Published by: Academy Games
Some may say that Mare Norstrum is a reprint, but I feel it is a new game due to rule changes and many additions to the game. I enjoy how there are many pathes to victory and how each nation plays slightly different. Combat is not a huge focal point of the game, but there is enough to statisfy most wargammers. I really enjoy the trading/drafting system of goods each round. This is a great epic civilization game that plays in roughly 2 hours. If you have not played or heard of Mare Nostrum Empires, I highly recommend giving it a shot.
Published by: AEG
Automobiles is a cube bag building, race game that gives the feel of a Nascar race. Players are purchasing cubes that will improve their cars performance around the track. Playing and purchasing certain cubes can give you wear cubes that are useless when drawn to simiulate wear on your vehicle. AEG provides a decent variety of card abilities (cubes) that each make each race feel different and require you to change up your strategy. I think Automobiles got written off as a gimmick game to finish the trains, planes and automobiles reference, but in my opinion it is the best in the series. If you like racing games or deck/cube building games, Automobiles is unique and provide some great entertainment.
Published by: Arcane Wonders
Royals was the third game in the Dice Tower Essentials line that contained the hugely popular Sheriff of Nottingham and Onitama. Royals is a area control game that has you influencing the various people in power in Europe. Royals was very easy to learn, but also had plenty of strategy that came from player interaction and risk taking. Royals in my opinion is one of the easier area control games for anyone to pick and play, while providing some player aggression. I think the reason this one is not talked about more is because it came out around Origins and the second half of the year had a lot games that also filled this game type.
Published by: Kosmos
The Rose King is a 2 player abstract strategy game (Chess) that has players trying to get the most of discs adjacent to each other on the board. Players are adding discs by playing action cards that give a direction and a number of spaces the token must move. The token can only end on an empty space. Once the token is moved, you will add a disc to the space where the token went. The Rose King may be a questionable addition to the list because it has been out in Europe since 1999, but it was only this year that Kosmos did an English edition. The Rose King and Onitama have become two of my favorite abstract games of all time.
Published by: IDW Games
Review Link: www.so1ks.com/tacos-take-reviews/tacos-take-on-arcane-academy
This surprised me that it would be a hidden gem. I thought for sure that with legendary designers Kevin Wilson and Eric Lang, Arcane Academy would get lots of attention. Sadly I think it got lost in the mass amount of hugely hyped games released around Gen Con this year. I still find this to be a very entertaining engine builder with a unique way of having to program your actions into a grid. I recommend giving my review a read and giving this game a second look or a first play.
Published by: Renegade Games Studio
World's Fair 1893 was released early in the year and sold out very fast and I think even the first reprint sold out very fast as well. Coming off the hugely popular Lanterns, Renegade Games Studio in my opinion had a second home run with World's Fair. World's Fair is a set collection and area majority game that has players placing visitors to the various exhibits at the 1893 World's Fair. The game has a lot of deep strategy and plays pretty quickly. World's Fair was one of my biggest hits of Geekway to the West alongside Scythe. I eventually was able to purchase it and have been able to play it more since it has been added to my collection. This one is good for game groups and light family gathererings.
Published by: Passport Games Studio and Strawberry Studio
Probably the smallest game on my list, but 3 Wishes packed a punch for it's size. A great card drafting filler game that has players trying to get 3 different types of wishes in front of them. The problem is that the cards are face down and with each action possibly switching cards among players, it can cause for chaos. The art is beautiful and a game only takes around 5 to 10 minutes. 3 Wishes is this year's Love Letter in my opinion. A perfect gift for almost anyone and everyone should enjoy playing it.
Published by: Eagle-Gryphon Games
Sixes was a surprise hit for me this year and replaced one of my favorite party games of all time, Scattergories. Sixes plays quicker, has more options and variety. Each time I played the whole group enjoyed it and many have purchased their own copy because it works great for anytime you have company over.
Published by: Mayday Games
Garbage Day was initially a game I thought looked uninteresting to me and would not be up my alley. After my first play I could not stop laughing from the fun and you can see some of the crazy turns in the video clips on my review. I would much rather play Garbage day then Janga or any other dexerity type game. The theme is funny and the game will provide for some memories.
Published by: Artana Games
Corrupted Kingdoms is a game I have seen develop since Origins 2015 and was happy to see it finally released at Gen Con 2016. Corrupted Kingdoms has players taking on the role of fantasy business leaders and trying to influence the various governments to pass laws that benefit them and their company. The game mixes area influence with social interaction and set collection to form a game that can be very cutthroat or nice depending how your group plays. Whenever I play this game, I think of the senate in Disgaea and trying to get bills passed. Corrupted Kingdoms is currently on my review schedule and should hopefully have a review posted soon. Till then I recommend giving the game a try and see for yourself the fun that can be had.