New years are great. New Year’s Day may be a seemingly arbitrary holiday to some, but I think it marks a great time to look back and reflect on the past year, and at the same time look forward to new and excellent things on the horizon.
The same is true for games. It’s a good time to be a board gamer. The hobby is growing and getting noticed, and a lot of high-quality, excellent games are being produced. Kickstarter has become a major launching pad for independent and small-time game publishers to find an audience and succeed. And there’s no shortage of awesomeness coming in 2012 (especially as Essen 2011 releases s-l-o-w-l-y make their way to the States). Here are some of the games we’re excited to see.
Chicken Caesar. With a “premise too awesome to ignore,” this game of politics, intrigue, backstabbing, betrayal, and…well, chickens, sounds like a blast. The unique and stand-out theme caught my attention right off, and from what I’ve seen the game develop into, I just can’t wait to play.
Cosmic Encounter: Cosmic Alliance. Once again, yes, I love Cosmic Encounter. What’s not to look forward to about twenty new races, another player color (allowing up to eight players), and rules for team play? I can’t think of anything. The universe is a big place, and there’s plenty of room left for more action. Color me excited.
The Next Dominion Expansion. I don’t know if it has been announced at all, if it has a name, or if anyone knows anything about it. But I love me some Dominion, and there are two more expansions slated to arrive in 2012. I received Seaside as a gift for Christmas and have been playing the heck out of it with my wife since then. It’s such a wildly varied game and the cards interact in unexpected and delightful ways, and I am looking forward to what comes next.
Rex: Final Days of an Empire. I mentioned earlier I’m a big fan of Cosmic Encounter. It’s no surprise, then, that the Dune board game caught my attention; it’s by the same designers. Add that to the critical acclaim I’ve heard over the years, the game was a shoe-in. Unfortunately, obtaining the original Dune is somewhat of an impossibility, unless you’re willing to shell out. Publishers have tried to republish the game over the years, but the Dune license itself has proved impossible to obtain. Fortunately, the designers were wise enough to maintain ownership of the game mechanics separate from the Dune license, and now, paired with the Twilight Imperium universe, it will see the light of day again with Rex. With the promise of more spaceship minis on top of an exciting gameplay system, I am stoked for this one.
VivaJava. This one is coming soon from Dice Hate Me Games. I wouldn’t be too far off the mark if I said that I backed Carnival to ensure that VivaJava got made. (That I like Carnival makes the deal sweeter.) And after Dice Hate Me Games shipped my game on time (a feat yet to be matched by any other Kickstarter project I’ve backed), they’ve made me a loyal fan. Whereas I’m usually on the outside of the Kickstarter thing because of bad budgeting, I’ve been saving my pennies and am ready to press the “Back This Project” button as soon as it gets the green light. Seriously, it’s a semi-co-op game that fits up to eight players and has a robust Euro flavor while surrounding the theme of great coffee. This one is right up my alley.
Glory to Rome: Black Box Edition. Remember how I said I’m not used to Kickstarter projects arriving on time? Yeah, I was talking about this one. I’m not sure I would have backed this had I known it would take this long to arrive, but I’m still looking forward to it. (And in the latest Kickstarter update, which pushes the game’s release out to late April, they are seeking ways to make the delay right.) My premium card sleeves procured for a November arrival will have to languish another month or so before they can serve their intended purpose. I think it will be worth the wait, though.
Helvetia. Maybe it’s my Swiss heritage, maybe it’s my constant pining for the Alps, maybe it’s just because it looks awesome. In any case, I want to play Helvetia badly. Dear U.S. publishers, please pick this one up. And feel free to send a review copy my way.
Power Grid: The First Sparks. I thought I’d have this one by now as I preordered it in November, when it was supposedly “on the boat.” No such luck. Still, the prospect of Power Grid that plays in less than an hour
is exciting. And I won’t turn down mammoth meeples, either. [@futurewolfie’s note: yeah, I’m looking forward to this one’s release as well…so I can finally get my hands on Dominion: Hinterlands and Takenoko, which are part of the same order.]
Flummox. I’ve been reading John Moller’s Flummox Friday posts on his blog for a while now, and with each new art piece released and rule tweak mentioned, I get more and more excited for this one. This is one to watch for as the Kickstarter campaign should begin soon. And if you don’t follow Mr. Moller, you should (he’s on Twitter, and here’s another link to his blog).
What games are you looking out for? Anything we missed that we should keep our eyes on?