Most Anticipated Historical Board Game Releases in 2022

Happy new year, everybody! I hope it will bring you much joy. I also hope it will bring you board games (which is basically the same thing). The question is, however: Which games? – Here are a few 2022 releases which look most intriguing to me.

As always, don’t take this as a shopping list (neither for you nor for me). Over the course of 2021, I bought one single game. That was all. (I did receive a few more as gifts, though.) Your taste in games and your discretion how many new games you want to chase decide what will end up in your shelf (and, hopefully, on your table)!

After that reminder, on to the games. As all of them are set in human history, they are ordered from most ancient to most recent.

No Napoleonic game without Monsieur L’Empereur on the cover! As per usual, he looks grim. ©Phalanx Games.

Coalitions (Andrew Rourke, Phalanx Games)

1-6 players, 60-240 minutes

Coalitions promises the entirety of the Napoleonic Wars in one evening – as a diplomacy-heavy multiplayer romp (options for low player counts and solo gaming also exist). Gameplay is based on a “Wheel of War” which assigns each player one action (taxation, movement of generals, etc.), all of which are executed at the same time. In the next round, all players advance to the next action in line, simultaneous execution continues, and so on. Thus, downtime should be minimal. Another interesting feature is the eponymous coalition system – France and Britain are always hostile to each other, but the other powers can enter and leave coalitions with one of these two (or pursue an independent course). Membership in a coalition comes with certain benefits, of which the biggest is that of a share in the victory a coalition partner might achieve. Not enough games have victory conditions in which variable numbers of players can win or lose.

If you like the premise, but not the Napoleonic subject (or are into other conflicts in addition to Napoleonics), there are already a number of expansions/standalones for the game which transport the system into the 17th century (Raison d’État), the 18th century (Ancien Régime), or the wars of German and Italian unification (Realpolitik).

Coalitions has been successfully funded on Kickstarter. Late pledges are still open here. Shipping is expected for November 2022.

The cover is based on period art: women’s suffrage marches from the American West (the first region of the US to adopt it) on to the women of the east yearning for their political liberation. ©Fort Circle Games.

Votes for Women (Tory Brown, Fort Circle Games)

1-4 players, 60-75 minutes

There are not enough games about long-term political and social processes in history. Votes for Women makes a contribution to fill this gap with its tale of women’s suffrage in the United States from women’s rights activists holding the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 to winning the decisive states to pass the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution which mandated equal suffrage regardless of sex. Just that in Votes for Women, it is no foregone conclusion that the 19th Amendment will be passed. After all, there is an opposition player who will do their best to stall the women’s suffrage movement, rally the forces of tradition, and secure enough Nays to the Amendment on the state level – after all, if 13 states vote against it, the Amendment is scrapped. Alternatively, the game can be played cooperatively (or solo) against an opposition bot. I’m curious to see how well the game holds up for two players – after all, one of them plays only defense. However, I am confident that the opposition player will have enough opportunities for pinprick advances to make the game fun for both players, and it surely will be educational as well as beautiful.

The game was successfully funded via Kickstarter in 2020 and was originally supposed to be released in 2021. As production and logistics problems troubled the board gaming world last year, shipping is now expected for early 2022. The game can be pre-ordered here.

If you think of Malta as an island, it’s pretty small. But as an aircraft carrier, it’s enormous. Reason enough for the Axis to invade. ©Legion War Games.

Invasion: Malta (Vance von Borries, Legion War Games)

2 players, 360+ minutes

Operations with a strong paratrooper component have the charm of the audacious. The lure of dropping soldiers almost anywhere led to great hopes during World War II, and in many cases, these hopes were dashed when the paratroopers took inordinate losses (the German invasion of Crete in 1941 maybe the most famous of them). No wonder that many other airborne invasions were considered, thought to be too dangerous, and discarded. The invasion of Malta is one of them.

Thus, this game operates on the edge of the historical and the alt-historical: Two of its four scenarios (invasions of Malta in 1940 or 1941) are what-if propositions. Another, the invasion in 1942, is based on the actual plan (“Operation Hercules”) which was never authorized by the German high command. And finally, the fourth scenario, the invasion of the Dodecanese island of Leros in 1943, did in fact happen. The four scenarios promise all the uncertainty of these operations in which one side has all the daring, mobility, and possibly surprise, and the other the advantages of firepower, and, well, not having to jump out of a plane to arrive on a battlefield.

Legion War Games is currently expecting to release the game in the third quarter of 2022. The game can be pre-ordered here.

Cover art is a nod to the classic Twilight Struggle cover, but suitably modernized. ©GMT Games.

Twilight Struggle: Red Sea (Jason Matthews, GMT Games)

2 players, 35 minutes

You like the idea of Twilight Struggle, but you’ve always been wondering how a game on the Cold War could have so little Red Sea-adjacent conflict – after all, think only of the tension and intrigue between Ethiopia and Somalia and their attempt to play off the superpowers against each other! No? That has never been a concern of yours? Okay, I’ll climb back into my “Cold War in the Global South” nerd hole.

I’ll start over: You like the idea of Twilight Struggle, but you want to play it in less than the two hours a regular game takes. You like the idea of Twilight Struggle, but your friends find it too complicated, and you want to lure them in with something similar, but more accessible. You like the idea of Twilight Struggle, and you just want more of it. Then this zoomed-in, card-driven Cold War conflict might be for you. In addition to it being a fully playable game on its own, you can also incorporate some of its cards into the original Twilight Struggle for a game with more Horn-of-Africa Cold War action!

The game has made the cut on GMT’s P500 list and is next in line for a print slot. Thus, we can expect a mid-year release. It can still be pre-ordered at the reduced price here.

To which board games to be released this year are you looking forward? Let me know in the comments!

9 thoughts on “Most Anticipated Historical Board Game Releases in 2022

  1. Pete S/ SP

    The Malta game looks very interesting. Less keen onthe TYwilight Struggle as I’m one of the few people who don’t rate the system.

    I’m looking forward to The Troubles most of all this year. Although seeing the new Yaah no 15 magazine in my fb feed this evening did look interesting.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. cliosboardgames Post author

      Is the game on the Troubles going to be released this year? Its BGG page lists 2023… and I haven’t found anything on the Compass website to indicate it would be released soon (granted, Compass is rather silent about their games in production until shortly before release).

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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