Posted Saturday, 19-Nov-2016
We talk about the games we saw, played, and brought home at the world’s largest board game convention!
Prepared by Calvin Wong
1,200 new games released at Essen in 2016, along with thousands of older games. We took a look at some of the hottest titles of the con – and some hidden gems.
A ludicrously beautiful area control and card drafting game based in Celtic myth.
Illustrated by art icon Jim Fitzpatrick, most famous for the Che Guevara poster, Inis gives its players multiple paths to victory, a slower, more thoughtful pace, and card effects taken from the Celtic tales of old.
Inis is in stock from $51.29
High school student penguins race around the halls trying not to get caught by the hall monitor in this all ages dexterity game.
Twist, jump, slide, and race around the three dimensional board as you try your best to avoid the hall monitor!
It’s a fast playing, visually captivating game for all members of the family. Mastering a trick shot is incredibly satisfying, and there’s plenty of room to improve.
Ice Cool! is in stock from $25.99
Perform espionage, fund your nefarious plans, and perform the best science of all: mad.
Nefarious is a game by Dominion designer Donald X Vaccarino and is a colorful, playful game of racing to get your inventions off the ground.
With kooky effects on the mad science projects and elaborate twist cards that change how every game is played, Nefarious is an accessible card game with cute art and is a lot of laughs to play.
Nefarious is in stock from $22.99
A logic puzzle game in incredibly cute wrapping.
Pinata party is like a game of checkers where the pieces come in 6 colors, move differently every game, and you’re trying to collect sets to score points at the end.
This initial observation belies a game of surprising depth and diversity of play. It does come with modes for more inexperienced players, so that younger children can be roped into this pretty game of movement and positioning.
Pinata Party is in stock from $27.99
Trade, explore, research, and conquer on a galactic scale.
Play as one of three iconic races in the battle for hegemony over the galaxy. Bend other civilizations to your will through warfare or diplomacy. Research new technologies from unique asymmetrical decks and assemble fleets to defend yourself against your friends.
With different board layouts, different tech trees every game, and more faction expansions already in the pipes: Cardassians and Ferengi, Star Trek Ascendancy looks like it will have serious legs to come for a long time.
Star Trek Ascendancy is in stock from $64.99
Make the red planet suitable for human habitation with clever card play and economic management.
Smart gameplay based on real science; plant algae to increase oxygen levels, crash meteors into the planet to raise the temperature, and melt ice to flood the surface with oceans.
Layer on smart systems involving resource management, card drafting, and asymmetric faction powers, and you can see why Terraforming Mars was one of the smash hits of the convention.
Terraforming Mars is in stock from $45.00
A World War 2 strategy game with no units, The Fog of War focuses on the intelligence and deception level of operations.
The central conceit (or deceit, if you will) is the operations wheel. Players must plan in advance where they will attack, with facedown cards representing their targets, how many forces they will commit, leading your opponent to guess at potential invasions in the future – but it could be a ruse.
The Fog of War is in stock from $39.49
Use your nose and your wits to fulfill orders and become the Perfumer.
The Perfumer is a game where you must gather ingredients from around the world and combine them to fulfill your customer’s demands, but you won’t know which scents are which until you smell them.
Featuring gameplay that can cater to those without advanced senses of smell, The Perfumers looks like it has the makings of something really special.
The Perfumer is in stock from $62.99
Asymmetrical submarine warfare in the Cold War. Hunt and be hunted.
Designed by a submarine commander, players command either NATO submarines or the Soviet destroyers chasing them. Drop commando teams at the designated attack points while maintaining your battery levels, or hunt the hidden threats with sonar and depth charges.
With tactical, tactile gameplay that draws deeply from the well of realism, They Come Unseen is one of the most unique games ever made.
They Come Unseen is in stock from $32.95
A card drafting, area control game where the cards are stories and the areas are gods.
Once there were 9 gods. These are their stories.
As stark as it is elegant.
Each player is a storytelling trying to invoke the glory or condemn the infamy of their patron gods – but it’s not as simple as extolling their virtues, for humility is a virtue too, and so naming your opponent’s good works and besmirching your name is a valid avenue of sabotage.
As mind bendingly beautiful as it is difficult to play, They Who Were 8
They Who Were 8 is in stock from $17.12
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