Top 12 New Games - H.S. Board Game Club
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Year two of my high school board game club (year one Geeklist can be found here) has been a massive success so far. We are averaging 25-30 students each week. Additionally, through another fundraiser at Barnes and Noble, we added tons of new (to us) games to our library. Here's a picture from our fundraiser:



Below is a good snapshot of roughly 2/3 of our collection. The two-player games and some of the new games we've ordered are not pictured:






In the Geeklist linked at the top, I detailed some of our favorite games from last year. All of those games are still very popular. However, below is a list of our favorite new games from this year. Enjoy, comment, thumb, and share your ideas for other games we'd enjoy!
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1. Board Game: Disney Classics [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Last year's top 10. Again, these are all still very popular:

10. The Resistance
9. Wits and Wagers
8. One Night Ultimate Werewolf
7. Happy Salmon
6. Codenames
5. Monikers
4. Two Rooms and a Boom
3. Bang! the Dice Game
2. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
1. King of Tokyo
 
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2. Board Game: The Chameleon [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:2317]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 12

Great game with a boring box. I heard of it thanks to Tom Vasel's recent top 100 video. Everyone but the chameleon knows a secret word. Players, in quick succession, give one-word clues about the secret word and then try to determine who the chameleon is. If players' clues are too specific, the chameleon (if spotted) gets to guess the word.

+ Quick
+ Easy to explain
+ Neat, intellectual twist on the social deduction genre
- Younger students (freshmen, mostly) struggle with being the chameleon
- Sometimes hard to determine the chameleon based on only one word from each player
 
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3. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:612]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 11

This is one of the best press-your-luck games, especially for larger groups. Players brave the dangers of a cave in order to walk away with the most treasure. It inevitably ends with shouting.

+ Exciting and tense
+ Nice blend of luck and probability
- Takes just a bit longer to teach than I'd like
- Can be frustrating if you fall way behind early
 
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4. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:771]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 10

Tsuro is a simple, relaxing game in which players take turns laying a tile and then moving their marker along the path it creates. Whoever stays on the board longest wins. The kids have really taken to Tsuro, as has anyone I've taught the game to.

+ Easy to teach and to play
+ Relaxing and not too competitive
+ Beautiful art and components
- Not too much depth
 
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5. Board Game: Lanterns: The Harvest Festival [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:567]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 9

Another relaxing tile-laying game. Lanterns involves laying tiles to gain color cards, which are cashed in for honor (points). My older students love playing Lanterns.

+ Beautiful tiles and cards
+ Simple yet tactical
+ Rewards multiple plays
- Only plays 2-4 players
- Experienced players tend to win (usually a positive, but not for Club)
 
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6. Board Game: Spyfall 2 [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1356] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 8

We loved the first Spyfall last year, but the ability to play with 12 players (two of which are spies) has revitalized this social deduction game for us. Players are all at the same location except for the spy/spies. They take turns asking each other questions to find the spy--or the spy can attempt to ascertain and guess the location.

+ Plays well with 5 to 12
+ New locations (we played the old one a LOT and needed more)
+ New players can be competitive immediately
- Very short (10 minutes or less); doesn't allow for extended bluffing
- Artwork is odd
 
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7. Board Game: Word on the Street [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1450]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 7

This one wasn't on my radar until I saw it on Walmart's website for around $10. It's a tug-of-war game in which two teams create words using in order to pull letters toward and eventually off their side of the board. Very fun.

+ Plays any number of people (best with 8 or fewer, though)
+ Works well in a school setting
+ Gets very intense with our students
- Can spiral out of control to where one team is stuck playing defense
 
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8. Board Game: Werewords [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:1105]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 6

Werewords has gone over very well so far, and I could see it moving up this list if we'd had it longer. It's very similar to Werewolf, but it adds a 20 Questions element, which works better than you'd expect. We've had some raucous moments playing Werewords.

+ Adds a twist to basic social deduction (necessary for me)
+ Plays and teaches quickly
- The high school kids don't guess the word correctly too often so far
 
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9. Board Game: Get Adler! Deduction Card Game [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:8778]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 5

Get Adler is by far the biggest surprise of this list. Like Werewords, it would probably be higher on this list if we'd owned it longer. I received a review copy from the publisher and tested it with the kids. Now they want to play over and over. It's a social deduction game in which pinpointing the enemy/enemies is only half the game. The last few rounds are full of exciting showdowns between the heroes and the enemy agent(s). Watch out for my review here on BGG in the next two or three days, and look for the game at Barnes and Noble.

+ Adds Guess Who-style questioning, hand management, and several other great twists to the otherwise-overloaded social deduction genre
+ Offers multiple expert variants
+ Tense and satisfying; often results in screaming at the end
- Art and rules could use tweaking in future print runs
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10. Board Game: Happy Salmon [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1013] [Average Rating:6.94 Unranked]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 4

Happy Salmon: Blue Fish doesn't have an entry on BGG, but since I already included Happy Salmon on last year's list, I'm focusing on the expansion that allows for up to twelve players. If you don't know about Happy Salmon, go watch a video or find my review here on BGG.

+ Simple and fast
+ Extremely energetic
+ Silly
- Less assertive students get destroyed
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11. Board Game: Banned Words [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:5939]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 3

This is another surprise hit for my kids. It's like Taboo and Charades, Monikers, or Time's Up mixed together, and players from both teams stay involved. It's hilarious to see students try so hard to avoid "taboo" words the other team has written down so they don't give the other team points.

+ Provides a much-needed wrinkle in this genre
+ Keeps players involved
+ The sand timer makes this very tense
- You need a large divider and honest players
 
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12. Board Game: Mysterium [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:153]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 2

It took me a long time to bring Mysterium to Club, but it has been a massive hit. Everyone describes it as Dixit meets Clue, and that's fairly accurate. The kids love guessing or playing as the ghost, and we play without the clairvoyancy tokens to simplify and streamline the gameplay.

+ Highly creative
+ Kids love the spooky theme and great artwork
+ Co-operative
- Takes quite a while
- Hard for the ghost when you play with 7 players
 
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13. Board Game: Crossfire [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:3661]
Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Number 1

You wouldn't guess it from this list, but I get sick of social deduction games. However, Crossfire adds variable player powers and an extremely short timer. Players also have some information about the roles in their immediate vicinity, which gives everyone more to talk about during the game. We play it over and over.

+ Extremely quick
+ Players have information, unlike in most social deduction games
+ Interesting variable player powers
+ Numerous bluffing strategies can work, leading it to be less predictable than most games in the genre
 
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