Our Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2017

Every year, BoardGame Geek run a poll of the most anticipated games of the year ahead, taking in hundreds of nominations and whittling it down to just twenty! The voting for 2017’s games ends this weekend, so head over if you haven’t already and place your votes!

We don’t have that much room to cover all the games mentioned in the poll, so we’ve picked ten that we’re particularly looking forward to:

1. Dark Souls

The Dark Souls board game is a brutally hard exploration miniatures game for 1-4 players. Prepare to die.

The game features a “fast set-up, long reveal” mechanism that gets you into the game quickly and builds the location as you explore. The sense of danger is palpable as you discover new locations and the monsters that inhabit these dark places. The core combat mechanism and enemy behavior system forces deep strategic play and clever management of stamina to survive.
f54257971a2831b7c6dd14cd5e8c7899_originalDark Souls includes numerous boss and mini-boss encounters — including one against the Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough — and utilizes an innovative behavior mechanism so that no two encounters are ever the same, thus giving the game near infinite replayability.

Everyone and their dog is looking forward to this one, it seems: with a massively successful Kickstarter and a hardcore army of fans already in place, picking up the rights to this video game conversion seems to be paying off in spades for Steamforged Games! They’re not making a cheap cash-in, either; plentiful reviews and photos have been released, showing gorgeous miniatures (some of them not very mini at all!) and an evocative board style, as well as plenty of interesting peeks at the cards. They’ve even released the rulebook online for free download so you can get an advance look! We don’t know when we’re getting the game for retail yet, but Kickstarter pledgers should be getting their copies sent out in March. Not long left to wait!

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2. Massive Darknessc057337cf1927115a3433237dbff1c04_original

Massive Darkness brings the classic fantasy RPG experience to modern board gaming, with an action-packed campaign chock full of gorgeous miniatures and a streamlined system that keeps the focus on the heroes’ actions, with no need for a game master to control the enemies.

Using the popular Zombicide system as a starting point, Massive Darkness adds all the richness of a dungeon crawl RPG. Pick your hero, choose a class, decide on which skills to spend your XP, and get loot by searching the dungeon or killing special enemies that can use the equipment against you! Face a multitude of different enemy types, coming in all shapes and sizes, whose behavior is resolved automatically…or you can try to sneak around enemies by taking advantage of dark areas of the map.

Yeah, it’s a reskin of Zombicide, but Cool Mini Or Not and Guillotine Games are putting out reliably excellent games based on this model, so who are we to argue? Massive Darkness aims to recreate the classic dungeon-crawler, with a cool added mechanic that makes darkness both a hazard and a tool (hence the name). We’re expecting the same awesome artwork and cool minis (naturally) that we’ve come to love, and if Zombicide: Black Plague is anything to go by, there will be a whole bunch of expansions following its release, so you can customise and expand it as you like!

No word on when to expect this one yet, but we’re looking forward to it!

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3. Pandemic: Legacy Season 2

Pandemic Legacy is a co-operative campaign game, with an overarching story-arc played through 12-24 sessions, depending on how well your group does at the game. At the beginning, the game starts very similar to basic Pandemic, in which your team of disease-fighting specialists races against the clock to travel around the world, treating disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand.

Each month in the game, you have two chances to achieve that month’s objectives. If you succeed, you win and immediately move on to the next month. If you fail, you have a second chance, with more funding for beneficial event cards.

During the campaign, new rules and components will be introduced. These will sometimes require you to permanently alter the components of the game; this includes writing on cards, ripping up cards, and placing permanent stickers on components. Your characters can gain new skills, or detrimental effects. A character can even be lost entirely, at which point it’s no longer available for play.pic3213471

The Legacy game format started with Risk: Legacy, but it was Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 that really kicked it off as a potential (pardon the pun) game-changer. Legacy games are like ongoing campaigns, with each game having a distinct and often permanent effect on the games that will follow. Victory is not achieved in one game, but worked for through several. And the further you get through the campaign, the more mechanics and abilities you unlock, and the more challenging the games get!

Naturally, the ‘Season 1’ in the name of Pandemic: Legacy has everyone salivating for Season 2, which we’ve only seen a few glimpses of so far in the way of spoilers. We have no idea when to expect it (it’s not even on the BGG listings yet!) but when it is released, it is going to fly off the shelves!

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4. This War of Mine

This War Of Mine: The Board Game is the tabletop adaptation of the award-winning video game that pictures the drama of civilians trapped in a war-torn city. 

You will enter this experience as a group of civilians trapped in a besieged and conflict-ridden city, enduring many hardships that often test the essence of humanity. During daytime you will take shelter in a ruined tenement house, which you will care about and manage by: removing rubble, searching through various rooms (often behind barricaded doors), you will build beds, improvised workshops, stoves, tools, water filters, small animal traps, you will cultivate an improvised vegetable garden, fix the tenements’ shelled facilities, reinforce the security of your shelter and should winter come, you’ll try to keep it warm.

Upon nightfall your main duties will consist of guarding your shelter and what little possessions you can accumulate against bandits and raiders. Those in your group fit for such a task will use the cover of the night to carefully explore dozens of the ever-changing locations scattered throughout the dangerous city in search of all the things that a person needs to survive (materials, food, meds, equipment, etc.). On your way you will meet characters, each with a unique story (residents of the locations you visit, thieves, bandits, soldiers, war victims, refugees, neighbors, traders and members of local communities), each encounter is a potential, unique adventure. 

Your goal is to SURVIVE until the cessation of war hostilities. During your struggle as the survivors, you will experience dramas connected with making extremely difficult decisions and choices. Survival itself will often prove not to be enough. The price each of you will decide to pay might be too high in the final outcome. So the goal is really to survive in a way that will let you live on with the decisions you made.13166676_1617541918561671_1025216349_n

TWOM The Board Game features a multiplayer experience for up to 6 players, as well as a solo variant. You will be able to personify one of the well-known characters from the electronic version of the game and face hundreds of new challenges and difficult choices. The board game significantly broadens the original game’s universe and emphasises the depth of plot, yet its main focus will be on human interactions driven by survival instinct and group decision-making.

Experience the simulation of a struggle for survival as a group of civilians facing a blind and merciless war.

In war, not everyone is a soldier.

If you’ve played the computer game, you’ll already be familiar with This War of Mine’s amazing artwork, its unique play style, and its bleak and punishing content. It’s a game that just screams out for a tabletop version; anyone who’s played it will surely agree that it’s obvious that the content and style would convert so well to the board.

Advance peeks at the board game show that the board will recapture the aesthetics of the video game, and the miniatures are looking stunning! But will it still be as bitter and merciless? Will the multiplayer angle soften that, or make it worse? Think Dead of Winter without the zombies, but with more raiders. And no Sparky. And consequences to the methods you use to survive. We need this game so much!!!!

No word yet on when to expect it, but trust us, we’re pestering our suppliers to find out!

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5. The 7th Continent

It’s the early 20th century. You have decided to sail back to the newly discovered seventh continent to attempt to lift the terrible curse that has struck you since your return from the previous expedition.7eea517e8c18b7bec7252476201ccf30

In The 7th Continent, a solo or cooperative “choose-your-own-adventure” exploration board game, you choose a character and begin your adventure on your own or with a team of other explorers. Inspired by the Fighting Fantasy book series, you will discover the extent of this wild new land through a variety of terrain and event cards. In a land fraught with danger and wonders, you have to use every ounce of wit and cunning to survive, crafting tools, weapons and shelter to ensure your survival.

Unlike most board games, it will take you many, MANY hours of exploring and searching the seventh continent until you eventually discover how to remove the curse(s)…or die trying.
The 7th Continent features an easy saving system so that you can stop playing at any time and resume your adventure later on, just like in a video game!

A board game inspired by the Fighting Fantasy books? We’re in! The 7th Continent promises epic exploration in an ongoing, over-numerous-games campaign. It’s card-based, with map tiles slowly revealing the continent as you explore it, and you have to think about crafting, gathering resources, and surviving the dangers of the wilderness as well as the curse that’s been put upon you! At an estimated game time of around 15 hours (yes, really), this one is not for the faint of heart!

There’s one catch – the game is so ambitious that the creators are uncertain if it will ever come to retail, due to the extra costs that mass producing and marketing it would incur potentially inflating the game’s price to unreasonable levels. So if you didn’t back the Kickstarter, you may have to hope that someone you know did – or that they’ll Kickstart a reprint sometime!

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6. Deep Madnessob_edff1f_8dbc660c5c9b846fdc7aa6f52e9259fb-origi

In a dark and claustrophobic deep sea mining site, the uncovering of a mysterious “Sphere” is dragging everyone nearby into the endless madness. The fears deep down one’s mind is amplified and transformed into horrifying monsters from other dimensions, torturing the body and the sanity. Only the ones with extraordinary will and conviction can escape its devastating grasp. Deep Madness is a fully cooperative board game for 1-6 players with 66 amazingly detailed miniatures, depicting a sci-fi horror world inspired by Lovecraft’s work and the Alien series. In the game, players will assume the roles of investigators, venturing into the seemingly empty yet perilous deep sea mining site to find out the truth behind the lost contact event. Unimaginable horror and madness from the dark fear within is waiting.

Cthulhu in Space. Sold!

Seriously, though, this game looks incredible! The miniatures are stunning, the board tiles are beautiful, there are mechanics for insanity, for flooding, for drowning, for random monster spawns, and it’s scenario based so the map changes depending on which scenario you’re doing. And we know it’s not really set in space – it’s set in a deep sea mining facility in the future, but the mixed inspiration of Alien and Lovecraft means we can’t help but think of it as Cthulhu in Space! And we love it!

No ETA on the game for its Kickstarter backers has been given yet, but there’s been plenty of updates on how the team is working hard on getting it ready! It’s definitely going to be worth the wait!

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7. Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. Players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for travelling to this dark corner of the world. Players must work together out of necessity to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins. In the process they will enhance their abilities with experience and loot, discover new locations to explore and plunder, and expand an ever-branching story fueled by the decisions they make.687474703a2f2f63662e6765656b646f2d696d616765732e636f6d2f696d616765732f706963323635323230305f6d642e6a7067

This is a Legacy game with a persistent and changing world that is ideally played over many game sessions. After a scenario, players will make decisions on what to do, which will determine how the story continues, kind of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Playing through a scenario is a cooperative affair where players will fight against automated monsters using an innovative card system to determine the order of play and what a player does on their turn.

There’s that Legacy word again – though is this case it looks like you can choose to play it as a Legacy game, or not! Either way, the characters are customisable and can evolve over several games, much as a D&D character will gain XP and level up over a number of adventures. The game is high fantasy, scenario based, and you can easily link scenarios to make an ongoing campaign. And there are miniatures!

Gloomhaven is being shipped to Kickstarter backers right now! So hopefully we’ll have it available to retailers very soon!

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8. A Handful of Starspic3052392

A Handful of Stars is the final title published by Treefrog Games and the third entry into the unofficial A Few Acres of Snow trilogy. The first game was the two-player A Few Acres of Snow, whose main mechanisms were then reimplemented in the multiplayer Mythotopia, and now A Handful of Stars reimplements the mechanisms from Mythotopia and takes them to the vast reaches of space…

It’s a shame that A Handful of Stars will be Treefrog Games’ last title, as they’ve produced some excellent games over the years. But they’re going to go out in style!

Finally a game on the list that isn’t a miniatures board game, I hear you cry! A Handful of Stars is a space exploration, resource management, deck building game. You need to build, colonise, explore and battle your opponents in a struggle for space superiority! But it’s not that simple – there’s a timer in the game, based upon the way you build your decks, which means that you only have a limited amount of time to do what you set out to do – and how much time you have may not be immediately clear … so plan carefully!

A Handful of Stars will be a limited release due to Treefrog’s ceasing trading, and is expected to ship in March. We don’t know yet if we’ll be able to stock it, but Fantasy Flight Games have bought the license, so hopefully there will be a larger reprint from them in the future. We hope so, because it looks great!

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9. Planetarium

Matter swirls around a new born star, coalescing on the planetoids that orbit it. Planets evolve, grow and migrate in their orbits, forming a unique solar system by the end of every game. Planetarium is a game of creation, chaos and terraforming on the grandest scale. Players are competing to crash combinations of elements onto planets that then allow them to play cards to evolve the planets in a variety of ways, with each player looking to evolve planets in the system to suit their own secret endgame goals.pic3224251

The thematics of the game have been developed with an eye on the science, led by a scientist working on NASA’s search for life on Mars. Evolution cards thematically include all kinds of planetary phenomenon, from asteroid impacts, atmospheric effects, to geological events. Final Evolution cards mark the relatively stable state a planet is in at the end of the solar system’s development and include classifications for the final planets such as Hot Jupiter or an uninhabitable frozen dwarf planet.

This space exploration game doesn’t have you discovering planets – it has you creating them! You need to direct the evolution of the universe to achieve your secret objective in order to win the game, but in the process you get to build a truly gorgeous map of planets – this game really does look like something special!

Game Salute expect to be shipping to their Kickstarter backers soon – but they have a bit of a bad reputation regarding Kickstarters (which they’re working hard to improve, we might add), so if you decided to wait til retail, we’ll let you know as soon as we know when it’ll be available.

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10. Kingdom Death: Monster

Kingdom Death: Monster is a fully cooperative tabletop hobby game experience. Set in a unique nightmarish world devoid of most natural resources, you control a settlement at the dawn of its existence. Fight monsters, craft weapons and gear, and develop your settlement to ensure your survival from generation to generation.

Embark alone or with up to 4 friends (6 with game variant) on a 25-lantern-year campaign, with each year consisting of a cycle of hunt, showdown, and settlement phases. The settlement phase is an intricate civilization building game in which you spend very limited resources to build buildings, research new technologies, train your warriors, and set up your strategy for survival. During the hunt, you’ll encounter a series of stories in a “choose your own adventure” style journey through various events and encounters. Finally, when you meet the monster you’re pursuing, you’ll engage it in an a massive arena-style battle where only one party is going to survive. If your party lives, you’ll be able to bring the spoils back home to use in expanding your settlement.104135737-rsz_glory-shot.600x400

So we tried to avoid expansions and revised editions in this list, instead focusing on new titles, but Kingdom Death: Monster deserves a mention despite being an updated version of an existing game, because oh my god. Pledgers to the Kickstarter had to shell out $200 minimum to get the core game, with cheaper pledges offering an update pack to those who bought the game the first time around. Expensive? Yes – easily twice the value of most of the big board games (we’re thinking of things like Mansions of Madness 2nd edition, with its RRP of around £90). But have you seen what you get for your money?

First up, the miniatures (yes, we’re back to miniatures again) are amazing. Highly detailed, beautiful miniatures of varying sizes. Then there’s the game itself, which is enormous and despite the price tag has a small army of devoted fans. It raised over 12 million dollars on Kickstarter, making it the highest-funding board game Kickstarter ever (sorry, Dark Souls)! So clearly it’s doing a lot of things right!

Because of its size, the makers decided to produce it through direct sales and Kickstarter alone the first time around, deeming retail to be too expensive. We mentioned it in a newsletter not too long ago, saying that we wouldn’t be able to stock it, and encouraging you to go look at the Kickstarter. However, bear with us on this one … we may have some exciting news in the future for anyone who missed out on pledging!

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