Thursday, January 29, 2015

Obligatory End of 2014 Post Part V: Top Interests of 2015: Top 10 List (Part I)

With the honorable mentions of 2015 out of the way we will move on to my top 10 interests coming up in 2015! This will be the fifth part of my “End of 2014” series and will focus on games 6-10 of my top 10 list. Check out the links below to go to my previous four parts. If you’re curious how I chose what would be on my 2015 list versus my 2014 list just click on one of the honorable mention’s posts and I go over those prerequisites there.

Honorable mentions of 2014:

Games 6-10 of 2014:

Games 1-5 of 2014:

Honorable mentions of 2015: 

Alright, with that out of the way we will move onto my bottom 5 games of my top 10 of 2015. Enjoy and as usual, feel free to post/comment if you have any questions or comments at the bottom of this post or at my BoardGameGeek handle, LateToTheTable.    

#10 – XenoShyft: Onslaught (Cool Mini Or Not)
XenoShyft is yet another successful game that was crowd funded on Kickstarter. This game was designed by Keren Philosophales and Michael Shinall and distributed in the United States by Cool Mini Or Not. This is actually the first game by Cool Mini Or Not that wasn’t created as a miniatures-heavy game. XenoShyft is very different from their previous fair. This one, instead of miniatures, is a card game. It uses deck-building mechanics as well as some tower-defense ideas in order to create what is apparently a brutally difficult co-operative affair where you are attempting to protect your base from waves of alien menaces. This game looks really cool and I don’t have a lot of deck-building games so this may be added to my game library as another with the deck-building mechanic! 

#9 – Castellion & Sylvion (Z-Man Games)
Okay, technically I’m cheating with this number because I’ve chosen to make my #9 game a tie! I’ve chosen both Castellion & Sylvion as my #9 games. These games are both designed by Shadi Torbey and will be distributed in the United States by Z-Man Games. The reason I chose to make this a tie is because these are both designed by Torbey and they both take place in the world of the “Oniverse” where there are a couple games already. Along with these two games, Onirim and Urbion also exist in the Oniverse. While Onirim and Urbion were more solitaire-style card-games, Castellion and Sylvion focus on more of a tower defense mechanism. Sylvion has you using cards against waves of fire elements led by the mad Fire Elemental lord who is trying to burn down the dream forest. Castellion uses tiles as you are attempting to protect your castle from hordes of invaders. Both of these games look like they will be tons of fun and will definitely be beautiful! 

#8 – Mysterium (Libellud)
Mysterium is a game that made a huge splash at this past year’s Essen Spiel. It was designed by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko and will be distributed later this year in the United States by Libellud. This game was put out in the Ukriane by publisher IGAMES and made a huge impact on designer/owner Ignacy Trzewiczek who decided to pick it up and publish it in Poland through his company, Portal Games. This just proves that this company is on the up-and-up when it comes to fantastically designed and interesting games, not to mention their own designs! Mysterium takes the mechanics of Dixit and Cluedo and creates a game that is more than the sum of its parts. It is for up to seven players and is an asymmetrical game where one player takes control of a ghost while the other players take control of paranormal investigators. The ghost is trying to clear his/her name of a murder they were wrongly accused of by using picture cards and playing them in front of each investigator. The investigator players then attempt to correctly choose the weapon, person, and place of the murder. This game looks awesome and I can’t wait to try it! 

#7 – Deus (Asmodee)
Deus is another game that was released this past year at Essen Spiel where you are building a civilization tableau. It was designed by Sebastien Dujardin and is distributed in the United States by Asmodee. If you’ve followed any of my previous posts it is probably fairly apparent that I love card-driven games and I really love the tableau building mechanic. Two of my favorite games are Imperial Settlers and 7 Wonders, both of which you are building civilization tableaus. This game also uses a civilization tableau and engine-building mechanic where you are building cards which set off the powers of other cards which set off the powers of other cards…and so on and so forth. This game appeals to both my sense of art and also my love of good gameplay. I can’t wait to play this one and it may just be a buy-before-try game!

#6 – Nations: The Dice Game (Asmodee)
Nations: The Dice Game is a dice-driven, retooling of one of 2013’s big hits, Nations. It was designed by Rustan Hakansson and will be distributed in the United States by Asmodee. The original game looked great but seemed to have a fairly lengthy playtime. This isn’t to say that I’m not interested in the original, because I’ve actually really wanted to play the game. However, Nations: The Dice Game seems to take everything that you were doing in Nations and streamline it while allowing you to chuck custom dice! How does this not seem like a great time? I love civilization-style games and this one does all of the civ-building while using dice as the main mechanic. This just missed being in my top 5 games which only means there is more great stuff to come! 

There you have it. There are my 6-10 games of my top 10 of 2015. Again, if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below. Keep an eye out for my top 5 games of 2015 soon. Until next time, game on!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Obligatory End of 2014 Post Part IV: Top Interests of 2015: Honorable Mentions

Now we move on to my greatest interests of 2015. These are the games that I am so very interested in for some reason or another, whether it be theme, mechanic, or even designer. If you haven’t seen them yet, check out my previous three posts from my “Obligatory End of 2014” series. These handle my top interests from 2014 that I haven’t yet been able to play. Check out the links below if you’re interested, and if not just skip on ahead and check out my honorable mentions for my interests of 2015.

Honorable mentions of 2014:

Games 6-10 of 2014:

Games 1-5 of 2014:

Before I go through my honorable mentions I think it begs repeating how I chose to label games either from 2014 or from 2015. Even if a game had a 2014 release date I didn’t put it in that category if it wasn’t readily available in the United States. Most of these games technically have an official 2014 release date but haven’t been distributed in the United States as of yet. That being said, on to my honorable mentions list of 2015!

The first game to make its way onto the list is Scythe, designed by Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone and published by Stonemaier Games. Technically this game already has a 2016 release date because it is going to be a Kickstarter a little later this year. Even though it has a later release date, I’m still putting it on my list because it sounds that amazing! This game has been explained as a mixture of Agricola (i.e. farming elements) and Kemet (i.e. area control) by the way of asymmetrical factions. If this doesn’t hook you on a game idea I don’t know what does! Plus, it has a card driven mechanic that keeps the action moving along smoothly. I can’t wait to see how this game rolls along as Stonemaier Games arguably puts on the best Kickstarters of any publisher. If their previous games like Euphoria and Viticulture are any idea of the future of this game and it’s Kickstarter, then I think we’re in for a treat! This is why I’ve “broken” my own rules and put a 2016 game on my list. 

The next game on this list is Between Two Cites, designed by Matthew O’Malley and Ben Rosset and published by Stonemaier Games. Another Stonemaier Games release! This is another game that will soon be making its run on Kickstarter and knowing their pedigree, it will be perfectly managed. This game is a city-building game where you partner with other players to create two cities and manage them between both players. You have to work together in order to make the cities the most livable and in the end it is the player with the most points that wins overall. This game has elements of co-op, card drafting, and tile-laying, all of which I love! This game is looking more and more interesting as it gets closer to its February 25th Kickstarter. 

The next game on my list is one of the few games I have pledged to on Kickstarter. The game is Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King and it is designed and published by Soda Pop Miniatures. This is the follow up to the popular game Super Dungeon Explore. Now, this stand-alone expansion will add more mechanics to the base game and well as a ton more models! I jumped on this one because of the stretch goals that were reached. I’m not sure that I would have pledged had the Kickstarter not hit the levels that it did. That being said, I’m very pleased with the way the company has handled the project. While the original due date was in December, they have been keeping those who pledged updated with weekly posts on the Kickstarter site. As of now they have received their first full copy of the game and seem to be pleased with the way it looks! We are now looking at a March due date and I am excited for the Arcade mode (fully co-operative!) that has been created to go along with the release. Can’t wait for my copy to come in the mail…and expect a full unboxing when it happens!

The fourth game to make the list, and just miss the top honorable mention spot, is La Granja. This game was designed by the team of Andreas Odendahl and Michael Keller and published by Spielworxx. Thankfully, Stronghold Games has picked the game up for United States distribution as this game really looks like a winner! This game has often been described as the lovechild of an Uwe Rosenberg game and a Stefan Feld game. To be honest, I’ve never played either of those designer’s creations before (although you may see one on the top ten of2015 list!) but I understand the pedigree is impressive! This game looks awesome because you are able to take the cards you are dealt and use them in many different ways. I love games where the cards can be played more than just one way, it is just one of the reasons I love Imperial Settlers. La Granja lets you use these cards in order to gain points in order to beat your opponents. This is a very good looking, mechanically-sound game that will see its release in the United States in 2015.

The final (thus my most interesting) game to make the honorable mentions list of 2015 is Elysium, designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert and published by Space Cowboys. This game has been picked up for distribution in the United States by Asmodee and should see its stateside release in the next month or so. This game is set in mythic Greece and uses card-drafting (easily one of my favorite game mechanics) and set-collection as its main mechanics. I love how each of the gods has their own cards that act and react differently than each other. Your goal is to please the gods by transferring their cards into Elysium and thereby gaining enough points for victory. Card games are probably my favorite and thus this one has just enough to get me very excited about its release.

There you go, my honorable mentions of 2015. These are just five of the games that I am excited to play, but there are ten more to come. Check back here soon for games 6-10 of my top 10 list. As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or at the posting on BoardGameGeek at my handle name, LateToTheTable. Thanks for reading. Until next time, game on!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Obligatory End of 2014 Post Part III: Top Interests of 2014: Top 10 List (Part II)

Here we go! The top 5 games on my top 10 interests of 2014! These are the games that really interest me, whether it is for the theme, gameplay, or just because it looks cool! To be honest I’m not even sure I would own all of these games, but there is something there that really pushed it up to the top 5 of my list. Before reading this you can check out my two previous posts at the links provided below. The first will tell you what my criteria was for choosing 2014 games versus 2015 games as well as give my honorable mentions. The second post has my games 6-10 of my top 10 of 2014. Honorable mentions of 2014:

Games 6-10 of 2014:

Enjoy the read and as always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them either here or at my BoardGameGeek handle: LateToTheTable

#5 – Pandemic: The Cure (Z-Man Games)
Pandemic: The Cure is a dice version of the super-popular co-operative game, Pandemic. It is designed by Pandemic designer, Matt Leacock, and is distributed in the United States by Z-Man Games. This game uses some of the mechanics from the original title and turns them around slightly to create what appears to be a super-fun, dice-chucking, co-operative game! Just like Pandemic, you choose a character which gives you a special set of dice which you use to cure diseases. As you move further in the game the action ramps up as the die seem to be continually against you! Pandemic is a game that I have yet to play but have no doubt that I’d like and Pandemic: The Cure appears to be more of the same and with dice! What’s not to like? 

#4 – Argent: The Consortium (Level 99 Games)
Argent: The Consortium is a somewhat heavy, Euro-style, worker-placement game. It is designed by Trey Chambers and is distributed in the United States by Level 99 Games. Argent is the first real heavy game that Level 99 has in their catalog of games. It is very different from the previous games, all of which were designed by company owner, D. Brad Talton, Jr. Talton is the designer of such games as Pixel Tactics (a wonderful, two-player strategy game), Noir: Killer Vs. Inspector (a small-box, deduction game), and Battle-Con (a two-player, Street Fighter-styled game). 

Argent takes a decidedly different route than these games and I think it is a fabulous one. This game has traditional worker-placement mechanisms that take on a different twist as each worker that you place has different powers that they have at their disposal. This allows you to place the worker where you want them to go and use their power to your advantage. The goal of the game is to get the board to choose you as the next headmaster of a lofty school of magic and these workers are the people you are using to accomplish these goals. Everything I’ve seen/heard/read about this game makes it look fantastic and heavy with a ton of different ways of scoring points! I am very much looking forward to playing this game! 

#3 – The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade (Z-Man Games)
The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade is a boardgame that borrows from 80’s-style, top-down scrolling shooters where you were flying through space fighting waves of enemies in order to just stay alive. This game was designed by Anders and Olle Tyrland and distributed in the United States by Z-Man Games. This game really snuck up on me this year. All of the sudden it was Gen Con and I was hearing about this game that tried to copy the idea of the old, arcade-style, top-down shooter. This was incredibly intriguing to me but I wasn’t quite sure how they would accomplish this. After watching videos and live plays this game has moved all the way up to number 3 on my top 10 interests list! I think this game looks quite amazing. Actually, what is most interesting is that the game almost plays more like a Euro-style game than an Ameri-trash style game. There isn’t any dice rolling to make attacks. Rather, you have a certain amount of energy which you can use to shoot and/or move during your turn. This turns the game into what is almost a puzzle of where to move your shoot and make attacks. I love this idea and can’t wait to try this game! 

#2 – Castles of Mad King Ludwig (Bezier Games, Inc.)
Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a tile-laying game where you are creating a castle for the mad king, Ludwig Wilhelm. This game was designed by Ted Alspach and distributed in the United States by Bezier Games, Inc. This game is another game in Alspach’s series of tile-laying games which includes Suburbia, Suburbia, Inc., and Lucas Hedgren’s Subdivision. These all have the mechanism of getting tiles and laying them in certain ways to get the most points that you are able to by the end of the game. I love this mechanism! It truly feels like you are building something and even at the end if you lose it still feels as though you’ve accomplished something. This game uses the tile-building mechanism but adds in another interesting twist that the other games don’t have. At the start of a player’s turn they become the master builder. When it is their turn they actually create the prices for the different tiles. This adds a new wrinkle to the tile-building. I love this idea! It makes it even more interactive as you get to make the prices and get money from other players. I look forward to trying this game out!

#1 – Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients & Shadows of Brimstone: Swamps of Death (Flying Frog Productions)
Shadows of Brimstone: City of Ancients and Shadows of Brimstone: Swamps of Death are two new co-operative, dungeon-delving core sets that are set in the Wild West. They were designed by Jason C. Hill and are distributed in the United States by Flying Frog Productions. These are two core boxes, either of which could be played on their own or added to the other core set for a larger amount of possibilities. Shadows of Brimstone really appears to be an RPG in a box! This game puts you in the Wild West as an archetype as you investigate some mines where Lovecraftian horrors have begun to appear. As you dive into the mine it grows and allows you to fight, find items, and even level up. What really interests me in the campaign mode. After finishing a mission you then go back to the town and can spend money and darkstone to level up and create more powerful weapons. This game really appears to give a sense of progression and looks like a ton of fun to play!

#1+ – Star Wars: Imperial Assault (Fantasy Flight Games)
Okay, I know that this technically means that there are 11 games on my top 10 interests of 2014 list, but I am making a special exception for this game. The other 10 games on the list I don’t own and am not sure when I will be able to play them. I put this as #1+ because it is the game I am most interested from 2014 to play. However, I didn’t put it on the “actual” list because I already own it! It is just a matter of getting it to the table to play! This game was designed by Corey Konieczka, Justin Kemppainen, and Jonathan Ying and is distributed in the United States by Fantasy Flight Games. This game is on the very top of my list (well, kind of!) because it takes the gameplay of Descent 2.0 and the IP of Star Wars and throws them together into a beautifully produced package! The plastic miniatures are beautiful, the boards are beautiful, and the mechanics appear to be beautiful! It hasn’t hit the table yet (due to time constraints), but I am hopeful that it will be very soon!

Okay, now this is officially the end of my top 10 interests of 2014. My next three posts will cover my honorable mentions and top 10 interests of 2015. Stay tuned for more and let me know what your interests are! Until next time, game on!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Obligatory End of 2014 Post Part II: Top Interests of 2014: Top 10 List (Part I)

2014 is done and gone. My honorable mentions post (check it out at is up and ready for reading. If you haven’t read that post yet it does go over how I categorize 2014 releases from 2015 releases. If you’re curious about my categorization, check out that post. Now onto the good stuff! This post will be the latter half of my top 10 list of gaming interests from 2014. What will follow will be numbers 6-10. Enjoy and feel free to comment or let me know what games you haven’t played from 2014 that you really want to try out! 

#10 – Kanban: Automotive Revolution (Stronghold Games) Kanban is a fairly heavy simulation where you place workers on different parts of an automotive plant in order to design, build, and collect cars. This game is by designer Vital Lacerda and is distributed in the United States by Stronghold Games. This game uses worker placement as its main mechanic in order to create the façade of controlling the day-to-day running of a plant. You are able to place in many different options in order to design a car, build a car, test a car, collect a car, or even take a meeting. 

I think the meeting option in the game is the most interesting as this is the way you time the game and get mid-game scores. It is an interesting mechanic that looks like it works incredibly well! I also love that there is a non-player character (Sandra) that is controlled by the game in order to score the players at each option. Sandra moves around the plant checking up on each player to make sure they are doing their jobs well. The game actually has a “nice” Sandra and a “mean” Sandra built in so that the players may choose to play the easier or the more difficult versions of the game. Kanban is a fun-looking, heavy, Euro-style game that definitely has the possibility of ending up on my shelf this year! 

#9 – Tragedy Looper (Z-Man Games) Tragedy Looper is quite an interesting addition onto this list. It may be the most original idea of all the releases on both my 2014 and 2015 lists! This game was created a few years ago by Japanese game designer, BakaFire, and was finally picked up for United States distribution by Z-Man Games. This was widely considered one of the most innovative games of a few years ago and even this past year at Gen Con and Essen Spiel

Tragedy Looper uses deduction and co-operative play in order to solve the mystery of a murder. It is a one versus all game where one player takes the role of the mastermind against one to three other players who take on the roles of the protagonists. What really makes this game interesting is that the players may lose a round but they then go back in time to try again and now have more information with which to work out the mystery. There are a set amount of times the players can go back in time which creates a timer of sorts for the game. This looks so incredibly interesting and I really want to play it! I think this would be a play-before-buy but it still makes it very high on my lists of interests from 2014! 

#8 – Lords of Xidit (Asmodee) Lords of Xidit is an interesting programming game that is a re-implement of an older game called Himalaya. Himalaya was originally created by Régis Bonnessée and has now been re-implemented as Lords of Xidit and distributed in the United States by Asmodee. Lords of Xidit takes place in the world of Bonnessée’s other hit, Seasons, but they are very different games. While Seasons takes on hand management, card drafting, and dice rolling, Lords of Xidit uses programming and area control mechanics. This game not only looks beautiful, but also looks like a ton of fun. You go around the board programming your moves ahead of time and then everyone simultaneously show where they are going. It is possible to continuously run into other players and have stuff taken before you get there. Along with the great mechanics, it has an interesting scoring mechanism where you need to make sure you are never last in any of the scoring areas. A cool looking game that is like nothing else I own.  

#7 – Dead of Winter (Plaid Hat Games) Dead of Winter seemed to come out of nowhere this year. It was a game that wasn’t on everyone’s radar until just before Gen Con of this past year. Dead of Winter was designed by Jonathan Gilmour and Isaac Vega and distributed in the United States by Plaid Hat Games. This game holds the same distinction as all of Plaid Hat Games, they develop and produce everything in house. That being said, the game itself looks quite interesting. This is the first in a line of Plaid Hat Games titles that will feature the “A Crossroads Game” subtitle. The crossroad’s cards add decisions into the group’s game that are both interesting and at times incredibly difficult to make. All of this happens while each player has a secret agenda they are working on during the game. Often times, there is a traitor in the mix. All of this together makes for what appears to be quite an interesting game.

#6 – Panamax (Stronghold Games) Panamax is another fairly heavy Euro-style game that has hit my top 10 interests of this past year. It was designed by Gil d’Orey, Nuno Senteiro, and Paulo Soledade and distributed in the United States by Stronghold Games. This game is more on the economic end of Euro-games while Kanban (the other heavy Stronghold Games title on this list) has more of a worker placement mechanic. Panamax has the players controlling shipping companies as they are attempting to get their ships and cargo through the Panama Canal. It uses heavy economic mechanics as well as interesting dice-rolling and placement. Your goal is to have the most money in your personal coffers (as opposed to your companies vault) which can be obtained in many different ways. This game looks interesting, fun, and beautiful and thus hits #6 on my top ten interests of 2014.

There you have it. These are the bottom five games in my top 10 of 2014 list. Let me know if you think something should be higher on the list, lower, or not on it at all. Stay tuned in the next few days for my top 5 game interests in 2014! Until next time, game on!