2017 is certainly off to a strong start in the board gaming community. Gloomhaven saw its first release sell out almost instantly. Unlock, the escape room in a box has been impressing audiences worldwide. Anachory, the time travel thematic worker placement game is also flying off the shelves. Moving firmly into the second quarter, convention season really begins. More releases are being announced and the bulk are only around the corner.
Here are ten of my top anticipated games still to come in 2017. A few honourable mentions, expansions and reprints.
Number 10 – The Lost Expedition.
A beautiful looking game from Osprey Games. It has players draw cards and play them between cards from their own hand. This clever ordering system helps them survive the long journey through the forest. The game hosts a solo, co-op and head to head competitive mode. 1-5 players take on the role of explorers using their specialised skills try and travel through the forest whilst carefully managing their resources.
Number 9 – Rhino Hero: Super Battle.
Rhino Hero: Super Battle is the second game from HABA to feature the tower climbing “Rhino Hero”. This 2-4 player dexterity game sees players playing cards to build towers and be the last player standing. Unlike its predecessor, Rhino Hero Super Battle sees each player takes on the role of one of four courageous superheroes. While HABA predominately makes games for the children’s market, Rhino Hero has found somewhat of a cult following for gamers of all ages so there is a lot of excitement for this sequel.
Number 8 – First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet.
The follow up to Portal’s Robinson Crusoe has players cooperatively try and survive and establish a stable situation on Mars. This game requires the use of an integrated app, something that hasn’t been done a lot recently. There has been resistance to the idea for some time, but this game embraces the modern innovation of digital apps complementing physical products. Portal games aimed to have this released in 2016 but took the clever decision to hold back the release and spend even more time developing this game. Something it seems more publishers should be brave enough to do sometimes.
Number 7 – Sagrada.
Sagrada is a dice drafting game where players use dice to fill a stained glass window. It plays 1-4 players in around 30 minutes. Players can acquire tools and use skill tokens to bend the rules. After making the circuit at a number of American conventions and rushing up the board game geek hot list. This one seems to be close to hitting shelves with its striking artwork and a unique theme will be flying off them as quickly as it lands.
Number 6 – Lorenzo il Magnifico
From the designers of Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar and The Voyages of Marco PoloPlayers use dice to draft cards from a grid to personalise their player board in an effort to become the most prestigious family of Italy. Lorenzo il Magnifico saw limited realise in 2016 but CMON has picked this one up for a greater release in 2017. While there isn’t a miniature in sight I’m sure we will see it making more of a splash in 2017.
Number 5 – Codenames Duet.
The game that needs no introduction is now seeing numerous themed decks from the likes of Disney and Marvel. Now a 2 player only co-op version is making the rounds. like the base game players both work as the spy each trying to guess the other player’s words without hitting either assassin. I am sure this will be a smash hit.
Number 4 – Cave vs Cave.
Uwe Rosenberg has a tendency for taking his big box games and shrinking them down to two player only versions of them. Agricola had All creatures great and small, Le Harve had Inland Port and now Caverna is getting Cave vs Cave. Cave Vs Cave forgets the farming side and sees 2 players compete to gain the most points inside their caves. As with many of these games little has been leaked but this video outlines some of the basic ideas. It is a resource management game that seems to work by drafting action cards to gain resources. Every time you dig out space in your cave, more room options open up for you so choose wisely.
Number 3 – Lisboa.
The heavy Euro on the list is Vital Lacerda’s Lisboa. In 1755, an earthquake left the city of Lisboa destroyed and it is up to the 1-4 players to reconstruct the city. From the designer of The Galleriest, Kanban and Vhinos, Lisboa is going to be packed full of thematically intertwined mechanisms. The board shows a map of the city and players take one action per round, playing a single card into their display. Your actions help you gain influence in different areas on the board. watch the city rebuild in this economic brain burner.
Number 2 – Century Spice Road.
Century Spice Road, the Splendor killer! A simple set collection game that uses action cards to acquire and trade different spices in order to exchange them for victory points. Like in Concordia or Havana before it, you play your cards discarding them, until you take a “rest” action allowing you to bring all your cards back into your hand. The game uses a mechanism similar to that found in Small World; Your options are laid out in a particular order, the first is free. However, if you wish to take a card further along the order, you must put a resource on all cards before it. This makes the options more attractive for future turns and self-balances the game in an interactive way. Very Excited to get my hands on this one!
Number 1 – Charterstone.
Jamey Stegmire, best known as designer and publisher of Scythe, is bringing us Charterstone. Dipping his toes into the legacy format with this village building worker placement game. Unlike other legacy games, this one can be played again after the game is finished with you playing the game in its final state. Little is known about this one but unlike Stonemire’s previous releases this one is skipping kickstarter and going straight to retail. I can’t wait to crack this one out.
This is just a handful of games I could have put on this list; This year also sees a greater release for Yokohama. There is a new A Column of Fire game based on the book of the same name. Plus, the newest to the Key series, Keyper just to name a few more! Martin Wallace’s Brass is getting a swanky new re-release, it has maybe the nicest artwork I’ve ever seen. Uwe Rosenburgs long out of print Le Harve should be back in stock by the end of the year. Finally, Pillars of the Earth is also being reprinted.
We have, Hero Realms: The Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck. This expansion turns the already brilliant Hero Realms into a co-operative campaign game. Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black see players having access to four new upgradable ships and numerous pilots all with special abilities. Finally Fields of Arle: Tea & Trade brings the player count up and adds new strategic choices to an already huge game.
In conclusion, 2017 is shaping up to be another great year for tabletop gaming and this is just a fraction of games I’m excited to talk about. While many of these are yet to have street dates and the UK distribution confirmed. Some are expected to hit the shelves are early as this week! With a few known to have playable copies at this year’s UK Game Expo. We will be sure to keep you updated as they trickle onto our shelves. We can’t wait to hear what you think about them all.