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
Everdell Root Grimm Forest Cerebria Rising Sun
Chronicles of Crime Nyctophobia Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame KeyForge The Mind
Fireball Island Brass Lancashire Endeavor: Age of Sail High Society The Estates
Space Base is a critically acclaimed engine building, dice-economics game from designer John D. Clair and publisher AEG, which took the clever “roll dice – earn money – buy cards” pattern from Machi Koro (2012), and others, and brought it to the next level. The first expansion for Space Base, The Emergence of Shy Pluto, was only released last week, and already a second expansion and storage kit has been announced. Space Base: Command Station, coming later this year, will expand the maximum player count from it original 5 up to 7. The expansion, which comes in a box to hold everything, will include 2 more boards, all necessary starting cards and cubes. Command Station will also include 14 “pre-deployed” ship cards to help balance the larger player counts. Look for Space Base: Command Station at your FLGS this August.
Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has recently announced the first expansion to Space Base, the popular 2018 dice rolling, card drafting game from designer John D. Clair (Mystic Vale). In Space Base, 2-5 players roll dice, gain resources off of the numbers rolled, then use the resources to buy new cards. All cards go on a cleverly designed player board, taking up the numbers 1 through 12. As players collect new cards, they can gain further resources on other players’ die rolls. This mechanism of income generation off of dice rolls has been used effectively in Machi Koro (2012) and Valeria: Card Kingdoms (2016), but many feel that Space Base has just done it perfectly. The first expansion, The Emergence of Shy Pluto is teased as a “Saga Extension”, and promises to add story elements to the admittedly somewhat themeless game. Pluto includes a series of story based scenarios, which trickle new cards and elements into Space Base “via a narrative structure”. Once all of the stories are added, they become a permanent part of the game for further replays.
Space Base is designed by John D. Clair (known for Mystic Vale, Custom Heroes, and Edge of Darkness) and has players assume the roles of Commodores in a space fleet. The order and types of cards a player buys for their space base has an impact on the economic engine which they build in order to become Admiral. Establish colonies in a sector, spread your cargo carriers, and expand your mining network to build your income and influence. The game will support 2 – 5 players and plays between 30 – 75 minutes depending on the number of players.
Details on Istanbul: The Dice Game are a bit thin but with a game designed by Rüdiger Dorn and art by Andreas Resch we can only expect great things. It will be a standalone dice game in which 2 – 4 players collect rubies in Istanbul’s bustling bazaar. Through clever use of the dice, players can make money and goods then exchange them for rubies to become the ultimate trader. Expect playtime of 20 – 40 minutes for ages 8+.
Joe Price and JT Smith expand on their hit game in 2018. In The Captain is Dead: Lockdown (Episode 2 in the AEG series, originally Episode 3 when released on Game Crafter) the Captain is still dead and the crew find themselves imprisoned on their own ship. Hostile aliens have taken control of the ship and the players must remain hidden and work together to regain control of the ship. You will need The Captain is Dead base game in order to play this expansion. The game supports 1 – 7 players, aged 12+, and plays between 90 – 120 mins depending on the number of players.