I haven’t written the full list out this year. I got to play a lot of games, but I don’t have a lot to say about them.
Forever a classic. This was my most played game of 2022, and I wish I had counted up how many times I’ve played this over the years because I’m sure I’ve played this more than anything else ever, possibly including chess. Codenames is the best warm-up game - people can join in mid-game, it’s very very easy to teach, games are short, and there are never any hard feelings because it’s always such a team effort.
Easy to teach games have continued to dominate my play as I get my board gaming group up to a level of shared gaming knowledge and The Game continues to be a great one to keep in my bag. It’s easy to get moving with, it has a wide player count, it encourages a bit of chat, what’s not to like?
Between Two Cities
Another standard for me - the best game in my collection in terms of ease of teach to gameplay ratio. It also actively requires that people talk to each other, so it’s a perfect game for an open gaming group. I’ll never ever stop teaching this to new players, but what’s brilliant is, it’s not boring even after tens of plays.
Coup features the best gameplay out of any of my small box games. It’s a game that starts great and gets better the more you play it. Recently I’ve got to watch a few people learn Coup and it’s just brilliant to watch the cogs turn as they realise that they can choose the combination of cards they need in any given situation.
I rediscovered Elk Fest this year and it’s just brilliant. A perfect spectator sport and a perfect pub game. I don’t have many dexterity games, maybe I should add one or two more to my collection.
Ok, finally a new one for this year. This is an absolute pig to teach, but once you’ve got through one game you know the whole thing and a beautiful puzzle opens up. It feels like a classic card game and in many ways it plays like a classic - you pick up two, you play one, you discard one, it’s all about collecting suits - but then there are a couple of little tweaks that make it really stand out. I was smitten from the first game and now I’ll play it whenever I can.
There’s not much else in my collection that will make me beam like Barenpark because my daughter absolutely loves it and can play it pretty well. As a result I’ve played this an awful lot this year and it absolutely stands up to play after play. It’s a tile laying game with tetris vibes and it’s ever so satisfying to think a few moves ahead and figure out a lovely way to slot a bunch of pieces together. It also looks gorgeous and has a delightful theme.
Barenpark has my favourite rule of any game, too - whoever goes first gets a toilet.