OK, so here it is, my official non-random preview of games coming out this fall. With Spiel not happening live, there’s not quite as many titles on the board this year, but it’s still well over 400. So, let’s take a look at some that have been hand selected by me as the best of the best. Or, rather, some that stuck out to me on a quick perusal of the BGG list.Bonfire
Bonfire (Stefan Feld, Hall Games) is the latest title from Feld, who is still putting out games, though not with the regularity he used to. In the game, you’re part of a group of gnomes who attempt to relight the extinguished bonfires that used to light great cities. This is accomplished by completing quests for the guardians of light. Once a certain number of tasks is complete, you see who won. It looks very nice, and, being a Feld, it has some definite interest to see how it all works.
Clever hoch drei (Wolfgang Warsch, Schmidt Spiele) is the third game in the Clever series of roll-and-write games, following That’s So Clever and Twice as Clever. I think this one will be called Clever Cubed in English. That’s what they call the app, anyway. I still have yet to play either of the first two, but they sound like the type of thing I would enjoy. This one brings new categories to the system.
CloudAge (Alexander Pfister/Arno Steinwender, Nanox Games) is a post-apocalyptic game where an environmental catastrophe means people now need to live in airships. It’s an engine building style game that uses card sleeving to drive the game. And there’s a campaign system. It’s a pretty high concept theme for Pfister’s oeuvre, and sounds pretty interesting.
Cosmic Frog (Jim Felli, Devious Weasel Games) is a game where each player controls a two-mile tall, immortal, invulnerable space frog. These frogs are terrain harvesters, and your goal is to collect as much of it as you can. This is one of those games that seems like it could have been super boring with another theme, but with this super strange idea attached to it, I really want to play it.
Curious Cargo (Ryan Courtney, Capstone Games) is a two-player game about shipping some unusual stuff. Basically, you have to set up shipping lines and deliver your cargo at just the right moment to score the most points. It looks kind of like a puzzly game with all kinds of interweaving lanes that make the game look a lot like Courtney’s previous title, Pipeline. It’s getting some good buzz, too.
Faiyum (Friedemann Friese, 2F-Spiele) is this year’s big release from Mr. Green himself. It’s an Egyptian themed game where you’re building up the Faiyum basin through harvesting goods, building roads, founding settlements, etc. While I’m not crazy about the theme, Friedemann Friese is one of those designers where I always want to see what he’s doing next. And this is it.
Lost Ruins of Arnak (Elwin/Mín, Czech Games Edition) is a deck-building and worker placement game about exploration. You only get one action per turn, so you have to prioritize what you need to take because it’s very possible someone else will take it before you get a chance to. It seems like an interesting game, and I always like seeing what CGE is putting out there. I’m getting a little impatient waiting for the next big Vlaada Chvátil game, however.
Pandemic Legacy Season 0 (Rob Daviau/Matt Leacock, Z-Man Games) is the final installment in the Pandemic Legacy trilogy. This one is a prequel, set during the Cold War, and presumably sets up the events that led to the disasters of Seasons 1 and 2. The whole Pandemic series has taken a new relevance in 2020 – if only it were all as simple as removing some cubes. Anyway, I still haven’t played anything in this series (Season One is on my shelf awaiting the end of social distancing), but I’m interested to hear how this one is received.
Praga Caput Regni (Vladimír Suchý, Delicious Games) is a game set in medieval Prague. Players are wealthy citizens trying to expand their wealth by assisting with the building of the city in order to gain the favor of the king. I know, this sounds like every other Euro game in existence, but Suchý is a designer I like to follow. He has some really great and clever titles to his credit. I believe this is the second big game he has done for his own company, Delicious Games (following Underwater Cities).
Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire (Dávid Turczi, Board&Dice) is a game set in the old Incan capital of Cusco. It’s a worker placement game where you’re collecting resources and constructing buildings. It’s in the same vein as other games like Teotihuacan and Tekhenu, but really I think their titles are just trolling podcasters who have to learn how to pronounce everything. It’s one of the advantages we bloggers have – all I have to do is spell it.
Whistle Mountain (Scott Caputo/Luke Laurie, Bézier Games) is a follow-up to the 2017 train game Whistle Stop. In this one, you’re building all kinds of technologies in order to build an airship fleet. The trouble is that the more you do, the more the snow on the mountain melts, which puts your workers in peril. Sounds interesting – Whistle Stop was a game I never got to play, but it sounded cool.
And that’s it for this non-random preview. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!