We're blessed with such a large variety of games within our hobby that you would be hard-pressed not to find a game suitable for any player, regardless of age or interests. I may have a soft-spot for heavy Euro games, but I'll never turn down a round of Rhino Hero! Here's a list of some of the most exciting upcoming games suitable for players of all ages.
Coming soon from Blue Orange Games, the company behind genius titles such as Kingdomino and Photosynthesis, is Shaky Manor. This inventive dexterity game pits players against each other, racing to get a series of objects to a particular room in a creepy haunted mansion.
Each player will hold in their trembling hands a 3D representation of the mansion, each with eight rooms. Scattered throughout the rooms are a number of meeples and other objects representing the mansion’s terrifying collection of ghosts, snakes, spiders, and eyeballs!
Players will have to tilt, shake, and rock their mansions, guiding the objects to specific rooms, in an attempt to fulfil five objective cards. The first player to gather all the ghastly ghouls and items is the winner!
The real-time panic of dexterity games are always a hit with kids, but this doesn’t mean the game is easy! Adults will have just as much fun trying to master this imaginative and tactile game of terror.
Fairy Tile is an adorable tile placement game from Iello Games. Popping with colour and charm, its tiles come to life as you take turns building the kingdom and guiding the Knight, Princess, and Dragon through a tabletop fairy tale.
The three inhabitants of this realm are depicted by lovingly designed miniatures which wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney movie. Each turn, players will place a tile and move one of the three figures, hoping to guide them to the spots indicated on their story book cards. This small deck of cards gradually weaves a story as each objective is fulfilled. Perhaps your tale foretells a meeting between the Knight and the Dragon atop a mountain? Have these figures meet on the right tiles and you complete the objective! The first player to satisfy all of their objectives and finish their story is the winner.
Along with the lovely miniatures, kids will also enjoy helping each other to create a magical map on the tabletop. Most tile laying games have this satisfying sense of building something, but the light hearted and magical theme in Fairy Tile should help younger players get to grips with this popular mechanic.
Older plays need not worry too much about the game’s apparent simplicity too. An element of strategy is needed to guide each of the realm’s three denizens, as they each move in a unique way. Meeting your objectives requires planning, but make sure you keep an eye on the other player’s moves!
Ice Cool 2
The popular penguin dexterity game is getting a sequel! Ice Cool received lots of praise when it first came out in 2016, wowing players with its tricky flicking gameplay and cute theme. Ice Cool 2 builds upon this by being both an expansion and a stand alone game at once!
Played on its own, Ice Cool 2 functions similarly to the original whilst adding a few new cards and a method for tournament scoring. Players will take turns being the hall monitor at this slippery penguin school, trying to catch the other naughty penguins from stealing all the fish before lunch! This is done by flicking your penguin around the halls, curving, sliding, and hopping to either stop your opponents or gather the fish!
What’s great about Ice Cool 2 is its ability to be combined with the original to create a giant game! Doing so will bump the player count up to eight as well as providing multiple new layouts and game modes for you to test your flicking skills.
With its cool, friendly theme and frantic but challenging gameplay, anyone can be guaranteed a great time with Ice Cool 2!
Magic Maze Kids
Belgian games publisher Sit Down! have recently announced an entry level re-imagining of their popular real-time game Magic Maze. Simply called Magic Maze Kids, the game takes the action away from the fantastical shopping mall of the original and places it into a labyrinthian forest.
Instead of controlling a group of fantasy characters out to rob a shopping centre, Magic Maze Kids will have players teaming up to gather ingredients in a quest to save their king who was accidentally turned into a frog!
The game will make use of a simple tutorial system, gradually easing young players into the mechanics over several levels. Gameplay remains largely the same, but this child friendly theme and adjustable difficulty will likely broaden the audience for Magic Maze as well as providing an experience different enough for owners of the original to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a way to teach kids the benefits of co-operation, or simply seeking the thrill of another real-time game then look out for Magic Maze Kids in the next couple of months!
Special Mention - My Little Scythe
Currently creeping back up the BoardGameGeek hotness chart, thanks to its well earned Golden Geek Award, is Hoby Chou’s family friendly re-imagining of Scythe. This colourful take on the highly praised area control game simplifies some of the original’s mechanics and casts players as one of the loveable ponies.
Originally a personal project of Chou’s, My Little Scythe was eventually released as a free print-and-play game through his website. A recent announcement from Chou has hinted at further developments to his game come May of this year. It’s unknown whether this delightful spin on Jamey Stegmaier’s hit game will ever see official licensing and retail, but here’s hoping!