Every year so many new games are released it is hard to get some of the older games to the table. Sure, some of the top games of the past five or 10 years might hit the table occasionally, but most sit quietly un-played gathering dust.
However, there's hope! Over the last couple of years, more of those older games have received new editions, re-installments or a re-implementation. Beyond simply a reprint, these games recycle the goodness from the past into updated games.
They usually have better components, polished rules and sometimes even new mechanisms. Then there are those that expand the universe of the previous games and are games in their own right, not just expansions.
So, here are my four most anticipated New Editions, Re-installments, and Re-implementations coming in 2018.
#4 - A Nice Cup of Tea
Released in 2012, Snowdonia is a game about building the mountain railway to the top of Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. It uses a worker placement mechanic to build the track, construct stations and excavate up the mountain.
Built into the game is a weather mechanism which affects the amount of building available on a turn. This takes some planning, especially when rain or fog is on the horizon. Events sometimes occur when refilling resources each turn. These can push the game along a little faster than players may want, by clearing rubble or building the track.
A Nice Cup of Tea is a game that uses many of the same mechanisms from Snowdonia but is set instead in the Indian state of West Bengal. Like the earlier game, players build a mountain railway, this time from Darjeeling to the summit at Ghum. It's also a Worker Placement game and has the same weather planning system.
However, unlike Snowdonia, A Nice Cup of Tea is also about farming tea to give workers a boost to their actions. There is a tea garden building aspect of the game which I imagine will gain players bonus victory points. I am looking forward to reliving the Snowdonia experience in a new game.
#3 - Century: Eastern Wonders
One of my top five games of 2017, Century: Spice Road is a great game. I was excited to discover it was to be the first in a trilogy of games and that all three games could be played together in a larger hybrid game. This would surely get all the games to the table more often and sounds like a lot of fun.
The original game put players into the roles of caravan leaders. These leaders visited vendors and merchants on their treks across the eastern continents to find just the right blend of spices. The simple mechanics made the game an instant hit among both long-time gamers and people new to the hobby.
Thankfully, Century: Eastern Wonders is not just more of the same, and this time there's a modular board. On each turn, players move their boat and pay resources depending on the number of tiles they move through. They can build markets on tiles to allow market actions in later turns. And building a certain number of markets across the land, earns bonus points.
Like the first episode, the game is about gaining victory points, but this time at various ports around the play area. It looks to be as simple to get into as Spice Road, which in turn will hopefully make it another excellent gateway game.
#2 - Thunderstone Quest
The original Thunderstone came out in 2009 and was re-implemented by Thunderstone Advance in 2012. In 2018, a brand new game based on the original is due to hit the stores.
Thunderstone is a fantasy deck-building game in the style of Dominion. Thunderstone casts players in the role of adventurers delving into a dungeon seeking one of the famed Thunderstones. To do this, they must equip themselves with weapons and spells, to battling hideous creatures in the darkness.
Thunderstone added role-playing style gameplay to the Deck Building genre. Players can hire retainers, such as warriors and priests, and earn experience during encounters, allowing these retainers to gain levels. This makes for some interesting decisions during the game, 'Do I hire another fighter or delve into the dungeon with what I have in my hand?' Thunderstone Advance polished these rules and made them more accessible.
Now, Thunderstone Quest is due to bring new game modes to the table, expanding the storytelling aspect of the game. They plan to do this with scenarios that have mini- adventure and a storybook which describes the journey players take in their quests.
While it's unlikely these changes will allow Thunderstone Quest to be backward compatible with the other Thunderstone Quests, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The emphasis on quests pushes the game into an even more role-playing direction and no doubt, a lot of fun.
#1 - Endeavor: Age of Sail
When Endeavor came out in 2009, it was the talk of many gaming groups, hitting the table regularly. In turn, it also quickly became one of my favourite games of all time. It brought both excitement and sadness when I heard a second edition was in the works. Excitement that this game might have new mechanics and gameplay; but sadness that I would have to replace my old favourite.
Endeavor is a game of exploration, where players sail the seas of the world occupying cities and establishing trade routes. Players slowly construct buildings in their capital to enable various actions to be performed each round. However, it is wise building construction and city occupation that will allow for the production of culture and finance. These build an engine that determine the number of workers available in each round.
While Endeavor isn't a war game, there was always the opportunity to fire an occasional volley of canons. This helped to take cities and to form juicy trade routes for the increase a nation's culture.
Endeavor: Age of Sail promises a double-sided board for different player counts, new player boards, and new art. And, Exploits bring new rules into play when two different regions open for trade. There will be a number of exploits available overall, but only three in each game. They seek to provide more historical flavour to the game by adding increased focus on the appropriate regions.
An example was the first revealed exploit. ‘The Spanish Main,’ allows players to fortify their cities as the Spanish did on the coast of North and South America.
2018 looks like another year rich in new board gaming as well as new editions of old board games. Either way, it's a win for the hobby.