Most Anticipated Board Game Plays of 2018

I recently covered my most anticipated releases of 2018 and now I want to cover my most anticipated plays. They’re not one and the same as I feel like I’ll have a much better opportunity to actually play these games as opposed to ones that are not released yet. But enough idle chitchat, the title was self-explanatory enough.


Gloomhaven – I own it. It sits on my shelf. It will be played in 2018. The hype is insurmountable. I just need to find time to learn how it’s played before devoting the following two months to the behemoth. Oh, and I guess convince friends to play with me too and all.


Mombasa – Two of my close friends own this game and it has been staring me in the face for weeks. I love the multiple paths to victory and the depth the game seems to provide. I’m really interested in seeing if this is something that can join the regular rotation as one of our heavier games or if it’ll be a one and done deal for us. I have also heard great things about Alexander Pfister and his game design, so this won’t be the only mention of him on this list.


Smack Talk Showdown – There’s an age old ice breaker that asks: “If you had to give an on-the-spot presentation for forty minutes, which topic could you talk about without notes and without stopping?” For me, that’s wrestling. Do my friends enjoy wrestling like I do? Nope. But they at least entertain the notion of it and will humor me by watching it with me. They also enjoy asking ridiculous wrestling questions (Q: What was the least tasteful storyline you ever witnessed? A: Katie Vick) to see how this world lives. Basically, this was a long way of saying that I am really excited to try out Smack Talk Showdown, a party game where you get into character and cut a promo at your “opponent” and the crowd votes on who won. This is a dumb, silly concept that will only be paired with a high consumption of alcohol. This should be hitting my doorstep in the next week or so and I can’t remember the last time I was so excited for a large party game. I think I will enjoy this more than Spyfall (our other go-to game) for two main reasons: One, we’ve played Spyfall enough that our questions can quickly eliminate a location or put a person on the spot, making it hard to introduce new players to the game and two, it won’t shine the light on an unsuspecting player like Spyfall does. Obviously, cutting a wrestling promo in front of your friends will cause some angst for people that are not comfortable doing so but being a character will (in my mind) let players open up more than trying to project some hidden role.


Great Western Trail – I enjoy games that have themes that we don’t see too often and cattle ranching is a new one for me. It helps that the gameplay has been lauded and the designer is a known commodity. I really want to play some heavier games and I think Great Western Trail has the type of complexity that my group will enjoy.



A Legacy game – We’ve never played one. We want to. Badly. But we haven’t taken the plunge. I expect Pandemic Legacy Season One to be the first game we tackle but I could also see us going after Risk Legacy (just to get an idea of what Legacy is all about) or Charterstone, as we love Stegmaier. I’m really interested in how Rachel and I handle a Legacy-style game as there is always a point where we criticize ourselves and say “why did we do that? We should have done this!”


GMT/COIN Games – I have an affinity for GMT games. Twilight Struggle, Urban Sprawl, Dominant Species, etc. I joined a gaming group at my FLGS and hope to get a few plays in of some games that I don’t have as great an experience with (Cuba Libre, Triumph and Tragedy, Churchill).


Secret Hitler – I really like Secret Hitler. I think it’s an excellent game for large groups and mixes well with late evenings and alcohol consumption. I’m not crazy on the theme but appreciate it, being a former history major. I hope to play this a few times with our larger group of friends and I plan on printing out a custom copy of the game. The few times previously that we’ve played we have all had fun and I think with more plays and a better understanding of the game, it will only get better.


Kingdomino: Age of Giants – I did not include this in my most anticipated releases of 2018 because I’m not that excited for it. I think Kingdomino is great as-is and worry about bloating the gaming experience with expansions. I don’t blame them for striking while the hammer is hot but can’t say that Queendomino left me with a lot of hope for what more can be added. That said, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to play it and see how the changes impact the gameplay. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the new wrinkle will be small and will make last year’s Spiels des Jahres winner even better.


Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island – I am really looking for an involved, non-fantasy setting solo game. The fantasy world doesn’t really do anything for me emotionally but being shipwrecked on a cursed island? That I can get behind. It’s superficial but one of the reasons I held off on this so long was waiting for the newest edition in the smaller box as space is at a premium.


A Game of Thrones Board Game: Second Edition – We had the privilege of playing a full six person game last year as we waited for the new season to start and it had everything that made the show so great: dealing, power struggles, back stabbing, political maneuvering. I remember stabbing Matt in the back as the Starks (which was shortsighted) and the look on his face will be seared in our board game groups history. With the show a full year away, I feel like we can get a good two plays out of this in 2018.


Diplomacy – I love Diplomacy. I have played the online version more times than I can count and all I want to do is play an in-person version. I know it will be long. I know it will test friendships. I know it probably won’t live up to the hype in my head but I want to do it. The only thing stopping me is finding a group that will put up with it for hours. I added this to my thirty before thirty list so I can hopefully guilt some unsuspecting souls into playing as well. Guess we’ll see.


Clank! in Space! – I do not have many deckbuilding games under my belt and honestly don’t know if they’re for me. I am really hoping to find a decent space game to play this year (maybe Gaia Project?) and maybe Clank! in Space can kill two birds with one stone.

There are plenty of games that I am super stoked to play that weren’t mentioned here but honestly, I could list off half of my collection. I also really want to play Seafall due to the awful, terrible things I’ve heard about it but didn’t think that was list worthy. The aim was to highlight games that either I don’t have in my possession and want to play (Mombasa, Great Western Trail), have and want to play more of (Secret Hitler, Gloomhaven), or are an experience and should be treated as such (Diplomacy, GoT).

If you have any suggestions on what I should be trying to get a play in of, let me know!


Author: Two off the Top

Just a guy that wants to talk about board games more than his significant other tolerates.

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