Defenders of the Last Stand is a co-operative, action point, dice-rolling game designed by Richard Launius and published by 8thSummit. This game is a play on Launius’ previous game, Defenders of the Realm but includes some more mechanisms and gameplay features. This game finds you taking on the role of a defender of the last known haven for humanity, The Last Stand. You must fight four outside clan leaders in order to fend them off and protect The Last Stand. This game also adds in mutations. The character you have may travel into an irradiated area and start to gain mutations. These can be good until you’ve gone too far and have too many mutations. You will use your actions and dice-rolling in order to protect the final bastion of humanity. I was slightly interested in the previous iteration of this system, but I find myself much more drawn to this one. I think it’s the post-apocalyptic theme that is used along with the fun looking co-operative gameplay. I’m looking forward to trying this one out as I think it will be a hit with me, my wife, and those we play game with!
Heroes of Land, Air & Sea is a 4x, area-control, worker-placement, action point system game designed by Scott Almes and published by Gamelyn Games. This is an epic game by the creator of the “Tiny Epic” series also released by Gamelyn Games that they will be putting up on Kickstarter in January of 2017. This game was at Origins this year in the form of a demo-able copy that was being shown around the convention by Michael Coe. I think a large part of my excitement is the talent that Coe has for showing off his line of games. He is obviously excited about this release and he is great at drumming up excitement in others. That being said, this still looks to be a really interesting game and thus has creeped its way onto my list. I like the idea that Almes is taking on such a large scale game as he is quite solid in his design credentials and it was just a matter of time before he created a game that was not “tiny” but was still “epic!” Being that it’s from a solid designer and publisher I’m sure it will do really well and be a good game.
Cry Havoc is an asymmetrical, area-control, hand management game designed by Grant Rodiek, Michal Oracz and Michal Walczak and published by Portal Games. This game is another in the recent trend of “Euro-trash” style games where there is a cool mixture of Euro-style elements and American-style interactions. These games include things like Kemet, Cyclades, and the upcoming Scythe just to name a few and this game seems to really take and run with the idea. I love the idea of being able to use your unit and build up your faction and occasionally have run-in combats with other players and I hope that this is exactly what this game provides. I hope that this game is good with 2-players as that is my primary player count, but it will, by no means, be a deal breaker if not. This game has risen by my estimation the closer it comes to release and the more I read stuff by the originator of the game (Grant Rodiek) as he continues to put out designer diaries about the project. Plus, it’s a Portal Games release and I’m a Portal Games fanboy!
Mystic Vale is a card-building, push-your-luck game designed by John D. Clair and released by Alderac Entertainment Group. This game is hot right now as it is may be the first time that clear cards are used in an entertaining way that creates a system that AEG plans to release more games with. You start with a deck of sleeved cards that you will add clear cards to in order to create more powerful, higher scoring cards. I’ve seen some of the gameplay videos of this one and it actually looks like a really fun game. I generally like deck-building games and this is a riff on that but creating the cards instead of creating a deck. It is just another way of realizing that deck-building mechanism and I think it looks like an incredibly interesting way of doing it. Because of these reasons, Mystic Vale moves to the top of the list!