Every year for about the past seven or eight years could be considered an amazing year for games! As themes and game styles become more diverse, there’s even more to be excited for as each new year comes around. New and rising designers and publishers are injecting so much innovation into what eventually ends up the table (or our tables)! It’s such an exciting time for board gamers! It’s still early, so we don’t know everything that will release this year. But based on what we do know, we all have a lot to be excited about in 2020. Put these ten board games on your radar and enjoy what is sure to be another fantastic year of games!


W​e love it when games take a common concept and turn it on its head. That’s why Merchants Cove is so intriguing! Instead of playing as bold adventurers in a fantasy world, you’ll take on the roles of merchants in a market and sell the adventurers the goods they need once they return from their quests. A time resource mechanism forces you to strike an efficient balance between satisfying customer demands, influencing the market prices, and running your shop. As an added bonus, the playable roles of the Alchemist, Captain, Time Traveler, and Blacksmith are described as being “highly asymmetric,” so your strategy will change depending on which character you play!


I​t seems each year there’s at least one game that creates an all-new genre that other games will soon try to replicate. For 2020, that game may be Etherfields. This cooperative game is described as a “dream crawler” because you and your team go on an adventure in the surreal Etherfields dream world. It appears that each action you take in the game is extremely important because everything affects the “strange rhythm” of the dream world. In addition to the dreamy world that’s been created, it looks like there will be many opportunities to challenge your logic, intuition, deduction, and emotional intelligence. Since you’ll be exploring multiple dream-locations, there’s probably a good chance at some point you’ll find yourself in a nightmare!


T​he team behind the hugely successful Lorenzo il Magnifico and Coimbra are back for what’s sure to be another crowd pleaser! Not a whole lot about Alma Mater is known right now, except that you play as headmasters of universities in the 15th century. The goal is to compete against rival schools to have the best reputation and standing. With a unique theme, amazing art by Chris Quilliams, and the track record of publisher eggertspiele, there’s no doubt that this will be a winner. It’s almost a guarantee that it will school other euro games this year.


F​ans of route building games will probably love In the Hall of the Mountain King. What could have probably been just another train game is instead a kingdom building game under a mountain. Teams of trolls work against each other to rebuild their abandoned kingdoms, mostly by digging competing tunnels on a shared board. You’ll need to make tunnels that connect to buried resources, workshops, and statues. Points are awarded for tunnel quality, excavating great halls, and how close you’ve moved the statues to the center of the mountain. The tunnel-digging aspect of the game is cool enough, but there’s something else! A neat “cascading production” mechanism plays a big role in determining when to build and when to hire your trolls.


R​ocketmen looks like it will please fans of deck-building games, especially if you like twists on the mechanism. People who enjoy annoying their friends by singing Elton John songs will probably like this as well. You’ll use your deck to determine how advanced your endeavors should be in the space race. To do that, you’ll decide how many ‘mission’ and ‘money’ cards to put in your deck. More mission cards means you can go on several poor quality missions that have a higher chance of failure. Adding more money cards means you’ll launch fewer missions, but they’re more likely to succeed. To make it even more interesting, you can actually temporarily remove cards from your deck to adjust the type of mission you want to launch at the last minute. Seems like striking the right balance of your deck is a major part of winning the game, but thankfully it sounds like there’s room to undo any major mistakes you may have made when building your deck.


F​inally! There will now be a much more accessible way to play Gloomhaven, the #1 game on BGG! The two biggest barriers to owning Gloomhaven were its cost and intimidating setup/organization. Those problems seem to be addressed in Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. It’s a standalone game set before the events of Gloomhaven. The game will be less expensive and is designed to fit a more casual audience. Instead of playing on individual tiles, the action will take place on maps collected in the scenario book. The Gloomhaven fanbase is about to get A LOT bigger, even as the game itself becomes a little bit smaller. You can see our tables in action on the video below where Isaac Childres talks about Jaws of the Lion :)


4. Arkeis

A​rkeis looks like it will become one of the first “dungeon-crawl” style games to take place in ancient Egyptian ruins. While there are PLENTY of games about Egypt, there aren’t really any that let players become archaeologists and adventures and explore deep into the pyramids. The board is modular and is made up of flat tiles and 3D rooms. Inside the pyramids, players will face traps and fight monsters to uncover the Pharaoh’s secrets! It’s listed as a Legacy game, so your actions in the pyramids will have lasting consequences! You’ll decide how far to explore before you risk being injured or placed under the Pharaoh’s curse forever! Or until you’re able to rip up some cards.


F​ingers crossed for this one coming out this year! It’s been in the works for a while now with not a whole lot of information, but currently, the listed publication year for Dead Reckoning is 2020. It may become one of the best pirate-themed games ever made. It will use the “card crafting” mechanism found in Mystic Vale, Custom Heroes, and Edge of Darkness. The cards in this game represent your pirate crew and each one can be improved by adding advancements into their sleeves. You’ll also have epic pirate sheep battles using a Pirate Ship Tower, which is like a cube tower. Throw in some ocean exploration, island control, and ship customization, and you have one super-thematic pirate game.


T​he Crew really started picking up buzz at the end of 2019 because people could play the published German version. Soon in 2020, the game will get a highly anticipated wider release! Put simply, The Crew is a cooperative trick-taking game. Players are a team of astronauts on an eventful space adventure. And by eventful I mean increasingly impossible. Each mission will increase the difficulty of the goal. In round one, you need to play your cards right so the captain wins the trick containing a randomly selected card. In round two, the captain and another player will each need to take a trick containing specific cards. And then this will need to be done in order. And then more people will need to take tricks in specific orders. And then there are several other ways the game can increase the difficulty. Oh, by the way: you aren’t allowed to talk to your team about what cards you have in your hand! There’s only one very restricted way of communication. Otherwise, you have to figure out how to solve the missions without coming up with specific strategies with each other. It’s a fantastic execution and one that really anybody should be able to enjoy.


I​f you’ve played any Red Raven Games, you’re familiar with the unique art style, thematic gameplay, and integration of story. So imagine a game like Near and Far, but multiplied by an awesome factor of 3,000. What you get is Sleeping Gods. It’s a cooperative campaign game that takes place in a massive world to explore. It’s all contained in an atlas where each page is just a small section of the world you can explore. As you explore by yourself or up to three friends, you’ll encounter all sorts of memorable characters, discover hidden treasure, and fight frightening monsters! Choices you make will influence events later on in the campaign. Apparently, it will be easy to save your progress, which is a major bonus with campaign games. Even once you complete the campaign, you aren’t finished. There’s so much content that you can go back and play again, make different choices, explore new locations, and still make new discoveries. This is going to be a HUGE hit and it’s sure to be very popular for years to come.

Any board game you think Deserves a place on the triumph ? Comments below !

Do you have a game on your 2020 radar we missed ?

Share this !