Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017: What I'm Looking Forward To

It's still crazy-early in the year - and many of the things I'm going to list here are already out in some areas (including mine), I just haven't played them, yet.

But here are a few things I'm really looking forward to playing this year:

Room 25 Ultimate - Room 25 is one of my favorite games. Especially when paired with Season 2, which adds a lot to play without significantly increasing the complexity of the game.  Room 25 Ultimate is the base game and the Season 2 expansion in one box. The rules have been laid out slightly differently, and there are some very minor rules tweaks (that improve the game by quite a bit), but I will be bringing this to every game gathering I'm involved with. Because I want to play it more.

Room 25: Escape Room - As if a re-release of the base game and expansion in one box wasn't enough, there is a new expansion coming with new rooms and new modes of play. This one should be available in May, according to a comment from the publisher on BoardGameGeek.

Cyclades: Monuments - Cyclades will always be a special game for me. I first played a prototype of the game a year before its release. The base game was the first time my wife and I both worked together on an English translation. And it's a really good game, which always helps. The Hades expansion drastically reduced the "stockpile money and then cycle creatures with Zeus until you get Pegasus so you can win the game" strategy that dominated play with just the base game. The Titans expansion made for a radically different style of play. This looks like it'll shake things up in a different way. It makes deciding which buildings to construct more important.

Barony: Sorcery - Barony is a game that I worked on a few years ago. It's a good game that is more challenging than its rules would suggest. It's simple to play - you only have six available actions, and so you're fairly constrained in what you can do. Sorcery adds a fifth player and a few more action types. Even if you strip the magic option, that fifth player has potential to radically shake the strategy for this game up. I love this game with four, in large part because of how challenging the strategy becomes. I can't wait to see what it's like with five.

Deus: Egypt - Deus was a pleasant surprise a few years ago. We showed up at GenCon and ... there it was. It was fairly simple to learn, and the strategy was not hard to puzzle out. A very good entry to tableau-building games.  Deus: Egypt is a new set of cards to add to the base game. Or, rather, to exchange with cards from the base game. They are more complex than the base game cards, but not drastically so. EDIT: Between writing this and its going live, I had the opportunity to play this expansion, and it's as good as I'd hoped it would be.

Inis - Inis is a big-box Matagot game. And it's already available and/or in stock in most areas. I just don't have my copy yet, but Matagot seems to do really good big box games. See also Giants, Cyclades, and Kemet. This is area control with a Celtic flavor.

Captain Sonar - This was the most-talked-about game at GenCon and Essen last year. It's an eight-player strategy game that is unique. Matagot managed to find a style of game that is completely unlike anything else on the market. I've seen a few reviews of this that weren't glowing, but most have been very positive. It's a team game where your goal is to find and sink the enemy submarine before they do the same to you. Every player has a different role to fill. The captain tells the ship where to go, the Engineer tries to keep it running. The radio operator listens to the other team.  It's a bit chaotic, honestly, but chaotic and bad are two different things.

Hyperborea: Light & Shadow - This should come as no surprise to anyone who's gamed with me in person.  Hyperborea is a fantastic bag-builder and a personal favorite. A lot of people compared it to Orleans when both came out the same year, but have played both, I can attest that they are very different games. This expansion adds two new colors of cube to the game, as well as throwing in artifacts and some additional racial powers. Unfortunately, it's unclear if this will get wider release - the initial print run sold well at Essen, and then the remaining copies were sent to - an Italian game retailer. Currently, they are the only way to get a copy, and it's very expensive for what it is (I received my copy last week, so I speak from a position of experience here). It was around $50 for black cubes, white cubes, replacement red cubes, and three sheets of die-cut cardboard.

... huh.  Most of what I'm looking forward to is expansions. Again. Almost like I really enjoy the games I play and just want a bit more variety occasionally to keep them fresh.

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