My Top Board Game Releases of 2012

Here’s a list of the games that I’ve played that came out in 2012 and a little blurb or so about each. Please note there are other games that came out in 2012 that I haven’t played, those, I can’t really write about, so I didn’t. But yea, here are my thoughts of the top board games releases of 2012.

A couple of other notes; one, to get this list, I did an advanced search on Board Game Geek (BGG) for the year 2012, so if you have any qualms about such and such a game being included, or not included, this is how BGG listed these games. And two, these games were arranged by their current rank on BGG so I left it that way, but it by no way means this is how I rank them, I just needed to list them in some way. Now let’s make with the blurbing.

Android: Netrunner – I had originally heard a Richard Garfield (the designer) interview on The Little Metal Dog Show and I could tell from what he said there that this was going to be a big hit. I didn’t know that it was going to be a HUGE hit though, selling out at Gen-Con. This is a great 2-player card game. I love the Android universe, I love the artwork, I love the game play. This is a Living Card Game (LCG) that I can and will get behind.

Descent: Journeys in the Dark (second edition) – I owned the first edition which was fun. It was my first big model painting project, so I was pleased to hear that the models could be reused in the second edition. I’ve gotten the second edition to the table a few times and each time it has left people wanting to play more. It’s really fun and the Quests/Campaign make me want to try more and more of it. The one issue I have is that it feels like it’s tough to keep getting the same group of people to the table to continue the campaign. That and their ‘Line Of Sight’ system. so….two issues.

Star Wars: X-wing – Although this is technically just a re-themeing of the game Wings of War, it’s a good one. A really good one. Set in the Star Wars Universe. Pretty soon there will be Millennium Falcon’s to pilot. Need I say more?

Lords of Waterdeep – I think this is one of the best games to come out of 2012. This is just a clean, simple, easy to teach, fun to play game that I’ve taught to everyone from 8 year old’s to senior citizens and they all love it. It works amazingly well as an ‘intro’ to worker placement games. It is tough to keep saying clerics instead of white cubes, fighters instead of orange, and so on, but that’s what the DnDeeples are for!

Mice & Mystics – I’ve played this game a few times and really sucks you in. I’m in the process of learning how to teach this game because I think it will go over really well at the Game Nights/Days I run, but also because I think something like this, or some form of this can be used during ‘story hour’ at the library to not only tell the kids a story, but to have them involved with how the story turns out. That something I am working on for this year.

Escape: The Curse of the Temple – This is a great ‘Real Time’ game where everyone is frantically rolling dice and helping each other out to try to escape. The sound track is great, the expansions are great, you have to be into this type of game to enjoy it, but if you are it’s a blast.

Seasons – I played this once and it was fun. There is card drafting and dice drafting in order to try to build up points or knock your opponents down. I liked the game play and art, but wasn’t amazed at the way the card combinations interacted. I’m quite hopeful for the expansion to spice this up though, something to look forward to (i think) this year.

Legendary – This is a clean, easy to explain ‘intro’ to Deck Building games. If you are already ‘pwning’ Dominion, this might not be for you, but if you are new to Deck Builders and enjoy the Super-Hero theme then come to a game night and I’ll teach this to you and we’ll have fun. The mechanism for the Villains and Super-Villains is pretty amazing and extremely modular so I am looking forward to seeing what the next expansion has to offer.

7-Wonders: Cities – This expansion to 7 Wonders adds new wonders, new cards, and new tokens. From what I’ve seen it changes things enough, yet keeps things the same and doesn’t out balance anything to make this a winner. More things to think about when passing those cards. I’ve heard tell of a ‘team’ based variant that sounded awesome, and at the rate that this gets to the table, I might be writing more about it soon.

Wiz-War (eighth edition) – The game that inspired Magic the Gathering has gotten a reprint and it’s about time. I got to play this game at this past year’s PAX East (you can read more about what happened during the game Here). Of course now I am hoping that they print more, because it’s out of stock!

Manhattan Project – This is a worker placement game for gamers. There is a lot going on here and even after playing twice (and wanting to play again) I’m not sure I have a good grasp on how to make what needs to happen to win…happen. But it sure is fun. The only thing that I see as an issue is the that the Fighter Pilots/Bombers seem almost useless as an offensive weapon. I wouldn’t be surprised if an expansion changes that however. note: the Theme here is building Bombs! Not your average theme, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I do.

Infiltration – This is a great press your luck game set in the Android universe. As I mentioned before I love the Android universe so I might be a bit biased, but I love the artwork and the feel to this game. As futuristic corporate espionage agents entering a facility, encountering various guards and traps, facing traps from other agents, trying to gather data that can be sold, and also trying to get out before the alarm sounds, it’s great fun.

Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery – Based off the TV show, this is a great game for what it is. As owner of a Gladiatorial school, you have to bid on slaves, gladiators, equipment, and other things to help you achieve enough influence to win. Neglect some aspect of the game and your opponents are sure to make you pay…In the arena…WITH BLOOD! This is not a game for kids, and it’s not supposed to be. Backstabbers inquire within.

Merchant of Venus (second edition) – I wasn’t sure about this game when I first got it, but after a couple of plays it has quickly risen to one of my favorite games. At it’s heart it is a roll & move, pick-up & deliver, race game, but it is so much more than that. From the ship upgrades and missions, to the cheeky goods and alien races this game doesn’t take itself too seriously and in doing so, adds to the fun. One of the top releases of 2012 in my opinion.

Level 7 (Escape) – We were excited to get this to the table, but was ultimately let down. The artwork was cool, but the rules were convoluted and game-able, the horror aspect was semi-non-existent, and the overall feeling was a half-hearted ‘blah’. We will pull this out for one more try I think before calling it a bust though, so if my opinion changes, I’ll let you know.

King of Tokyo: Power Up! – The expansion to King of Tokyo that adds more cards, a rampaging Panda, and evolutionary adjustments. Who doesn’t like King of Tokyo? more of the same please!

Epic Spell Wars – I played this once and it was a fun filler. Fairly chaotic but it’s still fun just saying the names of the spells as they are cast. I would like to try this one again and with the short play time it’s likely I will. Not for Kids.

Dominare – This was the most difficult game for my mind to try to wrap itself around this year. There were so many interesting things going on that made my mind sit up and take notice that I want to get this to the table again real soon. The suggested starting setup wasn’t to our liking, and I did get royally, epic-ally screwed by 1 event card, but that alone was not enough to turn me off this game. I want another shot at all those mechanics to be manipulated.

Venture Forth – A fun little game that ultimately was too convoluted in a few areas for it to be brought back to the table. I would try this again, but it seems like for what it is, I’d rather play something else.

Divinare – This is a neat filler game based around the Fortune Telling trades. Only played this once, but was quick enough, easy enough to learn, and made me think enough to want to try this one again.

Whitewater – I wasn’t sure about this one, and I still think I’m not. After only 1 actual play of this (3-player), the rules weren’t very clear on setup and for a family game this is a concern. If I can’t understand the rules, how is your average family supposed to? The game was alright, I’ll get it to the table again, hopefully with more people, and think about it more then.

I’m going to stop here after going through the first 500 results of the search. I’m not sure what else is on the list, but if there is something I missed that you want me to comment on, please comment below and I will comment on your comment!

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