The year has left us unforgettable moments in good company. Moments to forget. In the middle of a roller coaster of emotions, we review the best board games of 2021. We see how, one more year, they have been present to make our lives easier. To travel, without leaving the room. To perfect evenings.
When preparing this special, we have helped ourselves with the votes of the community. A few weeks ago, we organized a raffle in which we asked you to tell us which was the best game of the year for you. The one that would have marked you the most.
The 10 that make up the list correspond to the Spanish edition, released this year. It can serve as a guide if you have not yet written the letter to the Magi. Unlike last year, in which we published a first and a second part, we have reduced the review to a single report. We take this opportunity to wish you a happy 2022, full of board games.
THE BEST BOARD GAMES OF 2021
1 to 4 players. 30 to 45 minutes. +10 years
Author: Randy Flynn
Illustrator: Beth Sobel
Laying tiles and ‘draft’ come together on this journey to North America. Through constant decision making, we will compete to create the most diverse environment. We will build a mosaic of landscapes, without forgetting the wild fauna.
As Delirium Games pointed out in its presentation, the publisher responsible for the Spanish edition, each game offers unique combinations of scoring objectives. Throughout the challenge, we will organize the fauna into scoring patterns, but we will also do our best to create the largest expanses of habitat surfaces.
2 players. 15 minutes. +10 years
Authors: Anna Lucini and Pau Moré
Illustrator: Alba Aragon
This GDM Games self-produced title is among the best of 2021. It was during the hot months that we entered an abstract tile-laying duel, with an unbeatable theme. Following an ancient Japanese legend, whoever created a thousand paper cranes would have their wish granted …
After setting the stage, we add a tile. On each turn, we will have the option to capture the opponent’s tiles (and, incidentally, get the precious golden origami tiles). We ended up replacing the hand. At the end of the game, the controlled tiles and the golden origami will be taken into account. In the manual itself, the steps to follow to create paper cranes are detailed.
THE LOST RUINS OF ARNAK
1 to 4 players. 30 to 120 minutes. +12 years
Authors: Elwen and Min
Illustrators: Jiří Kůs, Ondřej Hrdina, Jakub Politzer, František Sedláček and Milan Vavroň
Devir is behind the Spanish edition of this great success, which leads us to lead an expedition. Combining exploration, resource management, deck building, and worker placement, we find new actions as we move around the island.
These actions require certain resources. Management is essential for victory, but also a correct use of freedom of choice, competing for the performance of actions. With its different configuration for each game, it is an invitation to try new strategies.
1 to 4 players. 60 to 90 minutes. +10 years
Author: Klemens Kalicki
Illustrators: Karolina Kijak and Katarzyna Fiebiger
This family proposal, published in Spanish by Rebel Studio, is based on the observation of nature. We move between a careful design, represented by more than 200 cards, with its illustrations in watercolor.
The fight for victory is carried out by collecting cards, with the most important species, landscapes and discoveries. While we move between the mysteries of nature, we will try to obtain cards and fulfill the requirements marked to play them. We do not forget the special actions or the search for objectives, with their extra points. Whoever has the highest score wins.
DESCENT: LEGENDS OF DARKNESS
1 to 4 players. 120 to 180 minutes. +14 years
Authors: Kara Centell-Dunk y Nathan I. Hajek
Illustrators: Gary Storkamp y Preston Stone
Fantasy Flight Games released what promised to be the ultimate dungeon exploration game this year. He got it? For now, despite its high price, it has crept into the titles that are causing the most talk.
It takes us to a Terrinoth in danger, where to forge a legend alone or in company. We will start a journey with our hero (with his style of play and his abilities). The missions that make up his campaign lead us to face the undead and demonic barbarians, among other dangers. The experience, which stands out for its miniatures and its three-dimensional terrain, is complemented by an application for mobile devices.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – THE BOARD GAME
1 to 6 players. 40 to 60 minutes. +13 years
Authors: Josh Derksen, Thomas M. Gofton, Dan Hoang, Aron Murch y Cameron Parkinson
Illustrator: Josh Derksen
At the beginning of the year, Gen X Games launched the Spanish edition of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This board game adaptation of the popular television series proposes us to defend the city from a violent attack by demons and vampires. To slow their feet, you have no choice but to cooperate.
By managing resources and taking advantage of the special abilities of the characters, we are getting closer to victory. In each turn, perform an action, to choose between fighting, searching or moving. If we resort to a special, more villains will join the scene. Once we defeat three monsters, we must face the strongest.
1 to 4 players. 40 minutes. +14 years
Authors: Andrea Chiarvesio y Eric M. Lang
Illustrator: Edouard Guiton
During this year, superheroes have once again taken a new leap into board games. Published in Spanish by Asmodee, Marvel United combines cards, boards and miniatures, in their most tender form.
They are accompanied by some simple rules, where to join forces. We will choose a hero, with his powers and abilities, facing the evil plans of the villain on duty. Villain cards allow each encounter to be different. In the basic box, we put ourselves in the shoes of Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and The Wasp. Its expansions add more heroes.
UNMATCHED: BATTLE OF LEGENDS
2 to 4 players. 30 minutes. +9 years
Author: Rob Daviau
Illustrators: Oliver Barrett and Juan Esteban Rodríguez
Asymmetric bouts. They are the essence of a series that is here to stay. Published in Spanish by TCG Factory, it was released at the beginning of the year through a first volume. Different boxes have followed, to be enjoyed independently or in combination with each other.
In the first, Medusa, Arturo, Alicia and Sinbad were the main protagonists, along with their faithful assistants. The mission is to defeat the opponent’s hero, following very simple rules. In the maneuver phase, we draw a card from the deck and move our characters. In ingenuity, we play a card to take advantage of its effect. The attack closes the turn, with its melee or ranged battles.
ALMANAC: THE WAY OF THE DRAGON
2 to 4 players. 60 to 90 minutes. +12 years
Author: Scott Almes
Illustrator: Jacqui Davis
SD Games published, a few months ago, the Spanish edition of this board game in book format. On its pages, we place our workers, in search of the precious victory points.
Our decisions will take us to visit a monastery of the clouds, a mining cavern, piers, deserts and wizard lairs, until we reach Dragon City. Along the way, we will have expanded our caravan, with more space for our boys and resources. We will trade, play with risk and complete treaties, among other possibilities.
THE SECRET VALLEY
2 to 4 players. 30 minutes. +10 years
Author: Martin oddino
Illustrators: Marcos Lescano and Lucas Charra
With the end of the summer, Peanut Games and RD Studio released a jewel in a small box. The Secret Valley proposed us to lead our clan to achieve the best settlements in unknown territory.
Cards, wooden counters and a scoreboard are the only tools we need, in games with a high level of replayability. On each turn, we play a card on the stage and place our own settlement on it. We will attend to the scoring conditions of the letter itself, those around it, the row and the column. The best combinations, the result of an elaborate strategy, translate into valuable points.