We’re Not Wizards – The Magical Dozen of 2022

We’re Not Wizards – The Magical Dozen of 2022


Without further ado, here are the top 12 games for 2022 that we covered and reviewed in the last 12 months. Not all the games were released this year and technically, one of them was reviewed on literally the last day of last year. But, ma hoose, ma rules. Will this list make a huge difference to a companies sales? Will they take to the streets to tell everyone that their game made a certain non-wizard happy? Are they looking for a special badge to add to their box the next printing? Probably no on all counts. But I wanted to say thank you to everyone on this list who provided me with many hours of entertainment. 

                                            12. Horizon Zero Dawn  – Steamforged Games

“For all the things I wanted it be, it manages to deliver on what it is, which is a highly effective deck building combat hybrid. There’s Horizon Zero Fat on this game. It plays well as a serious of calculated moments and my other criticisms aside, it brings the hunt..”

                                    11. Village Rails Card Game   – Osprey Games

“Village Rails looks the part, with clear iconography and charming illustrations on the terrain, they’ve done a great job of fitting the theme in with the mechanics. There’s something rather neat about seeing you build a railway line as you place down your cards in the tableau your creating and there’s been a really effort to give it some country charm on the table. Think of it like a cheese a pickle sandwich. It gives some great country-like flavour and there’s a decent amount of crunch for those willing to give it a good bite. Choo Choo!!”

                        10. Wormholes Board Game   – Alderac Entertainment Group

“I felt there’s quite a lot of little moving parts that you need to keep a eye on in order to get the best out of the game, and it wasn’t unusual to have the rulebook sitting not too far away just to remind yourself of how the various parts of the bigger machine interacted with each other. There a lack of immediate ‘Oh I get It’ that was present in Tiny Towns, but to compare the two probably breaks some hideous rule about comparing completely different gaming mechanics from the same designer. There’s more depth than I expected and it’s a game that demands and ultimately benefits hugely from player interaction as quickly as it can be facilitated. It’s pick up and delivery Jim, but not as we know it..”

                        9. Keystone North America – Rose Gauntlet Entertainment.

“You can tell that Keystone: North America comes from an experienced design team that have invested some effort on making sure their game was not only fun to play, but delivered on helping you to understand a little bit more about the importance of conservation. There’s a lot more crunch than what you expect form the extremely vibrant and wonderfully illustrated visuals. While the base mechanics are extremely easy to learn, the game evolves over time to really get you thinking about your card purchases and placement. With the inclusion of a solo mode that has some real care and attention smothered over it, I must say I’m rather excited to see what Rose Gauntlet has in store for us with their future designs. They clearly woke up and chose Violet..”

                        8. Vengeance Roll & Fight Part 2 Board Game – Mighty Boards

“Vengeance tries new and different and increasing what a roll and write can do with some success. The mixture of resource management, pushing your luck and planning works well. As with all dice games, when the rolls don’t go your way you’ll feel angry enough to punch someone. Luckily in this case if you want to then you can. Smack it up..”

                7. Undaunted North Africa / Undaunted Reinforcements – Osprey Games  
“Undaunted is self aware of it’s relative simplicity in its base mechanics and what it brings to the table. The collection of scenarios and campaigns that it offers alongside the solo mode will mean that this is going to offer a lot of gaming time for those who want to dive back into the subject matter of WWII. For those who are fans of the Undaunted series, then this could be seen as a must have to not only complete but compliment what you have already. For those looking at the deck building genre for the first time and are wanting more than cards but less than skirmish, then Undaunted Reinforcements will suit. It’s not going to drown you in technicalities and a complicated meta that only the long term players will understand. It possibly might make you think and want to learn more about the events the games are based on. At the moment, I can’t see that being a bad thing at all.”

6. Achroma Card Game – Realm Runner Studios

“I’m hoping that enough people pick up a deck and give it a go, as it would be a real shame for something which has had this amount of care, work and charm just rumble along before it unfortunately fades like others before it. There’s a lot to like here, trying something different and looking as charming as it is. A pleasant surprise that deserves a lot more eyes on it.”

5. Resident Evil 3 Board Game   Plus The City of Ruin Expansion – Steamforged Games

“Steamforged could have cashed in with a bland and by the numbers dungeon crawler type game with a Resident Evil 3 skin present to please the fans and keep the IP owners happy. Instead they opted to create an experience that will push you as a player to make decisions on the hoof in order to survive and ultimately triumph in Raccoon city. There’s a real tension to proceedings as you play through the game, running past zombies and firing round after round in the attempt to stay alive. A surprising adaptation that works well on the table.”

4. Tiny Towns – Alderac Entertainment Group 

“That for me is why Tiny Towns works. There is a very pure simple mechanic that doesn’t need to do anything more to impress. I’m sure during the development Peter McPherson left a ton of ideas on the cutting room floor and I feel that Tiny Towns does all the better for it. Within two turns you get it. You don’t need to try to understand more or check through rulebooks for reminders of what happens when you reach that particular part in the game. Even when the game ends, the points are decided by the buildings you’ve been playing with and not some arbitrary points counter hidden somewhere at the back of the rulebook. I can see why this was liked and I can very much see why it might stay in people’s collection. Tiny Towns deserves to take up 30 minutes of your time only to show you how some things just work.”

3. Brian Boru – Osprey Games

“Brian Boru brings an extra dimension to your standard Euro in the form of an innovative trick taking aspect that works in rewarding those who are patient and strategic with their plays. It’s relatively straightforward to learn thanks to it’s well designed rulebook and copes well with stopping runaway winners. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays in the long run once I have a full grasp on how to maximise the benefits from both winning and losing the tricks. Until then, I’ll be relying on the luck of the Scottish. This is gong to please those who like their euros without the heaviness and the capital E. He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very enjoyable board game.”

2. Godtear Board Game – Steamforged Games
“Godtear is excellent, taking me by surprise how intuitive it is and how deep and tactical it can be. It looks great on the table, doesn’t take ages to learn and plays long enough to scratch that skirmish itch without turning into a slow war of attrition. While there is some additional expense to get your team up to fighting strength, it still offers a lot of replay value to those looking to stretch their gaming dollar. You could argue they should have called it GodTier..”

And the Number One goes to… 

1. Akropolis Board Game  – Gigamic – Hachette Games

“Akropolis manages the perfect mix of ease of learning, player interaction and tactics. Because of the randomness of the tiles, you have to keep on your toes with how you are going to play out a round. A winning combination that wins you in one game might be impossible to achieve in the next and you’ll need adjust your layout accordingly. It gives a fairness to the game that holds up well down the line. While you can have a winning tactic, you’ll need to see how the tiles are dealt out to see if you can use it and with only twelve rounds in a game, holding back will lead to panic and scrabbling for less rewarding combinations. The easy rules mean younger players can play while the depth of scoring means that even you’re most hardy point salad connoisseur is going to like this.
Akropolis is brilliant. If you get the chance to pick it up then do so. If you get the chance to play it then it’s only fifteen minutes of your time to see how well designed a tile laying point scoring game can be. Well done to Jules Messaud for the design. Pauline Détraz has done a great job on the clear illustrations on the tiles. Fabulous stuff.”

Akropolis is a game that I’ve played at least once every couple of weeks and I’m failing to get tired of it’s simplicity, ease to teach and all the various tactics that just seem to work. I’ve still not really scratched the surface with the additional gameplay variations and while you could argue it’s not the big heavy hitter you maybe expect at number one, I don’t remember having a single complaint about this game being put on the table to play in the last three or four months since I started playing it. Simply wonderful and a perfect example of what a board game should be.