So I really wanted to write a “top ten of 2017” that everyone does because it’s cheap filler and easy to do and sparks some nice debate as people hate when your opinion differs from theirs but in my search of my ten favorite games released during 2017, I realized that over the course of the past year, I only played ten games released in 2017. I feel like presenting that top ten would be incredibly lame since there is clearly a better game out there that I missed so instead, I am presenting two lists regarding my most anticipated releases of 2018 and my most anticipated plays of 2018, the latter of which will be posted next week.
I want to make note that this is not a top ten list and I’m not organizing them in order of most anticipated to least anticipated. These are just games that I am stoked to see be released and I hope to get to play *fingers crossed*. So without further ado…
Mr. President – For some high profile jobs, many of us like to play armchair quarterback and convince ourselves that we could do a better job than the person currently in charge (and with the current regime in place, many could). Mr. President, a solitaire simulation from GMT games allows players to step into the role of leader of the free world and see how well you can manage ongoing crises, rival nations, Congress, and even the Press. Sometimes I really enjoy a solo outing and have loved every GMT title that I have gotten my hands onto so barring any big issues with the game, I see this being added to my collection after it has been released. This game has been pushed back a few times but with valid reasons as GMT continues to grow. I hope this sees a 2018 release and while I said I’m not ranking these games, I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t in the top percentile for me.
I do wish it had a different title though. I know this is nit picky of me but this isn’t a historical simulation. It doesn’t have players trying to recreate the Johnson or Adams administrations. Because of that, why is it pigeonholing itself by calling the game Mr. President? It’s 2018. Why not just “The President”. Or “President”. Or even “Oval Office.” Board games tend to be more male-dominated and I don’t see why the game should be aligning with one gender when it’s a fictional simulation.
Mint Delivery – Full disclosure, I backed the most recent Kickstarter that features Mint Works and Mint Delivery. We’re huge fans of worker placement games and I love the theme and presentation of Justin Blaske’s tin-sized hit. Mint Works is a nicely acclaimed pick-up-and-deliver game and I can’t imagine Mint Delivery veers far from the proven formula. The price was perfect for a game that I have only heard good things about and I cannot wait to add another portable game to our collection.
Container – Full disclosure, I also was a backer on this Kickstarter. With that out of the way, I am a complete sucker for economic, auction/bidding, collection games. I am really excited for the player-driven market and can name a handful of games that I’ve played in the last month that feature that mechanic (Modern Art, Chinatown, Sheriff of Nottingham). Container is a reprint of a past hit and the anniversary edition includes an expansion and resin ships. I’m not too excited for the ships and expansion but it was easier to track down the anniversary edition on Kickstarter than it was prying an old copy out of a collectors hands.
The Quest for El Dorado companion – While thinking of the earlier topic (top games of 2017), I honestly thought Azul was going to be my run away winner. But each and every time we pull The Quest for El Dorado out, we play two or three games in a row and I have more fun than the last time I played. If I had to make a decision now, I’d say I’d flip a coin but I know while it’s in the air I would be hoping it landed on El Dorado. This could change obviously the next time I play Azul but I am continuously impressed with Quest. Which of course means I am super stoked for this possible expansion/companion. It was announced by Reiner Knizia last year and honestly, I am downright giddy at the thought of racing through another location. Or exploring. Or searching. Or trading. Or whatever it is Knizia wants us to do in El Dorado. I hope this is released in 2018 but with the complete lack of information known about it, your guess is as good as mine.
Betrayal Legacy – It’s no secret that I don’t really enjoy Betrayal as a game. The mechanics are wonky, the gameplay is dated and boring, and the end game can be horribly unbalanced and one-sided. However, I think this “game” could be instantly more fun if there was a campaign holding everything together but I honestly have no idea how that would work with the traitor theme. Would the traitor just go back to being a creepy doctor after they killed everyone? Do the players die and get replaced with another nine year old boy? I have so many questions on the actual logistics of the game rather than the gameplay that I am excited to see this come out and I hope it hits my table so I can answer all my queries myself.
CO²: Second Chance – Worker placement. Check. Tile placement. Check. Economic environment. Check. Unique and topical theme. Check. While this is a reprint, I like to think of it more as a re-imagining version 2.0 of what was already an enjoyable game. This new printing should improve and streamline a few of the mechanics and allows a competitive and co-operative style of play. I try not to buy into the hype of a game too much so I’m not disappointed (*cough* First Martian *cough*) but Second Chance checks a lot of boxes of mechanics that I have enjoyed.
Teotihuacan: City of Gods – There’s always a game in everyone’s collections that they wish they got to the table more. There’s nothing wrong with this game and if offered, people would be glad to play it but there’s always just something else on the tip of their lips. In my collection, that game is Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. Teotihuacan appears to be a spiritual successor to Tzolk’in and utilizes the wheel mechanic (which I find incredibly cool) in a new way. The turning of the wheel is one of the most unique ways of implementing the worker placement mechanic in any game we’ve played and it’s thematic, matching the calendar. That being said, I cannot wait for it to sit on my shelf gathering dust too.
Escape Plan – This might be my second most anticipated game and like with others, I am trying to get my expectations in check. The theme sounds wonderful: Thieves after the heist turning on one another and trying to escape undetected. There’s bluffing and direct competition without direct interaction (apparently). This game has been in the works for awhile but it appears to be ready to hit Kickstarter in 2018. I’m really hoping for a print and play or Tabletopia release so I can get a feel of everything. I also love the box art for the game.
Batman: Gotham City Chronicles – I’m not a huge fan of miniature games. They take up a huge amount of space, can be a commitment to play, I’m anal about painting each and every miniature, and sometimes, the rules need some fleshing out. But…I love Batman. All I want to do is be the Caped Crusader apprehending villains or a villain trying to outmatch the Bat. Chronicles, based off the successful Conan, would allow me to do just that with some of the most iconic characters in fictional history. I know this will be a 2018 release but I probably won’t get my hands on it until 2020, if it’s worth inclusion in our collection. I already have some reservations about how some of the models look (Quinn, Canary, Penguin, for example) and am curious how the actual gameplay plays out. I love Batman but I don’t need a overly complicated and cumbersome Batman game.
Dice Hospital – I’ve really gotten into games that utilize dice to dictate the actions that a player takes (minus Dice City). I enjoy the hospital setting as it feels like a theme that should have more good games attributed to it. Combining those two aspects means that Dice Hospital is a game that should resonate with me. It has a solo mode, which is helpful for fully learning the rules. My only reservation regarding Dice Hospital is that it might be too much of a gateway game for me. I have a feeling I would buy it, play it, and love it but after that initial honeymoon, the shiny luster would wear off and Dice Hospital might end up like Fuse, for us at least.
Sailing Towards Osiris – I was lucky enough to play this when it was a prototype last year and hemmed and hawed over whether I should have backed the Kickstarter. I decided not to at the last second; not because of anything wrong with the game but because I was going a little Kickstarter crazy at the time. I really want to play this with the few changes I saw were made before final printing and I think this could actually be a big hit with my group. The game itself doesn’t do anything revolutionary but everything that it does is sound. I really like the river blocking certain locales and the risk/reward of visiting the caravan. The prototype I played has us finishing relatively close to one another and made me want to play immediately again, which has to be a good sign, right?
Campaign Trail – Is this the year? Will it come out in 2018? This political game that has players running for the highest office in the land has been plagued with issues ever since the Kickstarter concluded. I honestly don’t know what to expect from this anymore and really just want to see it hit the shelves. The subject matter is something I am obviously interested in (since it’s my second American politics game listed here) and the gameplay has me intrigued. Scaling from two to six players offers a wide array of strategies and the area control/management will be interesting as players use their hands of cards to further their campaign. It strikes me as a less intense GMT game which means it should be easier to introduce to my group.
I guess I should have just done a top ten list as I only listed twelve games but this is what I am eagerly anticipating for the year. Items will of course be added and removed as the year progresses and I’m really excited to see what games that I’m not aware of (such as Azul in 2017) blow me away.