Best board games 2019

Best board games 2019

Looking for new board games? Check out these 2019 releases.

Hey there guys! Are you looking for some new board games to play? That is great because 2019 was starling that brought us some great new board games!

To start with, in this article we look at all kinds and types of games that were released during the year 2019. Including strategy, family, party, fantasy, cooperative, horror games, and more. Just a heads up – the list is not ranked, as many of the games here are difficult to compare between each other. We also did not review every game that was released within the year. So we are likely to create even more content about the best 2019 board games.

With that in mind… Let’s get rolling!

Obscurio board game (2019)

Ubscurio board game 2019 cover
Gender
Cooperative, Asymmetric, Family, Party
Players
2-8
Playtime
40 min.
Difficulty
Easy
Age
10+

An abandoned library. Why did you have to drag us here guys? Seriously, do you not know horror movies? Don’t go into that building, do not go into that room and so on. This is exactly like that, except, this is an asymmetric and cooperative board game. Yes! We have been waiting for a game like this for a long long long long long time. All in one: Dixit + Mysterium + Saboteur + Betrayal at House on the Hill equal to “Last Magical Friday has gone wrong – the Silent library edition”.

In Obscurio board game, together with your magician friends, you went to an old library, because of desires of power, – to learn all those ancient tips & tricks & spells. You also wanted to look kind of cool. But you get a little bit more…than that.

It did not take long for your company to understand that it is better to leave, as this place is full of darkness, as it has clear intent to harm you, your mind and even your soul. But you cannot leave that easily, the library is ALIVE, it won’t let you out, it wants to take you, it wants you to become the part of it.

You soon understand that the library is the creation of someone very powerful that has knowledge in dark arts, the dark wizard and its dark, death-bringing magic. Well, at least that was stated in the Grimoire, which had a very specific disclaimer at its introductory page: “ATTENTION: DO NOT GO INTO OLD, ABANDONED LIBRARY THAT HAS TONS OF BOOKS WITH NO SMASHED WINDOWS, COS STH IS CERTAINLY NOT RIGHT ABOUT IT”.

There is also a strange feeling that your magician friends start acting strange, soon to realize that they might be under some kind of spell, and actually working against you. Study the Grimoire and try to escape the dark dwelling, hellish library.

One of the best new board games 2019, with secret roles, 1 Grimoire, who does not speak, 1 Traitor, who is under the dark spell, and The Magicians. Grimoire tries to guide Magicians towards the exit, providing illusion cards, with no words, and the Traitor tries to misguide and confuse the Magicians, without disclosing his intent, to fail their escape.

A very intriguing game, that works well for the family as well as party game nights. You desperately want to replay that, and you just can’t get enough of this. Beautiful Dixit, Mysteria like art, will immerse you into the mystery of suspicion and doubt.

Since we wrote such a deep background story of the game, we are giving you the advantages and disadvantages of the game in a very quick, plain, and clear way.

Advantages:

  1. Very good quality of components and art is amazing. The Grimoire Desk tile is magnetic, you literally can pass it over with illusion cards on it and not being too delicate about it.
  2. The clue telling mechanic is very good. This game has raised it onto another level, as Grimoire player has two arrows that point to particular parts of clue pictures! That way the game gets more specific, for Magicians to have more chances to guess the correct clue idea, but also for the Traitor to try to confuse them more effectively.
  3. A fascinating combination of time pressure, socio-political interactions that have large replayability, with likely expansions on its way.

Disadvantages:

  1. Be careful who you play it with. It might be a great choice both as a party or family game, but it more depends on people. Very persuasive, aggressive, forcing others into doing something playstyle may decrease the pleasure of the experience to everyone.

Our final thought about the game – a very pleasant, interesting and entertaining experience is packed into an “easy to get into” board game that looks just amazing. Such games are true gems that make you feel lucky to encounter them.

PositivesNegatives
1. High components’ quality and amazing art
2. Innovative clue telling mechanic
3. Intent to replay is off the charts
1. Be careful who you plat it with – might become not fun or even toxic

Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon (2019)

Tainted Grail - The Fall of Avalon cover (2019)
Gender
Fantasy, strategy, role-play, cooperative
Players
1-4
Playtime
60-120 min.
Difficulty
Hard
Age
14+

Immerse into incredible role-play adventure experience either solo or cooperate with up to 3 friends. Guide your unique characters trough a mysterious world of Avalon. Collect items, fight monsters, overcome obstacles, to uncover the darkness of the world and save the day (or just yourself).

In Tainted Grail, you aim to survive while accomplishing objectives & campaigns. The game is super large, as the game is composed out of 15 huge campaigns that you will be playing for tens of hours.

At first, it seems that the game is difficult as there is an overwhelming amount of content. But Tainted Grail board game is not that hard, because of a very well organized rulebook. Also, it gives you a very clear tutorial on how to start the game and the rest parts you read as you play.

The components & art is just incredible. To be more specific, there is just a ridiculous amount of components: different card decks, miniatures, character and map tiles, tokens, cubes, dice and more. They all look stunning and are very qualitative. The game is not cheap, but the value you get for the price seems fair.

Finally, the storyline, we cannot emphasize more how good the story is. Every aspect of the game has a detailed, in-depth story. There are so many opportunities for what you can do in the game. Different character traits, different challenges, and varying deckbuilding opportunities. This not only provides a ton of replay value but also lets you experience unique, involving stories.

PositivesNegatives
1. The incredibly detailed story, amazing art
2. Not as hard as it looks
3. One of the best solo experiences
4. King Arthur legend!!!!
1. Not the best choice for novice groups

Wingspan (2019)

Wingspan board game (2019) cover
Gender
Family, Strategy
Players
1-5
Playtime
40-70 min.
Difficulty
Medium
Age
10+

Wingspan board game is a strategic engine building board game where each player “constructs” its own wildlife preserve by attracting birds to it. Many players consider it to be the best board game of 2019. Choose and play bird cards, lay eggs, gain food and attract more birds. The more birds you have, the more food, the more eggs are “produced” by your “wildlife factory”.  Construct the most effective “Bird preserve” to score the most Victory Points.

First of all, a rather unusual game theme is very smoothly integrated with engine-building principles. You generally collect and play various bird cards. Each bird has unique effects and powers. As a result, combining different birds, allows you to grow your “factory” and create your own plan to victory – focusing more on food collection, laying eggs, relying on predator birds and so on.

On the other hand, this might not be the best choice if you are looking for a game with lots of player interaction and/or conflict. Playing the Wingspan board game often feels that the game is solo even though you are playing it with others. But you basically can only spectate what other players do, having little to no influence over it.

None the less, it hooks players really well, as the game is not too long and you just can’t get enough of that. Players keep craving for opportunities to build a more effective “bird engines”. Plus, there is really a lot of potential for replays, as there are 170 different bird cards with varying effects.

PositivesNegatives
1. Really good game
2. Great parts, beautiful design
3. Good balance between strategic variance and difficulty
4. Very high replay value
1. Lacks player interaction

Horrified (2019)

Horrified board game (2019) cover
Gender
Cooperative, Horror, Thematic
Players
1-5
Playtime
60 min.
Difficulty
Medium
Age
10+

Ayaaaaa! It is horrifying! Creatures from many famous stories are coming to life. They are terrorizing your village. So who are you going to call? Certainly not Ghostbusters. Instead, you take the matters in your own hands and together with your friends in a cooperative, horror-strategy game to save the day!

Horrifying board game – a mysterious, horrifically entertaining experience for 1 to 5 players. Control heroes with unique powers to deal with god knows what. Maybe Frankenstein & his bride, Dracula, the Mummy, or maybe something else. You will find out yourself. In each game, players get to deal with 2-4 random monsters depending on the selected game difficulty. Players collect items, move across the village to protect villagers and themselves from monsters, and, of course, work on defeating them!

First of all, let us point out that the theme is just great. Classic monsters that many of us know, and you must deal with them in unique ways that are related to their storylines and/or their type/nature. The game has some chills, the monsters look and feel dangerous, but not too scary, a great fit for children as well.

Moving forward, the gameplay is very straightforward and easy to understand. Players have a set of actions, and each player goes over two simple phases over their turn – action implementation and monster phase, over which players draw monster cards, that affect monsters’ movement, their attacks and/or other elements of the game.

Finally, another benefit of the game is that it is very much replayable. You can select from 2 to 4 monsters to be included in each game, deepening on your wished difficulty. Let us know that with 4 monsters this is just crazy difficult. The most often players challenge 3 monsters’ gameplay. Taking into consideration, that there are 7 different heroes with variable powers, 6 different monsters, you come up with quite a bunch of variety for the game. We would also suspect that monsters’, heroes’ expansions would be on its way, and we would certainly gonna let you know about that.

On the other hand, we have to identify a few disadvantages mentioned by some of the players. The variability of the game slightly increases the time it is required to set-up the game. For every hero and monster, players must follow the set-up instructions, you kind of want to play faster, instead of that. What is more, the downtime sometimes occurs as well. It comes into play in the second part of the game, especially when the game has questionable outcome (win or lose), then players can really take the time to carefully assess what to do to increase their winning odds.

To sum up, a very funny light horror game with a compelling theme that is not only interesting but might be challenging, if you want that. This is likely to one of the best cooperative and horror board games of 2019 that is our new “go-to” choice.

PositivesNegatives
1. Easy to understand, Pandemic like gameplay
2. Great repeatability!
3. Theme feels fun for sure
1. Set-up of the game takes some time
2. Downtime is possible depending on players

Parks (2019)

Parks board game (2019) cover
Gender
Family, Thematic, Adventure
Players
1-6
Playtime
30 – 60 min.
Difficulty
Easy
Age
10+

Parks board game is a wonderful family game where players visit and explore beautiful US National Parks. Each player controls 2 hikers that go through different areas to gain memories that are represented as tokens (Forest, Mountain, Sunshine, Water & Wildlife). Each National Park has a unique set of required memory tokens you have to collect and spend them in order to visit and score Victory Points.

A great game with lots of warmth due to its thematic impact. Make sure to play it with your family, just a wonderful experience. What is more, You are always indirectly competing, racing with other players in order to collect the best National Park cards. So that little tension feels great, and it is not too much.

On top of that, there are different actions and things that players do in order to score more victory points, such as acquiring gear, canteens that would ease your memory tokens collection, or taking photos, that score additional Victory Points. This sort of gives a nice opportunity on adjusting player strategies & tactics.  

Speaking about the art & parts, we cannot emphasize more how stunning are the esthetics. The cards and tiles are large, beautiful, colorful and qualitative. You just feel like a hiker with endless freedom just by playing the game. A masterful piece of art.

On the other hand, there is a negative point noticed about the game. The alternate actions such as acquiring gear and canteens feel less rewarding, and combined with restrictive movement mechanics (you can rarely visit a location where is another hiker) makes the gameplay feel a bit restrictive and repetitive over long-term, as you figure it out – what works better and worse. So you typically stop applying that is underperforming.

PositivesNegatives
1. Stunning game aesthetics
2. Greatly implemented theme
3. Decent strategic, tactical variety
1. Over times gets a little repetitive
2. Feels restrictive due to movement mechanics

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth (2019)

The Lord of the Rings Journeys in Middle-earth 2019 cover
Gender
Adventure, fantasy, role-play, cooperative
players
1-5
palytime
60-120 min.
difficulty
Medium
Age
14+

Here is another large board game that is super fun, interesting & immersing, especially if you love LOTR theme. The game costs considerably more than you would expect, but it also includes A LOT of components, plus the game is really large. So you would be investing in years of gameplay.

This game has some of the legacy aspects in it, meaning that the game is played over the number of chapters/sessions. I am not going to elaborate too much, because you probably have the idea what’s the game is about.

You choose one popular, famous hero of the many available, and you explore the Middle Earth, fight monsters, help people, implement quests and try to uncover the mysteries that lie in the shadow of the region.

The only thing that I would love this game to include is additional characters, such as Gandalf or Frodo. Fortunately, new heroes are included in the expansions of the game. You can check The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth – Shadowed Paths Expansion (2020), which includes new heroes, including Gandalf.

PositivesNegatives
1. Compelling lore & story
2. Art & components – true joy
3. A very good app to guide your game & immerse
1. Sometimes objectives, quests lack clarity
2. Some favorite characters are not in the base edition

Tiny Towns (2019)

Tiny Towns board game (2019)
Gender
Family, Strategy, Abstract
players
1-6
palytime
45-60 min.
difficulty
Easy
Age
14+

Tiny Towns board game is a really simple yet interesting family game that is about matching patterns and constructing buildings onto players’ personal little city boards.

There are random sets of building cards that are included in each game session. In order to construct them, players must collect resources – wood, wheat, brick, glass, and stone, and place them onto their boards according to patterns indicated on building cards.

During each player’s turn, a person calls 1 resource, and everyone must place that resource onto their boards. That’s mainly how the game goes and how players are trying to collect desired resource patterns, in order to construct buildings and score Victory Points.

Starting from the positive factors, we love that you can start playing the game in roughly 10 minutes after looking at a short and well-written rulebook. What is more, beneath a beautiful and easy game hides a tactical masterpiece, as there is quite a high ceiling on improving and scoring more points. This provides a great replay value!

On the other hand, there are a few disadvantages that are not really the major ones. The tactical depth of the game sometimes creates a little downtime as players get too deep into planning their strategy. Also, there are some personal towers that are just worse/better than others creating little imbalance, but also introducing a little luck.

PositivesNegatives
1. Very easy to learn
2. High skill ceiling
3. Good replay value
1. Analysis Paralysis can take over the game
2. Some balance issues

All in all, we suggest trying some of these board games if you feel interested. In the meantime, we hope you learned something new & useful from reading this! We will be coming back to you with more best board games of 2019. You can comment down below in case you have any questions, requests, and so on, or just write us a message.

Image credits: Noble Knight Games, Pxfuel.com

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