The first part of my list featured some great games that I am looking forward to this year and the second part of my list featuring games coming soon continues that trend. Let’s get to it! Again, these games are in no particular order. . .
Number 6 – Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea is being published by Matagot. The designer of the game is Tony Boydell, who published the highly regarded Snowdonia several years ago. This game is reported to be in the Snowdonia family of games. The artwork for Alubari is uncredited at the present time.
The game’s description, as given on the Board Game Geek’s page for it (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/228959/alubari-nice-cup-tea), reads as follows: “In Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea, players compete to cultivate and harvest their own Tea Estates and assist in the building of the Darjeeling and Himalayan Railway, from Siliguri Town to ‘the summit’ at Ghum. Guided by the placement actions of their laborers, players can also use their harvested tea leaves to make Chai for their thirsty workforce to boost their actions even more! When the railway is completed, the player who has contributed the most to the railway, the building of the towns along the way and the most auspicious Tea gardens will be declared the winner.”
Not only is the theme appealing – my mom and I are huge tea fans – but it is a worker placement game with a unique theme. Since we enjoy both the theme and the mechanisms, this just seems like a natural for us.
Number 7 – La Stanza
La Stanza is being published by Quined Games. The game’s designers are Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro and Paulo Soledad, the design team behind the games Nippon, Madeira, and Panamax, none of which I have had a chance to play. The artwork in the game is being provided by several artists including Luka Arh.
From the Quined Games website (https://www.quined.nl/featured_item/la-stanza/), we learn that La Stanza “is a fast-paced board game in which players take the role of patrons of the arts sponsoring the most brilliant creators of the time and commissioning the best works of art, all while creating more wealth and increasing their social status and prestige. La Stanza is played in continuous rounds that result in dynamic turns and a challenging game play. Enlighten the new world and become the most prestigious patron of the Renaissance!”
Again, this is a game in which the theme appeals, the play length is around 90 minutes (right in our wheelhouse) and it features a set collection mechanic. All of these things combine to put La Stanza on my list.
Number 8 – The Ancient World, Second Edition
The Ancient World, Second Edition, is a reprint of the first edition of a game by the same name that was originally published in 2014 by Red Raven Games, who is publishing this edition as well. The game’s designer and artist are both Ryan Laukat.
On the Red Raven Games website (https://redravengames.squarespace.com/the-ancient-world-second-edition), the game is described as follows: “In an ancient world forgotten by time, enormous titans terrorize the land. Five tribes have been fleeing from the titans for centuries, but things are about to change. Growing city-states pledge to end the reign of terror, determined to take on the titans and make the world a safer place for all. Each city-state competes to attract the tribes, eager for the strength of the combined peoples, who are now leaving behind old traditions with the hope that the titans can be defeated once and for all.” The website also notes that there are some changes from the first edition including:
- Revised and new titans
- Larger, revised player boards
- Expanded game play including a new resource called Ambrosia
- Updated district and empire cards
The number one reason this game is on the list is because of Ryan Laukat, whose games and artwork we both really enjoy. The game’s mechanisms include card drafting, worker placement and set collection, which are some of our favorite mechanics. We are both still a little hesitant about the cutthroat nature of the game, although it is reputed to be friendlier than the first edition of the game.
Number 9 – Grim Heroes
Grim Heroes is being published by Pleasant Company Games and designed by Simon McGregor. The artist is Rob van Zyl. The game is reimplementing the dice system used in Pleasant Company’s previously published title, Ancient Terrible Things, a system that we really like.
Per Board Game Geek’s page on the game (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/202450/grim-heroes): “The game was originally titled No Quarter(2011) and begun as the first game prototype to feature the Dicequest (DQ) game system. No Quarter was renamed Grim Heroes and the development was paused in 2012, in favor of using the DQ system within the world of Ancient Terrible Things. Grim Heroes introduces new game mechanics including semi co-operative play and the introduction of Traitor mechanic and the Castle Breached! defeat condition, 3D Fortress game-box, with raised dice-tray – allowing for an immersive board game experience, and multiple level combat, and leaning siege ladders and spiked barricades offer additional 3D terrain and effects.”
I really like Ancient Terrible Things and, although I do not care for semi-cooperative play, I am hoping that as a 2-player game we can play it as a true co-op. I find the artwork somehow appealing.
Number 10 – Steamopolis
Steamopolis is being published by relatively new publisher Corax Games. The game is being designed by Gerhard Hecht, who also designed Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road, a game we received recently but have not yet had a chance to play. The artist for the game is Dennis Lohausen.
There is nothing up yet for the game on the Corax Games website, but on the Board Game Geek page for the game (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/266980/steamopolis), we found the following description: “Steamopolis is a huge steampunk city built like a giant skyscraper of gears and pipes. Different levels provide different services and resources. To reach them, players use their steam driven zeppelins. They plot their courses, heat up the boilers and then take action. Steamopolis is an engine building game for 1-4 Players with a fair amount of non destructive interaction. Optimize your engine, utilize it and max it to proof (sic) your worth as the future mayor!”
The first reason this game appeals to me is simple – steampunk. The second reason the game appeals is zeppelins. The game’s engine building mechanism is a huge draw and I love the fact that it is non-destructive interaction.
2019: A Great Year for Board Games?
We have no idea how 2019 is going to shake out as a year for board games, but based on what we have seen so far and the games projected to come out this year, it looks like it is going to be a great one. Only time will tell!