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Jim's Top 10 Board Games of 2022

Here we go! What a year 2022 was. I would say that it has been one of the finest in recent history for board games. A brilliant UKGE. A fantastic Essen. And what a list of games! Vintage. Picking just ten from all the new games released in 2022 that I have played this year was tough, but this is it. As always, I am sure things could change had I played more games. But I make a choice with the games I play, so if I haven't played it yet, that also says something to me. So, with that said, let's get to it. My top 10 of 2022.

WBG Number one Card game of 2022 and coming in at TEN overall:

10. Walkie Talkie WBG Score 8/10

I demo'd this game at Essen this year and immediately had to buy it. It offers something I always love in card games. A simple ruleset, but huge fun. I have played it so many times with so many people since, and it hasn't failed to deliver each time. And for me, I do not see this getting old. It has the same addictive drive to go back to it that I found with The Mind. When you play for the first time, you set your current groups guide score, then for the rest of the games that session, you try and beat that score by as much as you can. I generally play until we all manage to use all of our cards, which happens most of the time. It will take five to ten games on occasions, but that just means more fun! Well worth checking out if you like simple fun cooperative card games.

WBG Number one Family Game of 2022 and coming in at NINE overall:

9. Skate Summer WBG Score 8/10

I was drawn to this game from the theme and art, it felt so original. But I go back to it because it is solid game that still feels fresh after multiple games. The split round really helps with this. The first few phases feel so different to the next two. Moving from a push-your-luck hand management card play on your skate board, to point-to-point area control with set collection on the main board. The components are all so juicy for your fingers too, and everything just pops visually. But there is depth in the game you don't expect, and the development of your player board as you progress in the game, which starts to generate bigger and bigger score is wildly satisfying.

WBG Number one Blank & Write Game of 2022 and coming in at EIGHT overall:

8. Vengeance: Roll & Fight WBG Score 8.5/10

There is something so nostalgic to this game, it keeps bringing me back to it to experience that child like feeling again. It feels like I am paying an arcade game in the 90's and that was a happy time for me. So, this is very much a personal choice to add this game to this list, but I would wager a few others would get the same warm fuzzy feelings from this game that I do. And any game where you get to throw this many dice, in a real-time race gets my vote. Some of the moves you can do are very cool too. This is just a very cool game.

WBG Number one Campaign Game of 2022 and coming in at SEVEN overall:

7. Viticulture World WBG Score 8.5/10

I already loved Viticulture and do enjoy the cooperative nature of this version, but the part that makes me enjoy Viticulture World so much is the campaign. I love games that evolve over different plays, with new little treats to explore and enjoy each time you get it to the table. In Viticulture World you are treated to this multiple times, as each Country brings a new little twist to the ruleset. It's a wonderful experience to go through the first time, and as I have found out, a second time too. When I played this all through for a second time, a few months after the first time, after I had forgotten a lot of what I had learnt the first time round. It was a great experience both times. And what you are left with when you are done when you pick one country to play as a one off game feels very much like picking a bottle of wine. I know I will enjoy anything in the box, but I get to pick which style I want to play that day to suit my current mood.

WBG Number one Newcomer of 2022 and coming in at SIX overall:

6. Starship Captains WBG Score 8.5/10

This game looks great and plays just as good. I found I did not really enjoy game one, or two for that matter. But I love it now. This is a great example of a game getting more fun to play as you get better at it and why first impressions for me are not always valid for review purposes. I don't mind winning or doing well in games, but when I cannot figure out a way to get my engine going, it can be frustrating and just not as much fun. That was the case here with this game. But after a few tries you will figure out the ways to maximise your efficiencies and get your combinations working, and it feels great! It does mean this game gives an advantage to more experienced players, so you need to try and play with people who have played as much as you in order to all enjoy it equally.

WBG Number one Surprise Game of 2022 and coming in at FIVE overall:

5. Galileo Project WBG Score 8.5/10

Talking of combinations, Galileo just pips Starship Captains as the combos in this game are just a little better, just that little bit easier to execute, and generally speaking, can be accessed by most people from game one onwards. The game looks complex, but it really is very simple, and ends up being a race as to who can get their engine working the most efficiently the quickest. It looks great, and offers an incredibly rich gaming experience in under an hour. One that I cannot stop going back to.

WBG Number one Solo Game of 2022 and coming in at FOUR overall:

4. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns WBG Score 8.5/10

This game was lent to me by Rod from extraordinaryinvestigations after his Kickstarter was sent to him and he knew he didn't have time to play it at first. And goodness me, did it blow me away. It was so absorbing. As it is based on such a brilliant story, it made the solo experience just fantastic. I was reading the comic the game is based on at the same time as playing it, which really helped. I would heavily encourage other people to try the same thing. It drew me into the universe even more, which for a solo game, is important for me. The character development, the absorbing story, and freedom of gameplay made me feel like I was the Dark Knight. I was in the game for every moment I was at the table. I can still feel those sensations now as I think back to playing the game. I am unsure if I would go through the whole experience of the four chapters again anytime soon, perhaps in a few years. But once was enough to make this rank at four for 2022. It was that good. This game has less replayability, but it certainly has huge wow factor, great production, a wonderful story, and exciting game play.

WBG Number one Gateway Game of 2022 and coming in at THREE overall:

3. The Guild of Merchant Explorers WBG Score 9/10