party games

Picture from popularmechanics.com

It’s coming to the end of the year, and what does that mean, lots of people putting out their Top X for 2017 lists.  The Dice Tower does this themselves as they have already released their Top 10 Games of 2017 and Top 10 Pop Culture of 2017 on Youtube.  But not to be left out, Popular Mechanics has now released their list for the Top 50 Games of 2017.  What is interesting about their list is that they are a lot of great games on here from across the spectrum, from party games, to micro games, to heavy strategy games, and even Kickstarter games.  Although like any list, some maybe are not as great but get by on notoriety, but strangely also some games not from 2017 make the list.  Some of those games on the list include Star Realms, Quantum, and Codenames, which are great games, but odd choices for being included on a 2017 list.  Either way, check out their list to see the top 50 “new” board games for this year of 2017.

WizKids has two new games coming to shelves in March 2018, Spy Tricks and Letter Go!.

Spy Tricks is a new edition of the 3-4 player Japanese game Trick of Spy (2016) by designer Susumu Kawasaki (Traders of Osaka). Spy Tricks is essentially a trick taking card game, but players must use the information they gather to deduce the identity of the “secret document”, a face down card from the deck. Players then bet on what the secret document might be, trying to reserve guesses before the other players. Play rounds equal to the number of players, and highest score at the end wins.

In Letter Go!, players write words on their whiteboards, using letter cards available to all. However, the players only score their words under two conditions: They must claim letter cards before their opponents, and they must follow the rules on the changing “random ridiculous” rule cards. Letter Go! comes with 6 whiteboards, 26 double sided rule cards and 96 letter cards.

 

In 2016 Codenames won the Spiel des Jahres, popularizing word based spy games. In 2018 Iello will release Decrypto by designer Thomas Dagenais–Lesperance, and artists Fabien Fulchiron, NILS, Manuel Sanchez. Decrypto places two teams pitting against each other to correctly interpret the coded messages their partner is trying to send them while at the same time cracking the code of the opposite team.

In Decrypto two teams face off against each other. Each player has a screen with places for four words, numbered 1-4. A single word card is placed by each number. Players on your team see your four starting words, while the opposing team does not see your words.

In round one, each of the teams has one team member that takes a code card that shows a three digit code made up of a non-repeating set of the 1, 2, 3, 4 digits from the starting screen, e.g. 4-2-1. Only the one team member with the code card creates a three word code to get their team to try to guess the code. “For example, if the team’s four words are “pig”, “candy”, “tent”, and “son”, then you might say “child-mouth-tail” and hope that your teammates can correctly map those words to 4-2-1.” If your team does not guess correctly they get a black mark of failure. Two black marks and the team loses.

Following your team guess, the opposing team will note what the clues were for the opposite team and what numbers they corresponded to. In future rounds the opposing team will also have a chance to guess your numbered code without the advantage of seeing the original words under the screen numbers. If they guess correctly they receive an interception token. Two interceptions and a team wins.

The game continues until either a team has missed guessing their own clue correctly (losing the game) or intercepts twice (winning the game). The game plays with 3-8 players aged 12+ in around 30 minutes.

Box contents will include:

  • 2 super cool screens
  • 48 Code cards
  • 110 Keyword cards
  • 4 Interception tokens
  • 4 Miscommunication tokens
  • 50 Note sheets
  • 1 Sand Timer (30 seconds)
  • 1 rulebook

Decrypto will hit stores frequented by spies and game-players in the first quarter of 2018.

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.

In a report of current projects, Czech Games Edition has listed That’s a Question!, the new party game from Codenames developer extraordinaire, Vlaada Chvátil. That’s a Question! has 3-6 players use color coded cards and interrogation to try and predict how someone will answer. All players bet on which answer will come up, tallying their progress on a scoring board. Look for That’s a Question! in September 2017.

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.

North Star Games announced at Origins Game Fair the newest iteration of their popular line of Wits and Wagers games. This version named Wits and Wagers Vegas will be hitting Kickstarter on Saturday August 18th and will be provide two options for gamers to be able to utilize the new and improved game. On one side of the neoprene game mat will be the following board allowing players to hedge their bets but also make more distinctive bets on an individuals answer sight unseen. Additionally included with the game will be strips that will allow the players to cover up spaces on the board for 5 and 6 player games. This should allow for added variability.

This should be available as a standard edition with the mat and covering strips included or as an upgrade pack for those who already have Wits and Wagers Party Edition.

Fortune Magazine has announced that Hasbro will be offering a subscription model for their games. Consumers will be able to choose between Party Games and Family Games, and will receive 4 games a year under the service. This business model, dubbed the Hasbro Gaming Crate, has been successfully used for razors, beauty products and meals, but this is the first major toy manufacturer to use subscriptions. The Hasbro Gaming Crate will be available in Summer 2017.

spiel 16

The trade fair with the most impact for both Germany and the board gaming hobby is only a smidge more than a month away, and with it come even more hot releases, demos, prototypes, and exciting news just in time for the Holiday shopping season. Taking place this October 13th through the 16th in Essen, the 2016 Spiel is expected to continue the record breaking growth they’ve been experiencing, which is terrific news and further evidence of the oft observed “Golden Age” that this hobby still experiences. According to the press release from Internationale Spieltage:

“[…]SPIEL has grown by more than 50 percent in the last four years. This year it looks as if more than 160,000 visitors will enthusiastically respond to the SPIEL motto “Come and play!”

Over a thousand exhibitors across multiple exhibit halls, each showing off their best and newest releases to the public. It’s not just the size though, that’s exciting. As the press release highlights, there are some interesting trends being showcased this year among the hundreds of entries into the gaming fray. Specifically, this year is seeing a spike in team-building games, the stuff that makes for memorable get-togethers with friends and family. The one-and-done genre of Escape Rooms meant to challenge groups to muster wits and overcome puzzles will be available in a swath of tabletop titles and live-event rooms at the fair. In addition, the instantly popular Codenames: Pictures and Captain Sonar will certainly be drawing large crowds.

sola fide

This year also marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in Europe, and there are games to recognize it. Notably, two new releases come thematically celebrating Martin Luther and the historic religious change he ushered: Stronghold Games’ Sola Fide and Zoch Verlag’s Mea Culpa. There will also be family-friendly events and quizzes in various locations, topping the already broad, educational, and heatlhy range of activities the fair has to offer.

fields of green

Let’s not forget the big releases rolling over from Gen Con, which will certainly see the same kind of fervor that I wrote about a few weeks ago. Seafall and Scythe are two of this year’s most anticipated titles and I can imagine the European public wanting to get their hands on copies all the same. I feel obligated to draw attention to a few more titles that will probably be incredibly popular as well. Artipia Games will have their newest Kickstarter title and spiritual sequel to Among the Stars, Fields of Green,  available for demo and backer pickup. Hobby World will have Spyfall 2 there, which will add more locations, higher player count, and two spies! Finally, Bombyx will have Legendary Inventors on hand, a game that I played in prototype form and was highly impressed with how deep yet accessible it is.

If you’re interested in seeing more games confirmed to be available at the 2016 Spiel, please check out this preview thread at boardgamegeek.com. Many thanks and much respect to Eric Martin for working diligently to compile all of that for the community. For more gaming news and images regarding the upcoming Essen Spiel, please check out our new Instagram page that joins our news, twitter, and video coverage.

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.

cranio creations logo

Fresh off the presses come three new releases from Cranio Creations, the Italian publisher responsible for Dungeon Fighter and Steam Park.  Keeping their target audience in their crosshairs, Cranio’s 2015 trifecta are all light-to-medium games with striking artwork and manageable playtimes.  Beyond that the games are quite different.

unusual susp

Unusual Suspect, designed by Paolo Mori (Augustus, Libertalia) is a light party-style game of deduction that explores perceptions and stereotypes.  It plays in thirty minutes and features some cartoony artwork.  You can find Tom’s review here.

The Tower of Monster is a quirky dexterity game with some eye-catching components, including some distinct player pawns and a four-story tower with windows to stick your fingers through.   Designers Simone Luciani (Tzolk’in) and Antonio Tinto (Egizia) teamed up for this one, and it sports whimsical artwork by Valentina Moscon (Dungeon Bazar).

council of 4

Finally, Council of Four is the weightiest game of the bunch:  a family Euro about Renaissance-era merchants jockeying for position with city councils and attempting to situate their emporium in the most lucrative location. It was designed by Luciani e Tascini (The Voyages of Marco Polo) and the artwork is by the prolific Arnaud Demaegd (Caylus).

Check out Cranio’s press release here.

 

family guys sexy part

“What the deuce?!” A Family Guy party game you say? Well this Christmas is the release date for this opportunity to “Offend friends and family” in what seems to be a Family Guy themed take on a “Cards against Humanity” style game.

family guy sexy party cards

“This next release from Gale Force Nine games is a side-splitting, fast-paced word game of questionable social value…..not really suitable for anyone”

Comes complete with a spinner as you race to earn martinis but definitely not suitable for minors as the warning on the box indicates there may be some adult Family Guy shenanigans involved.