As far as summary of previous year is concerned, I had a chance to present to the Dear Readers The Boardgames Chronicle 2020 most often played games as well as My blog in 2020 – analysis. My blog colleagues often share the new games they had a chance to play and familiarize with so taking this great example I would like to have a look what new positions hit my table in 2020 (for reference, see the cult of new to my by Dave).
My statistics show that in 2020 of 61 games played, 19 were new to me. Similarly, out of ~300 sessions, ~100 were connected to the new titles. It seems then that roughly one-third of all my time spent on boardgames is devoted to discovering unknown positions. Seems about right – good balance of old classics and new challenges 🙂
Let me focus on some most prominent new titles of 2020 for The Boardgames Chronicle. I will do a brief intro to the title, under which circumstances I had chance to get the game plus my impressions. At the end you will find the list of all novelties on my shelf 🙂
Wingspan from Stonemaier Games (20 plays)
Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game. So who you are? A bird enthusiasts – researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors – seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). The winner is the player with the most points after 4 rounds. Sounds simple? Oh, believe me, it is not. The game is deep, interesting and thrilling.
I got this game in the beginning of 2020. The idea was to find something lighter, which I can play with my wife and not-so-hardcore boardgame friends. I can tell you – having in mind how 2020 looked like – that was a perfect choice and a wonderful coincidence. Long days of initial lockdown, spent only with the closest family, were not an easy time. Titles like Wingspan really cheered us up and helped to move through that period.
The game was also a blast within our friends – not only it is beautiful, but also very re-playable, interesting and builds in the player willingness to try again and do better. Plus it has a really good solo mode. In its class this is definitely a title to recommend!
More about game:
Imperial Struggle from GMT Games (13 plays)
My wargame discovery of the year. A long awaited spiritual successor to the Twilight Struggle finally arrived during vacations. It is a two-player game depicting the 18th-century rivalry between France and Britain. It covers almost 100 years (from 1697 till 1789), touching war, political, economical and diplomacy aspects.
Unlike most Card Driven games, here you choose from common pool of investment tiles and only sometimes supplement it with event. Once you play event, it is removed from the game permanently. The player’s order is not fixed, and depends on VPs position. The action points come in three types – diplomacy, military and economy – and can only be used for that purposes. Last but not least, there are six Peace and four War turns,
I wrote a lot about the title so I will not go deeper in mechanics. Still, I would like to underline how well-designed that game is, how deep, re-playable and beautiful. I was lucky to play it twice live (have my own copy) and it really makes a great impression on you. Then with another forced lockdown, I met fantastic friends in 2020 Imperial Struggle VASSAL Tournament and had many sessions online. That one I can very strongly recommend to any fan of conflict simulation games!
More about game:
Commands & Colors Tricorne from Compass Games (11 plays)
A year without a new game or new expansion in my favorite Commands & Colors series? No way! That time I have chosen the Tricorne – The American Revolution. The game introduces many new game concepts, which will add historical depth and provide even the most veteran Commands & Colors player many new play experiences and challenges. What is interesting, anybody familiar with other C&C games, will soon note that unit combat losses in a Tricorne game are typically not as great as other games covered in the C&C series. This is a direct result of the linear tactic fighting style of the armies that fought during the American Revolution. Unit morale is the main thematic focus in a Tricorne battle as it was historically. Knowing that an entire unit, that has only taken minimal losses when forced to retreat, may actually break and rout from the battlefield, will definitely keep players on the edge of their command chairs during an entire battle.
That was definitely a refreshing C&C title and a very accurate representation of mid-eighteenth century warfare. Focus here is on morale of troops not destroying them and even elite unit, supported by leader, can still rout! I really like it and will be for sure playing more!
More about game:
Clank! from Renegade Game Studios (8 plays)
On one hand that was another inspiration from Dave, on the other – my wonderful birthday present. In the tons of wargames I play and purchase, it is good to also have titles witch are quick and enjoyable for the whole family. And a combination of dungeon-crawler and deck -building mechanism is a great idea!
During the game, you have two goals: retrieve an Artifact token and escape the dragon by returning to the place you started, outside of the dungeon and accumulate enough points with your Artifact and other loot to beat out your opponents and earn the title of Greatest Thief in the Realm!
I can tell you, this is really a fun game although you need to plan your deck and where you go to survive. Depending on expansion – and I have two – the map can be very demanding, with tons of monsters and traps or a slightly easier one but a very thematic. The conclusion is simple – this is great family title which can give also a lot of challenge to experienced boardgamers! Definitely try it!
More about game:
Below table with full set of new-to-me games in 2020. Except for the mentioned above, I really enjoy the 18XX series – this was my first time when I finally had possibility to familiarize with the series. SpaceCorp was a great discovery, D-Day at Omaha Beach a fantastic solo experience while Shores of Tripoli and Caesar: Rome vs Gaul – superb Card Driven Games.
|Game||Publisher||# of plays|
|Imperial Struggle||GMT Games||13|
|Commands and Colors Tricorne||Compass Games||11|
|Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure||Renegade Game Studios||8|
|Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea||GMT Games||6|
|White Eagle Defiant||Hollandspiele||5|
|Battle Line||GMT Games||5|
|Agricola, Master of Britain||Hollandspiele||4|
|D-Day at the Omaha Beach||Decision Games||3|
|Versailles 1919||GMT Games||3|
|Red Alert||PSC Games||3|
|18MS & 18Chesapeak||All-Aboard Games||3|
|Shores of Tripoli||Fort Circle Games||2|
|Stuffed Fables||Plaid Hat Games||2|
|Caesar: Rome vs Gaul||GMT Games||2|
|Pandemic: Fall of Rome||Asmodee||2|
I hope to play many more new, interesting games in 2021. An article about it is already being prepared!