We talk a lot about the past around here. Past games, cultural heritage, the legacy of certain designers. But the past can only get us so far, and in light of the world climate right now, let’s talk about how cool the future will be; lets get HYPE!
What is there worth getting HYPE about? CleganeBowl for one. But there are other things to get excited for, movies, books, video games, and yes, board games; especially board games. On episode 15 of The Cardboard Herald podcast, Jack and John talked in depth about the games they are most excited for in 2017; here is that list:
Jack: Legend of the Five Rings LCG - David Seay, John Zinser, and David Williams - Fantasy Flight Games
There was a period in my life where all of my gaming was in the L5R tournament scene. Frequently playing 2 tournaments per week, I equally loved the intensely strategic gameplay and the mystical setting of Rokugan. I’m leery of diving into an LCG model if the base set doesn’t feel complete, and I don’t know exactly what FFG has in store, but I’m excited and cannot wait to see what this new game looks like.
John: First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet - Ignacy Trzewiczek - Portal Games
Mars is the “in” planet these days and 2016’s smash hit Terraforming Mars is just one of many new games to jump on that train and I am %100 ok with that. I’ve had plenty of great and not so great viking games, pirate games, wizard games, and even space empire games, but I’m oh so ready for a dash of that spirit of frontier-style adventurism that Mars evokes. This is Ignacy Trzewiczek’s follow up to Robinson Crusoe; a co-op game I personally enjoyed, but felt didn’t quite scratch that “roughing it” itch for whatever reason. This should be that same desperate struggle for survival with the benefit of being set in a place that hands down wins the award for most hostile and some new or updated gameplay to maybe push it to the next level..
Jack: Yamatai - Bruno Cathala / Marc Paquien - Days of Wonder
I love Days of Wonder Games. Something about their business model and company ethos is endearing to me. They make one really solid game per year that is enjoyable and satisfying to a broad audience, and then fully back it with their considerable promotional and developmental power. While not every game has been a success, almost all of their releases have been memorable and fun. Yamatai captures the same mystical asian lore that I loved about L5R and combines that with the somewhat abstract and strategic gameplay Bruno Cathala is known for. How can I not be intrigued?
John: Dark Souls - Mat Hart / Richard Loxam - Steamforged Games
I don’t typically “pull the trigger” on licensing alone. If you want a company that takes its licensed properties and lovingly develops them then look no further than Fantasy Flight Games and if you want an example of how it can be done with...let’s say a little less devotion to actual gaming content, then look at Cryptozoic. This was an exception for me in that I jumped on board after getting into the “Dark Souls” games last year and I’m truly hoping it ends up in the FFG end of the spectrum. The rules seems promising and should deliver on a tough but rewarding co-op experience that feels very true to the source. The true test will be whether the game offers a rich experience for both gamers who praise the sun and those who have absolutely no idea what I’m on about.
Jack: Charterstone - Jamey Stegmaier - Stonemaier Games
I like legacy style games, but I’m not ready to ditch my traditional “one and done” style of gaming yet. That’s why I’m happy that Stonemaier is releasing a city building legacy game that is meant to be played continuously after you are “done” with the legacy elements. I’m also a big fan of the “fit and finish” of Stonemaier’s games up until this point, always a smooth and beautiful production (even without those upgraded resources). So I’m definitely going to check this sucker out.
John: Chronicle 1: Origins - Rob Daviau / Dirk Knemeyer - Artana
This is an odd duck for me and one that Charterstone almost took the spot from. Artana games isn’t a huge publisher and Dirk Knemeyer isn’t a name I see everywhere like the Bruno Cathalas and Erik Langs right now, but the premise of this one caught my eye and having Rob Daviau attached is the best and only legacy-gaming pedigree at the moment. The rough idea is a civilization building game that spans multiple game entries using a legacy game format combined with a new “echo” system that carries over some details from each game released in the series to the next. Sadly this was supposed to launch a kickstarter last year and was delayed and my attempt to contact the designer for the inside scoop was unsuccessful so far, but if the BGG page is to be believed this will be a 2017 release and I have high hopes that this could be more of what I loved about legacy-gaming so far.
Jack: Kingdom Builder: Harvest - David X Vaccarino - Queen Games (Expansion)
I really love Kingdom Builder. It fits a niche that few other games do, both mentally stimulating yet also so incredibly soothing. There is something almost therapeutic about the game. One of the big things that I love is that expansions integrate so seamlessly and rarely with any conflict. I’m really looking forward to more challenges, mechanics, and especially (hopefully) new scoring conditions.
Both of Us: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 - Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock - Z-man Games
John: One of my top 10 greatest gaming experiences of all time will undoubtedly be Season 1 of this franchise. I sat down every week with the same group of players and we participated in something that delivered more than just a one-and-done game session. We cared about our world. We cared about our characters. And best of all, we had influence and ownership of how those things fared. That game, to me, was the best mix of strategy board gaming blended with the story and investment of a book or television series that I’ve had outside the realms of the traditional RPG. I’m working on a project to frame my first board to hang in my board game room and I’m already expecting that I’ll need room for a second season to hang alongside it.
Jack: Does anything really need to be said about Pandemic Legacy? When I said that 2015 gaming discussion was dominated by Blood Rage, what I meant was that all non-Pandemic Legacy gaming discussion. PL Season 1 took the world by storm and defined what a legacy game could and should be. Playing through Season 1 was among my favorite board game memories of all time, and I cannot wait to see what clever mechanics and cool story unfolds before us in Season 2.
Jack: Unannounced 3rd game in the tile laying trilogy - Ted Alspach - Bezier Games
According to designer Ted Alspach, he is busy working on the follow up to Suburbia and Castles of Mad King Ludwig that will be the best of the three. That’s a bold claim, especially since Suburbia is one of my favorite games of all time. I’m eagerly anticipating this “new challenger”.
Both of Us: Rising Sun - Eric Lang - Cool Mini or Not
Jack: Probably the HYPE-ist game of all, this is the follow up to the kickstarter mega-hit Blood Rage. Eric Lang has been amazingly prolific in the past couple of years and Blood Rage dominated internet gaming discussion in 2015, blending european “point salad” gameplay with american style aggressive confrontation. Again, between the setting entrenched in Asian lore (Onis are so hot this year!), and the proven capability of the Blood Rage team (same designer, artist, sculptor, publisher), there is a lot to get HYPE about here.
John: Japanese inspired fantasy is such a refreshing break from fairly common fantasy in the “elf-on-orc violence” and “my old bearded guy fights a dragon” traditions. We’ve also seen a lot in the way of mythology from Greek, Viking, and Egyptian pantheons so something with just a touch of Shinto or a dash of Tao might be nice from time to time. Theme aside, I’m excited to see what comes next after last year’s Blood Rage in terms of taking area control and conflict and mixing them with things like drafting and resource management. Erik Lang has been seemingly everywhere lately and going back to an old favorite of mine, I can already say I really liked his much earlier Chaos in the Old World and loved that Bood Rage seemed to take elements of that style and push it in a totally different direction. I’m hoping Rising Sun keeps pushing.
Bonus Unannounced / Semi Announced Expansions!
Jack: Next Five Tribes big box expansion - Bruno Cathala - Days of Wonder
Know how I said I love Days of Wonder? It’s the consistent design, approachability and polish of their games that really attracts me to them, though admittedly I don’t consider most of their games as top 5 or 10 games of all time. Five Tribes is the exception. That game is my jam. I love everything about it. And while I was talking with designer Bruno Cathala for the podcast, he let slip that he is working on a big expansion due out this year. I cannot wait to see what comes.
John: All the Arkham Horror LCG! - Fantasy Flight Games
This this this! I can’t get enough of this experience and I would compare my approach to it with the same approach I have to great television; I’m waiting for the whole first season to finish so I can binge. I opened up a core set and immediately knew I wanted to pursue this blend of co-op strategy and Arkham-family story (tragedy mostly). That first campaign is a fun experience, but one that teases so much potential that it feels incomplete without more to play after the first 3 games. I’m afraid to purchase any more just yet for fear that it really will continue to deliver great experiences for me and I’ll be left waiting again for more. So instead I’ll sit patiently while the product line develops a bit, but make no mistake, I will be diving into this one later this year to see where it goes and I expect good things for gaming and not so great things for my wallet.
Jack: Champions of Midgard expansion(s) - Ole Steiness (?) - Grey Fox Games
Grey Fox has been pretty coy on the BGG forums, but they have let on that a kickstarter will be up very soon (next week or two from me writing this) for Champions of Midgard Expansions. They haven’t clarified if this is one or many expansions, something that’s modular, who is designing, whatever. But I really need/want to know because I consider Champions a good game that needs just a little bit more. I think the mechanics are better than the game itself, and it just needs a few more strategic options to elevate it and give the game the punch it needs. So I’m really eager to see what they have in store.
***Breaking News Update*** Since originally recording the podcast and writing this article, Grey Fox has announced the names of the two expansions for Champions of Midgard; “Dark Mountains” and “Valhalla”. No details further details so far.
***Breaking-ER Breaking News Update*** The Kickstarter for the two new Champions of Midgard expansions, including full details of what you are getting, is now live and can be found here.
That’s it! Are you feeling the HYPE!? Were any of these off your radar but now you are frothing at the mouth for? What games are you most excited for in 2017? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to us @cardboardherald to let us know!