The beginning of a new year means looking forward to a slew of exciting upcoming board games set to release in 2024.
Upcoming board games 2024
- Corps of Discovery: A Game Set in the World of Manifest Destiny
- Catan: New Energies
- Gloomhaven: Second Edition
- Crossbows & Catapults: Castle Battle
- Galactic Renaissance
- Hero Realms Dungeons
- Undaunted 2200: Callisto
Whether the designers behind them have an excellent existing portfolio, if it’s the next entry in a beloved series or if the theme offers something fresh, all of the entries on this list are worth watching. You might already be familiar with some of the titles here - or at least the series they’re part of - but hopefully this is an opportunity for you to discover a load of upcoming board games for you to pick up throughout this year.
From reimaginings of popular releases to entirely fresh franchises, here are 13 upcoming board games coming in 2024 that you shouldn’t miss.
Build a floating city in the sky as an ingenious inventor
In Skyrise, players are competing to achieve the seemingly impossible - to build an entire city capable of floating in the sky. As one of several rival inventors, the upcoming board game sees players constructing various buildings atop a floating platform with the goal of earning as much prestige as possible.
Prestige can be acquired in a number of ways. When players place bids on the building spaces on the floating island, they’ll be able to construct a tower. Each space on the island will require players to bid a certain amount, needing to think carefully about which spaces to invest in. Players can build short, medium and tall buildings, with the higher buildings granting them more prestige.
Skyrise is played over two eras. The beginning of the second era will unlock players’ specific wonder which, when built, will grant them different abilities depending on the type of wonder card they’ve chosen. This could help players to achieve their secret objective, which will grant them additional prestige. Whichever player has the most prestige by the end of the second era wins. Skyrise features an imaginative theme with a straightforward gameplay loop, making it an accessible experience for all kinds of players.
2. Arcs: Collapse and Conflict in the Void
The spacefaring board game from the creator of Root
Arcs: Collapse and Conflict in the Void has gone through a lot of iteration over the years as Cole Wehrle - best known for designing woodland warfare board game Root - has taken his upcoming game in several different directions.
Taking place in a science-fiction universe, Arcs sees players becoming the leaders of a series of factions. Unlike in Root, these factions don’t have their own unique play styles and victory conditions. Instead, players shape their own experiences of their game by pursuing the various public and private goals featured in each playthrough, dealing the consequences of their actions as they do.
In the iteration of Arcs we played back in 2022, the element we most enjoyed was the game’s trick-taking system, which determines turn order and the actions available to players. Every round is led by a player whose card dictates what the others can do, with the requirement of following or copying if the other players don’t have the right cards. This system made for a really compelling gameplay system, forcing players to carefully plan their strategies around what they have in their hand and what card they think the current leader will play.
Arcs may be released this year, hopefully with more meat on its bones than the previous versions we’ve played. Though it hasn’t yet delivered on its original promise of a story-driven galactic exploration game, with its strong gameplay mechanics and a tried-and-tested designer behind the wheel - Arcs could be the next great board game from Wehrle.
3. Corps of Discovery: A Game Set in the World of Manifest Destiny
Explore an alternate version of North America populated by monsters
Based on the Manifest Destiny comic book series by Chris Dingess, Corps of Discovery: A Game Set in the World of Manifest Destiny has players exploring the North American continent as Lewis and Clark’s crew.
The continent of this comic book franchise is not the one most people are familiar with, as it’s overrun by dangerous and terrifying monsters. In Corps of Discovery, players will be able to explore one of several different map layouts, each with their own unique challenges. The co-op board game will have players hunting and killing various monsters that have taken up residence across the land.
Additionally, players will need to complete a series of daily tasks that often require them to find and gather essential resources they’ll find across the map. Discovering the location of the resources will test your puzzle solving skills, with every new map requiring different solutions. The players will also be able to ally themselves with the native American Sacajawea tribe for additional help.
Experience this Skybound comic book series brought to life by the co-designers of Junk Art and Mind MGMT: Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim.
Gain the trust and confidence of a kingdom in disarray
Cascadero is a new board game from Lost Cities and Tigris & Euphrates designer Renier Knizia. The title has players serving as ministers to the new leader of a shattered Kingdom, with their goal of restoring harmony to the land. As the Cascadero’s ministers, players are tasked with travelling across the land to meet with various towns and encourage their cooperation in a shared rebuilding effort.
However, their people are not easily trusting. In order to acquire the confidence of the towns they approach, players will need to gather a collection of envoys or carry the seal of the El Cascadero to make contact with the towns. Players visit towns by putting their respective envoy adjacent to them, with players only scoring for their visits if they bring multiple envoys or a seal. Players will score more points by visiting towns that contain messengers or have a history of envoys arriving there.
Depending on when players visit a town, they’ll be able trigger a scoring bonus by advancing that town’s success column. The longer players wait to visit a town, the more they may gain when they do. However, players who decide to jump ahead may also have the opportunity to go to more towns overall, whilst the other players hold back and wait.
As usual, it looks like Knizia has created yet another board game that will test players’ strategies and reward clever plans in the most satisfying ways.
5. Catan: New Energies
This spin-off from the board game classic challenges you to create a sustainable world
In Catan: New Energies players aren’t trading with the classic sheep, ore, wheat and brick. Instead, they’re investing in various energy sources with the goal of creating a sustainable system. Set in a rather more modern approach to the Catan formula, New Energies seeks to provide players with a board game that outlines the current energy crisis and resulting climate change.
Players begin the game trading in cheaper fossil fuels - ones that have negative environmental impact and a finite amount - before they’re able to access more renewable sources of energy. Whilst fossil fuels are easier to acquire and can lead to a winning strategy, using them leads to negative pollution events. Meanwhile, players who invest in more sustainable sources of energy are rewarded with more positive results, despite the higher level of investment required.
There are several different ways players can win Catan: New Energies. However, too much pollution can lead to environmental collapse - whoever invested most in the more renewable sources of energy wins. Catan Studio itself has attempted to make New Energies in an environmentally-friendly way - such as reducing the carbon footprint created by making the game - to ensure that the game’s production methods match its message.
6. Gloomhaven: Second Edition
Revisit one of the most critically-acclaimed board games of all time
There’s no doubt that Gloomhaven is considered to be one of the best board games of all time. Having spent five years sitting at the top of BoardGameGeek rankings of the best board games, Gloomhaven has more than earned its reputation as a great tabletop title.
Gloomhaven is a co-op board game set in and around a fictional fantasy city populated by all sorts of strange and interesting beings. As a group of adventurers, players are free to take on a wide selection of quests that will challenge their strategic thinking and team work skills to their limits. Players are able to take control of a variety of characters, each with their own unique abilities and approach to combat.
If you’ve not managed to get your hands on it quite yet, then you’ve got the perfect opportunity this year as a second edition of Gloomhaven is set to be released. This second edition could be the definitive version of the dungeon-crawling board game, featuring a ton of additional content that will apparently make it worthwhile for even people who have played the original.
The various characters have been redesigned and rebalanced, as well as the items and playable scenarios. Alongside this is a re-written story, a collection of never-before-seen events and a new faction reputation system. Even the artwork and miniatures have been given a fresh makeover. Gloomhaven: Second Edition is either the perfect entry-point for new fans or the ideal excuse for old players to get back into this fantastic board game.
Embrace the wholesome farming lifestyle you’ve always dreamt of
The most striking thing about Harvest is probably its gorgeous artwork, which more than successfully conjures up warm, wholesome vibes that transport you to the countryside. Beyond the game’s charming presentation is an engaging gameplay loop that challenges players to apply their characters’ unique abilities to become the most successful farmer possible.
Players can choose between a selection of different characters - such as Leland the Frog and Penny the Pig - each with their own special power. These powers come in handy when players are choosing which spaces on the board to activate and tending to the crops on their farms.
Every round will have players deciding which sunrise card to pick, which will decide where they come in the turn order. On their turn, players can visit a location in the village of Furroughfield to perform an action or acquire a resource. Players will then need to work on clearing land to plant their crops in, as well as tending to them and, eventually, harvesting them.
The more crops players harvest, the more income they’ll be able to earn - which they can then use to gain more stuff to help them grow even more. With their acquired funds, players may buy more building upgrades for their farm, thereby granting access to new abilities and powers that they can use to their advantage.
Growing crops is also how players earn the points they’ll need to win the game. Whichever player has the most points by the end of the game is named the winner. For a chilled-out but fun family board game, be sure to give Harvest a try.
8. Crossbows & Catapults: Castle Battle
An eighties favourite gets reinvented for the modern era
Crossbows and Catapults is a 1983 board game that has players building walls made from plastic bricks before taking turns attempting to knock down their opponents’ by firing projectiles at them. Over 40 years later, the title is being reinvented by Restoration Games - the publisher with a reputation for bringing back older board games as brand new versions to fit a more modern audience, such as Return to Dark Tower and Unmatched.
This revised version of the dexterity board game sees players using a variety of different-shaped blocks to construct the most protective wall possible. The blocks available to use in this new Crossbows & Catapults title are more varied than those featured in the original, offering players more options when it comes to creating a barrier between the enemy and their precious castle. As well as changing their shape, Restoration has also made the blocks from materials that give a satisfying feeling of weight, whilst still being smashable.
On top of this, the original rubber-band powered weapons have been re-engineered into entirely plastic pieces that players squeeze or pull back in order to fire their projectiles. Additional weapon types have been included alongside the classic crossbows and catapults, such as the ballista and trebuchet - providing even more ways for players to reap destruction.
For a simple but fun reimagining of an ‘80s classic, look no further than Crossbows & Catapults: Castle Battle.
Create your own oceanic ecosystems in this simple family board game
From the co-designers of racing title Heat: Pedal to the Metal - Asger Harding Granerud and Daniel Skjold Pedersen - alongside Dan Halstad, comes a board game about creating various underwater ecosystems. Inspired by marine biology, Aqua has players compete to place tiles that represent different types of habitats that play home to various sea creatures. By placing tiles, players can then attract their respective sealife into their newly-created worlds.
Players take it in turns to choose and place a hexagonal tile in front of them, being careful to place tiles adjacent to other tiles of the same type. Whenever players create a complete hexagon of matching tiles, they form a habitat, enabling them to claim an appropriate creature to put on the space. Available sea life in the family board game includes turtles, crabs, clownfish and others.
Once players have created a habitat, they can then form a reef by placing matching tiles to form a chain of habitats - doubling the value of adjacent animals. Whenever certain animals are put adjacent to each other in a pattern, players can then take a larger aquatic animal, such as a shark or whale, and place it on top of a smaller one. As well as earning points for making habitats, reefs and taking animals, players can also score by adhering to the game’s scoring bonuses, which can change each time they play.
The perfect board game for a gathering of family or friends, Aqua’s accessible theme and beautiful artwork should be the strongest draw for anyone.
10. Galactic Renaissance
Travel across the galaxy through portals to wage war or peace
If you’re familiar with the card-drafting area-control game Inis, then you’ll be aware of its designer Christian Matinez - who has created a new board game that happens to be somewhat similar to Inis. That game is called Galactic Renaissance, a space board game that takes around 75 minutes to play and transports players across a fictional galaxy populated by a vast array of different alien species.
Players take the role of members of a galactic senate that has recently discovered an ancient system of portals that enable near-immediate transportation between planets, regardless of the vast distances between them. This discovery results in war on a galactic scale, with the players deciding whom their allies or enemies will be and ultimately vying for dominance, whatever the cost.
Similarly to Inis, players will build a deck of cards throughout the game, which will give them access to different strategies every round. As players gain access to more cards, they’ll be able to better refine or rethink their approach. Players will have the opportunity to discover new planets waiting on the other side of portals with whom they can either form alliances or start wars with. Along the way, their opponents will be doing exactly the same, meaning that players will have to watch out for disruption and sabotage.
During the game, players will be looking for ways to score the victory points they need to appeal to the galactic senate more than the others. Victory points can be acquired by adhering to the objectives played at the start of every round, as well as building facilities on planets they control. With every player looking to grab opportunities wherever they can, it’s inevitable that they’ll be vying for control over different planets.
Players who love deep strategic board games with strong themes should get their hands on a copy of Galactic Renaissance this year.
11. Hero Realms Dungeons
Delve into ancient ruins and fight monsters in this deckbuilding game
Originally a spin-off from Star Realms, Hero Realms has since inspired its own series of deckbuilding games - with Hero Realms Dungeons being the next iteration. A bigger and better version of the original Hero Realms, Dungeons has players battling each other or working together, depending on their chosen game mode.
Players will begin the game with their own deck of cards they can use to fight their opponent, as well as gold they can spend to acquire more cards. These cards can be bought from a shared market made up of 80 cards, with a total of five being available to buy from at any given time. Players are able to add to and customise their respective decks throughout the game, obtaining new abilities and strategies as they go.
The potential cards on offer include champions players can summon and actions they can perform, both of which can help them by granting more gold, combat prowess or other useful effects. When they face off against opponents, players will need to attack them and their champions in order to reduce their health to zero and win. Every player will start with different cards and abilities depending on their chosen hero, which include alchemists, barbarians and others.
As well as the standard player-versus-player mode, Hero Realms Dungeons comes with a co-op game mode that enables players to team up against hordes of monsters. Alternatively, players can choose to tackle a solo game mode alone. The co-op and solo modes include a 12-part dungeon adventure that players can fight through like a campaign. Experiment with building new decks to beat your opponent or work with them in this new spin on the Hero Realms formula.
12. Undaunted 2200: Callisto
A Titanfall-inspired board game featuring mech warfare on the moon
The Undaunted series has remained one to watch thanks to its consistently brilliant entries. Beginning with the World War II-set Undaunted: Normandy, the franchise has since travelled to North Africa, Stalingrad and even the skies during the Battle of Britain. The next release in the series aims to go even further afield - to the Moon itself - with Undaunted 2200: Callisto.
Set in an alternate future, Callisto sees players choosing between the security outfit for a major corporation or a mining collective based on the Moon’s surface - after a conflict breaks out between the miners and their employers. Depending on which side they choose to control, players will gain access to a unique arsenal of fighters, weaponry and vehicles to deploy against their opponent.
Players can move and command their units using their decks of cards, with each card representing a different unit. As every scenario progresses, players can acquire new cards and trash any they don’t want. Only certain cards will be available for players to buy depending on their chosen faction, with players able to augment their strategy as they go.
As well as troops, players’ objectives will differ based on whatever side they’re commanding, with every scenario offering a different set of objectives for each player to achieve. Whichever player successfully completes their side’s objectives first will be the winner. Undaunted continues to provide an excellent mash-up of deckbuilding and wargaming titles with strong themes, and it doesn’t look like Callisto will disappoint.
Explore an open world in a story-driven board game set in an original universe
Forsaken is described by publisher GameTrayz as being a “sandbox” board game that’s narrative-driven, in which players take control of characters and explore a fictional sci-fi world. As their respective characters, players will have a personalised storyline that can branch in different directions depending on their choices.
Taking place on the fictional planet of Thyrria, players will be able to explore a large map in order to complete their characters’ storyline. Thyrria is a shadow of what it once was, having been strip-mined and left to decay - with its workers abandoned to attempt to make a life in what remains. The planet is now a lawless wasteland, with various warring factions, nomads and strange creatures wandering its deserts.
This oasis of opportunity is open for players to explore, with three separate worlds featuring their own characters and locations for them to interact with. On their turn, players will be able to perform three actions - each of which will, ideally, move them closer towards completing their character’s goals. Along the way, players can hunt bounties, take jobs, perform good and bad deeds, all of which will contribute to their reputation.
If you’ve ever wanted to experience a grand, open-world adventure in a board game, then be sure not to miss out on Forsaken this year.