Top Forty Board Games I’m Looking Forward To in 2020

Ankh: Gods of Egypt Eric M. Lang games have been hit or miss with me (loved The Godfather, didn’t like Rising Sun) but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see his newest work. What is known about the game so far isn’t a ton (a decent synopsis here) and there’s always the worry that this is another CMON miniature display rather than a game, but the setting is more interesting to me than Rising Sun. I hope Ankh expands on the gameplay and addresses several of the issues (game length and lack of interesting decisions) that I had with Rising Sun.

Brasil – I mentioned Brasil in a post a full year ago but here we are, still awaiting word on this gold mining game that features town development. According to the following post, the publisher is awaiting the Kickstarter launch of another project (Madeira/Zhanguo) before committing to a date for Brasil.

Building Cities – Table presence is an often ignored aspect of board gaming. Some of my favorite games have zero to no table presence (such as The Castles of Burgundy). Building Cities is all pizzazz right now as there’s little information about actual game play but the photos show a sprawling metropolis that pulls me in. Three-dimensional city building is not a new concept but I’m excited to see what Building Cities offers to the genre.

Clans of Caledonia expansion – Clans of Caledonia is one of our favorite games, a real hidden gem that we didn’t think would stand out to us but has quickly found its way into our hearts due to its dynamic economy. On BGG, the designer mentioned that a possible expansion may be available in 2020. That’s enough to keep me on the lookout.

Dead Reckoning – I love pirate-themed games (which is a problem as it’s not a theme my group is fond of). Dead Reckoning looks like a modern implementation of Merchants and Marauders with the theme, customization and exploration. There’s some information out there publicly (check this BGG thread for some Q&A from the designer and some videos) to wet our beaks but not enough to sway an opinion on whether this game will scratch all of my itches.

Floor Plan – I really enjoy roll-and-write games, minus the lack of interaction between players. The puzzle-nature of the games is enough to offset my gripe and Floor Plan has a theme, home design, that really resonates with me as HGTV has a perpetual spot in our household as a background show. The game itself is available via Print and Play on the Deep Water Gaming site. I’ve printed a copy and hope to have a preview written up shortly.

Followers – I have no idea what to expect from Followers. The image on BGG is stunning and draws me in but there is very little actual information about what players will be doing. There’s mention of an electronic device (that is assuredly not an app) but that’s all I got. I want to know more and will be waiting any information that’s released.

Fort – I’m going to make an educated guess and say that at one time in everyone’s lives, they built a fort. Whether that was with pillows and blankets or branches and shrubs is unique to the individual, but the act can connect many as it brings back memories from a childhood long ago. Fort, a re-implementation of SPQF will be available in June of 2020 (according to this post). The re-theme makes the game entirely more accessible in my opinion and this is one deck builder I want to get my hands on.

img_05001604449985470446082.jpg

Frosthaven – The standalone successor to Gloomhaven has a supposed Kickstarter launch scheduled for March (but honestly, I would just sign up for the Cephalofair newsletter as they’ll provide far more accurate messaging) and information continues to pour in (here is a great synopsis of what is known so far). I haven’t even found myself a quarter of the way through Gloomhaven so far but Frosthaven will more than likely be an instant back for me. That sounds dumb as we still have so much Gloomhaven to explore but we’ve loved every second of the original game and I want to be ready for more once we finish the campaign. Maybe the hype will be too much, but I cannot wait to see what improvements and additions Isaac Childres has addressed in this new game.

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion – Gloomhaven took the hobby by storm. Where many games fail to capitalize on their enormous hype and success, Gloomhaven has hit the ground running and looks to feature two projects in 2020, Frosthaven (previously mentioned) and Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. This standalone edition will be a shorter campaign that is aimed at more casual players but will be compatible with the bigger siblings of the Gloomhaven universe. There was an interview that Isaac Childres gave (possibly at SHUX? I can’t seem to find it) where he made mention that this game will be available at big box and chain stores (re: Target) upon release. If that’s the case, I fully expect to see Gloomhaven further dominant the hobby over the coming decade.

Hamlet – A quick-paced tile-laying game where people build up their hamlet from just a well. I like the mechanics. I like the theme. I like the idea of it being a quick game. I hope to see more of this game this year.

Hindsight: 2020 – I enjoy real-time dice games. FUSE is a big hit in our home and when it hits the table, we typically play two or three games of it before packing it away. Hindsight: 2020 looks to be in the same vein: a cooperative game that can play quickly with an interesting concept/theme. The puzzle you complete with your dice ends up being the combination to a key-code that answers how the apocalypse occurred.

In Too Deep – You’re an undercover police officer and you have to balance the real job (bringing people to justice) with your fake job (being a criminal). It’s a fine line and an amazing theme that has the potential to be incredibly interesting. I’m excited to see game play for this title.

ISS Vanguard – I’ve seen this brought up on social media platforms and places like Reddit but cannot find any tangible information. What is known is that the game is about space exploration and adventure with combat taking a back seat. I’m hoping for something like Kepler-3042 (which I love).

John Company – John Company is an economic simulation based upon the East India Trading Company. That may or may not be interesting to you but I love historical economic simulations that offers negotiation between players. This won’t be designer Cole Wehrle’s only entry on this list but it is probably the design of his that I’m most interested in exploring more of. It’s also the game I’ll probably have to do the most research on as it’s a relatively heavy game with a dry subject matter and harsh interactive mechanics that may not be for my group. John Company is looking like a March release but as with all things, this may change.

Jurassic Parts – I love dinosaurs. If it involves dinosaurs, I’m immediately interested. Fossils caught my eye in 2019 and Jurassic Parts has done the same for 2020.

Kanban EV – Vital Lacerda has created some iconic games and while they all haven’t been hits with me and my group, they still get the benefit of the doubt when a new title is announced. My only hesitation with this game (and this is with most Lacerda games) is how this plays with only two players.

Kemet: Blood and Sand – Blood and Sand is the revised edition of Kemet, a 2012 release that has its fair share of fans. I’ve been holding off on getting this classic game as I’ve been hearing rumblings that past few years that a new edition was coming and finally, we have some confirmation. As I have not played the original, I’m incredibly interested in following the feedback from seasoned players to see how they enjoy this implementation compared to the original.

LANDER – This list is space heavy and it’s not about to stop here. LANDER is about humans terraforming the first planet outside our solar system that can support life. It ticks a lot of my boxes (space theme, self-driven economy, negotiation, resource management) and similar to Kanban, my only hesitation is how the two player game unfolds.

Long Shot: The Dice Game – I was able to see this at PAX Unplugged 2019 and it tickled my fancy. I love horse racing (minus the barbaric treatment of the animals…which is sadly what the sport has devolved into) and the roll-and-write nature makes the game slightly more accessible. I have this as a high priority to check out when it’s released later this year.

MariposasElizabeth Hargrave burst onto the board gaming scene with the 2019 hit Wingspan and recently it was announced that her follow-up game, Mariposas, which follows the migration of Monarch butterflies across the United States and Mexico. The game is vibrant and tackles an incredibly interesting theme. I hope it includes some of the educational value that Wingspan offered too. Honestly, after falling absolutely in love with Wingspan, Hargrave has all but guaranteed that I’ll check out their next game.

The Mind Extreme – The Mind was a favorite game of ours (still is) and while the game itself is more of a concept, I am excited to see what The Mind Extreme offers as it splits the game into two separate decks of fifty as opposed to one deck of one hundred.

Monsters on Board – This game is on my watch list because the promotional art reminds me of Hotel Transylvania and my SO friggin’ loves that movie. After seeing the art, I was further intrigued by the dice drafting and the puzzle-like nature of which monsters can sit where. It’s still early in the process but I’m excited to see how this game shapes out.

Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile -While Root wasn’t my cup of tea, there’s no denying that designer Cole Wehrle has his pulse on the hobby as far as his previous releases are concerned. Wehrle makes a point to publicly post designer diaries, which are totally worth reading even if his designs or this game are of no interest to you; being able to peer inside the mind of the designer and the decisions they’re making is such a revealing aspect of the hobby that I wished more designers took part in. Anyways, the game itself is of interest to me as it looks to tackle an epic campaign-style game with relatively simple mechanics. Campaign games have gone over well in my household due to not only the stories they tell on the board but also those that they tell among the players and I’m interested in seeing everything Oath has to offer when it launches later this year.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 3 – While not officially announced, Rob Daviau mentioned in the following video that the design of the game was complete and that it sat with the publisher for art and other tidying up. I would guess that this would be unveiled at GenCon this year but until official word comes out, this is strictly conjecture from my mind. No matter when it eventually releases, Pandemic Legacy Season 3 will find a home on my shelves.

Paris – I’m a big fan of the designs created by Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer. Azul, Tikal, Mexica, Downforce, El Grande and more have all had great receptions in my house so when I hear of another collaborative title from the pair, my ears perk up and I’m instantly intrigued. Like some other games on here, there’s little to no public information available but Game Brewer website lists a March 2020 date for the Kickstarter.

Pax Pamir (2nd Edition) – It’s a Cole Wehrle world and we’re just living in it. While Pax Pamir was originally released in 2015, it saw a re-implemented second edition via Kickstarter in 2019 that drew rave reviews from many outlets. The game is an absolute marvel aesthetically and while there appears to be a treasure trove of strategy, the actual turn-by-turn mechanics don’t seem too contrived as players brush up on their Afghan history. According to BGG, Pax Pamir (2nd Edition) will be available alongside the John Company Kickstarter that will launch in 2020. It’s looking like a March date but this could obviously change.

Project L – I love abstract strategy games and spatial games and Project L seems to hit both marks. This is part-Tetris/part-puzzle as players use their pieces to make bigger pieces. I missed the Kickstarter but I hope to catch this at retail.

Quantified – The theme of Quantified is basically a Black Mirror episode as players behavior results in a social credit score. The idea behind the game is intriguing but I’m concerned about the publisher as their last Kickstarter project, Seize the Bean, is behind schedule. The organization has stated that there’s no official timeline for Quantified (which is totally fine; it keeps expectations in check) but I’m hoping to hear more about this too close to home dystopian future at some point in 2020.

Rococo: Deluxe Edition – On January 22nd, the pre-ordering for Rococo: Deluxe Edition goes live. This game has been out of print for several years and one that we’ve been dying to get our hands on due to the subject matter, artwork and gameplay. I will say that I’m still on the fence about this Deluxe Edition as it doesn’t include the expansion or the metal coins but it does feature a lot of stuff.

Rocketmen – It’s not exactly a secret that space themed games, particularly realistic space themed games, are my MO. Rocketmen is a space-exploration deck-builder that doesn’t have much interaction between players (boo) but has them indirectly interacting as they race to achieve missions. I’m not the biggest deck-builder fan but Martin Wallace does have a somewhat proven track record and again, the theme is drawing me in. The Kickstarter preview page was just launched and the campaign looks to be live on January 27th. I want some more information before diving in but my interest is peaked.

Santorini: Pantheon – Similar to Pandemic Legacy: Season 3, an official date has not been mentioned but according to Roxley’s project updates, Santorini: Pantheon (which is their deluxe edition) is a high priority and news on its release might be coming in 2020. Santorini is one of the most beautiful and accessible abstract games on the market today and while I already own and enjoy my copy, I can’t say I wouldn’t be interested in seeing what a ‘deluxe’ edition of the game would entail.

Sol: Last Days of a Star – Before I get anyone’s hopes up, this is pure wishful thinking on my part. I have heard zero, zip, zilch, nada on any possible reprint, re-implementation or re-run of this game…besides this BGG post that mentions it would be an add-on with another Kickstarter project. I have no idea what that game is or will be or when it will launched. If you’re interested in this, I suggest following the Elephant Laboratories social media accounts as I could not find a formal newsletter. Sol is on my watch (and more than likely instant-back list) as I love space themes and every review I could find made the itch scratch a little more, particularly this one from Cole Wehrle (he is everywhere!)

Stonemaier Games – This is cheating as it’s not an actual game but several lumped under the publisher. According to this newsletter, Stonemaier Games has several games launching in 2020. Sand and Cape are both scheduled to be released in 2020 and while there is no information (that I know of) available regarding them, I’m excited to find out what they are. While not every Stonemaier release is one we enjoy, thier games that resonate with me are some of my absolute favorite in the entire hobby. Besides the two unnamed games, there is also the second Wingspan expansion. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the game and am excited to see more content be added to such a strong title.

The 7th Citadel – The 7th Citadel is the first game on this list that I will probably have no interest in backing. That’s not a slight towards Serious Pulp but more a jab at myself as we haven’t had a chance to even crack open The 7th Continent Kickstarter that was fulfilled last year and I honestly don’t know when that time will come. I’m incredibly interested in what Citadel is going to offer (similar to Frosthaven in comparison with Gloomhaven) and maybe there will be enough for me to want to sink my teeth into but at this exact moment in January, my interests are purely knowledge-based.

The Rival Networks – My SO loves The Networks and we’re both excited to see a strictly two-player, streamlined version of that game.

The Shivers – I mentioned The Shivers in my PAX post and I’m just copying what I said there here: “I only heard the elevator pitch of The Shivers but I wanted to speak on it as it has a clear oooo and awwww moment as the “board” is a pop-up with areas behind the walls that cards can slot into. This is another role-playing, story driven, social game that won’t be for everyone but is labeled as a children’s game of deduction and problem solving. I believe they’re aiming for a 2020 Kickstarter and I cannot wait to see more from this game. It will make you look twice and that’s something that the hobby needs.”

Tortuga 2199 – Space? Check. Pirates? Check. That has me interested and as this game launches on Kickstarter on January 21st of 2020, we won’t have to wait long to see more from the game.

Wavelength – While larger social party games aren’t for everyone and every group, they tend to go over real well with mine. Wavelength plays up to twelve and seems to fit in the same vein as other well-regarded games such as Codenames and Decrypto. It seems simple enough and provides enough fun experiences that I think this will be a hit for our group.

Welcome to…New Las Vegas – I quite enjoyed Welcome to… and am curious as to how New Las Vegas re-implements the original. We had a brief crash course at PAX Unplugged 2019 but now that we have more games under our belt of the original, I’m curious to see if New Las Vegas offers enough to own both or if this will more be for people that never bought into the first offering.

 

 

Author: Two off the Top

Just a guy that wants to talk about board games more than his future wife tolerates.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s