Time for my annual look ahead to the next year in gaming. I like to look at what’s coming down the pipeline, and see what piques my interest. Last year, it was Aerion, Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea, Barrage, Black Sonata, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects, Pipeline, Set a Watch, Tang Garden, Victorian Masterminds, and Wingspan. Out of those, I’ve only played Wingspan, and really like it (as you may have seen in my previous post, where it almost one the Spiel des Jesse). So let’s see what stuff planned for this next year, and whether or not I get to any of it.
Aegean Sea (Carl Chudyk, Asmadi Games) actually saw a soft release at Gen Con last year, as Asmadi had about 100 pre-production copies. But, theoretically, it should be getting a wider release this year. Carl Chudyk is one of my favorite designers, with two of his games (Glory to Rome and Innovation) appearing in my top 11 games. This one is a game about trying to control the islands of the Aegean Sea. It’s a card game, with Chudyk’s trademark mats in play, and I’m very excited to see how it turns out. I’d even go so far as to say this is currently my most anticipated game.
Almanac: The Dragon Road (Scott Almes, Kolossal Games) is the first in a new series from Almes, the designer of the insanely popular Tiny Epic line. This is a game book game, similar to something like Stuffed Fables or Comanauts from Plaid Hat Games. The twist here is that each round of a single game is played on a different page, with each changing up the rules for worker placement. Almes is a pretty creative designer, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about how this works.
The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine (Thomas Sing, KOSMOS) was a big hit when it was released at Spiel last year, but the English version is coming sometime in the near future. The really interesting thing here is that it’s a cooperative trick-taking game. There are a bunch of missions in the box for your group to undertake. You’re playing cards, following suit, and trying to manipulate things so the conditions of the missions are met. So, it’s not a game about winning tricks, but rather trying to manipulate the tricks so you can complete the missions. It seems like a very cool game, and there’s a lot of great buzz around it, so I’m looking forward to checking it out.
Dead Reckoning (John D. Clair, AEG) is the latest card-crafting game from the designer of Mystic Vale and Edge of Darkness (as well as other recent hits, Space Base and Ecos: First Continent). This is a pirate game, with a lot more than just card crafting – there’s also ship customization, cube tower battles, and competition for control of different islands. I’ve been very interested to see how this card crafting mechanism develops over the years, so I’m looking forward to finding out more about this.
Dominant Species: Marine (Chad Jensen, GMT Games) is a sequel to the very popular 2010 game, Dominant Species (which I still haven’t gotten a chance to play). This one addresses what happened after the end of the ice age, as different animal species had to learn to adapt. The image above is pretty rough prototype stuff, and I honestly don’t know what the status on it is right now. Chad Jensen passed away from cancer this past November. From my understanding, the design process was far enough along that the game still may be produced, but I just don’t know. Hopefully, we’ll see this last project from a pretty great designer.
Frosthaven (Isaac Childres, Cephalofair Games) is a sequel to Gloomhaven, the number one game on BGG. It comes with 16 new characters, three new races, 20 new enemies, and a 100 scenario campaign. From my understanding, it’s very similar to the original, with some changes to the various mechanisms. I have not yet gotten to play Gloomhaven, but I have a friend who has a copy and we’re planning on starting a campaign soon. This game is actually not supposed to be released until early 2021, but the Kickstarter is planned for March, so you just know the buzz will be going through the roof about then. And they’re probably going to be trying to get it out as quick as possible, so there’s a possibility it will be out at the end of the year.
Gangster’s Dilemma (Adrian Adamescu/Daryl Andrews, Eagle-Gryphon Games) is a game about sending your gangsters out to collect loot. You have to avoid the Cops, and try to either bribe or snitch your way out of trouble. It’s a game that’s kind of based on the Prisoner’s Dilemma – you know, where you can cooperate or betray with different rewards and penalties based on your answer. My big interest, other than the Kwanchai Moriya art, is that this comes from the designers of Sagrada, which is a pretty great game in its own right.
Imperial Struggle (Jason Matthews/Ananda Gupta, GMT Games) is a sequel of sorts to the immensely popular (and former BGG #1 game) Twilight Struggle. Whereas that one covered the Cold War, this one covers the 18th century conflict between France and Britain. It’s a card drive game, as TS was, but it’s not simply a reskin. It really seems like a different game, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about it.
Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile (Cole Wehrle, Leder Games) is the second collaboration between Wehrle and Leder, following 2018’s Root. In this one, you’re building an empire, guiding its history and making choices that will affect not only your current game, but future games as well. It’s not a legacy game – you’re not permanently altering components or anything like that – but you’re building a history. It seems like an incredibly ambitious idea for a game, but then, that’s something Leder is becoming quite well known for.
Return to Dark Tower (A bunch of people, Restoration Games) is the latest giant project from the folks at Restoration. I never played the original Dark Tower, the 1981 classic with an iconic electronic component, but I’ve heard people talk about it for years. Rather than doing a straight reworking of the original game, as they did with Fireball Island and Stop Thief, this is being conceived as a sequel. The involvement of Rob Daviau and Isaac Childres on the design team is definitely a selling point.
It should be noted that some of these are only planned to be Kickstarted in the next year. Whether or not we see them is another question.
As for the blog itself, I’m just going to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. It’s my tenth year, but I’m not expecting any explosive changes. The biggest thing that will be changing is that I’m taking a break from doing The Eleven. The first post would be going up in a week, and I have no ideas about what to do. I’m not saying it will never be back, but it won’t be back in 2020. Maybe I’ll try some other stuff. Who knows.
Thanks for continuing to join me on the blog! It’s my tenth year doing this, hopefully I’ve gotten better over time. I’ll be back soon with regular content. Happy 2020!