Best Picks, plus News and New Releases

Last year, readers may remember that I ran a public vote on the Unboxed Awards, this year however I was simply too busy and so I never got round to organising it. However, I’ll still give my best buys of 2011 and they are as follows:

Best Two Player Game – Rivals for Catan. There are a lot of games I enjoyed 2 player this year, but my favourite of the 2 player only games was Rivals for Catan.

Best Card Game – Nightfall. Nightfall was a really nice surprise this year and it makes a great 2 player game too and I look forward to many more bouts in 2012.

Best Euro – Aquaretto. I haven’t played many new Euros this year but Aquaretto is just meatier enough than Zooloretto to keep my interest without being too heavy.

Best Ameritrash Game – Thunderstone. As the proud owner of everything AEG have published for their first deck builder how can Thunderstone not be my favourite American Game of the year?

Best Small Box Game – Rune Age. I love me some small box games, they fit into smaller spaces, they can be thrown in a back pack and they can generally be played quickly. I’ve loved some great small games this year, such as Mag.Blast and Saboteur but Rune Age has hit the table more and that clinches it.

Best Family Game – King of Tokyo. Making the list by only 7 days, King of Tokyo has been a massive hit already, with lovely components and loads of replay value, this will easily be a family favourite throughout 2012.

Most Innovative Game – Descent: Road to Legend. Technically not a game in it’s own right, RTOL is a very innovative, taking a system that was never intended to be a campaign and making it one, really very successfully. Yes, it fails in some regards but the scope of what this expansions tries to do is so large that it is still one of the most impressive games I’ve played this year.

Best Party Game – Identik. I’ve not played many party games this year, but Identik provided plenty of laughs and easy to play with new and old gamers alike.

Best Components – A La Carte. Yes, I love the bits in many of my games but the components in A La Carte are not only fun but functional.

Best Artwork – Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. There is some astonishingly beautiful pics in this game, so many great pieces of art that really evoke the world that J.R.R. Tolkien worked so hard to create.

Most Disappointing Game – Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. While I do enjoy this game and it does hit the table a lot, it has still never met the standards that I hoped for upon it’s announcement.

Game of the Year – Battlestar Galactica. If this award should go to the game that I enjoyed the most this year, then BSG has to win. Yes, I only played it once but that game is etched in my brain forever.

And now the News

Patrick from Quantuum Magic would like you to know that Existenz: On the Ruins of Chaos is finally ready for release. I already have my copy and it does look lovely! Here’s what Patrick has to say about the game.

What's Existenz: On the Ruins of Chaos?

Existenz: On the Ruins of Chaos is a living card and board game in which you control a brave band of survivors seeking refuge from the dangers of Mount Vargah. You achieve this by making your way towards the relative safety of a victory point, or by destroying your opponent in direct combat. Play your cards in order to gather resources, summon powerful allies, and cast dangerous fluxes or catalysts. However, you will suffer defeat if you run out of cards, so make sure you either defeat your opponents or reach the victory point before that happens.

What's in the box?
The 4 different card decks

Each deck represents a different faction in the world of X610Z and has its own unique corresponding playing style:

Arnunnian Alliance: masters of magic striking with lightning speed.
Undead Legion: zombie overlords threatening to overwhelm all.
Pirate Confederacy: cunning thieves looking for opportunity.
Red Barbarian Brotherhood: brutal and unrelenting force.

New decks in the future

Existenz: On the Ruins of Chaos can be played by 2 to 4 players in various challenging ways. Look for future themed expansions decks adding even more ways to play.

And Finally, this week’s releases from our friends over at Board Game Guru.


Happy New Year

The first games released in 2012 are, I hope, an auger for another fine year of gaming. My first pick is a expansion that was designed about three years ago but has taken a long time to reach shop shelves – ‘Glen Drover’s Empires : Builders Expansion’ is an expansion for ‘Age of empires III : Age of discovery’ – its adds 20 new capital buildings and a new specialist class – the builder. Age of Empires is one of my favourite games from 2007 and I can’t to try the game with this expansion.

‘Flash Point Fire rescue’, from Indy board and bits, is a co-operative game of fire fighters trying to clear a burning building of potential victems before the inferno gets out of control or the building collapses.

‘Takenoko’, has got to be an early contender for cutest and wackiest theme of 2012:- you play members of the Japanese Imperial court, trying to grow different strains of bamboo in the Imperial gardens to feed the Panda given by the Chinese court as an act of friendship.

For Grid Iron fans, ‘1st & Goal ’is a dice and card based American Football game. A glowing review can be read here

Gryphon games continue to republish shorter classics with Sid Sackson’s 1967 ‘Bazaar’ their latest offering

There are two new Living Card Game Packs, ‘On Dangerous Grounds’ for a A game of Thrones and ‘Into Tartarus’ for Call of Cthulhu. The six chapter packs of the ‘Defenders of the North’ expansion for A Game of Thrones LCG have been reprinted in the 60 card pack format.

‘Operation Hinanasho’ adds new maps and a new campaign to ‘Tannhauser’

‘Aquileia’, from Zoch games, is  an original (and highly interactive) looking worker placement game in that players not only trade and build but must compete against each other in the arena and stadium to gain victory points or resources.

Happy gaming