. There are multiple ways of scoring such as getting university students to their campus, getting business people to their office, or getting tourists to the hot sights. There are also points obtained for reaching shared objectives with more points awarded to the first player to do so. You definitely don’t want to cross the path of your competitors too much as points are deducted when you create traffic.

A really fun game that looks great and plays really fast. Recommended for family game nights.

Creature Comforts

When thinking about games of 2022, I couldn't forget this one. Talking of family game nights, Creature Comforts is one of the best family games I have ever played. This game from Kids Table Board Games is packed full of beautiful artwork, amazing components and really clever gameplay choices.

You are trying to be the best prepared critters for the upcoming winter by collecting everything you would need such as cosy clothing, warm soups and awesome board games. This is all achieved with a mix of worker and dice placement and with lots of mitigation included you never have to fear a completely wasted turn.

There isn’t too much direct competition between the players, rather it is a game all about pushing your luck and trying to get as many points as possible in the hope of coming out as the best prepared for winter. The game includes a very solid solo mode which I highly recommend if you're going to try any of these games of 2022.

Exit Lord Of The Rings - Shadows Over Middle-Earth

I really enjoy a good Exit game and this one ticked all the boxes for me. I won’t spoil the game for you but I will say that if you are a fan of Lord of the Rings then this is the game for you.

It is a typical Exit game where you will be solving puzzles, ripping up components, scratching your head as you get stuck and then shouting with joy as you work it out. But the big difference this time is the story. I was really surprised by how well they tied the puzzles into the Tolkien lore and kept you up to speed with the plot of the books / film over the course of the game.

A brilliant game to play as the companion to the series.

Exit Advent Calendar - Hunt For The Golden Book

Talking of excellent Exit games did you play last years’ advent calendar? If so you know what to expect from this years’ entry Hunt for the Golden Book - one of the most exciting games of 2022.

For people new to the Exit Advent Calendar let me get you up to speed with no spoilers. This is a typical advent calendar in that there are 24 doors to open but that is where the similarity ends. Every day you will be solving puzzles in amazing inventive ways and at the end of the puzzle you will know where the next door is. You would think that as the month moves on you would easily work out where the next doors could be but you would be wrong. The designers have quite a few tricks up their sleeve and will trick you time after time.

Who needs chocolates every day when you can have a brain tickling puzzle.

First Rat

The rats have discovered the moon is made of the most amazing cheese ever dreamed of and they are going to put all their differences aside to build a rocket and fly their brave rattronauts into the unknown.

That old rivalry remains and each family still want to be deemed the best by contributing the most towards construction of the rockets, providing the most rattronauts, giving the most supplies for the journey and many other ways of scoring.

This is such a clever and quick game all about moving your rats through the level and collecting various goods, earth cheese and apples all whilst improving your game ‘engine’ and using special abilities. The game also includes a brilliant solo mode which has various difficulty levels.

This game sits really comfortably in the next level just above family games but not so complicated that you need to play ten times before you become proficient at it.

Sounds Fishy

Big Potato Games have done it again with Sounds Fishy. They somehow manage to make my party game of the year every year and this is no exception. Sounds Fishy is a brilliant game suitable for everyone whether they are young, old, serious gamers or non-gamers and it comes out at every family get together we have had this summer.

Such a brilliant concept of one player reading a fact and then trying to guess which of their competitors is lying before finally revealing who they think was telling the truth. The facts are hilarious and you get so many in the box that we still haven’t exhausted them.

Perfect for Christmas Day, get this game now.

Star Wars Jabbas Palace

Have you played love letter? This is a super popular micro game where you want to be the last person ‘standing’ so you can deliver a love letter to the princess. An absolute brilliant game that has had numerous reinventions and tweaks and this year saw the best one.

Star Wars Jabbas Palace takes all that was good from the original love letter, ditches some of the not so good stuff and adds lots more star wars related fun as well as different ways of scoring.

Your ultimate aim is still to be the last person ‘standing’ but how you get there is now very different. They really leaned into the star wars theme with an empire vs rebels mechanism as well as more aggressive cards.

Another perfect game for Christmas and one small enough to put into a stocking.


This is one of the brilliant games of 2022 in which you are drafting tiles to build your city. Every turn you will have to decide if you want to draft tiles that give you multipliers for your various different terrain types or if you want to draft tiles with more of the terrain that you require. You also get to build your city higher and higher by placing them over the top of previously placed tiles. This gives a higher multiplier score but means you are covering the previous layer.

A really simple tile laying game with super quick turns but so many important decisions to make. Should you play well then scores can grow to considerable sizes.

A great game that is fairly inexpensive but with really good components, highly recommended for all gamers.

Next Station London

Matthew Dunstan has designed some of my favourite games and this new release sits proudly among them.

In this game you are re-designing the London tube map using the mechanism of flip & write. Cleverly you only get to draw one tube line at a time (using one of the four coloured pencils provided) and you try to score the most points by crossing the river, getting into as many districts as possible, visiting the tourist hot spots and by providing the most stops in a district.

At the end of each round you score the current line and then pass your pencil to the player to the left. You then start to design the route for your next line with the difficulty being that the previously drawn lines may now get in your way.

This is one of the most clever uses of the flip & write mechanism I have ever seen and has been a hit with everyone I have taught the game to.

Included in the box is an expert variant however I find the base game to be a perfect 20 minute game.

Village Rails

Talking of Matthew Dunstan and trains another highlight of the year has been Village Rails which was co-designed with Brett J Gilbert.

This is a tableau building game where you are connecting seven different routes and scoring for various features such as signals, sidings, farms, barns and halt stops. All players get an equal number of turns and will complete their 4x3 tableau. The main player interaction is the drafting of both the landscape cards and points cards but that just leads to some really tense moments as you see the perfect card and hope your opponent doesn’t need it as well.

The game is quite short but it is not a filler you can throw on the table and play without thinking. Every turn needs to be considered as you only get twelve turns to score the most points.

Great artwork and a low price make this a perfect addition to your collection.

Bag Of Chips

One filler from our games of 2022 which you can just throw on the table and play without too much thinking is the brilliant Bag of Chips.

This is a super cheap and brilliant game that can be taught and played in just 10 minutes. Each turn you will evaluate the chips that have been pulled out of the bag and then decide which scoring cards you wish to throw away. At the end of the round you will score two of your cards whilst a further card will provide a negative score.

Such a simple concept and a brilliant price point make this game an essential addition to any gamers collection. Just one word of warning, don’t play whilst also eating crisps in case you accidentally eat some of the components.

Caesar's Empire

Sometimes you just want to play a really simple game with great components and lots of player interaction. Luckily I know just the game, Caesars Empire from Holy Grails Games.

Caesar has tasked you with connecting all cities to Rome via a road system. Every turn you will be adding a new city to the network via your roads. You will collect any goods or gold that the city specialises in and then you will score points according to the roads used to get back to Rome. This means that not only will you score points but so will any of your competitors whose roads were used.

A really quick game with multiple ways of scoring points this has been a hit with everyone I have taught it to.

Long Shot The Dice Game

And they’re off! This is a brilliant horse racing game where you can bet on horses, unlock special powers, purchase a horse (even as the race is continuing), and influence which horses move on future turns.

I prefer to play the game at the higher end of the player count so it is perfect for a games day. Be prepared as there is some ‘take that’ in the game as other players can make your horse go backwards.

It looks great on the table and there will be excitement from everyone as the two dice are rolled which determine which horse will move and by how far.

A great solo mode is included so if you need to practice before your friends next come over then you can.

Ghosts Love Candy Too

The final game in this list sees 25th Century Games team up with designer Danny Devine again for a second entry on my favourite games of the year (the first being Kohaku).

Ghosts Love Candy Too is a fantastic simultaneous card selection game where you (a ghost) are trying to scare kids just the right amount to steal their candy. But if you scare a kid too much they get spooked and become negative points at the end of the game for you. Each of the 100 kids cards are different (with amazing artwork) and they all have different special effects when they get scared or spooked. Because you will only play with a fraction of the kids cards in a game no two games will ever play out the same way.

The game is suitable for families and can even be played with much younger gamers with some small changes to the rules.

Thank you for reading this blog and I hope you have found some games that would suit you and your family / gamer buddies. As previously said there are some big omissions on this list but these have been my favourite games of 2022. Please find me over on twitter @BoardGameHappy and let me know what games you have really enjoyed from this year.