2013 Games of Interest - Essen 2013 and others
Larry Rice
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Each year there are always games that catch my eye and I cannot wait to get my mitts on them to play. In the last couple years, I've organized a geeklist to assist me in keeping track of those games of interest. This will not include games that were published overseas in 2013 but have not yet made it to the States (well, unless I deem otherwise!). I'd like to think that I've improved in my sense of deciding which games will have longevity of interest for me, but there are always mistakes...

I will use 1-5 stars to indicate interest level with more stars indicating greater interest. Some will be automatic purchases and I will also use stars to indicate the likelihood of purchase.

Please feel welcome to comment as you wish. If you think there is a game I would enjoy based on seeing this list, feel free to suggest them at the bottom of the list and I will investigate more closely! I usually try to follow up and leave a short impression after my first game or few later but that doesn't always happen either...but if you see it available in one of my auctions later, that obviously tells a certain story!

I do plan to keep adding and removing games as interest levels rise or subside.
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1. Board Game: Bora Bora [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:157]
Larry Rice
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I've really enjoyed the last few Feld designs so this one is a no-brainer. I'm just waiting for Thor at Games Surplus to get some in stock and then this one will be on its way to get played. After seeing the early reviews, this one looks promising, but I think I shall still prefer Castles of Burgundy over this one.

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:
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2. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:97]
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W. Eric Martin previewed this one in his Nurnburg 2013 news blog. I'm almost always interested in Civ games and this one looks promising. In particular, there seems to be less focus on the arms race and attacking other players which appeals to me. I've always been one of those people who plays the Civilization computer game to spread out peacefully if possible and develop. Through the Ages is a great game, but one can get destroyed if one falls too far behind in the arms race...

For more information and the video, you can look here: Game Previews from Nürnberg 2013: Hyperborea, Gnominia, Evolve & Nations

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

Purchased

=========================================================

Played once and enjoyed my play. We all played on the Prince level. Felt like I couldn't get anything really going for me except books which allowed me to stay in the game and then jump the leader in points in the final age when everything finally came together and I was able to build up my military and build a couple key wonders. Feels very much like TtA lite. Considering I cannot get TtA to the table, this one will have to scratch that Civ game itch for me for a while...I think it will stay in the rotation for a while next year.
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3. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:8]
Larry Rice
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I was fortunate to get in on a small group order from Germany last year and have already played this excellent game 19 times. This entry is a placeholder for the expansion which will be automatic purchase when available for purchase. Curious to see what the expansion will bring into play and if game play will change all that much or not.

Interest Level
Purchase Intent

Delayed 2014
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4. Board Game: Sails of Glory [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1279] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
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Ares Games is producing an Age of Sail miniature game very similar in concept to Wings of Glory/War and I expect to get in on the Kickstarter when it opens up in March. I've always enjoyed reading about the Age of Sail and the sea battles of that era and am curious to see how well this one brings out that flavor/theme. While I realize there are other games out there that do this in greater detail, I have never really gotten into the more detailed war games outside of the CDGs like Twilight Struggle. The fact that these minis are painted also help bring me into the fold. I have little to no painting skills nor patience for the detail work often involved so that has largely kept me away from miniature gaming (probably a good thing considering the potential expense!).

Interest Level:
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Kickstarter Funded...hope this was worth the "investment".
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5. Board Game: Hyperborea [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:524]
Larry Rice
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This is another one previewed by W. Eric Martin in his Nurnburg 2013 News Blog. This one appears to be lighter than Nations, but looks to have some interesting mechanics and flavor of civ building as well.

For more information and the video, you can look here: Game Previews from Nürnberg 2013: Hyperborea, Gnominia, Evolve & Nations

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

GenCon 2014
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6. Board Game: Galaxy Defenders [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:888]
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This is a cooperative game with what appears to be an X-Com theme. Color me interested. I probably don't really need more cooperative games, but this one does have a very different theme and there appears to be great ideas for different types of missions which would seem to indicate different achievements and styles of play to be successful. While I'm sure there will still be an alpha player issue, I've never really been all that concerned with that issue.

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

Kickstarter Funded. I went in with the everything bundle. Don't ask me how much that cost! Sure hope this game lives up to my hopes!
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7. Board Game: Castaways [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1080]
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This is a semi-cooperative game which intrigues me. Most of these style of games fare poorly for me but perhaps this one will break that trend. I may enjoy this type of game, but these have not necessarily proven popular in my group thus far.

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

==================================================

Decided to move it along...will stick with Robinson Crusoe.
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8. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:199]
Larry Rice
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More Feldian goodness? Another dice game of Feld's which I am curious to try. At what point will I experience Feld dice game burnout? Heck, at what point does Feld experience dice game burnout?

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

After six plays in one day with all three player counts, this one is a keeper when it arrives. Plays in around 60 minutes and although the luck of the draw can be aggravating, I find trying to make things work here interesting.

PRE-ORDERED
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9. Board Game: Rialto [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:768]
 
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And another Feld...No dice this time though.

Level of Interest:
Purchase Intent:

=========================================

I'm going to learn from prior experience here...I will not buy this before playing once or twice at least since this is a TMG game. I find TMG games to be enjoyable, but not ones I need to own...so far.
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10. Board Game: Lost Legends [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2075]
Larry Rice
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This one intrigues me but I did not go in on the Kickstarter. While definitely on the lighter side, I could see a place for this in my collection. I know a friend of mine is picking this one up via Kickstarter so I'll get to try it out beforehand.

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:


Not looking to acquire this one after reading various reviews. I'm open to playing, but it will have to be someone else's copy.

==========================================================

Pleasantly surprised with this one after acquiring it off a prize table. Enjoyed my play after a rough first round. Just make sure to draft armor any time it is available!

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11. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:377] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Larry Rice
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I know this isn't new but if there is another publisher as rumored for a larger printing (AEG), I'll likely purchase it. I had the original game for a while before I sold it, but that was more because I wanted to recoup my costs for the game before the alleged new edition was printed as the old edition would likely be incompatible in the future going forward with the inevitable expansions. Of course, the joke could be on me - we'll see.

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

PRE-ORDERED...

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12. Board Game: Kingdom Builder: Crossroads [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Larry Rice
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This is a lock to purchase. While not the deepest game, there is a fair bit of strategy in very simple game play which makes this very approachable for new gamers and pleasant for experienced gamers. Sometimes, simplicity is a beautiful thing. I know not everyone agrees KB is a great game, but this one will be in my collection longer than Dominion will be...

However, I do think the deluxe version coming out in the big box is ridiculous as I expect to fit everything including Crossroads in my Nomads expansion box. I value my shelf space...

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

Currently ordered and holding up my Coolstuff order. C'mon Queen, get your act together!

Ran out of patience and replaced this game with Spyrium. I expect to still acquire this when it actually is in stock at some point.

Purchased

=========================================================

An interesting addition to the Kingdom Builder universe, and one that really changes up game play. Introduces a number of two token bonus tiles that really mixes things up and introduces new units/tiles that play very differently. Adds in additional end game task cards to provide more scoring as well.
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13. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Larry Rice
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I'll believe this one when I see it actually published. It has only been coming out now for the last year or so... At one point this one held up an order of mine but I despaired and exchanged it out with another game. I do have another base game set ready for this one whenever Tom and Rio Grande feel like this one is ready to go... Take my money already for crying out loud!

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

Pre-ordered...for the fourth time...
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14. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:60]
Larry Rice
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So, is this one going to beat the Alien expansion for RftG? Dice games always interest me initially as long as they aren't overly simple. There's a part of me that fears this one may disappoint as I have such high expectations.

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

2014...or 2015...or perhaps 2016? Who knows, it is Rio Grande, they change dates like no one's business when it comes to RftG related games/expansions.
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15. Board Game: Amerigo [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:267]
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Another Feld alleged to use an innovative system with a dice tower. Color me intrigued.

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

Kickstarter funded and I decided to go in it. I'm always mixed about Queen Kickstarters since they don't usually provide great value unless you want their free game (I usually don't although in this case I am curious about It Happens.. ).

=========================================================

I've enjoyed my two plays. The cube tower and cube activation is an interesting twist. Wish the box wasn't so huge...
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16. Board Game: Speculation [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2280]
Larry Rice
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A new edition of this enjoyable stock market romp? Yep, count me in. Hope that Henn and Queen doesn't mess this one up by trying to update it too much! I don't mind improvements to game play but sometimes said improvements deter me from playing...

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent: (depending on changes)

=======================================

Kickstarted...now just to wait until it is produced and mailed!

=======================================

Queen did a pretty nice job on this reprint and I also appreciate the extra action tiles to diversify game play!
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17. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:15]
Larry Rice
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Assuming this one gets published this year, this will be an auto buy. This reminds me, I need to get Agricola back to the table again!

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:
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18. Board Game: Bremerhaven [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:3155]
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This is being produced by Lookout so I hope to give it a try/look. This will likely be a try before buy however. Hope to get a chance to play at Great Lakes Games in November.

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:


=============================================

Losing interest quickly. Won't purchase.
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19. Board Game: Just in Time [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:7342]
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Alleged mix of Ubongo and Fits? Heck yeah! Enjoy these puzzle games quite a bit!

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

========================================================

This has been fun the first couple plays so far. Don't spend too much time trying to score high - in many cases there is no perfect solution. First player to fit all 3,4 or 5 pieces inside the puzzle yells out their score which is visible numbers that aren't covered. Everyone else has 30 seconds remaining to find a different solution that scores a different amount of points than prior finishers.

However, I did end up selling this one after 5-6 plays as I prefer other puzzle games and this one stopped being as fun after those plays.
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20. Board Game: Thunder Alley [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:555] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
Larry Rice
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When I read the news that an unknown person had provided advance funding for GMT to produce this game, I was excited. I've played my brother's PnP copy and really enjoyed the game tremendously. I already have this one P500ed via GMT and cannot wait for publication. Might have to purchase some tiny cars though since I expect cardboard chits will be used to represent the cars (which, in reality, tends to work better with the system than plastic but still....)

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:
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21. Board Game: Madeira [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:296]
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I was hoping this one would make publication dates last year but alas, it was not to be. Now, I look forward to this one in 2013!

Quote:
Players are settlers in the Madeira island. Each player gathers a few men and a piece of land to cultivate, given by the king of Portugal and arrive in the island with their hopes and dreams of becoming richer! Wheat plantations were the first means for the survival in the island. After that, when D. Henrique introduced the sugarcane, sugar became the core business of Madeira. With the offer of sugar increasing in other places of the world (such as Africa and Brazil) the financial results of sugar were not enough and the production of the very famous Madeira wine became the most important economic product of the island. Players try to gain prestige and money in the island adapting themselves to these constraints, promoting the development of the island, fighting the corsairs and trading with the most important European markets of the time.

In Madeira: Pearl of the Atlantic, players start the game with only a few resources such as land, men and money and try to expand their wealth by trading goods (wheat, sugar and wine), increasing their status on the island, acquiring more properties, making donations for the local cathedral and helping to develop the island by constructing some buildings and preventing attacks from the corsairs!

The game is divided into two major eras: the first one being from the first times of the discovery and colonization – in which players perform actions related to land developments, contracting men to work and colonize, constructing small buildings, irrigating the plantations, collecting wood and making terraces in order to increase the land under production. The second one, more dedicated to trading with foreign European crowns, an opportunity that came together with the sugar cane (the "white gold"), working on diplomacy to get some favors, donate large amounts of money to increase their prestige in Madeira.

Gameplay revolves in a new action selection mechanic with dice, where players face difficult choices on what actions to activate for themselves and other players. Players try to build up an economic engine (by getting more permits, harvesting, selling and trading goods) that fit their strategy keeping in close attention the common welfare of the Island. Whoever gets the most prestige wins the game.


Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

-----------------------------------------------------

Really enjoyed my first play (4 players). With teaching, total time was 4 hours. A bit brainy so to speak with a mix of tactical and strategic play. Die rolls can be mitigated with bread...probably in my top five for Essen although time commitment may make future plays difficult.
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22. Board Game Publisher: Winsome Games
Larry Rice
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I have to figure out if I plan to continue purchasing the Essen sets or not this year. I haven't really been able to get the Winsome games played out here with my groups which is disappointing. Still have time to consider and figure out if this is worthwhile or not. Been following the 2013 Winsome Set geeklist to see what people are saying about the games - so far largely positive remarks.

Interest Level:
Purchase Intent:

Purchased and received. Not certain when I will get these played although I understand two of them play very quickly.
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23. Board Game: Kanban: Driver's Edition [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:222]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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Here's hoping this one makes it out this year.

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Apparently, this one is still a year away...
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24. Board Game: Terror in Meeple City [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:646]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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Appears this one is finally getting published! FB photo below from Cannes. Game still intrigues me.



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25. Board Game: Lincoln's War [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:6665]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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MMP is likely kickstarting this one sometime this month. Based on what I've seen and some of the summaries of a game in session, this one has me intrigued. This appears to be far more a political game than a war game although the war element is obviously in play this being the Civil War and all that...

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I did kickstart this one and it did fund!

Still waiting three weeks after shipping started. There was a family emergency that slowed shipping but I'm not overly fond of the fact that MMP decided to ship Black Friday orders before finishing with shipping Lincoln's War. I will NOT be kickstarting any more MMP Kickstarters...

RECEIVED...I'm sure the rulebook will provide some great light reading during the 14 hours it takes me to fly back home for Christmas!
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