Tell Us Dammit: New Board Games

Image: Board Game Geek

Thinking about Dungeons & Dragons earlier in the week got me thinking about that other element of tabletop gaming that I have a fondness for: board games. I was only just talking to a friend the other day about making a trip to Good Games and Games Paradise, two of the bigger homes for board games in the city.

There's just so many new games that I want to try, especially after seeing everything that was demoed at GenCon. Thing is, what are you excited for?

The one that really caught my eye is the game above. It's called Vast: The Crystal Caverns, and it's a dungeon crawler for 1 to 5 people where you can be the cave.

What's supposedly really cool is its asymmetrical nature, where each of the characters have completely different win objectives. For instance, if you're the cave you win by collapsing and crushing all the heroes. Neat.

One that a friend of mine is really excited for is Scythe, a 4X game set in the 1920s. The game is designed to get rid of rounds and phases as well, which I've always found is one of the stumbling blocks when trying to learn a new game (particularly with anything that lasts over 2 hours).

Do you play any board games yourselves? What are your favourites — and what new ones are you looking out for?


    I'm still in the process of putting together all the figs that come w/ Kingdom Death :D

    ... and once that's done I'm gonna have to go kidna.. ermmm coerce some mates to get a session going =P

    I have my copy of Burger Up sitting there ready to play, so looking forward to that. Also have the Bloodborne card game preordered

    Betrayal at House on the Hill is a somewhat underrated game that deserves more attention, and it has an expansion coming out this month.

    A new game I'm really enjoying is the Networks - a fairly easy-to-play game about scheduling TV stations.

      Betrayal is awesome. Me and my my brother love it but sometimes struggle to get a game going because our partners hate it. My wife actually fell asleep the 2nd time we played haha.

    SeaFall has been on my radar for a while... Looks like it might finally be coming out soon.

    Dead of Winter
    Fortune and glory
    Arnhem horror - bit complex, recommend learning before attempting to play with friends
    Betrayal at house on the hill

    All the above have great themes, hidden complexity, and loads of fun for all :)

    Recently picked up Ladies and Gentlemen due to the fact our numbers for game night have swelled from four, maybe five to seven maybe eight. It's not a bad game when you have an uneven number of players, but it's a lot more enjoyable with even groups. You form teams of two, with one player being the Gentlemen and making money, while the Lady tries to put together the best outfit.

    *Arkham horror - DYAC!

    Got Mice and Mystics recently, played it twice and can't wait to go back to it.

    Other games I'm looking at getting onto sometime before I die are:

    Descent 2nd Edition
    Super Dungeon Explore
    Zombicide (Black Plague mainly)
    Blood Rage
    Dungeon Saga

      Zombicide: Black Plague is absolutely brilliant. I've been playing it with my fiance and we've had a blast. One of the best board games I've played. Highly recommended.

        Does it differ much from the base game? Zombicide was fine, but not something I'd seek out to play again if there were other options.

          I haven't played the original, but apparently the ranged attack mechanics have been reworked, plus some other changes. All I can attest to is the fact that I kickstarted it and I'm glad I did.

          Core mechanics haven't changed. They've made some necessary tweaks (such as no more Insta hitting your characters first when they're in a tile with zombies), but all in all if the general gameplay or theme doesn't grab you, you won't like it.

          I love zombicide, but I find the scenario length can be stupidly random and we tend to lose interest in the third hour of any game.

          Man, where do I start? My acquisition disorder has gone into overdrive of late.

          Blood Rage
          Scythe: collectors edition
          Burger up
          Dead of Winter
          Forbidden Stars
          Dogs of War
          Tokaido: collectors edition

        Nice, even more keen to check it out now!

      I love all the SodaPop stuff for the minis since I lack a space or regular group to play most of it - have you followed any of the SDE Kickstarters?.. looks like the new base game will be pretty spiffy with the lightweight RP rules aside from regular and Arena mode

        To be honest I've only really got into board games recently, so when I came across the SDE stuff it had already been through the kickstarter process, but definitely keen to keep an eye on it as they develop more stuff.

        The quality of the art and figs definitely plays a big part in the allure as well. Love that shit.

          SDE went through a couple of Kickstarters since the original release - don't know if you kept up with the 2nd Ed Forgotten King stuff or just the newer revision of the original set. SodaPop's last KS was for another fun looking game about space cowboys heisting a train full of robot sheriffs - plus SP are good to follow since, unlike CoolMiniOrNot, they never lock away stuff as KS-exclusives (which soured me on some of their otherwise interesting miniatures games after Rivet Wars)

            I had some idea of the different iterations of SDE, definitely very keen on Forgotten King, but had no idea about SP's new one. Sounds pretty interesting! Thanks for the heads up.

        I've thus far picked up all the KS campaigns by sodapop miniatures except the last one (Rail Raiders). All their work is aesthetically great but the rules are far from perfect. Their second last one was a kick in th balls for me. It wasn't SDE, it was a new one called Ninja All Stars, great theme, great pieces, interesting rules. Just looking at it makes you want to play it but it needed to cook for like 6 more months at least because there's a lot of fundamental problems with the gameplay. Unfortunately after 1-2 playthroughs, my gaming group lost all interest in it. Same with SDE. Just looking at it makes people want to play, but very soon afterwards, they'd rather be playing other games. Time is limited and if you're having (way!) more fun with other things in the same amount of time then what can you say...

        I'm hoping they polish up the ruleset with the upcoming release so it's everything we want it to be. Otherwise I'm going to deeply regret backing SDE: Legends :/

        Last edited 01/09/16 2:10 pm

          yeah they have some good ideas but execution leaves a bit to be desired outside the artwork - I did back Rail Raiders though and their devlogs seem to indicate that they're getting a better handle on revising some ruleset issues... hopefully this extends to SDE because keeping track of things like which status effect did what was a bit of a butt. Methinks I'll probably prefer SDE as an RPG instead of the original arrangement anyway.

          Relic Knights is a little bit tighter apart from some issues differentiating yellow/orange symbols, but could still do with some 2nd Edition polish.

 least they seem to refrain from trying to cram in too many competing systems like what happened with the Megaman boardgame

          Last edited 01/09/16 2:19 pm

            I hope they do better for RR. Problem with NAS was that a lot of people on the backer tester forums repeatedly brought up some strong issues with the game. Instead of delaying the release to work the kinks out they released what some people consider a broken/redundant combat system. At least with SDE:LEgends/2.0 they've pushed back the release to polish. I think that's a good sign. Best of luck to them with RR.

            Relic Knights was another one. Great ideas but needed a bit of work. Still good enough to play but for some reason, everything went dead quiet after the KS shipped. I think maybe that had something to do with their split from CMON? Not sure. They're apparently relaunching later this year. HOpefully I'll get something other than regret from that campaign soon XD

            Also, this is the first I'm hearing of this. How do you turn megaman into a board game? >_>

              the Megaman boardgame was I think another KS, but from what I hear it lacked the cohesive vision of ones like the Dark Souls boardgame KS - when I looked through MM at a friend's place my initial thought was that there were too many competing systems which didn't gel with each other or the IP (such as dice roll systems for non-MM-style aiming and completely ignoring the jump/dash mobility which actually was a big aspect of at least the X series) - they should have either based it more on Battle Network, or completely pared it down to something with more tactical mobility and status effects (maybe like a robot version of WizWar).

              checking out feedback on other sites it also runs way too long for a pick-up'n'play - most people were houserulesing it to stop after one full round so they only sank an hour or so into it instead of the 4hr slog normally reserved for 4X strategy games!

              I think most of the quiet happened because everyone soured on RK mostly because CMoN completely derped up the release and delaying it... like at least 2 years if I remember correctly..

              I am hoping they do good on the relaunch. I'm still putting together some of the other faction sets I got from the KS. I've been meaning to also grab their other post KS releases but KD has sorta taken over as of late =P

        Yup I have a nice collection of SDE stuff... one of these days I'm gonna organise a game night so i can actually play.

        I'm still trying to get my hands on their older expansion pre vers.2 with Forgotten King xD

    I have recently picked up a couple of games and am really enjoying them. 'Coup', a card based strategy game, centered around using characters abilities or bluffing those abilities to take out your opponents, so simple to learn, but ability to use complex strategies going forward, worth a Look. Cheap and great to play with friends.

    I also picked up Pandemic, heard a lot about it and it was great, basically the reverse of Plague Inc. It's the table vs the board, race against time and spreading viruses. Pretty intense on the high difficulty settings.

      Played coup: the resistance a few times one night with a bunch of strangers and yeah, it was very fun. Strangers we may have been but by the end of the second round, you work out pretty quickly who the schemers are, who the liars are etc.

      Pretty cheap as well so definitely worth picking up.

    As we grow older and become busier, it's getting harder and harder to catch up and nerd out. Even trying to find a night where we’re all going to be online for some games is hard given some of our partners aren’t gamers. But it’s really damn easy to get partners involved in board games so organising a day/night once in a long while to get together and roll some dice is a great way to stay in touch. So yeah, specifically over the last 3-4 years, board games and TT wargames have boomed among my friends. In the meantime we’re also playing a lot more SP games and hardly ever playing online multi. Even playing MMOs like GW2 is a solitary affair. How life changes…

    I'm interested in scythe but it's so expensive, I can't justify the purchase. Especially when I own kingdom death and my group is yet to successfully beat the Watcher even once! It’s hard to look at other games when you have KD but when you have a large group (KD is best with 4). But for those occasions there’s a handful of other things that are worth playing. Mostly card based games. The favourite for a group gathering is always Cards against humanity with a smattering of exploding kittens and codenames. If you guys haven’t experienced it yet, KD will be the best $400 you spend on a game ever. Yes that cost is psycho but once you play it, you’ll understand why it’s warranted. Admittedly I’d have called myself crazy to pay $US400 for a board game. Helped that I got it on kickstarter for $100. Also it does help to be into painting and stuff so you can make the most of those minis as that’s where most of the money is going.

    On the subject of minis, if anyone is into anime and minis then the Super Dungeon Explore games are pretty fun. The rules and the game itself is far from perfect so only pick it up if the theme is super appealing to you and you’re a casual player. Same with the other game by the same company, Ninja All Stars. Hopefully they’ll release a new version of the rules to fix the many problems soon. There’s some better dungeon crawlers out there I hear but I’m yet to play them. I think Arcadia quest was a recommended alternative.

    If anyone’s gaming group is willing to blow $80 (suggest you split the cost between 4), T.I.M.E. stories is a fantastic ride that you’ll remember for a bloody long time – and then never play again. Not because the game is bad but because the game has exactly 1 storyline which you resolve via puzzles and stuff and once you know the answers to the puzzles, you’ll be unlikely to forget them (they’re that memorable) and so there’s literally no point to playing again. Unless you buy expansions but those are like 50 bux each. We started playing around 8 and went till 2am and still remember the fun we had with it but yeah… nothing to go back to.
    Looking forward to Santorini. Preordered it and very much looking forward to it coming out this year.

      I can definitely recommend Scythe. Its a beautiful game with some strong mechanics. Best of all, if you play as the Polish army, you get to use this guy

      How is Kingdom Death? I don't know much about it aside from it being a big old box of boobs.

      Last edited 01/09/16 12:47 pm

        Goddamn Kotaku server hiccup wiped my super long comment after I wrote it. So cut. I'll try to keep it brief this time but just so you know, I spent a lot of time gushing about KD ;)

        Scythe: Super interested but I already spent about 100ish board games this year so hoping someone else picks it up. Otherwise, late next year maybe.

        KD: Seriously and honestly the best board game I've ever played in my life and in my top of 'any game' (digital or otherwise).

        The boobs are really for the pinups which aren't the core game pieces. The starter females are a bit sexyish as well. But as the survivors hunt more horrific creatures and themselves are shaped by the nightmare world, their aesthetics change through the game. The males and females by endgame definitely look like no nonsense phoenix/dragon killers ready to punch a demon in the face.

        The game has serious replayability. You can literally play it every weekend for a year and still find it interesting and engaging without expansions. The game is just so well designed and the writing is so good, everything just hooks you and makes you want to play more. Honestly cannot recommend this game enough. It's expensive but definitely keep an eye out for the reprint when it hits (I think next year). You won't regret a single dollar.

          Now IIRC the best comparison I have ever heard for KD was..

          Think Monster Hunter boss hunts combined w/ Dark Souls you will die balls hard difficulty wrapped up in awesome artwork in board game form :D

            Very apt description that describes KD's hunts and showdowns well. The fact that settlement phase is like half monhun crafting and half... I have no idea... RPG/strategy? Whatever. The diversity of the game is amazing. Combat, narrative rich hunting/exploring and the thoughtful strategic settlement phase. I love this game so damn much. Yet to win but yet to care about not winning XD

          My one major regret was not backing KD:M on kickstarter.

          Whilst my budget for board games seems endless, I still can't justify the cost. The effort involved to just put it together means that I will never end up getting it to the table.

    I'm looking forward to Cthulhu Pandemic and Dark Souls.
    Cthulhu Pandemic because I like the Pandemic games, but never really liked the theme.
    Dark Souls as it seems to be a more engaging version of Descent with better boss fights.

    Played Reiner Kenizia's Medici a few times recently. Its an older game that's had a re-working to give it less terrible art and graphic design. Whats left is a simple but very elegant game about auctioning resources to pack into the limited spaces of your ship

    Don't play board games all that much, though have ended up with a semi regular ~monthly board game night with former work colleagues where we usually play something from the boss's collection, often classics like Dune or Cosmic Encounter. I did end up jumping on the kickstarter for TMNT Shadows of the Past, so I guess I'm looking forward to that getting delivered. Otherwise I don't pay attention to board game news to have anything to look forward to :p

    I don't get to play board games as often as I'd like right now. Most of my free gaming time gets chewed up by Android: Netrunner (especially with Nationals around the corner and a bunch of my friends wanting to get practise in).

    There's also nothing new that's really catching my eye. What I'd really like is an excuse to really dig down and play some of the heavier titles in my collection that I haven't played much. Agricola is a brilliant game yet I've only got it to the table twice.

    My collection is pretty standard but they always work out well with a range of people not just gamers. Ticket to Ride, Airlines, Catan, Machi Koro (only with the expansions) and Forbidden Desert (a coop like Pandemic with a less serious background).

      And even higher probability of failure.

    I'm a couple of games deep into a run of Risk: Legacy with a few friends - I adore Risk, so it has been a blast so far. Trying to get all the same people coordinated to play regularly is proving tricky though!

    I also have pre-ordered (/backed on kickstarter) the collectors edition of the Evil Dead boardgame - it's based on Evil Dead 2, and comes with dice carved from the actual cabin they shot the movie in. ED2 is one of my all time favourite movies, so I am super-psyched about this.

    Finally, I don't think it's quite a board game, but my copy of Secret Hitler arrived in the office today, so I'm pretty keen to give that a go. It's from the guy that made Cards Against Humanity, and from what I've heard it's pretty fun.

    One that a friend of mine is really excited for is Scythe, a 4X game set in the 1920s. The game is designed to get rid of rounds and phases as well, which I’ve always found is one of the stumbling blocks when trying to learn a new game (particularly with anything that lasts over 2 hours).Played Scythe once. It's good but be prepared to invest a bit of time to get the most out of it.

    Just setting up and learning the pieces took almost 30 minutes and my first 2-player game took almost 5 hours! It's a beautifully crafted game, with good mechanics and once the rules are learned games shouldn't take nearly as long.
    (And players still take turns, so not sure what you mean about getting rid of "rounds")

      Wow! Generally cannot comprehend why it took so long for your first game. I've never had a game go past the 2 1/2 hour mark and that was with 5 players.

        Actually, I just realised the five hours included set up time, so actual game would have been closer to four.

        Took that long because I asked lots of questions and wanted to make sure we were playing it properly. It bugs me when people use "house rules" or make assumptions that introduce loopholes. :)

    Played some Dungeons and Dragons board game the other week. Can't remember what it is. Has no game master, cards do things, roll dice, have to close fissures.

    I'm sorry, I'm not much of a board game person.

    A couple of new ones I have are City of Spies, Guilds of London, and Via Nebula. Havent gotten City of Spies to the table yet (5p is such an awkward number of players!).

    But dont forget the older classics. I picked up Ra second hand (it also had a recent reprint) - and this game is just so good. Push your luck/auction/set collection - its gone straight to my top 10.

    Look at T.I.M.E Stories, a hybrid board/roleplaying type game. You play as Time Travellers that travel back to fix "rifts". Possessing characters and solving puzzles and fighting hostiles and the sort. Pretty interesting. Also if you want to see something in serious "investment" type board games look at Kingdom Death Monster. Holy Moley.

    Our 2 favourites are probably Camp Grizzly and Spartacus. Camp Grizzly is basically Friday the 13th the Board Game and is very fun, while also being very easy to pick up for new players.

    Spartacus is maybe one of the only licensed boardgames that actually feels like you are playing the show. Plus teaming up for huge backstabs means games are always pretty close.

    Next game I want to get is Fury of Dracula.

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