An estimated 4,000 board games were released in 2018. I, uh, you know, didn’t play even close to all of them obviously. Yet, despite getting more board games in 2018 than I can realistically ever play, I plan on getting a million new board games in 2019. That said, here our my top 7 most anticipated board games of 2019.
The Top 7 Most Anticipated Board Games of 2019
1 Century: New World
I’m a huge fan of the Century trilogy by Emerson Matsuuchi. Themed around spice trading, each Century game has a single page set of rules, but offers engaging gameplay. I’ve introduced more people to Century: Spice Road than any other game in the past couple of years.
Although I’d give the first in the series (Spice Road) an A+ and the second in the series (Eastern Wonders) a B, I’m really excited for the third in the series: New World. (My full look at Eastern Wonders.) This is not just because the base games are great, but also because the games are built to be mixed together as well, creating a unique game through merging them. It’s like the board game version of the Transformers Constructicons.
Expect this one mid-year.
2 Mississippi Queen
Mississippi Queen is a game from 1997 that is getting a spit-shine and a re-release. Already well regarded, the updated, polished version has me excited.
2-6 players will race their paddle wheelers down the Mississippi River, picking up passengers along the way. But coal is limited, so each riverboat’s maneuvers need to be carefully planned, meaning that the captains need to be alert at the wheel .
This new version of Mississippi Queen includes the original base game that won the 1997 Spiel des Jahres as well as The Black Rose expansion that increased the player count to six and included the “Black Rose,” a black paddle wheeler controlled by whichever player is currently in last place. This boat does not require any coal and can be used to hamper opponents in the lead.
Published by Super Maple, there are scant details on actual release date for this one.
3 Skulk Hollow
Kickstarted last year, Skulk Hollow is described as an asymmetric 2-player game with epic meeples. But “epic meeples” needs to be explained. One player will take the role of a huge behemoth, while the other player plays a swarm of little critters. If you’ve ever wondered how many kindergarteners it takes to beat up a grown man, Skulk Hollow is the game for you.
The pre-production artwork is incredible and early gameplay videos look like it is a heck of a lot of fun to play. It looks very tactical, the action card gameplay looks tight, and the many-versus-one concept has me excited.
It is expected to release in October 2019.
I know little about this game, so I need to lean heavily on what meager marketing copy I’m aware of. Here it is:
“You are the founder of a new village during the middle ages, in the years after a great plague. The loss of so many people has created big problems for the survivors. Many of the people the villagers used to depend on for essential things like food, shelter and clothes are gone. Craftsmen find themselves without suppliers of raw materials, traders have lost their customers and many have lost their farms and workshops as they escaped the plague.
The roads are full of refugees seeking a new beginning. They come to you, hoping to settle down on your land and make a living.”
Pre-production artwork and graphic design is nothing less than stellar. I have a theory that if a publisher takes care with graphic design, then they’ve likely taken care with game design.
Kickstarter delivery is expected in May 2019, so let’s hope for a retail release shortly thereafter.
Alubari is published by Matagot and recommended by my buddy Abram, so I’m immediately intrigued. A worker placement game, Alubari is set in Darjeeling, a town in the Lesser Himalayas that is noted for its tea industry.
Players compete to cultivate and harvest their own Tea Estates and assist in the building of the Darjeeling and Himalayan Railway. Placing their workers, players can use their harvested tea leaves to make Chai for their thirsty workforce in order to boost their actions even more! When the railway is completed, the player who has contributed the most to the railway, the building of the towns along the way and the most auspicious Tea gardens will be declared the winner.
Expect Alubari the first half of 2019.
6 Paladins of the West Kingdom
The followup to Architects of the West Kingdom, Paladins of the West Kingdom is set at a turbulent time of West Francia’s story, circa 900 AD. Despite recent efforts to develop the city, outlying townships are still under threat from outsiders.
As noble men and women, players must gather workers from the city to defend against enemies, build fortifications, and spread faith throughout the land. Fortunately, you are not alone. In his great wisdom, the King has sent his finest knights to help aid in our efforts. So ready the horses and sharpen the swords. The Paladins are approaching.
Points are gained by building outposts and fortifications, commissioning monks and confronting outsiders. Each round, players will enlist the help of a specific Paladin and gather workers to carry out tasks. As the game progresses, players will slowly increase their faith, strength, and influence.
The Kickstarter for Paladins of the West Kingdom is expected in early 2019.
7 The Artemis Project
From the Kickstarter, which I backed: “The year is 2348, and we have carved out a meager handhold on Europa, the frozen moon of Jupiter. Decades of effort have made air breathable and the temperatures survivable, but the real prize is the great living ocean hidden deep below the ice. The waters are warmed by volcanic action and are burgeoning with alien sea life. Food, minerals, energy, and living space are waiting for the team with the skills to harness them.”
Artemis Project is a dice placement game and the pre-production artwork looks fantastic. The estimate for release is May 2019 to backers, so my guess is that this will be a popular game at GenCon 2019 in early August.