With more and more games getting released each year, it can be really hard to figure out which ones are worth investing in. Yet even with that uncertainty, there are always titles that we have our eye on each year. With that in mind, we present our Top 10 Anticipated Games for 2018. We are going to treat this list a little different that usual. Instead of a ranked list from 10-1, each reviewer will choose a game that they are specifically looking forward to. Finally, we’ll round out the list by choosing three games that most all of us have our eye on.
Top 10 Anticipated Games of 2018
Tony: Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar
One game that I fondly remember playing all throughout my childhood was Fireball Island. It still bums me that I let my parents sell that a game at a garage sale. Who knew! So imagine my excitement when I found out that Restoration Games, a company whose mission is to breathe some new life into old games, was bringing back this beloved title. Thankfully, they don’t just reprint titles, but give them a fresh makeover with regards to rules and components. Because it’s the sprit of Fireball Island that I so fondly remember, and hopefully they can capture that. I can’t wait to see what they’ve done with the game when their Kickstarter hits this year.
Being board game commentators, most people would assume that we’re always on the lookout for games which break molds and redefine genres. Usually that’s true, but sometimes we also just want to have games that really bring an excellence to the gaming experience that engages and excites players. That’s where Museum comes in. It’s got a tableau building fun with a casual and approachable theme that is perfect for new gamers. This is a game that can get non-gamers into gaming at a deeper level, especially with the gorgeous art by the ubiquitous Vincent Dutrait. If, like me, you’ve backed the Kickstarter campaign for ALL the things, there’s a lot to chew on for many, many game sessions.
Jon: Brass: Lancashire and Birmingham
Brass is a tight economic strategy game that tasks players with developing the cotton export industry of Lancashire, England in the industrial revolution. Most notable about the upcoming Brass: Lancashire are the updated aesthetics which draw less from some children’s history book and more from the cinematography of Paul Thomas Anderson’s gritty There Will Be Blood. Some streamlining has been made by Wallace for this latest edition, but for me the real draw its sequel, Brass: Birmingham which will be released at the same time. This follow-up contains similar mechanisms, but with more industries for export (pottery, manufactured goods, and beer) and changing export demand for each game.
Brasil is coming to Kickstarter this year from designers Paulo Soledad and Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro and publisher What’s Your Game. They teamed up previous on Nippon, which I recently ranked #2 on my top 10 games of all time. Brasil is set in the 18th century and players build infrastructure around the Brazilian gold rush. If anyone gets heavy economic euros right, it is these guys.
Brian W: GKR Heavy Hitters
If I had to pick one game that is my most anticipated for 2018, it would be GKR: Heavy Hitters from Cryptozoic Entertainment & Weta Works. I used to play BattleTech back in the day and really miss fighting with mechs. There are no current games that even come close for me. GKR: Heavy Hitters will hopefully fill my need. I was able to see a working demo at Gencon and after seeing the amazing production values and, specifically the pre-painted mechs up close, I was sold at first glance. The mechs were both epic in design and height (some are close to 12” tall). All the feedback I’ve read and heard about the gameplay and mechanics has been positive which makes me want my copy that much more.
Brian B: Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done
I am most looking forward to Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done by Tasty Minstrel Games. I backed the Deluxified version on Kickstarter, as I’ve been a fan of their past Deluxified games. Crusaders is estimated to be delivered in Q1 2018 and I am looking forward to the variable player powers of each Order, the variability of the initial game set up, quick turns and shorter game length that the game promises to deliver. In addition, the game utilizes a Mancala/Rondel mechanism that looks entertaining to manipulate.
Alex: Victorian Masterminds
Victorian Masterminds is near the top of my list of games I am most looking forward to for 2018. Steampunk is a tricky theme to do right, but this appears to hit a sweet spot of integrating theme and mechanics. Playing a mustache-twirling genius, sending my minions out to build my diabolical device sounds right in my wheelhouse of gaming interests, and the integration of asymmetric rules for various players adds to the level of excitement. A bonus is that this title is being produced by CMON, known for quality components and great art, which serves only as a bonus for picking up Victorian Masterminds.
In Dinogenics, players will attempt to build and run their own dinosaur park. Worker placement, hand management, and tile placement are some of the mechanics in this great looking board game. Sure it’s not the first game to the market with this theme, but when has that ever tampered our excitement. When it comes to a theme park simulation, this one appears to hit all the right notes.
2 Betrayal Legacy
Sure, Betrayal at House on the Hill is not without its flaws. Even the follow up title Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate wasn’t prefect. Yet that doesn’t mean we haven’t enjoyed this fun traitor game. And ever since its announcement at PAX Unplugged last year, we have been excited to play this legacy version of it. In Betrayal Legacy you’ll get to experience this familiar house through many generations, and learn more about the history of it. If there is one thing designer Rob Daviau knows is how to take an existing title and build it into a legacy game. Count us in!
1. Edge of Darkness
AEG surprised us all in 2016 with their creative card crafting game Mystic Vale (winner of our Board Game Award for Most Innovative Game). When I met with them at Gen Con 2017, I was shown a prototype of Edge of Darkness and instantly intrigued. Apparently this was the original pitch for the card crafting system. AEG smartly thought that a lighter game would be better to introduce people to the mechanics and thus, Mystic Vale was born. This meatier title combines that card crafting with some worker placement, shared deck building, and a great theme.