Top 10 Fantasy Board Games (Updated for 2012)

We've updated our list of the best fantasy games to include a number of fantastic new releases from the past year. For our old list, which includes some great classics that didn't quite make the cut this time around, go here.

1. A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (2nd Edition)

The Game of Thrones board game brings George R.R. Martin’s popular “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series and TV show to life. Players take on the role of one of the 5 houses contesting the throne of Westeros. Each player will have to balance both diplomacy and warfare to win in this exciting and popular board game, which adds tension with a clever blind bidding system for giving orders to your armies.

2. Small World

Small World is a cute area control board game that has players take control of a fantasy race with its own special power and additional special abilities, which are randomly assigned each game. Players run rampant across the board, conquering provinces until their race is spread to thin and goes into decline, and a new race must be chosen. Small World has become a highly popular gateway game, and has been featured on TableTop and in our own game reviews.

3. Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd Edition)

Descent is a classic dungeon crawling, fantasy board game. The 2nd Edition of this popular game features streamlined rules and faster gameplay while keeping much of the same epic flavor. In Descent, players take on the role of either a group of brave adventurers making their way through numerous dungeons in an attempt to finish the quest laid out for them, or the Overlord, who creates the quest and its challenges. With a slew of adventurers to pick from, a modular game board and a Dungeon Master (the Overlord), it’s one of the best dungeon crawl games out there.

4. Blood Bowl Team Manager

Blood Bowl Team Manager combines fantasy football with fantasy races to create a game of mayhem and hilarity. You'll receive one of 6 teams to control through a season of the game, fighting over highlight games and trophies. The player who gains the most fans by the end of the season will be the winner. Each team has its own unique combination of passing, tackling and blocking skills, and star players let you further customize your team for extra carnage -- and victory.

5. Dungeon Run

Dungeon Run is a dungeon crawl game with a twist. While this mostly-cooperative game has challenges that you'll need to work together to beat, there can only ever be one winner -- the player who escapes with the final treasure. This means that you’ll spend your game of Dungeon Run looking for the opportune time to backstab your friends and win the treasure for yourself.

6. Castle Panic

Castle Panic takes a very simple concept -- players defending their castle from an invading horde of monsters -- and makes it highly enjoyable. It’s playable as a semi-cooperative or fully cooperative board game, and uses a die roll to randomise monster allocation and card management, forcing players to work together and plan ahead. Castle Panic is a tense, nail-biting tower-defense game that everyone can enjoy, and was recently profiled on Wil Wheaton’s TableTop.

7. Dicworld: Ankh-Morpork

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork brings Terry Pratchett's beloved, beleaguered city to life. Fans will giggle at the inside jokes on every card, while non-fans will enjoy the strategic options the game offers and the beautiful execution. A simple game to teach, Discworld : Ankh-Morpork still contains a lot of strategy and double-guessing -- a hallmark of most Martin Wallace games. The area control mechanics are elegant, while secret player objectives add a lot of tension to this quick-playing game.

8. War of the Ring (2nd Edition)

War of the Ring is a classic 2-player fantasy wargame. Taking on the role of either the Free People or Sauron and Saruman’s forces, you'll do battle for the fate of Middle Earth. This epic board game has won numerous awards and is a classic of its genre, combining dice-rolling, nail-biting combat with unique cards and the added challenge of the Ringbearer’s quest. The 2nd Edition comes with upgraded components and slightly modified rules to improve the game’s balance, while maintaining the beautiful art and epic feel of the original.

9. Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin

Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin is the latest iteration of the popular fantasy deck-builder Thunderstone. Like its predecessor, it uses clever deck-building mechanics to simulate a dungeon-crawling, moster-slaying adventure. Playable alone or with the previous sets, Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin adds a few new rules to streamline gameplay while providing all the necessary village and player cards to be a standalone edition. It's a great introduction to both deck-builders and the fantasy world of Thunderstone.

10. Sentinels of the Multiverse

Sentinels of the Multiverse is a superhero game that is fun, fast and heroic. You'll get to combine unique character powers and battle over-the-top super villains in this card game. Sentinels of the Multiverse is more 1970's super hero action rather than 90's deconstruction, though, so don't expect gritty realism here -- just big 'Bam', 'Bash' and 'Pow' sound effects coming from you and your friends.