Thomas Shepherd’s favorite new games 2022
Putting together a Top Ten list is always a difficult task. Many of the games I choose to play depend upon the mood I am in. If I’m feeling good, I like to play more strategic, thinking games. If I’m feeling playful, I like to play more luck based games. And so on…
In addition, there are quite a number of games that are produced throughout the year, and I only have so much time, meaning there might be a great game out there that doesn’t appear on my list, but I just haven’t had the chance to play it yet.
So, the following is a list of ten of my preferred games released within the last 12 months in no particular order.
- Ark Nova
- Endless Winter
- Weather Machine
- Wayfarers of the South Tigris
- Splendor Duel
- Can’t Stop
Carnegie: 1-4 Players, 90-180 Minutes
Carnegie is an engine building, worker management game where players are trying to develop the best company by the end of the game. The game has a follow component where players must perform actions based on the current player’s action selection. It’s a bit asymmetrical since most actions take place on a Player’s own board, but some of the main board spaces are first come, first served. Gamers who like strategic games with low downtime between turns will enjoy playing Carnegie.
Ark Nova: 1-4 Players, 90-150 Minutes
Ark Nova is a card driven resource management game where players are trying to create and fill a zoo of their choice. With it being card driven, players have to think ahead and plan out turns to attempt to maximize the effect of their turn. The game is also a race to the end with the first player to cross their tracking markers triggering the end of the game; the player with the most positive distance between their markers is the winner. Gamers who like card driven, programmed, strategy based games will enjoy playing Ark Nova.
Hippocrates: 1-4 Players, 90-120 Minutes
Hippocrates is a tile placement, resource management game set in the medical age of Hippocrates where players hire doctors to heal patients. Players must manage the hired doctors’ needs for resources to heal particular patients while maintaining profitability. Each healed patient and each doctor that meets their patient quota earns the player points. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. Gamers who like resource management and tile placement games will enjoy playing Hippocrates.
Endless Winter: 1-4 Players, 60-120 Minutes
Endless Winter is a deck building, area control, limited resource management game where players are attempting to be the strongest clan. Players have a limited number of cards and resources across 3 turns per round and only 4 rounds per game, making this a very tight game. The player with the strongest clan who has earned the most points by the end of the game is the winner. Gamers who like tight resource management or deck building games will enjoy playing Endless Winter.
Weather Machine: 1-4 Players, 60-150 Minutes
Weather Machine is a worker placement game where players are attempting to affect the weather. Players spend actions either building up their workshop or using resources from their workshop to perform experiments. The player who is able to best affect the weather and earn the most points is the winner. Gamers who like worker placement games will enjoy playing Weather Machine.
Wayfarers of the South Tigris: 1-4 Players, 60-90 Minutes
Wayfarers of the South Tigris is a semi-asymmetric tableau building, set collection game where players are attempting to expand their area of control. Players gain resources and points by gathering land, sea, and sky cards then use those resources to upgrade their caravan and journal their adventures. The player who gains the most points by the end of the game is the winner. Gamers who like asymmetric tableau building games will enjoy playing Wayfarers of the South Tigris.
Cascadia: 1-4 Players, 30-45 Minutes
Cascadia is a set collection, tile laying game where players attempt to build out a tableau of tiles that match point earning conditions. Players take turns choosing an animal token and a terrain tile and placing them in their tableau. The player who is able to make the most matches between their tableau and the point cards, earning the most points, wins the game. Gamers who like quick games with light strategy will enjoy playing Cascadia.
Splendor Duel: 2 Players, 30 Minutes
Splendor Duel is a reimagining of the Splendor game for 2 players. Players are collecting gems, pearls (new), or gold to turn in for cards. As players build out their tableau of cards, fewer extra resources are needed to gain new cards. The first player who meets one of the 3 endgame conditions is the winner. Gamers who enjoy head-to-head or set collection games will enjoy playing Splendor Duel.
Can’t Stop: 2-4 Players, 30 Minutes
Can’t Stop is a very enjoyable starter game that was re-released in 2022. Can’t Stop is a press-your-luck dice game where players are trying to be the first to reach the top of 3 different columns. Gamers who enjoy dice and/or press-your-luck games will enjoy playing Can’t Stop.
Zapotec: 1-4 Players, 60-75 Minutes
Zapotec is an engine building area control game where players build an engine to gain resources to build locations that help to further build their engine. Players score points throughout the game based on changing requirements, as well as during endgame scoring. The player who gains the most points is the winner. Gamers who like engine building games will enjoy playing Zapotec.
There are also older games that I will always play whenever they hit the table. The following are my Top 3 in this category:
- Terraforming Mars
- Brass: Birmingham
- Power Grid
- Puerto Rico
- Castles of Burgundy
- Die Macher
- Liar’s Dice
- Lords of Waterdeep
- Mystic Vale
- Snowball Fight
Terraforming Mars: 1-5 Players, 120 Minutes
Terraforming Mars is a card based, engine builder game where players are attempting to terraform Mars. Gamers who like card driven game play or engine builder games will enjoy playing Terraforming Mars.
Brass: Birmingham: 2-4 Players, 60-120 Minutes
Brass: Birmingham is a resource management, network building game where players work to build the best network and industries. Gamers who like network building or resource management will enjoy playing Brass: Birmingham.
Power Grid: 2-6 Players, 120 Minutes
Power Grid is an income building, network building game with auction and market mechanics where players attempt to grow their power grid to power the most cities by the end of the game. Gamers who like network building or auction/market mechanics will enjoy playing Power Grid.
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I grew up loving to solve puzzles, play games, and have fun. In my younger years I had fun playing pencil games, enjoyed the creativity of playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends, and generally hanging out with others. My favorite thing to do was to make puzzles of all kinds, mazes, word games, picture games, etc.
Sadly my career took me in a different direction, solving computer problems rather than gaming problems.
Gaming came back into my life, though, in a big way about 15 years ago, and I have held onto it since. I still enjoy designing games and have 9 published titles, which I did through my own game publishing company, Toresh Games, prior to the Covid pandemic. Sadly I was not able to sustain the company through the pandemic.
I highly encourage people to play games, make friends, and have fun. As a game enthusiast, I would love to see a return to games as the best social media platform for the masses.
All of Thomas Shepherd’s reviews can be found HERE.