The Origins Game Fair is right around the corner. For real! Starting on June 12, many of the hottest hits of 2019 in board gaming are hitting the vendor floor, ready for us to enjoy. Between demos, playtests, previews, and releases, the Game Manufacturers Association has brought in a stellar lineup that’s bound to razzle and dazzle us being that it marks the first big release wave of hot 2019 board games.
Even though I won’t be in attendance, there are several spicy new games that have caught my eye. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick them up at GenCon, but in the interim I’ll just have to live vicariously through reviewers lucky enough to add them to their shelves.
Heading to Origins? Here’s my Top 7 list of the board games you should be on the lookout for. They’ll probably go fast, so this can serve as your de facto shopping list for some of the hottest board games of 2019!
In no particular order, let’s kick things off!
Oregon Trail was an oddly memorable part of my childhood. Granted, half the time I just spent all my money on ammunition so that I could go hunt some animals, but it was still a fun challenge that I look back on fondly.
Sierra West might not allow me to play a “meat-only” strategy, but I’m intrigued by the American West theme. Players arrange cards to form potential paths for their settlers. By following these paths, pioneers unlock resources and other actions.
What’s really cool is that there is a mountain-like tableau that changes as the game goes on and the pioneers make progress along their journey. This opens up the game by providing additional options for players to take advantage of.
Lastly, the game comes with four modules that can be combined with the base game to adjust the experience. This essentially creates five unique games in one box. Score!
Sadly, this is going to be a demo-only title at Origins. Hopefully board gamers will be able to give it a whirl later in 2019 to see how it plays!
Generic fantasy is a saturated theme that really takes some extra effort to catch my attention. So many games have already dipped into that well that it’s begun to run dry! And this is coming from a HUGE fantasy fan, so I’m always trying to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff.
When I saw Kingswood, I was immediately drawn to the edge of my seat. Players take control of a shared collection of heroes, order them to various locations, and eventually send them off to fight monsters in the forest.
Sounds fairly standard at this point, Abram. What gives?
Since players are all controlling the same pool of bushy-eyed heroes in hopes of achieving glory, it becomes a balancing act between outfitting the heroes to overcome better challenges and accomplishing challenges on your own.
The Kickstarter just ended in the middle of May (late pledge info here), so this is just available for demo as well.
In the Hall of the Mountain King
ANOTHER FANTASY GAME? Put down the pitchforks everyone! There may be trolls but this is nothing more than a glorified mining simulator. You know, my OTHER favorite genre…
In the Hall of the Mountain King is all about trolls restoring glory to their home. Players test their hand in mining, digging tunnels, and uncovering great treasures. Because who doesn’t like literal buried treasure?
I love games that generate more and more resources as the game progresses. Your hired trolls have a cascaded production, where a troll will trigger the resource production for all trolls beneath it.
On top of that, players are in charge of juggling a whole bunch of mechanics. Not only do they have to hire new trolls to keep their production at sustainable levels, but they also have to coordinate the tunneling efforts to gain access to valuables and locations to convert resources.
I honestly thought this would be about dwarves, just from the title, but I’m totally onboard with trolls too! And I’m so sorry – this is also listed as a demo title at Origins. This is turning more into a wish list at this point – my apologies.
Imhotep: The Duel
I was able to get my hands on Imhotep last year at GenCon and was pleasantly surprised. My brother and I went in with zero expectations and immediately picked up the pieces for a second game right after our first finished up.
The basic concept is that players assume the role of Egyptian builders hoping to construct the best monuments. However, like any monument worth its salt, stones need to be brought in by boat to the building sites first. As players load up the boats, anybody can send those boats to a monument in progress, even if the other player had other plans.
It’s nerve-wracking to try and outsmart your opponent!
Imhotep: The Duel takes the original game and scales it down to a streamlined two-player experience. Since I’ve only played the original with two people and thought it was very well-done, I’m excited to see what’s changed with this version. Try the demo at Origins this year!
Space Gate Odyssey
This next game is available for sale at Origins! Finally! I have delivered!
First of all, I’m definitely judging Space Gate Odyssey by its cover; the box is gorgeous. The rest of the components in the game are bright and vibrant, which ties really well into the mesmerizing space theme.
There’s a lot going on in this game. Players are colonizing new planets through the use of spacegates. Besides worrying about expanding their influence on these exoplanets, however, players also need to manage their space stations and optimize their actions to have a better opportunity to expand their influence.
I’m loving this trend of games forcing you to fight wars on multiple fronts. It can lead to more complicated games, so keep that in mind if that’s not something that interests you.
And, like I said above, this one is ready for purchase at Origins meaning you can actually get your grubby hands on it here! Woot woot!
I mentioned gorgeous art with the last game, but I may have put the cart before the horse. Ian O’Toole consistently delivers stunning vignettes with his work. Just look at Pipeline and you’ll see what I’m talking about!
This is probably the most complex game on the list. The name of the game is oil refinement; players compete to build efficient refineries and a pipeline network to deliver their goods to customers.
As with most economic simulators, this game capitalizes on market-based situations and building a network that enhances your monetary position in comparison to the other players. You’re going to find elements of engine-building, spatial puzzles, and luck-free tile placement.
This brain-burning Euro game is available for sale this year at Origins!
Century: A New World
The final preview I’ll throw at you hardly needs an introduction. The Century line of games is well-known for its introductory engine-building experience. Century: A New World is the final installment of the Century trilogy, and you’ll find it available for purchase at Origins.
What makes this version different than the other Century games you already love? Well, instead of focusing on the Classic engine-building core, A New World adds a worker placement element to spice up the gameplay.
Players will explore the Americas in the 16th century, showcasing relationship building, documenting findings, and surviving a new place. The best part is that, like the other versions, Century: A New World can be combined with any of the other Century games to create a truly unique experience.
It’s no surprise that Clave is the number one fan of the Century games, and he’s been talking my ear off about how excited he is for this one. I guess it’s rubbed off on me a bit too!
Origins Preview: Final Thoughts
I haven’t even scratched the surface on all of the great games that are being showcased at Origins this year. By my count there are around 240 titles. I can hardly even wrap my head around that number!
If you’re going to the Game Fair – have an awesome time! Share your favorite moments and great finds on social media so that I can relish in the joy of gaming.