Happy mid-week to everyone! We’re forgoing the normal weekly highlight of a Kickstarter campaign this week, and instead bringing you our top 10 list of upcoming games coming out of the 2015 GAMA trade show. Lots of great announcements, and the games below reflect the ones we’re most excited about seeing this coming year. This isn’t anywhere near all of the great things publishers rolled out, and if you’re interested in reading or watching more from different publishers I’d recommend checking out the Dice Tower News site.
Xenoshyft Onslaught: This is one that I backed on Kickstarter late last year, and we probably would have already had it on the table if it weren’t for the dock issues on the West coast. Xenoshyft is a sci-fi, card-driven cooperative game where players help each other defend a base against an intensifying alien onslaught. Great artwork, coop play, and a cool lane system makes this one I’m definitely looking forward to getting reviewed ASAP after it arrives on my doorstep.
Warhammer 40K: Forbidden Stars: I love the Warhammer 40K universe even more than the fantasy universe that first got me involved with Warhammer. I’m very excited to see this heavier, galactic domination game that supposedly has some of the most interesting asymmetric gameplay in the industry. The footage I’ve seen of the miniatures for the game is pretty awesome, with each of the 4 races(Chaos, Space Marines, Eldar, and Orks) getting their own custom pieces. Looking forward to dominating the Warp!
Pandemic Legacy: Pandemic is a great entry-level cooperative game that is challenging enough in the upper difficulty levels that it’s appealing to seasoned gamers as well. Pandemic Legacy takes the tense coop play of Pandemic, and injects it with a healthy dose of the campaign-style legacy system from Risk: Legacy. There’s no word yet on exactly which options the game will include, or if it will include a long-term play mode for those who have completed the entire campaign swathe, but it’s one that has been a long time coming and is definitely one to keep an eye out for.
Big Book of Madness: Another cooperative game(see a pattern?), The Big Book of Madness puts players in the role of students who find a powerful, magic book and decide to open it. Because, you know, who wouldn’t? Once that happens, however, page-by-page they release all sorts of monsters they must battle together, and in the end must succeed often enough that they’re able to close the book. The game looks like it has good artwork, and should serve up a light, colorful coop experience.
Sabordage: This is a French game that’s in the process of getting translated into English for its release from Iello. Players play pirates who are all looking to get a new ship from the same dockyard. Tensions are high in the yard as a result, and the pirates battle each other while trying to build and strengthen their ships. Special abilities and actions let players avoid, reflect, or pass on damage, and the sectional ships players work to expand look like they’ll really make for a cool game experience.
Heavy Steam: This one looks like it’s more of a euro-game than the previously listed titles, but is still very nicely themed. Players use cubes on their own personal boards to control huge steampunk mechs, powering up different parts of their machinations; it may take a couple of turns to power different sections, making you think 2-3 turns ahead. At the same time, players move around miniatures of their mechs on a central board, and the miniatures are all upgradeable with snap-on/off parts that let players change the looks of their mechs as they’re customized.
Yashima: This is a card-driven miniatures battle game that has some of the most amazing art I’ve seen come out of the trade show. Players choose a character, each of which comes with its own deck, and a Kami which also comes with its own deck, and then shuffle those decks together to create their unique deck for the game. Great theme, and I can’t wait to see the cards in person.
The Grizzled: This is another French game that’s getting an English translation, and oddly enough(like Xenoshyft), is coming to us from Cool Mini Or Not. The artwork on this from Tignous is gorgeous, and the ultimate theme of peace is all the more poignant considering Tignous was murdered during the Charlie Hedbo shootings. The Grizzled is a cooperative game where players try to survive the trenches of WWI, all while maintaining their friendships until the white dove of peace is finally revealed. This game is really meaningful on many levels, and I look forward to trying it.
Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga: This is a reprint/re-imagining of a game called Viking Fury. Players choose to load their ships with crew or goods in order to trade, pillage, or colonize before returning to their village for the winter. There’s a bit of random luck involved with dice rolls and the use of rune cards to affect other players, and in the end the viking with the most points wins. The new artwork and graphic design for the game looks great, and I’m interested to see how the mechanics work since I haven’t played Viking Fury, and I’ve actually got my own more strategic viking raider game in the works.
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn: This upcoming game from Plaid Hat Games looks really interesting, though not much information is available yet. Players find themselves in a post-war world where the Phoenixborn have defeated the evil Chimera. However, it’s discovered that the Phoenixborn are actually all pieces of a God, so each players competes to collect Phoenixborn and reconstruct this other being. The artwork looks great, and the premise is intriguing, so I’ll be watching closely for more information!