2015 was a banner year for the board game hobby, but 2016 is looking to give it a run for it's money. There's a number of big releases from both established publishers and up-and-comers. From epic legacy games to little party games, 2016 looks like it's going to produce games we'll be playing for years to come!
However, even with a huge crop of games that look great, there are a few that stand out among their peers. Let's take a look at the ten games that we're looking forward to the most!
Not every exciting game could make the list!
Defenders of the Last Stand is the apocalyptic followup to the very successful Pathfinder Adventure Card Game by Richard Launius.
JÓRVÍK is a new game from beloved designer Stefan Feld. It looks to be a followup to 2010's Die Speicherstadt but with a new viking theme. Any Feld game has an instant audience and this one should gain some interest when it comes out.
Two well loved games board games are getting card games versions this year, with The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction and Stefan Feld's The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game. We'll have to wait and see if these card games can compare to their big brothers.
A number of big licensed games are coming out this year; This War of Mine: The Board Game is based on the critically acclaimed video game, Conan is a big miniatures game based on the fantasy comics and movie hero, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are getting a game based on the IDW comics with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past.
Some other Kickstarter games that I personally backed are scheduled to drop this year. Middara looks to be a combination of a dungeon crawler and story telling game that looks both fascinating and beautiful, and Millennium Blades is a "TCG simulator" that looks like it'll be a ton of fun.
Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia is a dungeon crawler set in the world of Arcadia Quest that should be of interest to fans of that game.
Finally, Dead of Winter: The Long Night is a standalone expansion to the fantastic Dead of Winter that only missed the list due to being an expansion.
10. Secret Hitler
Secret Hitler is the new game from the guys at Cards Against Humanity, and it looks like it will be the big party game of 2016.
In the game there is a team of Liberals, who don't know anyone's identity; a team of Fascists, who know everyone's identity; and one Hitler, who also knows no one's identity. The players elect a President and a Chancellor each round who enact a law from a deck. If the Liberals pass five Liberal laws or assassinate Hitler, they win! But if the Fascists pass six Fascist laws or elect Hitler after three Fascist policies have passed, they win. On top of that, as the Fascist gain more power, the game changes in dramatic ways.
This game seems like a great twist on games like The Resistance and Werewolf, and is a surefire hit when it comes out later this year. If you can't wait for that, there is a Print-And-Play version available too!
There isn't much information about this one yet, other than it's a new, heavy worker placement game from designer Uwe Rosenburg. Being that he's the guy that brought us classics like Agricola and Caverna, that's more than enough.
In this game you'll be sending out your Viking clan to gather and refine materials, build buildings and ships, and raid settlements. It looks to be a classic Uwe Rosenburg design and should be out at this years Essen.
Quadropolis is the new game of Days of Wonder, which means you can expect two things: Great family-weight game-play and gorgeous components. From what we've seen of Quadropolis, it's going to deliver on both counts.
In Quadropolis, you'll play as a Mayor sending your architects out to build your city on a 4x4 grid. To select your buildings, you'll take your architects, numbered 1-4, and place them along the edge of a 5x5 grid. You'll then count in the number on your architect and take the building on that spot in the grid. Throw in different ways of scoring each building and putting together combos, and it sounds like Days of Wonder has another hit on their hands.
Mage Knight is one of the highest rated games on Board Game Geek. Star Trek is the beloved, long running sci-fi franchise with a new movie coming out this year. Mash them together, and you get this game.
In the game you'll explore space, recruit crew members, gain experience points, and use your skills to win battles and complete challenges. Using the same exploration system as Mage Knight, this game should be giving Star Trek fans a rich and thematic experience. Not much more is known about the game yet, but it's expected to release soon.
Gloomhaven is one of the next wave of "Legacy" style games, and one of the first that isn't by Rob Daviau. Instead, this one is from Isaac Childress, who gave us the wonderfully unique Forge War.
Gloomhaven is a co-op game of exploration and tactical, card driven combat. However, it's main selling point is that it takes place in an ever changing fantasy world, where the player's actions have a permanent effect on the campaign. Gloomhaven looks to further blur the lines between board games and pen-and-paper RPGs, and is scheduled to be delivered to Kickstarter backers this May.
Another reworking of a great game, First Martians takes Robinson Crusoe and turns it on it's head by adding a cool Sc-Fi theme and app integration. The app sounds like it expands the possibilities of the game, with options like a campaign mode or an open world mode, where players can freely explore the surface of Mars for as long as they can stay alive.
With a core built on one of the best Co-op games around, and pushing app integration even further, I expect to see First Martian on a lot of Best of the Year lists at the end of 2016.
The 7th Continent is a new game, from a new publisher, and two new designers. So... how did it get so high on this list? Well, it raised over €1,000,000 on Kickstarter by showing off groundbreaking game play.
It's the early 20th Century, and you and a group of friends take the roll of adventurers exploring a mysterious new continent. The game offers and innovative choose-your-own-adventure-esq campaign. There really doesn't seem to be anything else quite like this game, and Kickstarter backers are looking forward to get the game this October if things run as planned.
Seafall is the long awaited new Legacy game from the father of the genre, Rob Daviau, and powerhouse design studio Plaid Hat. Announced a few years ago, but put on hold so work could be done on Pandemic Legacy, Seafall is finally slated to drop this year.
Seafall is a 4X game set in a world much like ours was during the Age of Sail. Each player takes the roll of an Empire that are working to discover new lands, develop trade routs, engage in naval combat, conduct raids, and even more. Being a Legacy game, actions in the game permanently change the way the game is played in future sessions. We'll find out later this year if Seafall can push the Legacy system even further.
2. Star Wars: Rebellion
A new, big box Star Wars game based on a classic PC title? I'm sold.
Star Wars: Rebellion is a 2 player game where one player takes the role of the Empire, searching to hunt down the Rebel base and destroy it. Meanwhile, the other player takes on the role of the Rebellion, trying to fend off the Empire while raising support for their cause throughout the galaxy. Rebellion seems to be a mix of deduction, epic battle, intrigue, and beautiful miniatures. It's currently on the boat to the U.S., and should be in stores in a matter of weeks.
Stonemaier Games have quickly gained a reputation for games that are as well designed as they are beautiful, and they're back at it with Scythe. Scythe was a smash hit on Kickstarter, raising over $1.8 Million.
Scythe is a 4x game based in an alternate history 1920's Europe inspired by the artwork of Jakub Rozalski. Players will have to make choices while interacting with the civilians of the land while gain territory, enlisting recruits, harvesting resources, and more. Considering designer Jamey Stegmaier's last project, Viticulcutre with it's expansion Tuscany, might be my favorite board game ever, Scythe is definitely the game I'm most looking forward to this year, and I am not alone.