One may not think that the New York Magazine would be
the place to look for board game recommendations, but for the past couple of
years the magazine has featured articles on board gaming as part of life and
culture in New York City. Its latest
article, featured in its Strategist section which helps shoppers focus
on getting the best value for their money, identified the
best four-player board games according to experts. These experts included game
store owners, board game reviewers, and even a board game illustrator, so it
should be no surprise that the list included some heavy hitters in the board
game hobby and include several Spiel des Jahres winners. Some of the
games on the list do play more than four players, but the experts felt that
these games played best with four players.
was named Best overall four-player board game.
Other categories on the list include best four player strategic board game,
best four-player board game for beginners, best four-player thematic board game,
best family-friendly four-player game, best board game for advanced gamers, best
cooperative four-player board game, best world-building board game, best
four-player party games, best word-association four-player board game, best
fast-paced four-player board game, best app-compatible four-player board game. Sheriff of
Nottingham, from the Dice Tower
Essentials line, was named one of the best family-friendly four-player games. Read the full
article here to learn more about which games were consider the best
four-player games. In case you missed
it, take a look at their list of best
two-player games published earlier last month.
The next big title from Stronghold Games has a deluxe edition now on Kickstarter! From designers Bobby West and Alan R. Moon, the esteemed creator of Ticket to Ride, comes Aftershock – a competitive area control game for 3-to-5 players. The story goes that the San Francisco Bay area has been rocked with earthquakes so you are trying rebuild infrastructure and repopulate the city in relative safety in spite of the destruction. What comes from this is a drafting and hidden action selection game mixed with a little bit of route building to create something that may sound familiar, but is all-together different than anything on the market today.
“In Aftershock, players will spend money to acquire planning cards, which are used to increase population, build bridges, and determine where aftershocks occur. Spend money wisely to acquire aftershocks that will allow you to move people into and out of the demolished areas. Planning and careful negotiation are essential in order to maintain your population and score your best-planned cities and bridges.”
There’s a bit of mind-gaming to this one that makes it really click. While the actions you can take are public and bought from one another (drafted in a way that may remind of Isle of Skye), the targets of those actions are hidden and victim to turn order, which will lead to a lot of twisted thinking as you try to anticipate where your opponents will go so you can take advantage of their situation. You can see that Alan Moon touch to the game in the drafting and route connections, but can see that this collaborative effort has brought about something much more intriguing than his older network-building fare. This Kickstarter campaign is also an excellent opportunity to get the deluxe version of this game for the same price as the standard retail version post-release, so if you’re interested in this one be sure to check out their page now to see a full rules breakdown, Previews, FAQs, and take advantage of this deluxe offer.
Euro Game fans rejoice, for publisher Eggertspiele, artist Chris Quilliams, and designer extraordinaire Alexander Pfister (Great Western Trail, Mombasa, Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King) have announced their new game for Essen Spiel 2018, Blackout: Hong Kong. In Blackout, 1-4 players work to restore order from chaos in a future Hong Kong, where the electrical grid has been massively overstressed to the point of failure. Players start by rolling dice to randomly select which 3 of the 6 resources in the game will be available for the round. Next, players select 3 (or 4 with an upgrade) cards, which are placed facedown on their player board. These cards are revealed, and can place control cubes on the board, gain resources, spend resources, give abilities, or provide objectives. Objective cards are then scored, after which players can scout neighboring territories. Scouting is dangerous work, and gives an alternative way to collect needed resources, but players need to assemble cards from their hand to form a team with the required qualifications for the scouting token. Regardless of the outcome, one of the team will be injured, and will end up in the hospital, taking that card out of action. After scouting, players can use money to purchase new cards from face-up lines next to the board. Finally, in clean up, extra cards are discarded from the side of the board, and excess food and water are sold for money. Players score points for territories they control, and can refresh their hand of cards if they have 4 or less. When refreshing, players take back into hand whichever pile on their board is the largest. At the end of the game, money converts into points, and most total points takes the victory. Blackout can be played traditionally, solo, or as a 5 chapter campaign.
“One cannot win the struggle for dominance over the island without powerful allies. As every wise king knows, power is not measured in strength and gold alone. Having the support of the spiritual leaders of the country can be the decisive factor. Win the druids over to your cause, and harness the power of their mystical sacred sites for your benefit!”[source]
Unlike Isle of Skye: Journeyman, Isle of Skye: Druids doesn’t add any new mechanisms but instead splits the buying phase into two buying sessions. In the first phase, players can buy tiles from other players (as per normal), but in the second phase they’ll be able to buy from the dolmen board. These are normal, landscape tiles but they may have a tablet or scroll on them. Tablets grant special effects until the end of the game while scrolls follow the usual rules of the game. New scoring tiles have also been added.
The expansion retains the same player count, 2-5, as the base game and plays in roughly 60-75 mins. According to the Lookout Games website, Isle of Skye: Druids is expected to release either August or September 2018.
Fans of Isle of Skye, the tile-laying game published by Lookout Games, were understandably thrilled to hear that Digidiced will be releasing an app version of it sometime in 2018.
To whet the whistles of those who have been salivating for more information, Digidiced released a screenshot of the game, and it definitely looks like it’s going to be a winner, at least graphically. It also highlights the interface they are developing for the game, and it looks pretty interesting as well. They are looking for input on how the interface looks, so give them a shout with your thoughts.
Fantasy Flight Games is releasing a new skirmish map for Imperial Assault, The Nal Hutta Swamps Skirmish Map . Taking place on the homeworld of the Hutts, this new map will be available as a tournament skirmish, and comes on a 26×26 beautiful neoprene playmat. The Nal Hutta Swamps Skirmish Map should be available now, and you can read the press release here.
Hawk Wargames has announced the second edition of their highly regarded 27th century wargame Dropzone Commander. Hawk Wargames has stated the update is intended to bring more balance, and allow every unit to be playable. Expect Dropzone Commander second edition in Q4 2017.
Steve Jackson Games has given some more details about the upcoming digital version of their classic wargame Ogre, being designed by Auroch Digital. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of this futuristic tank battle classic, the early screenshots look true to the original. You can read the press release about Ogre digital here.
An expansion to Mayfair Games‘ Spiel winning tile building game Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King has appeared in some distributor’s pre-order lists, and confirmation has come from the designers. Isle of Skye: Journeyman Expansion adds mighty warriors, cunning merchants, and swift heralds. Players can turn agents, flip cards and fulfill missions, while trying to avoid being thwarted by their opponents. Isle of Skye: Journeyman is expected in stores November 2017. A brief description is available on Alliance Distribution’s web page.
Each year the International Gamers Awards are given out to the multiplayer and 2 player games that are deemed the best for that year. Some notable previous winners are games like Twilight Struggle, Agricola, and Terra Mystica. All highly rated and well respected games, so the nominees for this year are the cream of the gaming crop. One note is that while this is the 2016 award, the games eligible are those that have been released between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. And the nominees are;
GENERAL STRATEGY GAMES – Multi Player category
Blood Rage – Eric M. Lang, Guillotine Games / Cool Mini or Not
Interesting fact, 9 out of the 15 titles being nominated are in the top 100 of games in the entire BGG database. To see the list as well as previous year’s winners you can head on over to the International Gamers Awards website.
The winners of the prestigious Spiel Des Jahres and Kennerspiel Des Jahres have been announced.
Codenames by designer Vlaada Chvatil published by Czech Games Editions won the Spiel Des Jahres (German for Game of the Year). This team party game has seen great success thus far having one a number of Dice Tower Awards as well. Having already picked up placement in Target stores this award can only aid in its uptake with the non-hobby gaming public. This win was not overly surprising as a result of the overwhelming popularity seen by the aforementioned items.
Isle of Skye: From Chieftan to King by designers Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister Published by Mayfair Games/Lookout Games won the Kennerspiel Des Jahres (German for Connoisseur Game of the Year). This game has received critical acclaim from many within the gaming community. This win was more surprising as a result of the competition it received from both Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and T.I.M.E. Stories.
For more information you can visit the Spiel Des Jahres awards pages for Codenames here and Isle of Skye here.
The nominees for the main award are fairly diverse. Codenames the hit of Gen Con 2015 is a surprise to almost no one who has been paying attention. Having already infiltrated the mass market stores it is hard to deny that this clever little deserves to be on this list. Imhotep just came out in Germany in March of this year and has not had an English release yet. Looking to provide a family weight game involving strategy and a little bit of take that has it fitting in nicely. Karuba the final nominees is game maker HABA’s first foray into games intended for older audiences.
They have additionally give five honorable mentions
Nominations for the Kennerspiel or connoisseurs category is filled three massive hits from this year. With Both Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and T.I.M.E Stories being in the top 30 games of all time on Board Game Geek it is not surprising that either of those was nominated. The first nominee Isle of Skye is only ranked 250 on BGG but has a solid pedigree behind it. Having been released by Lookout/Mayfair Games this highly strategic tile laying game provides a lot of opportunity for very intricate strategies to come into play. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 shot up to the number one spot on BGG within 2 months of its release. Widely regarded as one of the best implementations of the legacy concept by designers Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock and being widely regarded as one of the best selling games within the last year this was an obvious nomination. Finally we have another legacy style game with T.I.M.E Stories which has already had three expansions released and more announced this promises to be a great cooperative legacy game which can be played in decent sized chunks.
The three honorable mentions were quite well regarded as well
The Kinderspiel which often is the category that surprises the most has fewer surprises than normal this year. With at least one title that is a reimplementation of a well known game for the older crowd in this group. Leo Muss zum Friseur which as already won the Austrian children’s game of the year for 2015 is a great little press your luck game. Stone Age Junior is a clever reimplementation of the older game Stone Age designed by Marco Teubner. Finally is Mmm! which is a great little cooperative game well suited for introducing a child to the cooperative genre.