The best new board games 2023, with great recent games for all budgets

Looking for the top new board games? Here's what's fresh out of the box for your enjoyment

The best new board games 2023
(Image credit: Canva)

Whether it's a holiday, gathering or just a wet weekend, the best new board games are a necessity for keeping you and your family entertained! There are so many different board games available these days, it can be hard to know where to look, but with our round-up of the best new board games, you’re sure to find something for everyone.

Board games are a classic way to bring people together, and since lockdown, they’ve made a huge comeback, and we think they’re here to stay! In this round up, you’ll find some of the best new board games in 2023, so even if Monopoly is a solid family staple, we think you’ll love some of the latest and creative board game choices available today.

We regularly add to this list of new board games, so keep an eye out for new additions. We also have a guide to the best board games if you’d like a more curated list of our favourites. You may also have some specific types of games you’d like to look for, so check out guides to the best cheap board games, and best two-player board games for more to suit your needs.

What are the best new board games?

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You can read on for our full run-down of the new board games you should add to your collection, but here's a quick cheat sheet of some of the best choices for different groups:

  • Best new board game overall: What Next?
  • Best new board game for families: Cubitos
  • Best cheap new board game: The Crew: Mission Deep Sea

Best new board games 2023: the list

Big Potato Games What Next boxT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Big Potato Games)

1. What Next?

The best new board game for gripping and silly cooperative play

Specifications

Players: 1-4
Playing time: 20-60 minutes
Suggested age: 10+

Reasons to buy

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Fun genre blending
+
Huge variety in play
+
Fun party game vibe

Reasons to avoid

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Not everyone finds dexterity games fun

This clever co-operative title combines adventure stories, puzzle-solving and dexterity play into one glorious package. After choosing your quest from one of three in the box, players take turns reading out the card text, then the group discusses which option to take next, like a “choose your own adventure” book. Unlike those classic books, the choices you make in What Next? lead you into an astonishing variety of mini-games.

Some of these are simple, like throwing and catching the card that gave you the challenge. Many involve the pool of fun components included in the fold-out box, such as the puck-push, where you have to flick a disc a specific distance down a track, or feeling for particular shapes in a bag.

Fail, and you'll often be required to add pieces to the Tower of Peril, a stack of irregular foam shapes. If it tumbles, it's game over for the group, ensuring that each addition thrums with tension. The variety and creativity on display in both the challenges and the adventures, which feature items to collect and difficulty spikes, is amazing, ensuring plenty of replay value even when you've mastered the skills to succeed.

Cubitos board gameT3 Approved badge


(Image credit: AEG/Pegasus Spiele)

2. Cubitos

The best new board game for families

Specifications

Players: 2-4
Playing time: 30-60 minutes
Suggested age: 10+

Reasons to buy

+
Fistfuls of dice to roll
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No two games are the same
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Bizarre theme and fun art

Reasons to avoid

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Limited interaction between players

If you like dice, you’ll love this, which not only features fistfuls of tumbling cubes but even has dice-shaped playing pieces. Your goal is to push your orthogonal avatar over the finish line of a race before your competitors. To do so you'll need to roll movement faces on your pool of dice. Other faces generate income which you can then use to buy dice for yet more rolling enjoyment, and hopefully movement, on following turns.

There's a catch, of course, which is that many dice faces are blank and you can re-roll these… at the risk of losing the lot. If you ever come up with all blank faces from a roll, your turn is over. If not, you get to spend your faces and, once you've started adding new dice to your pool, many of them come with special abilities that you can look to combine to give yourself the biggest boost.

Instead of fixed effects, each colour of dice is matched to a card that you can switch out between games. This gives a huge potential range of different effects, ensuring that no single strategy can dominate. With its wacky theme, bright colours and exciting play, Cubitos is a race for the whole family.

Destinies board game box and componentsT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Lucky Duck Games)

3. Destinies

The best new board game for deep adventures

Specifications

Players: 1-3
Playing time: 90-180 minutes
Suggested age: 14+

Reasons to buy

+
Competitive adventure with solo option
+
Fantastic figures and art
+
Very clever skill system

Reasons to avoid

-
Randomness and app can limit tactical options

Since the advent of cooperative games, fantasy adventure titles have tended to go that way instead of the old, competitive model. Destinies is a welcome return to that world, with each player choosing a character and setting forth into a fantasy world to try and fulfil one of the two destiny goals listed on the back of their character sheet.

It's an app-driven game which means you have a digital companion on your laptop or phone that reveals the world and handles encounters for you while you move and explore. This means the game can play fast and simple, allowing you to focus on the strategy and the stories that emerge from play. In fact, the app tracks so much that it can feel like a video game at times.

The core of the game is the smart skill system. When confronting an encounter you roll two dice plus as many "effort" dice that you want from your pool. The catch is that once used, those dice only return to service once per turn. It keeps everyone balanced on the classic seesaw of rewards now against problems later. You can also play solo, with the app adding time pressure to keep you competitive.

Star War Villainous board gameT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Ravensburger / Disney)
The best new board game for Star Wars fans

Specifications

Players: 2-4
Playing time: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Suggested age: 10 and up

Reasons to buy

+
Unusual evocation of villain plot lines from Star Wars
+
Considerable strategic crunch for a mass-market title
+
Packed with fun Star Wars art and references

Reasons to avoid

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Quite complex for a family-friendly franchise game
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Not much player interaction

If you’ve ever wanted to explore the Dark Side of an iconic Star Wars villain, now’s your chance in Star Wars Villainous: Power of the Dark Side. Building on previous iterations of the Villainous series that featured evil characters from Disney animations and Marvel, this new Star Wars version has two new mechanics to leverage. First, a new resource, ambition, to fuel your wicked machinations. Second, a new space where you can visit starships from the franchise and dogfight with enemies. What they add in complexity they make up for in strategic depth. And it retains the clever “fate” mechanic of previous games where other players can choose heroes and events to play on you and thwart your plans.

Read our full Star Wars Villainous: Power of the Dark Side review.

The Crew Mission Deep Sea board gameT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Kosmos Games)

5. The Crew: Mission Deep Sea

The best cheap new board game

Specifications

Players: 2-5
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested age: 10+

Reasons to buy

+
Familiar type of game with new co-op twist
+
Loads of variety in how you play
+
Small and cheap

Reasons to avoid

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Very similar to original The Crew, if you own it

The Crew, from 2019, was a very novel cooperative card game. Based on common trick-taking games like Whist or Hearts, instead of racing to see who could win the most tricks, it challenged players to win particular cards in a particular order to pass each mission. Given the common rules of the genre, such as trumps and following suit, that's no simple task. What made it far more interesting is that there were major limitations on when players could talk about the cards in their hands.

The original did an amazing amount with this very simple framework, resulting in a fascinating game of nudging, winking and logical deduction. Now this sequel ups the ante by going down into the deep sea. On the dive it picks up some smart new design in the way the game assigns goals to the players.

Instead of just having objectives tied to single cards, Mission Deep Sea has goals of varying difficulty, so you're never sure how many you'll need for each mission. And they vary hugely, including trick totals, tricks in a row and multiples of a given suit or number. Offering dozens of missions, it's a masterclass in doing a whole lot with very little, as our full The Crew: Mission Deep Sea review (opens in new tab) explains.

Descent Legends of the Dark box and componentsT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Asmodee/Fantasy Flight Games)

6. Descent: Legends of the Dark

The best new board game for epic dungeon delving

Specifications

Players: 2-4
Playing time: 30-60 minutes
Suggested age: 10+

Reasons to buy

+
3D scenery and detailed figures
+
App-driven campaign offers hours of fun
+
Easy to learn but hard to master

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Best with fewer players

While the price tag on this cooperative dungeon-crawling campaign is certainly high, you can see the value as soon as you open the lid of the curiously cubic box. Inside there are sheets of stunning 3D cardboard scenery, which you need to construct yourself. And beneath that are trays of perhaps the most detailed plastic miniatures ever to grace a board game. 

As amazing as it looks on your tabletop, this cardboard hoard is only half the game. The other half lives on your phone or computer in a free app. This functions as a kind of 'games master' for your group, instructing you to lay scenery and place monsters as you explore. It also handles a lot of the admin such as tracking damage, leaving you free to enjoy the strategy of card management and luck of dice rolling.

Cards are two-sided, with different effects on each side, and you'll need to manage switching between them alongside movement and positioning in tactical battles. But beware: if you flip a card it also loses any accrued effects, good or bad. With each adventure linking into a grand campaign, featuring crafting and inventory management between quests, Descent should keep you going for a long time – perfect for winters at home.

Long Shot: The Dice Game review

(Image credit: Future)
The best new roll and write game of the year

Specifications

Players: 2-7
Playing time: 25 mins
Suggested age: 14+

Reasons to buy

+
Easy and fast to play
+
Looks and feels engaging
+
Clashing motivations between players

Reasons to avoid

-
Gambling theme, obviously
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Random element is high

Roll and write games, where players get to mark off actions on a card based on the roll of some dice, are easy to design and fast to play and have become the junk food of the board gaming world. As we say in our Long Shot: The Dice Game review, though, this is a much more nutritious and filling entry to the genre. Players strive to make money buy buying and betting on horses as they thunder round a racetrack. But with plenty of sneaky ways to give your favoured horse a nudge, or trip those of your competitors, it’s a thrilling tactical dash to the finish line. Trying to juggle the odds to get yourself an edge as your rivals also home in on the same likely winning horses horses is a statistical delight.

Azul Queen's Garden board game on white background

(Image credit: Plan B Games)
A great new board game for strategy lovers

Specifications

Players: 2-4
Play time: Up to 45 minutes
Suggested age: 10+

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of strategy to explore in a great-looking package
+
Variety of mechanics that mesh into a coherent whole
+
Feels like an evolution of previous Azul titles

Reasons to avoid

-
Very little player interaction
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Other games in the Azul series are more accessible

Building on the previous entries in the popular and accessible Azul series of abstract games, Queen’s Garden marries the depth of classic abstracts to the series’ hallmark of bright, tactile tile-laying. Now you’re not just laying tiles for points, there’s an economic aspect too where you have to pay for what you put down with other tiles you’ve collected from the draft. With points between rounds as well at game end you’ll need to balance tactics with strategy and patterns with points as you seek to build the most attractive garden in a Portugese palace.

Matt has been writing about and reviewing tabletop games professionally for over a decade and playing them since he could talk. He's also the author and co-author of three books on the subject. He writes about video games, too, and his other hobbies include hiking and cooking.

With contributions from