CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

The best upcoming tabletop games from Toy Fair 2020

From Dungeons & Dragons, Marvel and Back to the Future, to a long-lost '80s classic, these are the coolest board games we saw during Toy Fair.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Dan Ackerman
Scott Stein
4 min read

There were plenty of tabletop games to be seen at Toy Fair 2020 in New York this week, many of which tie into some of our favorite themes, like Funko figures, classic comic book and movie characters, and board game/video game hybrids. Here are a handful of the best examples we saw at the show.

There's a lot happening in this colorful Marvel-themed game. It's a basic deck-building game at one level, but with awesome-looking Marvel game pieces that jump between NYC-based locations like Central Park and the Avengers Mansion. The superhero miniatures are all done in the exaggeratedchibi style, which helps sell this as a game that's simple enough for mainstream gamers to pick up easily. And in fact, during a 30-minute demo session, I got the hang of it quickly, and each hero plays cards to perform moves and attacks across the game's locations. Marvel United will come to stores later in 2020, but there's a few days left on its initial Kickstarter, which will get you all kinds of exclusive extra characters. It's from CMON (best known for the Zombicide franchise) and SpinMaster, so expect lots of great design and collectability. 

Read more: Best gifts for tween boys in 2020  

Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast, which makes Dungeons & Dragons. So, don't be surprised that there's a D&D board game coming (the already-released D&D battle card game Dungeon Mayhem is a lot of fun). Adventure Begins has cool cards, miniatures and a co-op adventure that might be a fun way to dive into D&D before getting into the pencil-and-dice original.

Read more: Best gifts for teen boys in 2020  

I got a chance to see a prototype of this upcoming Funko Kaiju game behind closed doors at Toy Fair and it was one of my favorite game designs at the show. Using a modular hex-tile board with 3D buildings, players compete as either Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah or monster B-lister Megalon to destroy Tokyo. The monster minis, at least in this prototype, were hefty and detailed, and will appeal to figure collectors. Expected in August for $40. Funko Games also has new games based on Back to the Future, the classic Pan Am airline brand, and new additions to the Funkoverse strategy game series, including Jurassic Park and Jaws. 

Not to be confused with Funko's upcoming Back to the Future game (which also looks very cool), this Ravensburger entry is more of a dice-chucking game with lots of time travel. Players touch on events from all three movies trying to reset the timeline after Biff causes more temporal damage than usual. Expected in June for $30. 

The original Dark Tower was a 1981 board game featuring an electronic tower that guided the D&D-style gameplay. It's since become a cult classic, and vintage copies go for big bucks on eBay. A new, updated remake just raised more than $4 million on Kickstarter, and we got to see an early prototype unit on its way to Toy Fair. This is a complex strategy game, with a massive tower in the center, linked to the game's app via Bluetooth. Don't expect to see it in stores before 2021, but at least that will give you time to save up, as it will cost around $150. 

Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of the all-time great tabletop horror games, where players explore a spooky haunted mansion that's built one map tile at a time. The latest re-imaging of that game is Betrayal at Mystery Mansion, which gives it a Scooby-Doo makeover, while also making it a bit more family friendly, both less scary and easier to play. Many of the missions are based on actual Scooby-Doo episodes, but sadly, no Harlem Globetrotters guest spots. Expected in May, for $35. 

The maker of the popular card game Unstable Unicorns has a battle card game that launched on Kickstarter, but is coming this fall to stores. The card designs look great and the game looks like a fun, self-contained mix of roleplaying, card battling and a bit of backstabbing.

Looney Labs makes tons of Fluxx card games and a fantastic but pricey board game set, Pyramid Arcade. Pyramid Quartet is a series of separate, less expensive games based on Andrew Looney's pyramid-based game system, and can act as expansions to Pyramid Arcade if you already have that larger set (new colors, some new games). I love how the pyramid games can be turned into other game designs if you collect enough of them (there's already a giant online community that's designed pyramid games for years). The new boxes are coming this fall.

Hot Wheels unveils a radio-controlled Tesla Cybertruck for Toy Fair 2020

See all photos

More on tabletop and board games: