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What’s On Our Wishlist – March


Heroquest: David Ireland

This is a game that tugs on the old heartstrings for me as I was fortunate enough to play the original in the 90’s and as a family we briefly owned a set to which my brothers and I had a few games. Albeit, I do not know what happened to this particular set. It is one of those games that creates some feelings of nostalgia to simpler times, which seems bizarre with such a game, but that is what it does.

Heroquest is very much what it says on the tin. Set in a fantasy realm (typically dungeon like) you take a set of heroes on a quest to conquer evil. A game for two to five people, one to four players will take on the role of the heroes and it doesn’t get much more classic than this line up. A barbarian, a dwarf, an elf and a wizard. They must work together completing a series of quests against the player (dungeon master) controlling the forces of evil which include a variety of different monsters lurking in the shadows.

Heroes have varying abilities from melee, ranged and magical abilities and those monsters also have assorted ability. You could be forgiven for thinking this was some sort of D & D game but it is very visual and very much set up on a board. There is plenty of replay ability in this game with the opportunity in your gaming group to swap heroes among the players as well as swapping who plays the dungeon master. I feel now that I have become a parent this is the sort of game I would like my children to perhaps have a go at one day.

Plenty of replay ability with a lot going on within the game every time as well. Plus, the opportunity to expand the game with numerous additional expansion sets. Heroquest is on my Wishlist!

Toil & Troublez: Abigail Bradish

Now, this game won’t be the fanciest, most cutting edge and certainly not the biggest game on this list, however it is one that’s right up my street. Toil & Troublez by Grandpa Beck’s is one of their newer titles and has been on my radar for a good six months or so. With a magical enchanted forest theme with witches and wizards to boot, this game combines push your luck with set collecting and has the standard adorable illustrations we’ve come to expect with a Grandpa Beck’s game.

I already own a few of their titles such as Skull King and Reign of Dragoness (skulls, dragons and now witches? Yes I may have a certain gaming aesthetic!) but while these games are more about winning ‘tricks’ if you will, this is about collecting the most sets without scuppering yourself. For Toil & Troublez you’ll be placing cards into the centre of the table from the draw pile, trying to give yourself the best selection of cards to pick up at the end of your turn, but it’s up to you to decide when to stop and end your turn. While you may want to keep drawing for better cards, the cards drawn can only be placed if they meet certain criteria and the more you draw the slimmer that criteria gets. If you can’t meet the criteria, your turn ends immediately without picking up any of the point scoring cards. As always there are also special cards thrown in along the way with the point scorers to help or perhaps hinder you.

The whole game gives me a vibe of when you play pontoon and twist for a card, pushing your luck to get as close to 21 as you can, but how many times do you twist? Perhaps that’s where the idea came from as so often Grandpa Beck’s games are a variation on a classic card game! This dinky boxed game is exactly my jam as it will sit neatly amongst my many other games of a similar size… speaking of Jam I wonder what recipe grandma Beck will include with this game

Steven Gibney:

This month I’ve hosted a few groups of friends (celebrating my 30th birthday) and noticed that my collection lacks variety when it comes to games for larger groups. To remedy this situation a few party games have shot to the top of my wishlist. First is One Night Ultimate Werewolf which has players hunting down secret werewolves in a town while they try to avoid accusing (and murdering) innocent bystanders. I recall playing a simplified version of this game when I was at school and I imagine it will be just as fun now, especially since my mental age hasn’t matured much over the years. From what I’ve heard this game ticks all the boxes for a party game; easy to learn, fun to play and likely to lead to some hilariously awkward moments. Next on my list is the recent hit That's Not a Hat, which won numerous awards last year and has been recommended to me by multiple members of the Zatu blogging community. The game challenges your memory skills and ability to lie as players give gifts (cards with item icons drawn on them) to one another. Players must remember who gave what gift and what they have in front of them. If they can't remember they have to risk bluffing, but they may get called out by other players, receive penalty points and lose the game.

These types games may not have complex mechanics or in-depth stories like some heavy-weight games, but they usually have easy to learn rules and energetic social gameplay and, this month at least, that is the gap in my collection I want to try and fill.

Café Baras: Sophie Jones

One of my most anticipated games this year is Café Baras. Why? Because I am a sucker for themes and this one blends my two favourite things, coffee, and capybaras!

Café Baras is set to release soon and is a medium weight game lasting between 20-40 minutes. Made by the team that brought us Creature Comforts and Maple Valley you know the artwork will bring the cuteness levels. On top of that, players will be competing with one another to create the best coffee shop so they can attract customers.

Over a series of turns players will draft cards and then place them in their tableau. These will include food, drink, and decoration items. To use these cards players will have to spend coins. However, cards also have a serve action. At the bottom of each card there is a chalkboard which has a customer request on it. Instead of spending coins to add the card to your tableau you can serve a customer. If your coffee shop has the same matching food items, you will gain a coin per item.

If you manage to serve a customer and match 1 décor request, players tuck the card making them a regular. Regulars score 4 points at the end of the game. There are also special customers which anyone can pinch by meeting their order first! The end game triggers when one person gains a third regular or the last special guest is taken. Points are then toted up; you get points for regulars, special guests, coins, and café cards.

This game sounds right up my street. It has card drafting elements like Forest Shuffle, cute animals like Everdell and a marketplace system like Honey Buzz. I am so excited to add this to my collection as I am a fan of the mechanics and CAPYBARAS!

Jacob Dunkley:

I'm 40 in a couple of weeks so I've been thinking quite a bit about what games I might like for the big day. A few don't seem to have hit our shores yet like Zoo Vadis and Daybreak which I'm really looking forward to, as well as the second print run of Earthborne Rangers but for now I'm looking at some gaps in my collection that I would like to fill.

One is the Istanbul Big Box. I've played Istanbul a few times and own Istanbul the Dice Game which is a simpler more condensed version of Istanbul. My friend who owned the base game of Istanbul has since moved away and now I'm looking to pick up my own copy.

I love the simplicity of Istanbul, in the game you control one merchant and their four assistants. As you move around the board you drop off your assistants, or pick them up if you've left them behind on a previous turn, and perform the action on that tile.

You'll be picking up different goods, gambling on dice roles, drawing cards for bonus effects or expanding the capacity of your wheelbarrow holding the gooda. Once you have the required goods you can trading them in a race to be the first person to collect 5 rubies. I've not yet played the Big Box version of Istanbul but it contains all of the released expansions for the game which will definitely add to the replayability of the game.