2021 is here and with it comes the promise of new gaming goodness. It’s still too soon to tell if we’ll have board game conventions this year, but that doesn’t stop us from looking forward to getting some new games to play. Whether upcoming Kickstarter deliveries or direct to market titles we’ve been looking forward to trying out, the BGQ team has gathered to each choose our most anticipated board games of the coming year.
Most Anticipated Board Games of 2021
Assassin’s Creed – Brotherhood of Venice
Chosen by Tony
I’ve waited to try this one for a while now. It was originally due out at the end of 2020, but you can guess what happened. Regardless, it’s on track for this year now and I’m really interested to see how the gameplay ends up. Publisher Triton Noir made an excellent tactical stealth game with V-Commandos, so I know they have the chops to pull this one off. Assassin’s Creed – Brotherhood of Venice is billed as a cooperative minis game that is played out over a 26 mission campaign. You’ll be leveling up your assassin, taking on templars, and meeting many of the characters from the video game this one was inspired by. If it’s even half as good as V-Commandos, I’m all in.
1-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 30-120 minutes
Chosen by Brian B
Cooperative game. Upgrading abilities. Minis galore. What appears to be a significant replay value. One of my favorite video games of all time. Bloodborne, by CMON, is my most anticipated game of 2021. I cannot wait to play this game. I went all-in on this Kickstarter campaign and it appears I will actually GET my pledge (*cough* Myth *cough*). I cannot wait to play a tabletop version solo or with three friends that (supposedly) plays in about an hour per session. You can play either as a 3 part campaign (there are 4 campaigns in the core set), a dungeon romp called Chalice Dungeon mode, or even player vs. player (not my cup of tea). It is the sheer number of options, from the different settings, hunters (your character), and monsters, the card-based combat that is less luck driven dice-based combat and, honestly, the fabulous IP, that having me anticipating this game showing up on my doorstep in the next couple of weeks.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 45-75 minutes
Chosen by Dylan
While Ted Alspach is most known for Suburbia, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, and the Bezier Werewolf games, he also is one of the most prominent contributors to the classic train game, Age of Steam. He has designed over 20 expansions/maps for the system, so when I heard he was designing a new train game from his own company, I had to pay attention. Maglev Metro takes the traditional route building and deliveries seen in many train games and combines that with some unique ideas for the genre. The tiles are clear and can be stacked to overlap with different player’s track. And delivering robots to locations improve actions in almost an engine building manner (no pun intended). Maglev Metro seems to be a cool look at train games that could appeal to a wider crowd than most.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 60-90 minutes
Tsukuyumi: Full Moon Down
Chosen by Spencer
Tsukuyumi Full Moon Down is the 2nd edition of an area control/DOAM game that received high praise during its limited release in 2018. This edition by Grey Fox Games includes miniatures and additional factions while keeping the core gameplay elements the same. It promises no luck, hand management, and deeply asymmetric factions. I am looking forward to trying them all. Possibly the most intriguing aspect of this game is the unique theme. The moon has hit the Earth, and things are messed up. Factions are competing to survive, and, more importantly, domination. Some of the coolest sounding factions include Cyber Samurais (bots, drones, and AI), The Dark Seeds (insects), and the Lords of the Lost Sea (whales).
3-5 Players • Ages 14+ • 90-150 minutes
Chosen by Michelle
Board Game Brothas won me over with Rap Godz, and I was lucky enough to try out Hoop Godz on a Twitch live stream with none other than Omari Akil teaching us how to play the game. I backed this game on Kickstarter as soon as it was live. While Hoop Godz may not be as story-driven as its predecessor, it still is rich in basketball culture and every moment is exciting. In this 2-player game, you control an entire basketball team on the court against your opponent’s team. You need to manage where the players are positioned while ensuring you have enough “juice” to keep pushing. This engaging tactical board game only takes 30 to 45 minutes to play so it’s easily in the territory of “I want a rematch!” replay value.
2 Players • Ages 14+ • 25-45 minutes
Return to Dark Tower
Chosen by Brian W.
It’s the sequel to the 1981 grail game, Dark Tower, which was considered an innovative game for its time. Return to Dark Tower pays homage to the original but has vastly updated the gameplay and technology of the classic. It now employs two modes of play: competitive and cooperative and uses unique heroes, abilities, and companions. The technology is now an integrated app for combat with many more options for players to influence the results and rewards. The centerpiece of Return to Dark Tower is again a Tower but it now ties into the app and that will spread corruption to the heroes and their lands throughout the game. I backed this on Kickstarter over a year ago and have been eagerly waiting to get my hands on it since.
1-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 100-120 minutes
Resident Evil 3
Chosen by George
A while ago I missed out on backing Resident Evil 2 (based on the PS1 game) and had to collect it piece by piece. I didn’t miss out backing Resident Evil 3 this time around. RE2 had a great, fast-paced action akin to Zombicide, but with amazingly flavorful boss fights and resource conservation, capturing the survival horror feeling quite well. Resident Evil 3 hopes to expand on that with a little more open-world gameplay and utilizing the stalking Nemesis creature to drive even more intense gameplay. The awesome looking miniatures are just the icing on the cake.
1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 60-90 minutes
Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile
Chosen by Andrew
A couple of years ago designer Cole Wehlre and publisher Leder Games teamed up to bring us Root, one of the most successful wargames that somehow convinced the masses it was mainstream (at least as much as any hobby board game is mainstream). This year that duo is bringing us Oath, a tableau-building campaign game with some area control/wargaming type elements as well. If Root is a spin on the COIN wargame mechanisms, Oath is an evolution of Pax-series games. I’ve played it a couple of times on Tabletop Simulator but really looking forward to getting the physical game and getting a chance to see how the campaign elements work over multiple plays.
1-6 Players • Ages 10+ • 45-120 minutes
Chosen by Tahsin
Honestly, in the past couple of years, the force has been strong with Dinosaur releases. If you didn’t like Dinosaur Island, there was Dinogenics. If you didn’t like Dinogenics, Tiny Epic Dinos just hit the scene. However, I have to say, I still haven’t found my dino-jam. Dinosaur World looks to be the best version of the concept with production quality and design aesthetic to match. If the system plays as well as it looks, I’m sure to be begging my family for game after game of dino wrangling. If it sucks… there’s always the roll-n-write game that is published along with it. BUT IT WON’T SUCK! This is Kickstarter! It’s going to be awesome!
2-4 Players • Ages 130+ • 60-120 minutes
Architects of the West Kingdom: Works of Wonder
Chosen by Jason
Last year I discovered something about myself: I love worker placement games and I generally steer clear of expansions. Architects of the West Kingdom was my most played game last year and exclusively solo. So I was intrigued to learn on a whim that there is an expansion coming that will introduce six new solo opponents. There’s some other stuff that gets added to this game, but this is the thing that has me the most interested and excited about seeking this expansion out.
1-5 Players • Ages 12+ • 60-80 minutes