I return from the dark but cosy depths of a Christmas filled with food, booze, family and a few new board games. Rested, and ready to face the coming January onslaught. 2018 is upon us and with a new year to look forward to, to fill with plans and hopes, comes even more board games. It’s time to look forward to what exciting new titles we know are on their way! The games I’m currently most excited about. In a completely random order!
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame is a box full of promise and a crime scene all too lacking in evidence just now. Until the witness statements come in all we have to go on are rumours and imagination. Murder, cardboard, and an integrated app. Perhaps a game that brings the wonderful cooperative puzzle solving of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective into the 21st Century. But we know the lead culprit: Portal Games. I really like First Martians but the biggest criticism I have of the game is its poor, brutally brief writing and I feel like Detective should be a game that, like Consulting Detective, comes alive with its writing. I fear that, based on what I’ve seen of his previous work, Ignacy might not be able to pull off what excites me about this concept. But despite my repeated suggestions, it turns out he doesn’t only make games for me. Very strange! Regardless, Im very excited to see what comes of this!
Founders of Gloomhaven
Founders of Gloomhaven is the crunchy Euro city builder set in Gloomhaven, which you’ll literally be building, and that I got to play during the Kickstarter earlier this year. The buildings you construct give you access to the resources they produce and, by connecting buildings together by roads you allow those resources to be delivered and combined to create higher level resources. It’s a meaty game, and a very cleverly put together one. It’s one that I would like to explore in more detail too, as having played it once, I know there are some proper layers to explore through!
The long development of Brasil has done a fine job of building anticipation, but also the fear that it will forever remain just over the horizon! This is set to be the next big meaty Euro game from What’s Your Game? publishers of Nippon, of Railroad Revolution, and so many other fantastic Euro games! Brasil is even by the designer of their most popular titles. It explores the Brazilian gold rush during the 18th Century, and an exploration of the city and region around which this gold rush was focussed. That sounds damn near thematic for a What’s Your Game title! So I’m pretty excited to see if we will have it in our hands this year.
Edge of Darkness
Mystic Vale is a game I thoroughly enjoy and Edge of Darkness is the game it has been building up to. Historically, Edge of Darkness was the original card crafting game. Publisher AEG decided to develop and release Mystic Vale first so that players had chance to gain some experience in these card crafting mechanics, before treating us to the main event. Well now it’s almost here. Edge of Darkness combines card crafting and worker placement into a semi-cooperative monster. This is well beyond anything you experienced in Mystic Vale. The players share and craft a single deck, card improvements also increase the threat, something dark that is building outside the walls to assail you all. Yet you are competing amongst yourselves for control of the city. I’m always a little suspicious of semi-cooperative games but loved Mystic Vale so I’m definitely checking this one out!
The Rise of Queensdale
So Legacy/Campaign games might be becoming ever more common but honestly I’m still lapping them up at the moment. This one has caught my eye because it comes from Marcus and Inka Brand, the design pair that I seem to be regularly dropping into board game conversations at the moment. Not everyday conversations. I don’t think most people would be impressed by their Exit series or the fact they also did Word Slam, but I am and if you’re reading this then so should you! The mix of innovative puzzles they seem to be able to create for the Exit games has me very interested to see what they can do with the legacy format!
This game might honesty have gone unnoticed by me were it not for the name of its designer, a certain Vital Lacerda. I got my first taste of Vital (in a completely consensual manner, I assure you) with Lisboa, his deep exploration of the reconstruction of that city in one of the most complex Euro games I have ever played. He creates HEAVY euros. But then we have this announcement of Escape Plan, a game of getting away from a bank heist which, let’s be honest, does not sound like traditional Euro territory! That’s what puts it so solidly on my list. Not just the enticing challenge from a master designer, but a game that appears at first glance to be so far outside of his “comfort zone”. It’s in such places that real greatness happens!
Honestly, one look at the artwork for Root had me pouring over its Kickstarter page like hot butter over a luxuriously thick slice of toast. But artwork alone can’t sustain my interest through the long winter months so it is Root’s gameplay that is of real importance. Think accessible COIN gameplay (the counter-insurgency series of war games from GMT), in a fantasy kingdom populated with mice, cats and birds. Sorry, drifting back into artwork again! Each of these races is all of its own though, with fully asymmetric behaviour. You see, this also comes from the creators of Vast: The Crystal Caverns, a game that is, frankly, ludicrously asymmetric, and that I sadly missed out on before. I can’t wait to see the outcome when these two things come together.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of my guilty pleasure games. Complete, unapologetic, unbalanced nonsense in a box that is about as marmite a game as you can ever expect to come across. But it holds a special place in my heart for ridiculous late night escapades, lit by candle light and several beers past the point Euro games can cope with (or rather, that I can cope with them…) Now, Betrayal is getting a legacy game, from Rob Daviau, and if there is ever a property that should excel in a story driven, legacy format, it’s the ridiculous stories of Betrayal. Will I ever actually be able to find a group to play through this nonsense? I don’t know, but that’s not what excitement is all about!
Another Kickstarter I am waiting on. Sorry to be so predictable. Rising Sun is high on many 2018 lists but that should come as no surprise. The spiritual sequel to one of the most successful (financially and critically) Kickstarters, Blood Rage, Rising Sun was always going to be hyped no matter how many cloudy thoughts you try to put in its way. How well it can tread that fine line of innovating without loosing the core that made its predecessor successful is going to be the key test it faces. But then it’s designer, Eric Lang, has already done it before: Blood Rage was in many ways a re-imagining of Blood in the Old World.
Cutest dungeon crawler ever? Stuffed Fables is the story of teddy bears defending their little girl from the monsters under the bed! It comes from the same team as Mice & Mystics and though I hear it leans more towards family accessibility than deep strategy, more towards story telling than dungeon crawling, that might be no bad thing. It has kind of captured my imagination, and maybe my heart a little bit as well. Plus it eschews classic dungeon tiles for a printed book of maps and text which (like last year’s Near and Far) is an excellent and interesting way of adding content to a board game that I would love to investigate further.
But what games are you excited about!? Let me know in the comments!
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