January 15, 2012

Oh the Games I will Play

I read a great post on I Slay the Dragon about upcoming games for 2012. Both @FarmerLenny and @FutureWolfie are far more savvy than I am regarding the ways of the industry. Not surprisingly, they are a few steps ahead of me. But since then there have been several announcements and I too now know of a few things soon to be on the horizon.

I thought it'd be fun to write about them. Here are seven games that I think will be really fun to buy and play in 2012. Scroll to the bottom for my top two picks!

Designed by Donald X. Vaccarino
Published by Fantasy Flight Games

I'm typically very mixed on Fantasy Flight Games. Their production values are off the charts, but their games tend to appear cumbersome and complicated. Most of my board game time is spent over lunch, so a four hour game just isn't feasible. The event game just isn't in the cards for me.

But holy smokes 2012 is looking great. Infiltration is designed by the genius who brought us Dominion, which I consider insanely innovative, as well as Kingdom Builder.  Folks are very mixed on the latter. It appears some expected a Dominion level step forward or something far, far deeper. I've played Kingdom Builder twice and I found it to be an incredibly elegant and satisfying game. I especially appreciate how robust its mechanics are for replayability.

Infiltration seems like a great idea to me. It's based within the Android universe, a game I've avoided due to word of mouth comments that the game is overly cumbersome and long. But the universe is cool! It's designed by a designer who makes great games. And it's published by a publisher that makes great looking games. Plus, it's about espionage. Finally, it supports 2-6 players in under 45 minutes. I think that's six good reasons for buying a new lunch game!

Rex: Final Days of an Empipre
Designed by Bill Eberle, John Goodenough, Jack Kittredge, Corey Konieczka, Peter Olotka, and Christian T. Petersen
Published by Fantasy Flight Games

Oh, hello again Fantasy Flight. According to I Slay the Dragon's Future Wolfie, Rex is designed by the guys who made Cosmic Encounter, a game I haven't yet tried but a LOT of people love. Like, love love. Apparently, it's also a game with the mechanics of the game Dune, but based within the Twilight Imperium universe. That sounds really cool to me. I've read every Dune book ever, so a game based on that universe with a fresh coat of paint sounds like a great deal of fun to me.

This is definitely a meatier game than lunch allows, but it's good to have a few of those in your collection.

Nexus Ops
Designed by Charlie Catino
Published by Fantasy Flight Games

This game caught my eye when Fantasy Flight first announced it in their Twitter feed. I'm a sucker for colonial marines, Zerg-like aliens, and things of this like. I've been seeking out cleaned up, simplified wargames for a while now and this looks like a good one to try. I read over the rules, shared a few days back, and the game looks very promising.

Really, the game looks like Starcraft, but with cool plastic miniatures and hexes.

The Big Fat Tomato Game
Designed by Unknown
Published by Gamewright

There's a fun story for me with this game. One of the original publishers to which I submitted Farmageddon was Gamewright. I'd sell my right leg to be published by Gamewright. I love their casual, family friendly, mass market approach. Quick, accessible, really fun games with stellar production values. Plus, you can find their games in places like Barnes and Noble. I sent them a really early copy of Farmageddon that wasn't ready (though I didn't know that quite yet). They very kindly rejected the game, but said nice things about it. They noted that they unfortunately had already chosen a farming game for 2012.

Well, The Big Fat Tomato Game is that game. I almost hate to say it, but it looks like a lot of fun. 20 minute play time, cute little spongy tomatoes, all sorts of weird stuff, and stellar production values.

Chicken Caesar
Designed by Bryan Fischer and John Sizemore
Published by Nevermore Games

Chicken Caesar drew my attention because of its hilarious premise. A game about dirty politics (the stabby kind) in the Roman Republic? Check. Plus chickens? Yes! I've also chatted quite a bit with Bryan on Twitter, IM, etc. and he's a really nice guy. That all makes me very hopeful for this game which is going to be on Kickstarter on February 3rd according to their site.

Alien Frontiers: Factions
Designed by Tory Niemann
Published by Clever Mojo Games

I really enjoy Alien Frontiers. It has beautiful components, plays quickly, has a great dice mechanic, subtle player interaction (and sometimes not so subtle), and plenty of depth. It's always well received when I break it out.

The expansion sounds great when you read the bullet points. It adds a fifth player and depth all over the place. New strategies, more replayability, more fun. Alien Frontiers is the best game I've received from Kickstarter so far and I don't expect its expansion to let me down.

Princes of the Dragon Throne
Designed by Fred MacKenzie
Published by Clever Mojo Games
The Clever Mojo website says this will be released in 2012 and I hope that's the case. I love deckbuilding games and believe it's a mechanic that's barely seen its full potential. Princes of the Dragon Throne is a resource management and area control game fueled by deckbuilding. It also has dragons who may eat villagers *squeal* and will surely have the top notch production values for which Clever Mojo is known.

Several folks whose opinions I respect have actually played the game and have said good things. I'll be watching this one closely.

Top picks? 
I stewed over my choices for a while. Which two would I take over all others if I had to make a choice? NOT easy. Ultimately, my two top choices out of this list are Infiltration and Princes of the Dragon Throne. The pedigree of the former is too strong to ignore, plus the appeal of a great 45 minute game has me breathy with anticipation. And Princes looks to be a really novel and thematic game fueled by mechanics I love.

Did I miss something? Did I get something woefully incorrect? What are your top picks for 2012?


wolfie said...

So you like iSlaytheDragon, huh?

I definitely found out about Infiltration after we posted our post. Dude. Game looks sweet.

Grant said...

I definitely dig the Dragon. You and Lenny's perspectives really come through on your posts, which makes your content unique. You also write about a variety of things and do so concisely. Easy sell for me.

I can't think of a single reason to not be excited about Infiltration.

FarmerLenny said...

Nice list!

If I had known about Infiltration at the time of our post, I probably would have chosen that one too. Even though Android itself didn't do it for me (too loooooooooong), it's set in an interesting universe, and Donald X. fascinates me.

Josh Edwards said...

So, I've played Nexus Ops when it was an AH game, and I wasn't too impressed by it... also, just to brag, I got to try Princes of the Dragon Throne on Saturday. ; )

Grant said...

@Josh Not fun about Nexus Ops, but I save $60! How was Princes?

Josh Edwards said...

Princes has amazing artwork and a lot of potential. It was a prototype, so it's hard to tell what the final product will wind up playing like. I'm thinking that it will wind up being a very solid title, but am glad that they are continuing to work on it instead of publishing it right now. However, another Clever Mojo Game - Jivecat Voodoo Swinging Some Long Name Something Or Other was pretty fun - both me and my wife liked it.

Grant said...

Nobody benefits from a rushed game.