Nyctophobia

It’s that time of year again – the time for the Dice Tower and it’s contributors to vote for the games worthy of an award among a variety of categories, not the least of which is the best game of year. These are the best of the best according to the panel of judges on games released in English in 2018.  You can see previous winners, along with this year’s nominees, on the Dice Tower Awards website, and look forward to the winners being announced at Dice Tower Con later this year.

Best Family Game of the year

Fireball Island
Gizmos
Reef
Space Base
My Little Scythe

Best Artwork

Everdell
Root
Grimm Forest
Cerebria
Rising Sun

Most Innovative

Chronicles of Crime
Nyctophobia
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
KeyForge
The Mind

Best Reprint

Fireball Island
Brass Lancashire
Endeavor: Age of Sail
High Society
The Estates

Best Strategy

Root
Teotihuacan
Brass Birmingham
Coimbra
Underwater Cities

Best Production

Rising Sun
Fireball Island
Everdell
Brass Birmingham
Grimm Forest

Best Expansion

Scythe: Rise of Fenris
Terraforming Mars: Prelude
Roll Player: Monsters and Minions
Great Western Trail: Rails to the North
Root: The Riverfolk

Best Game from a Small Publisher

Root – Leder Games
Chronicle of Crime – Lucky Duck Games
Underwater Cities – Delicious Games
Vindication – Orange Nebula LLC
Obsession – Kayenta Game

Best Cooperative Game of the year

Chronicles of Crime
Just One
The Mind
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
Stuffed Fables

Best Two-Player

KeyForge
War Chest
Duelosaur Island
Haven
Mythic Battles: Pantheon

Best New Designer

Wolfgang Warsch (Quacks of Quedlinberg, The Mind, & Ganz Schon Clever)
David Cicurel (Chronicles of Crime)
Catherine Stippell (Nyctophobia)
Ivan Lashin (Smartphone Inc.)
Tim Eisner (Grimm Forest)

Best Party Game

Just One
Decrypto
The Mind
Drop it
Trapwords

Best Theming

Western Legends
Root
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
Stuffed Fables
Chronicles of Crime

Game of the Year

Root
Teotihuacan
Chronicles of Crime
Underwater Cities
Brass Birmingham
Western Legends
Rising Sun
Architects of the West Kingdoms
Everdell
The Mind

Pandasaurus Games has announced three new games coming out in August: Qwinto, The Mind, and Nyctophobia.

Qwinto, by Bernhard Lach and Uwe Rapp, is a roll and write game for two to six players and takes 15 minutes to play. In Qwinto, all players play simultaneously. Each player has a score sheet with three rows in three different colors (orange, yellow, and purple) and there are three dice (one of each color). Each row will contain mostly circle fields with a few pentagonal fields. The active player rolls one to three dice (their choice) and each player will choose whether to add the rolled sum to one available field on their score sheet. There are only three rules for writing sums on the score sheet:

  1. The chosen row must be the same color as one of the rolled dice.
  2. The numbers in the row must increase from left to right (leaving blank spaces is allowed)
  3. No duplicate numbers may appear in a single column.

Any player may choose not to write a sum on their score sheet without penalty unless they are the active player; the active player must mark one of the miss-throw fields if they choose not to add the rolled sum to their sheet. The game ends when a player has filled two rows on their score sheet or when any player has filled in their fourth miss-throw field. Players then score points equal to the number in the pentagonal field for each completed column, points equal to the right-most number in each completed row, and one point for each number in each incomplete row. Each miss-throw is negative five points. The player with the most points wins! For more information, check out The Dice Tower reviews here.

The Mind, by Wolfgang Warsch, is a team experience for two to four players. Players are attempting to complete levels by placing their cards collectively in ascending order, but here’s the catch – the players are not allowed to communicate in any way to indicate what cards they have. The game includes numbered cards 1 -100, level cards 1 -12, life cards, and shuriken cards. Players will try to complete 12/10/8 levels for 2/3/4 players. For each level, the players will be dealt a number of cards equal to the level number (1 card for level 1, 2 cards for level 2, etc.) that are kept hidden from the other players. Then, all players will try to place their cards one by one on the discard pile face up in ascending order, not knowing what cards are in the other players’ hands. If a card is placed that is higher than one still in a player’s hand, that player will call a stop, the players will lose a life, and then the level will continue. The players also have shuriken cards, that can help them make it through a level. As long as all of the players agree, a shuriken card can be used to allow all players to discard their lowest level card, which then becomes public knowledge. The game ends when the players have successfully completed all of the levels or if the players lose their last life. For more information, check out The Dice Tower reviews here.

Nyctophobia, by Catherine Stippell, is a cooperative horror-survival game for three to five players that plays in 30 – 45 minutes. Up to four players will play as the Hunted and a single player will be the Hunter. The goal of the Hunted is to make it through the forest maze to their car and survive. The Hunter will win if any of the Hunted die. Sounds fairly simple, right? Here’s the hard part – all of the Hunted players wear black out glasses so they cannot see the board and can only navigate by touch.

At the beginning of the game, the Hunter (the only player who can see the board) will set up the board based on the scenario (axe murderer or mage) and give the players the general direction of their car (north, south, west, or east), but the Hunted don’t know where they are starting in relation to the car. On the Hunted player’s turn, the Hunter will assist the Hunted by placing their hand on their player piece. Then, they can explore the surrounding spaces next to their player piece. After exploring, they’ll decide on a direction to move. This may cause them to pick up rocks that they can later throw to distract the Hunter, bump into another Hunted player allowing them to coordinate and better determine their location in the forest, or run into the Hunter, taking damage. Each Hunted only has two health. The Hunter uses a deck of cards to determine their movement on their turn, but has certain rules they must follow, such as heading towards any noise markers (from thrown rocks) on the board.

There are two versions of the Hunter: the axe murderer and the mage. The ax murderer can chop down trees to get to the Hunted faster while the mage can manipulate the forest, moving trees and rotating the entire map, to confuse the players. To see more, check out the GAMA 2018 video here.