Western Legends

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

If you’re a fan of narrative driven games, historical themes, deck-building, punchy two-player experiences, or all of the above, you will be interested in Undaunted: Normandy coming this August from Osprey Games. It comes with some whopping credits behind it, designed by both David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin (both of whom created the recently popular War Chest) with art by Roland MacDonald (whose brilliant, sharp illustrations are featured in Western Legends and Stop Thief!). This campaign-style game follows the history of the US 30th Infantry Division, where one player operates a deck representing those US troops as they drive into occupied France, while the other player controls the German opposition. Both participants must manage troops, reinforcements, and casualties as they simulate this titanic point in WWII history through tactical choices and card play.

“Undaunted: Normandy is a deck-building game that places you and your opponent in command of American or German forces, fighting through a series of missions critical to the outcome of World War II. Use your cards to seize the initiative, bolster your forces, or control your troops on the battlefield. Strong leadership can turn the tide of battle in your favour, but reckless decisions could prove catastrophic, as every casualty you take removes a card from your deck.”

While there are no shortage of war games that are capable of providing a tension-filled window into the Invasion of Normandy, this is no-doubt a much faster, more personal approach. Where there is a lack of miniatures, there’s an excellent use of Roland McDonald’s work that provides fresh, evocative faces of the stakes both players know. It may not have an expansive spatial element to it, but the struggles your deck will go through should more than impress. If you’re interested in learning more about Undaunted: Normandy, check out Osprey Games’ website/blog for further reading and announcements.

“Red Falls. Darkrock. Two towns on opposite ends of the mesa. Two towns in the middle of God’s own nowhere. You step off of the train and feel yer boots hit the red dirt as you pound the dust from yer coat. You only have iron on yer hip and a few bucks to yer name. But that doesn’t mean folks should go underestimatin’ ya. The only question to answer now is how will you make them remember yer name?”

Kolossal Games has launched Western Legends, their debut game, on Kickstarter.  Western Legends is an open-world sandbox tabletop game for 2-6 players (90-120 minutes) set in the American Wild West.  It is the first game design for Hervé Lemaître with art from  Roland MacDonald (Stop Thief, Battle Line). In Western Legends, players can play as a number of historical figures including Annie Oakley, Bass Reeves, Crazy Horse, and Doc Holliday.

Western Legends includes 12 characters, over 200 cards, a general store to display the item cards, gold nuggets, cubes, dice, chips, miniatures  and player mats.  The core game also includes hand sculpted miniatures (6 characters, 6 bandits, and hopefully a sheriff if stretch goals are met) crafted by Pure Arts (Kemet, Inis).

A pledge of $60 will get you the core game and the Fistful of Extras Expansion (All Unlocked Stretch Goals).  $75 will get you the core game, the Fistful of Extras Expansion (All Unlocked Stretch Goals), and The Good the Bad & the Handsome Expansion.  The top tier pledge at $84 will get you the core game, the Fistful of Extras Expansion (All Unlocked Stretch Goals), The Good the Bad & the Handsome Expansion, and a 52 card poker deck.  You can check out the Western Legends Kickstarter here.