Naked Anticipation 2016
Jason Paterson
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It's 2016!

It's time to list the hottest, most anticipated, most exciting upcoming board games.

I'm starting this one early because I'm finished my board game shopping for 2015. Time to very slowly play through them! In the meantime, we can cast our gaze longingly into the future! My only rule? Though I sometimes play with 3+ players, it's not often - so my games need to support 1p or 2p, and support them well. Sometimes it's hard to tell with unreleased games, so I'll use my best judgement, or maybe try to get some official answers.

If you're looking for it, here is the 2015 geeklist.

As always, if you care to follow me on the Twitter, where I'm most active... please do!

Enough preamble. On to the games!
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1. Board Game: Agamemnon [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:4298]
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Osprey Games has been an interesting company to watch lately. I don't own any of their titles, but The King Is Dead and Odin's Ravens (Second Edition) both look really good.

Agamemnon is a two player kind-of-wargame.

Quote:
Agamemnon is a fast-paced strategy board game in which two players take on the roles of ancient Greek gods during the Trojan War. By tactically deploying warriors to where they're needed across the board, each player may influence the final outcome of the battles famously detailed in Homer's Iliad. Some areas will be decided by the strength of the warriors, others by sheer weight of numbers, and some by the inspiration your heroes provide.
 
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2. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:26]
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Rumour has it that in 2016, Agricola will get a reprint.

WAIT. DON'T RUN AWAY...!

In addition to just being a straight reprint, the new publication of Agricola will apparently include seven 168 card decks in the box. There will be A,B,C,D,J,K,and L decks. I don't know how this will affect the existing nomenclature of the decks, whether this will be Farmers Of The Moor compatible, or whether Klemens Franz will be doing artwork for all these cards. We'll likely find out more over the next six months. What I've read breaks down the decks like this:

Decks A,B,C = 504 cards will be previously published cards by Uwe (from E,I,K, NL, FL, WA, Bi, Cz, O, Z = 645 cards)
Deck D = 168 cards will be new cards by Uwe (I will upload them to the CAC soon. We need to play test them for Uwe)
Deck J,K = 336 cards will be previously published cards by Play-Agricola.com (from G, Wm, Fr, Pi = 378 cards)
Deck L = 168 cards will be new cards by Play-Agricola.com (from G4, G5 = 240 cards)

Agricola is my only "10" rated game. I love everything about it... and though in my heart I know I would never play through 1,100+ new cards, I want them anyways. Having said that, I need to know a lot more about Agricola 2016 before I commit to anything.
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3. Board Game: Bear Valley [Average Rating:5.46 Overall Rank:16264]
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A new Carl Chudyk card game from Stronghold Games... only this time it sounds like he's taking a lighter approach. The game length is apparently 15-30 minutes. Though I'm not sure I need more light filler card games in my collection - I'm always willing to give Mr. Chudyk the benefit of a doubt.

Quote:
In Bear Valley, you must be the first to survive the treacherous wilderness and escape to the safety of the camp at the end of the valley. Players start as 2-6 campers along the Bear River and must navigate the wilderness, avoiding bears and trying to not get lost.

...

Gameplay is structured around a clever movement mechanism in which the first player moves one card, the second player moves up to two cards, the third player three, and so on. Each of the six player characters has both advantages and disadvantages that can be used across a variety of play options — short or long play, regular or advanced.
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4. Board Game: Bios: Genesis [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:1666] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
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Bios: Genesis is expected to be a prehistoric examination of the origins of life on Earth - with players starting in the ooze of the primordial soup, and evolving themselves by swapping genes and deciding to specialize in certain traits. It's a big, ambitious idea.

UPDATE: Genesis has box art now (hooray!) and an Essen 2016 release date (hooray!).

Quote:
One to four players start as organic compounds shortly after Earth’s formation, represented by up to three Biont tokens. The Amino Acids command Metabolism, the lipids create cells, the pigments control energy absorption and storage, and the nucleic acids control templated replication. Their goal is a double origin of life: first as Autocatalytic Life (a metabolic cycle reproducing its own constituents yet not replicating), and the second as Darwinian Life (an Organism using a template to replicate in an RNA world). Players can play cooperative, competitive, or solitaire.
Now I'm just hoping and waiting to hear whether we're going to get an Origins reprint at some point. Come on, Phil!
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5. Board Game: Black Orchestra [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:499]
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Phil duBarry's Hitler Must Die Black Orchestra might finally see a release date in 2016. This is a mid-weight euro style game with dice rolling and cards that has players playing high-ranking officials in the Reich, plotting the assassination of Adolf Hitler.

Quote:
The game begins by choosing an historic figure involved in the conspiracy against Hitler. Your motivation will start out low, limiting your options. However, you might soon become more motivated (through cards, other players or certain spaces). Then you will be able to use your special ability, activate plots and even become suicidal (necessary for some plots). You will also begin at a low level of suspicion. However, certain events and actions will raise this level. The Gestapo will make routine sweeps, and any players with high suspicion will be arrested and interrogated (possibly resulting in other players being arrested). If you are all arrested or if the Gestapo finds your secret papers, you lose.

This is a co-op game where players will work together to try and keep their suspicion levels low. They'll be drawing and playing cards, moving around, and sharing cards to try and get themselves in the right place, at the right time, with the right stuff.

Quote:
To win, players must collect a plot card and fulfill all necessary requirements listed (such as having Hitler be in a certain space and possessing certain items--detonator & fuse, etc.). The active player may then attempt the plot by rolling the indicated dice, including all additional modifiers and helping cards. The total needed is the combination of Hitler's military support and security. If the roll is equal to or higher than this total, the players win! If not, suspicion goes off the charts and bad things happen.

I'm not typically a fan of co-op games, but I'm entirely not opposed to them if they're constructed well - and I trust duBarry to build a strong co-op experience. The fact that this supports solo play (which co-ops often do) is also a strong draw for me.
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6. Board Game: Brasil [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked]
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The new title from the designers of Madeira, Panamax, and Nippon - Paulo Soledade and Nuno Bizarro Sentiero. Brasil is set in the gold mining era of Brazil in the 1700's. It sounds like here's an area control aspect to Brasil, and this time, the game is played with cards - so there's a hand management aspect happening.

Quote:
More than a simple game about mining, it requires that players combine actions to develop the region by building essential infrastructures like houses, stores, farms, churches and roads. Players build their path to wealth by keeping in mind the changing characteristics of the region, the moves and needs of other players, and the common good of the vibrant and prosperous Vila Rica.
I expect, like Nippon and Panamax before, we won't see Brasil until late in the year, around Essen 2016.

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7. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:630]
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Set for an April 2016 release, the Castles Of Burgundy gets a follow-up in the form of a card game.

Quote:
The Hundred Years' War is over and the Renaissance is looming. Conditions are perfect for the princes of the Loire Valley to propel their estates to prosperity and prominence. Through strategic trading and building, clever planning, and careful thought in The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game, players add settlements and castles, practice trade along the river, exploit silver mines, farm livestock and more.



Appears to also include some usage of dice... so is this Castles Of Burgundy: The Dice/Card game? There was talk about a "Dice Game" version of CoB, so perhaps the two ideas were merged.
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8. Board Game: Charterstone [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:190]
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BGG has this one listed as a 2017 game, but I'll add it here anyways, since the Kickstarter for it may end up starting in late 2016.

Charterstone is designer Jamey Stegmaier's foray into the world of Legacy style gaming. Jamey has played with some legacy elements before, using the expansion modules in Viticulture, but Charterstone sounds like a full blown Legacy game for 1-6 players.

Quote:
In Charterstone, a competitive legacy village-building game, you construct buildings and populate a village shared by all players and their workers. Buildings are permanently added to the game board and become action spaces for any player to use both in the current game and during subsequent playings. Thus, you start off with simple choices and few workers in the first couple of games, but soon you have a bustling village with dozens of possible actions.
...
A copy of Charterstone will net players a total of 24 games within a campaign, though the village you create remains functional for subsequent plays. Charterstone is an additive legacy game, not a destructive one.
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9. Board Game: Chronicles 1: Origins [Average Rating:5.35 Unranked]
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I've not played any of Rob's games, but that's mostly because I'm averse to Risk, and I'm just kind of cooled on Pandemic. If he comes up with a brilliant new game idea that's original, I'd be willing to check it out. Chronicles: Origins may be the first in a long line of original "Chronicles" games that use the new Echo system Rob is developing. This is essentially a system build on top of Legacy that extends the changes not just between game sessions, but between actual games. This means you changes at the "end" of Chronicles: Origins will affect how the next Chronicles game starts for you and your group.

Sounds compelling enough that I'd be willing to invest my time checking it out, even if it is a 3-6 player game.
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10. Board Game: Coal Baron: The Great Card Game [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:1388]
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Coal Baron, the card game.

I say that like it should mean something. Truth is, I never played Coal Baron. I wanted to. I love Kramer and Kiesling and Coal Baron looked like a solid mid-weight euro from the duo.

...but Glück Auf: Das grosse Kartenspiel may get to my table first, assuming it can find an English publisher. Seeing as it's from Eggertspiele, I suspect it'll get printed in North America by Stronghold Games. Perhaps Stephen can pop in here and verify that for us.



W. Eric Martin got a brief look at the game at Spielwarenmesse 2016. It looks like a big sprawling card game of extracting coal, getting it into train cars (which you can expand), and delivering them to fulfill contracts.
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11. Board Game: Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62 [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:1524]
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You may recognize the name Brian Train as the designer that last brought us the popular GMT COIN title "A Distant Plain" (which I hope to see from it's P500 campaign in early 2016) - but now he's turned his eyes to the French-Algerian war of 1954-62 in this new COIN title. The board looks gorgeous, and it's an enticing period of history that I'd love to spend some time with.
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12. Board Game: The Colonists [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:367]
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"Lookout Games has a new game." TRIGGERED.

I've come to really trust Uwe Rosenberg's Lookout Games imprint. Most of the titles they print (whether they're from Rosenberg or other designers) are of a high quality. This one is from first time designer Tim Puls.

Quote:
In Victorians, a.k.a. Die Kolonisten, each player is a mayor of a village and must develop their environment to gain room for new farmers, craftsmen, and citizens. The main goal of the game is full employment, so players must create new jobs, educate the people, and build new houses to increase their population. But resources are limited, and their storage leads to problems that players must deal with, while also not forgetting to upgrade their buildings. Players select actions by moving their mayor on a central board.

Victorians is designed in different levels and scenarios, and even includes something akin to a tutorial, with the playing time varying between 30 minutes (for beginners) and 180 minutes (experts).
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13. Board Game: The Colonists [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:367]
Jason Paterson
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Lookout Games seems to announce their new titles starting mid-year, just in time to start parading them around BerlinCon and, later, Essen. The first new thing we've heard from this in 2016 is in regards to Tim Puls "The Colonists", a village building game where players will grow their village into a town and attempt to keep everyone employed. You'll do this by building schools, creating jobs, getting people into houses, and putting those people into jobs.

Also sounds like there's a pretty flexible "difficulty scaling" aspect to the game, allowing you to make it harder or easier at setup.

Quote:
In The Colonists, a.k.a. Die Kolonisten, each player is a mayor of a village and must develop their environment to gain room for new farmers, craftsmen, and citizens. The main goal of the game is full employment, so players must create new jobs, educate the people, and build new houses to increase their population. But resources are limited, and their storage leads to problems that players must deal with, while also not forgetting to upgrade their buildings. Players select actions by moving their mayor on a central board.
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14. Board Game: Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:1773]
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Joel Toppen's successor to the fabulous Navajo Wars solo game about the plight of the Navajo tribe through the time of the Spanish incursion in the 1500's through to their encounters with the American Army in the mid to late 1800's.

Comanchería takes you on a similar journey, but this time through the Comanche's eyes - and promises a shorter play time with some further streamlining of the system. That's good... because Navajo Wars, while fantastic, was pretty dense. I don't expect this new title to be any less deep, but am hoping it's perhaps a little less fiddly.
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15. Board Game: Dawn of the Zeds (Third edition) [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:1080]
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In 2014 I was introduced to Victory Point Games. It was a time in my life when, after my wife and I had a baby, all that glorious gaming time we became accustomed to back in 2013 had just vanished. As little niblets of time started opening up again... I began experimenting with SOLO GAMES.

Dawn Of The Zeds is part of what VPG called their "States Of Siege" line of games, which focuses on the single player experience. Historical titles like Ottoman Sunset or Zulus On The Ramparts have already thrilled me. Can a zombie based title do the same?



The difference with Zeds and all the previous VPG titles is that this time they have Kickstarted the project. The money will allow it to be printed "out-of-house", in China. They're going for a more traditionally professional quality product, which is exciting - though I'll miss that campfire smell of the laser cut tokens.
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16. Board Game: Deep Space D-6 [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:886]
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This is listed as a 2015 game but I think the product hasn't yet reached gamers, and as of this writing (in March of 2016) preorders are still being taken, so that seems to square it as a 2016 game in my mind.

Quote:
Deep Space D-6 is a solitaire dice game about surviving the cruel depths of space. Each turn you’ll roll Crew dice and assign them to stations. You must plan carefully to take care of internal and external threats to your ship. Survive to win.

Deep Space D-6 also wins the award for "most nostalgic box art"... as it seems to channel the very essence of the paperback sci-fi novels I would read as a kid. Love it.
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17. Board Game: Dragon Keepers [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:6828]
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Designer Vital Lacerda returns with a small card game co-designed with his daughter Catarina. This one seems like Real departure for the designer, who's previous work is notoriously heavy. Apparently a cooperative game, Dragon Keepers has players struggling to protect opponents dragons, and plays in 15-30 minutes.

Sounds like there has been some changes to the core principles of this game, so we may be surprised... but here's a brief synopsis.

Quote:
Dragon Keepers is a co-op card/dice game that plays between 2 to 5 players of all ages. Each game take about 20 min to play.

The game is played in rounds until a tribe manages to heroically protect the 4 opponents Dragons or the same 2 dragons 2 times.

The game also ends if two dragons die, and the winner is the tribe with the most tribe tokens over the remaining dragons.

The game is played in rounds with 3 turns:
1- The Hunter turn, where player target different dragons using custom dice.
2- The Keeper's turn where players choose one Dragon to defend using simultaneous selection of a tribal card and keppers duel.
3- The Dragons turn, where all dragons make a move, offering a benefit to its protectors or counterattack all players that did not defend him and sometimes other dragons.
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18. Board Game: Dynasties: Heirate & Herrsche [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1554]
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Sadly, this title was mislabelled as a 2-5p game, but it's actually a 3-5p game... which means it's likely not one that's going to enter my collection. It still sounds very good... I just don't have a group to support it regularly enough. Well, I can still look forward to Cramer's reworking of Glen More in 2017.

This is a 2016 Matthias Cramer game for 2-5 from Hans Im Gluck. I really don't know anything beyond that, but that's enough for me to add it to my list. Excellent designer. Excellent publisher.

Here's part of the description from the BGG page.

Quote:
In Dynasties, players must make many compromises, whether acting on their own or reacting to the behavior of their fellow players. In addition to these tactical and strategic decisions, luck also plays something of a role as not every marriage brings the windfall expected. Perhaps then another marriage will bring more success and influence?
 
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19. Board Game: Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:806]
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Volko and Andrew Ruhnke are working on bringing us Falling Sky in 2016, a new COIN game from GMT Games. It's about the Roman occupation of Gaul (a region around what is essentially modern day France) just after it's occupation in 54BC. There are a lot of factions, a lot of politics, and likely much bloodshed. It's a period of history I'm fascinated with, and yet know very little about.
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20. Board Game: A Feast for Odin [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:27]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
ON
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This is, by all accounts, the next heavy weight Uwe Rosenberg game. It's set (as Hengist, his 2p game from 2015) against a viking backdrop. Elements of Patchwork and Fields Of Arle apparently will make re-appearances in this title, whose tentative English title seems to be "Sons Of Odin". It combines puzzle elements with heavy worker placement. There are apparently about 70 action spaces for your workers. Though some dice rolling will be present in your viking adventures, Uwe explains that bad luck in rolling will not actually hurt your overall achievements but will only slow you down a little bit, so luck will only play a minor role. There's also the puzzle piece aspect, where players will be putting together the puzzle from resources acquired through hunting, whaling, or trading... and an travel aspect, where new puzzles open up when new locations are visited.
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21. Board Game: Feudum [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:699]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
ON
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Feudum is medieval economic game with some adventure elements. It's coming from indy publisher Odd Bird Games and first time designer Mark K. Swanson. Because of the novice nature of the designer and the company, it'll take some convincing when this finally hits Kickstarter in 2016, but hopefully he gets a rulebook out and some review copies to some illustrious folks very early.

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Feudum (latin for fiefdom) is an economic medieval game of hand and resource management for 2-5 players. With many strategies at their disposal, players optimize 4 actions per turn in attempt to score the most victory points over five epochs.

Each player controls several medieval characters that roam the countryside tending farms, taxing towns and taking outposts in effort to rise in power.
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22. Board Game: First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1627]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
ON
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It's been a while since I've been excited for something out of Portal Games. Ignacy brought us the wonderful Robinson Crusoe: Adventures On The Cursed Island back in 2012, and despite my frustrations with that game's rulebook and the massive errata that came out as a result... it was a neat euro game with a nice narrative element - and I really enjoyed it as a solitaire experience.

First Martians is the spiritual successor to Crusoe, but this time you're playing Matt Damon and Co, trying to survive on Mars.

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First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet pits players against the hostile Martian environment and a whole host of new adventures and challenges. The immersion experience is further enhanced with an integrated app that maintains the balance and challenge throughout. Players have the option of taking on the design as a series of separate games, in a custom campaign mode in which each successive game builds on the last, or even an open world mode in which they are free to roam about the Martian surface and explore for as long as they can survive.

I love that Ignacy is going to be playing with the idea of a companion app to help smooth out the narrative. I really want a fairly serious hard-science take on this title, but I don't suspect we'll see that... at least not to the degree that I'm imagining. I just hope it doesn't wander too much into fantasy. Looking forward to seeing more!
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23. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:287]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
ON
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Matthias Cramer has stated that he has a reworking of Glen More coming. Though it's not likely to be released until 2017 - I thought I'd get it on the list early. There are intended to be some minor changes in rules, mostly significantly to how the game ends, and with some component upgrades. This will be an international version, ending the existing problem of an OOP English version.
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Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
ON
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I like solo games, especially when they're involved and intricate. Most people around these parts would likely assume that means I enjoy Mage Knight (which I haven't actually played yet) but really that means I like wargames. Even the ones that don't feature solitaire rules are usually still able to wrestled into submission by one player.

A Glorious Chance: The Naval Struggle for Lake Ontario, 1813 is a solo only game, and it looks particularly fancy and procedural. The real reason I like it, however, is because I grew up on Lake Ontario. These are my stomping grounds, and my father sailed these waters when he was a young man.

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You have four months to dominate the lake. But each patrol, each convoy mission, each amphibious landing you make to pursue victory risks full-scale battle with the AI squadron – a battle that could leave you triumphant or shattered in a matter of hours. A dynamic card-driven AI opponent assigns enemy missions, refits and launches new ships, and plots raids on your supply routes and coastlines.
 
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25. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:10]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
ON
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Alexander Pfister is a designer on fire right now. Port Royal, Oh My Goods, Mombasa, and the KSdJ winning Broom Service have blazed a trail into the hearts of a lot of gamers - and from different parts of the hobby.

Great Western trail is his new original title in 2016 from Eggertspiele/Pegasus and Stronghold games. Not much detail on the gameplay itself, though judging by the posted description and playtime of 75-150 minutes, it sounds like a midweight euro. Maybe upper midweight.

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In Great Western Trail, you are rival cattlemen in 19th century America, herding cattle in a circular trail from the south of Texas to Houston, where your cattle are then shipped by train, earning you money and victory points. Hire capable staff, such as cowboys to improve your herd, craftsmen to build your cattle posts, or engineers for the railroad line. Upon each arrival in Houston, have your most valuable cattle in tow. The winner is the player who manages their herd best and exhibits good timing in mastering the opportunities and pitfalls of the circular trail.
 
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