I have never had the chance to go to Essen and take part in the largest game convention in the world. Luckily for me, Josh is able to make it each year.
This year he loaded up boxes and suitcases full of games and brought them back to the US for all the Meeplegamers’ writers.
This is our list of the ten games we are most excited about, or that we can’t wait to play.
Megacity: Oceania - Hub Games
Megacity: Oceania – Hub Games – A game about rising oceans, and growing new floating cities, Oceania hits a sweet spot for me, strategy with a smidge of dexterity. I might be in love. This game came out on a soft release at GenCon, and I had suspicions I would like it even then. Having taken it home, and played it and watched the frustration levels rise in such a good way made me realize, this game is just doggone fun to people like me. Since this was the first full release, I am adding it to my Essen Top 10.
Rune Stones - Queen Games
Rune Stones by Queen Games looks awesome! I think the artwork is fantastic and the board jumps right out and catches your eye. The card drafting system and how cards are played, the highest card of the two played cards gets discarded, is very intriguing. It forces players to make tough decisions about what card combinations to play because the better cards are the ones that get discarded and can’t be used later. Players will need to maximize their available cards, or find themselves running short of stronger options. Between the artwork and the mechanics it appears that Rune Stones is going to be one heck of a game.
King’s Dilemma. It’s an interesting looking legacy game that focuses on negotiation and resource management. I’ve heard really good things about the story in the game that makes it sound like a decent mix of drama paired with interesting decisions.
I’m the most excited for from Essen is King’s Dilemma. The idea of being in the role of making policies that effect a kingdom is intriguing. Throw in that it is a legacy game concept where every decision impacts future games and I’m sold.
Minecraft: Builders & Biomes - Ravensburger
Minecraft is my toop pick for Essen. I can hear some groans but Minecraft is still a big deal in computer and mobile app gaming. There is always concern about board games based on video games and a long-known and respected IP as well. From what I’ve seen of the game so far is that it gets key elements of the video game and light enough to be accessible to game’s key demographic. I’m looking forward to getting the game to the table and see what my gamers think, both young and old. If done well, it could very well be a nice crossover game from digital to tabletop.
Faktoria - LuTyGo
Faktoria looks very interesting. It is city building mingled with an auction mechanic. Some resource types are very limited which will make players find multiple paths to victory. I also really love the artwork. It has a very classic feel that captures the themes time period.
Ecos: First Continent - AEG
Ecos: First Continent got a lot of buzz before and during Essen Spiel 2019. I looked up the basics of the mechanics and pieces on BGG to see how excited I should be. Several of my friends were really excited and my wife was all in on it. I didn’t readily see the appeal. It didn’t look bad but didn’t stand out as a game of the year kind of material. I was the only one that didn’t watch a playthrough video when checking my interest.
I got the game, learned it, and played it the same day. Then again later that day. Then again later that day. Then three times the next day. And twice the day after that. Not a game day has gone by without playing it at least once. And it will be probably around 100 plays before I start to veto playing it each gameday.
Ecos has a fast paced action most of the game as we draw elements and make fast decisions based on what element we pulled. Occasionally an ecos call will result in gaining more resources that will cascade into finishing other cards or playing cards mid turn with even more elements to place. These can be mildly crunchy but only serve to satisfy the serious strategy gamers. More casual players will not find it hard to do something satisfying without the need to over analyze. It falls into my perfect storm of simplicity vs strategery. Yes, I said strategery. It is that kind of day.
Clank Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated - Dire Wolf Digital
Clank! Legacy, the game that has so many people excited that if it was not included, I”d get yelled at, by someone, somewhere. I had never played Clank!, or any of its brethren. I know that seems strange, but it is true. So, I was going into this game with a bit of a open mind. The game is a lot of fun. The “player elimination” brings that a full 180. So many smart things are happening in this game that I find it difficult to not become a fanboy also. Renegade has truly made a Legacy game worth playing again, so buy two copies.
Theosis - Dreamcraft Games
There aren’t many games that attempt to do something truly different, I would say Theosis has done just that! In Theosis you play a Demi-God fighting for a place in the cosmos. Theosis Mixes together two style of gameplay with a worker placement prep stage and a mini’s-based combat stage, players will have to make difficult decisions about how to properly equip their Demi-God of choice to come out victorious in the end. The component quality is outstanding and gameplay variety seems to add a good level of depth, I am very much looking forward to getting this game to the table to see how this combination of gameplay mechanics really works.
Welcome To Dino World - Alley Cat Games
We were super excited to play Welcome to Dino World because we absolutely love dinosaurs and drawing, and this game combined them both into one dino-rific package. We knew that this roll-and-write required players to draw their own enclosures and fill them with adorable dinosaurs, which just sounded awesome to me. Welcome to Dino World seemed like it would give us the opportunity to design our very own Jurassic Park– minus the science, expenses, and violent tourist deaths. The spectacular theme and creative mechanics made this one impossible to overlook.
– Jeremiah and Kara
The Artemis Project - Grand Gamers Guild
The Artemis Project is a theme heavy worker placement style game. Set on a moon of Jupiter you play colonists trying to develop a base of operations in an extremely hostile environment. Between managing resources, training your team and defending your base you will be kept busy balancing priorities and focusing on the plan for the future of your colonists. I was privileged to see this game at the UKGE in 2019 and it peaked my interest to say the least. I plan on doing a solo and multiple player count review so please keep an eye out for this in the near future.