Looking Ahead: New and Different Board Games

Having too many awesome games to play and try out is a good problem to have. Here are a few games I’m anxiously awaiting an opportunity to try. Each of these has some new twists on established mechanics that seems extremely interesting.

Between Two Cities

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Stonemaier Games previous two games (Viticulture and Euphoria) instantly became favorites of mine, and despite being the first of their games not designed by their founder Between Two Cities looks to keep up their extremely impressive track record. It combines tile laying and drafting, but the real innovation is a concept of “competitive co-op.” Each turn you choose two tiles from your hand and will play one into each city on each side of you. Your opponents will do the same, so you are cooperating with those players to build the cities. There is only one winner however and your score at the end of the game is that of your LEAST valuable city, so balancing things is key.

The idea is fantastic and playtesting feedback and early reviews are very positive about how well it was executed. The fact that other players will always be placing tiles to “your” areas at the same time you do brings discussion and bargaining into the game, which should be a refreshing additional element.

Dark Moon

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I’m a big fan of co-op games with hidden traitor roles, although they can be tough to balance. In addition to having a great, atmospheric sci-fi theme, Dark Moon plays around with different elements of such games in ways I haven’t really seen before. The “uninfected” players are trying to survive through a certain number of game events. The secretly “infected” players are trying to destroy the outpost and doom the crew. When there are more than 1 infected players, they won’t know who each other are. This brings up interesting possibilities of deception and/or working at cross purposes.

But the really interesting part of Dark Moon is that the “voting” system consists of contributing dice to attempt to complete actions or quarantine suspected players. Dice are rolled in secret, but the one you choose to contribute is always public information. This seems to provide a lot more to go on when trying to identify the traitors than normal games of this type, and I’m excited to see how it plays.

Mysterium

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Mysterium is a co-op centered around a group of psychics trying to solve a murder and set a wandering ghost’s soul to rest. All of the co-op games I’ve played so far have either been symmetric (outside of individual player powers) or asymmetric with one player being the villain or game master and the rest working against that player. This is a completely cooperative asymmetric game. There are no traitors, villains or gamemasters among the players, but one player will be the ghost of the departed and is trying to provide clues to the psychics to help them solve the mystery. The theme and setup of the game sound great and I adore the unique take on asymmetry game roles here. Really looking forward to trying it out in both roles.

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Just a quick look at some innovative and intriguing games in the pile. Hope to be back with reviews in the not too distant future. 🙂

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