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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26. Board Game: Guilds of London [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1269]
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Tony Boydell is the genius that brought us Snowdonia back in 2012, and Ivor The Engine in 2014. His new title is a card based game with an area control aspect in which you play members of the powerful guilds who controlled the city back in medieval times, and heavily influenced its commerce.

Quote:
In Guilds of London, you place your liverymen in strategic Guilds, building your power base, so that you can achieve the status of Master in many of them. You also have the opportunity to spread your power into the commercially valuable Ulster or Virginia plantations. Control of each Guild provides victory points and additional actions that you can exploit, so that you can control the future development of the city.

Player count is 1-4 on this one.
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27. Board Game: High Frontier (Third Edition) [Average Rating:8.41 Overall Rank:1256] [Average Rating:8.41 Unranked]
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High Frontier is a grail game for me, but I've never had the courage to buy one of the exorbitantly priced copies on the BGG marketplace - mostly because I know it's a complicated game, and I'm not entirely certain I'll be able to wrap my head around it. Worse yet, I'm not sure I'd be able to teach it to anyone I play with. Luckily, the game has a solo mode, and this new 3rd edition aims to streamline a lot of the rules. It was definitely worth backing on Kickstarter. If you're at all interested in heavy games and in space exploration, or if you're a fan of other Phil Eklund games, you may want to check this one out when it lands in (hopefully) Q1 2016.

Plus, since no conversation about High Frontier is complete with a look at the glorious map...

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28. Board Game: High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:3024]
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Louis Riel is perhaps the most thoroughly covered historical figure in Canadian History. Alongside names like Champlain, Cartier, and MacDonald - Riel is considered one of the keystone figures in this country's foundation. He essentially created Manitoba, and became the figurehead for the Métis (French-Native) nation of the prairies.

Riel had a long political career steeped in controversy, but in 1885 he spearheaded a military standoff against the Canadian Government that resulted in his arrest. The trial that followed ended with his hanging, and is the subject matter that this game is based upon.

Regardless of what you may or may not know about Riel - the idea of using a legal trial as the foundation for a strategy game is really compelling. Add to that the fact that my family has ties to the Metis, and I'm sold.

Quote:
When trouble between the Métis and the government occurred further west, in Saskatchewan, the Métis recalled their former savior to lead them. Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, a local Métis leader, initially worked toward a peaceful solution for their grievances. However, this movement eventually grew into a rebellion, known as the North West Rebellion. The Conservative government in Ottawa amassed a military force to crush it, and finally did at the Battle of Batoche, 9 – 12 May, 1885. Gabriel Dumont fled to the United States; tried and hanged for High Treason was Louis Riel.

There are many reasons why the first Riel rebellion succeeded and the second failed. The westward expansion of the railroad allowed the federal government to deploy superior forces rapidly to the field. Riel himself embraced unorthodox religious views – views that alienated the Catholic Church and its devout supporters who were the key to his first rebellion’s success.

Now you enter the courtroom during those five fateful days of July, 1885, when the future of a country hung in the balance, and the defendant, Louis Riel, hanged in the aftermath.
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29. Board Game: Lisboa [Average Rating:8.19 Overall Rank:71]
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After The Gallerist, which may be my favourite game of the 2015 year, Vital Lacerda has my full attention. He seems to be honing his games, sharpening his skillset to deploy finer and finer sytems. Next up for him is Lisboa, a game about rebuilding Lisboa (or Lisbon) after a massive earthquake rocked the city in 1755. This kind of historical theme is standard fare for many euro designers, but it's a bit new for Lacerda, who has traditionally stuck with more modern thematic leanings.

From the BGG page "In Lisboa, players need to manage influence, construction licenses, store permits, church power, workers and money ... The economic motor is driven by the wealthy of the royal treasure. And this treasure is controlled by players actions during the game, making each match a total different experience."



One thing I notice is that Lisboa currently doesn't describe a "solo" mode. CO2 and The Gallerist both feature solo modes, but perhaps we won't get one this time around, which is a bit disappointing. Regardless... it's Vital Lacerda. It's heavy. It's worth a close look.

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30. Board Game: Martians: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:3021]
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Completing the trifecta of upcoming Mars games (the other two being First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet and Terraforming Mars) is Martians: A Story Of Civilization, from REDIMP games and Polish designer Krzysztof Wolicki, known best, I think, for The Lord of the Ice Garden. This one is a co-op worker placement game with survival on the red planet as the backdrop.

Quote:
First expedition to Mars which ended up with a heroic fight of astronauts for survival initiated the first mission aiming at colonizing the planet and was financed by four corporations. Human colony on Mars, managed by leaders of the corporations, will have to explore the planet in search of necessary resources, build new constructions and develop technologies adjusted to planet conditions. Such effort is necessary not only to survive, but also to create better living standards for future generations raised by colonists.
As with all these Mars titles, the most important thing for me is how realistically the science is portrayed and used. I have no idea which of these titles may focus more on adventure versus on exploration and research, but I'll be anxious to find out.
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31. Board Game: Mr. President [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
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This is a new solitaire game from designer Gene Billingsley about life in the Oval Office. You play the President Of The United States, where the player will use the limited resources at hand to realize their agenda. I can't wait to give this a try. I'm a Canadian though, so be forewarned... my platform may be made up of universal healthcare and timbits.

Quote:
Like the actual President, you'll have an array of allies and resources to help you as you navigate both the corridors of power in the nation's capital and the uncertainties of international relations. These allies and resources will vary from game to game, but you'll always be able to rely on your Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense to help you with foreign policy and with the use, where you deem necessary, of the combat power of the U.S. military. You'll also have a bevy of domestic advisors and friends in Congress to help you navigate the many challenges in Congress and domestic life and politics. And you'll always have access to at least one truly exceptional talent (this, too, will vary from game to game), someone who excels in their particular job and is a "force multiplier" for you in their own unique way. How you lead and utilize this mix of talents and experience at your disposal will go a long way toward determining your success or failure during your shot at being Mr. President.
I love deep solitaire games like this, where I can sit down and ponder over the minutiae of the system, trying my best to create order from chaos, to minimize risk, and to maximize reward.



Q4 is the expected release date from GMT.
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32. Board Game: My Village [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1049]
Jason Paterson
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I really dig Village from Inka and Markus Brand, but honestly - I'm really burnt out on "dice games", smaller, more streamlined and chopped up implementations of bigger games where dice stand in for other mechanics. Luckily, the era of the garbage "dice game" seems to be drawing to a close, since we've had a bunch of really great reimaginings of games lately where dice are used. Pandemic: The Cure. Nations: The Dice Game. Discoveres. Now it's My Village's turn, a card drafting, dice rolling game that takes place in the Village universe.

Early reports are really promising. Sadly, if you wanted the game, and you didn't manage to make it out to Essen 2015, you had to import it. That is... until Stronghold Games stepped in and announced a 2016 English market printing. Yay!
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33. Board Game: Nemo's War (second edition) [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:358]
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A new edition of an older title from Victory Point Games, this is a title that's based on the Jules Verne classic novel "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", in which players will take control of the vessel "The Nautilus" and explore the depths of the ocean, performing science, exploration, and war! Sounds exciting, and I've become a big fan of VPG.
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34. Board Game: The Networks [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:531]
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I've followed Gil Hova on Twitter for a while, even though I haven't played any of his games (not even the well received Battle Merchants)... that will change in 2016, when The Networks hits retail. Kickstarted in 2015, I've had a chance to overhear some of the early buzz from folks who acquired preview copies, like Rahdo, Heavy Cardboard, and Punching Cardboard. The Networks sounds like a solid mid-weight euro game about running a television network, scheduling programming with the right stars and showing the right ads... and making the call when a show ages whether to cancel it and replace it with a new show.



As a TV junky, I know that there's so much that could be done with this premise. I'm anxious to give this one a shot.
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35. Board Game: Niña & Pinta [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:6516]
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This one is up on Kickstarter right now, but won't ship or hit retail until 2016. I haven't played any of the Ragnar Brothers games yet, but they're the folks behind some titles I'd love to get my hands on, like Angola, Promised Land, and DRCongo. In 2016, they're producing Nina & Pinta. At first you might imagine this is a straightforward historical game about new world exploration... but you'd be wrong. There's a twist!

Nina & Pinta is a 1-4 player game that has players exploring the map and breaking through quantum barriers, encountering other Nina's and Pinta's from alternate dimensions, and working to develop their Culture, Science, Religion and War-craft - so they can gain the upper hand in all worlds.

It's an interesting mix of elements. I'm anxious to see more about how it's executed.
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36. Board Game: The Oracle of Delphi [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:524]
Jason Paterson
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Stefan Feld has a couple things on the burner - mostly related to Castles Of Burgundy, it seems - but his next original "big box" game sounds like Oracle Of Delphi, a dice rolling, tile laying game.

Quote:
In Stefan Feld's new game The Oracle of Delphi, the player's ships travel across a large variable game board of hexagonal tiles showing islands and the surrounding waters. Each player aims to reach certain islands to perform the twelve tasks given by Zeus: e.g., to collect offerings of different colors and to deliver them to corresponding temples, or to slay monsters of a specific type (and color), all of which can be discovered on the islands.

In order to execute these color-dependent actions, you are given three colored dice each turn, the so-called "oracle dice". Rolling the dice (at the start of the turn) is equivalent to consulting the oracle, whereas the results represent her answers. The answers determine which actions you will be able to take, but you will always have three actions per turn. However, a slight divergence from your fate is often possible.

In addition to the oracle, you can request support from the gods and you can acquire favor tokens, companions, and other special abilities that will help you win the race against other competitors.

Differently equipped ships and the variable set-up of the game board will offer new challenging and interesting strategic and tactical decisions with every new game of The Oracle of Delphi that you play.

 
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37. Board Game: Orléans: Invasion [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked]
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Yes, I know this came out from dlp in 2015, but TMG plans to release a North American printing of Orléans: Invasion next year. So far, I'm really enjoying the base game - so picking this up seems like a no brainer. It adds more buildings, scenarios, and a handful of solo challenges.
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38. Board Game: Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:1604]
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With no BGG entry quite yet, Pendragon is a game being developed for the COIN series by Volko Ruhnke, and GMT expects it to hit the P500 sometime in Q1 of 2016. This likely means we won't see the game until 2017 at the earliest, unless it really catches fire.

"In Pendragon, 1 to 4 players each take the roles of one or more Factions in Britain: the post-Roman army in Britain seeking to maintain imperial order; the landholding aristocracy of the Briton tribes aiming at recovering their independence while preserving their lands and wealth, the Germanic groups looking for new opportunities across the North Sea, and the non-Romanized Celtic peoples from across the Irish Sea or from the cold North eying the disintegrating provinces with appetite."

This game should dovetail nicely with Falling Sky.

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39. Board Game: People Are People [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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A Krzysztof Matusik card drafting game in the Cargo Train series, which was slated for 2015 but didn't make it out last year.

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You are a city founder. Like each and every city, yours also needs inhabitants. You've got a whole year to create and ideal community. During each season you'll be able to choose from among many professionals. Pick them and take care of relations between them. Use their abilities to help develop your growing community.

People Are People is a new board games by Krzysztof Matusik from game line started by Cargo Train. The basic components are 110 cards. People Are People use card drafting mechanic like in 7 Wonders. In this game players try to build their own ideal, perfect, utopian society. But as we all well know, people are only humans and it isn't as easy as it sounds.
 
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40. Board Game: Quadropolis [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:287]
Jason Paterson
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Quadropolis is a city building game from Days Of Wonder. This is another title in their "slightly more gamer oriented" line of games. In Quadropolis, players lay tiles into a 5x5 grid and activate them using their "architects". It's a bit reminiscent of Ginkgopolis.

Quote:
The game lasts four rounds, and in each round players first lay out tiles for the appropriate round at random on a 5x5 grid. Each player has four architects numbered 1-4 and on a turn, a player places an architect next to a row or column in the grid, claims the tile that's as far in as the number of the architect placed (e.g., the fourth tile in for architect #4), places that tile in the appropriately numbered row or column on the player's 4x4 city board, then claims any resources associated with the tile (inhabitants or energy).

After the four rounds, scoring takes place, and different types of tiles score in different ways. Residential tiles score depending on their height. Shops score depending on the number of customers they have. Harbours score based on the longest string of them. Factories score depending on the number of adjacent shops and harbours.

It sounds intriguing. Will need to see more about how it plays, especially as a two player game, but my hopes are up.
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41. Board Game: Renegade [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:1337]
 
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Ricky Wilkins (aka Ricky Royal) is the host of the popular Box Of Delights boardgame walkthrough video series, and he's taught and turned me on to a bunch of solo games (which he tends to favour on the series). He's done a few things before in terms of game design, but in 2016, he's got a new game coming out from Victory Point Games.
Quote:
Renegade is a game for 1 to 4 players. You will hack into a network of five servers, operated by one of four Super-Massive-Computers (SMCs). Each of these four SMCs have their own AI and increasing complexity to defeat. You must survive a series of Countermeasure events before the network becomes overrun by Sparks and Guardians. Once you are jacked into an SMC’s servers, with a profile bringing its own special ability, you will move across its partitions and fight to take control of the network by using informational, destructive, deceptive and cognitive attacks.
If it sounds like the board game equivalent of Netrunner, that's because this is a very Cyberpunk-esque themed title with an central abstracted hacking element. Mechanically, the game seems like a hodgepodge of everything, from Area Control to Deck Building, Dice Rolling to Route Building. I've always been lock-step with Ricky in terms of his gaming sensibilities - so I'm very interested to see more on Renegade.

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42. Board Game: Sails to Steam [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
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This was expected to be a 2015 release from designer Matt Tolman (Super Motherload), but it looks like it won't make that date. A 2-5p commodity speculation game which tracks the development of seafaring vessels from (you guessed it) Sail to Steam.

Quote:
Starting with a small fleet comprised of a few meager sailboats and a canoe, players will build boats, settle colonies, and even found new countries in an effort to spread the influence of their mighty empire. As their influence and power expands, players must carefully gauge and react to the global economy created by their fellow players and attempt to leverage their advantages to push out other empires if they plan to become the mightiest empire.
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43. Board Game: The Sands of Time [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:6198]
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One of the new big titles coming from Spielworxx. The Sands Of Time is a civ game set in antiquity.

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The central element of the game's scoring system, Chronicle cards represent claims of great accomplishments. To score a chronicle, the player must have a "heritage" level commensurate with the claim he/she is making: claims of great works will only be believed and perpetuated if the player's civilization has established a reputation in the relevant civilization category (cultural, civil, or political).

Actions generally require the payment of resources (crops or gold), and action costs correlate either to the player's empire size or the player's Unrest level. Unrest increases when a player's territories become too crowded, or when a player re-uses an action card, or when a player voluntarily presses on his populace to squeeze additional productivity out of them. Managing Unrest is a central concern for the player throughout the game.
This one is officially listed as a 3-5 player game, but (judging by what designer Jeff Warrender is saying in the comments below) they have a good working 1-2 player option that hasn't been "officially" supported yet. I know this is often the case with publishers, that they'll check in on the 1 or 2 player modes later in the development process before they make that decision... so here's hoping we get a 1-5 (or 1-6) player game from The Sands Of Time, and if not - at least we know it'll be playable.
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44. Board Game: Santorini [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:108]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
ON
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Ok this one is a little left-of-centre for this geeklist, but I need to mention it anyways. It's an abstract game, using pieces inspired by the building of the small Greek island of Santorini. The production quality on the game looks stellar. If anything - possibly a little overproduced, but I'm not complaining.

Gameplay is very Go-like. Simple. Each player has two "pawns" that are trying to get to the third level of a building. The first to do so wins... but the other player is constantly using their pawns to thwart your rise.

It seems very easy to learn but deliciously satisfying to play, and seems to only take about 15-20 minutes to complete. I like that combination of things.

I feel like this one will sit right next to Carcassonne, Tsuro, Bandu, and a handful of other abstract classics in my collection.
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45. Board Game: Silesia [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
ON
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It's listed as a 2015 title but this Krzysztof Matusik card game, a follow up to Cargo Train, didn't make it to production last year. Here's hoping it'll hit the shelves in 2016.

I have a special interest in Silesia. The game is named after the birthplace of my German mother. The Silesian borders have changed a lot over time, and after the war the area went to Poland... but this was where she spent her childhood!

Quote:
The players' task is to develop industry and infrastructure in Silesia - region know for it's abundant natural resources. They erect mines, ironworks and factories as well as extend their reach by laying rails. At the same time they have to take care about Silesian environment by reforesting wastelands.

User Summary:
Silesia is new board games by Krzysztof Matusik in the game line started by Cargo Train. The basic components are 110 cards. Silesia is a card game where players will focus on building, mining and producing in combined engines.
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46. Board Game: Sol: Last Days of a Star [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:1454]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
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A game about the dying days of our Sun. Players manage motherships in "near" orbit around the sun, from which they can deploy smaller ships, stations, and harvesters that will farm energy from the sun to power your Ark, before the heat of the Sun consumes everything in our solar system.

Quote:
The board represents the solar environment: two layers of orbit around the Sun (Upper and Lower Orbit), and three layers within the Sun itself (the Convective, Radiative, and Core). The deeper you go, the higher your rewards, but the faster the instability of the Sun is increased. Your Mothership rotates slowly in orbit around the Sun, and this is the only place your ships can launch from to perform useful tasks in the solar environment.

You can either convert ships into stations or use the ships to activate yours and other players' stations. If you activate your own stations you get the full reward, while activating other player's stations you split the reward with the owner. You gain energy by activating Harvest stations, and you use this energy to either activate Build stations to build new ships (which you need since you are constantly losing ships by converting them into new stations) or activate Transmit stations to transmit the energy back to your Ark to turn into Momentum (which is ultimately how your Ark will escape). But you cannot enter the Sun without converting ships into solar Bridges which span the high energy membranes separating one layer from the next.
The pictures I've seen of the board and components so far (all in prototype stage) look stunning. If they keep this sort of design sensibility heading into their production, it'll certainly win them points for being visually striking. Similar look and feel to Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension, but I feel like this is a slightly more involved concept.

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47. Board Game: Solarius Mission [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:2252]
Jason Paterson
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Georgetown
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This game was previously titled "Solar 3X".

Solarius Mission is from La Granja designers Michael Keller and Andreas Odendahl. This is described as a mid-weight euro set in space (!), where players complete to explore the solar system, exploit planets for resources, develop technologies, and build space stations. The primary mechanic is dice manipulation.

Quote:
Solarius Misson is a tactical and strategic civilization game in a pulp science-fiction setting, with a dice-draft, dice manipulation, and resource-management mechanism. It can best be described as a mid-weight euro-style game.
As much as I'm a fan of historical games, science games, and other quirky cultural themes, I've often wondered why euro games don't delve into sci-fi and fantasy more often, aside from trying to distance themselves from Ameritrash sensibilities. Apparently, some other people have felt the same way, and we're starting to see more sci-fi and fantasy themes in euros.

The Solar 3X working title alluded to this being a milder 4X game. 3X because they've done away with the 4th X... eXtermination. That would make this a game about exploring, exploiting, and expanding. Sounds good to me!
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48. Board Game Publisher: Spielworxx
Jason Paterson
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Georgetown
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Spielworxx has become one of the preeminent publishers of high quality, medium-to-heavy euros over the past few years. In 2014 they brought us the mammoth Golden Elephant winning game that is Arkwright, as well as the Jogo do Ano winning La Granja. In 2015 they surprised us with Haithabu and Dilluvia Project. Now it sounds like they'll be working with Arkwright designer Stefan Risthaus once again, this time on a game called Gentes. This is apparently slated for a 2017 release... but we can perhaps be hopeful for an earlier deployment. Gentes is described as a civ building game, but with some interesting time management elements.



I asked Spielworxx president Uli Bennemann what else they had lined up for next year. He tells me they have a title loaded in the chamber for 2016 called Solarius Mission (called Solar 3X right now on BGG), and another called The Sands Of Time. Both are mentioned elsewhere in this geeklist.

Also just announced is a late-2016 Reformation-era title.

Quote:
Uli Blennemann from Spielworxx says that the publisher will release "a Reformation/Luther game" from designers Jason Matthews and Christian Leonhard in late 2016. Asked how "heavy" the game will be, Blennemann answered, "As light as possible but the topic means it will be a complex game — complex and elegant with lots of flair."
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49. Board Game: Star Wars: Rebellion [Average Rating:8.43 Overall Rank:6]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
ON
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This one may come as a bit of a shock to anyone who knows me from my online presence, but I'm a big Star Wars geek. Sadly, I just haven't liked any of the implementations of Star Wars boardgames. That may change with Rebellion, from Fantasy Flight Games. Rebellion looks like it takes a bit of a wargame approach to Star Wars, with maybe a hint of euro to it.

Quote:
Star Wars: Rebellion is played over two game boards that you place next to each other to form one play surface with thirty-two systems divided into eight regions. In your games, you will battle over these systems with capital ships, starfighters, troops, speeders, and walkers. You will attempt to win their people to your cause, and if you do, they will share their resources, allowing you to recruit more troops and build more vehicles and starships.

Accordingly, while Star Wars: Rebellion is in many ways a game about the critical changes a handful of individuals can affect, it is also a game about conquest, dominion, and logistics. As the Rebel player, you might expect to command a smaller military, but you cannot afford to fall further and further behind in the economic aspects of the war as the Empire secures the loyalty of entire regions and accelerates its production of Star Destroyers and AT-AT Walkers.


Rebellion appears to be a game about exerting military might, influence, swaying loyalties, and crafting clever tactics. The only thing it's lacking are trade routes... and resource conversion... and family growth. Maybe in the expansion?
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50. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.41 Overall Rank:3]
Jason Paterson
Canada
Georgetown
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Although this title says it supports 1-5 players, the early indications on the BGG player count poll seem to indicate it works best with 2-5, so I'm hoping the solo count gets some love and works out, because I'd love to lock myself away from my family and disappear into a heavy economic simulation about the corporately backed terraforming of Mars.



Players will purchase "projects" that go into their hand as a sort of goal, and will then work toward trying to achieve those goals, which sound awesome. They could be "anything from introducing plant life or animals, hurling asteroids at the surface and building cities to mining the moons of Jupiter and establish greenhouse gas industries to heat up the atmosphere."
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