Jacob Dunkley - General Orders
One of my favourite series of games over the past few years is Undaunted. I’ve played tense campaigns of North Africa and Normandy in these fantastic WW2 deck building games and have just started a campaign of Stalingrad which has been absolutely amazing so far. With these games David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin have created something that shouldn’t even work on paper, a war themed deck building game, and deliver an absolutely incredible experience. These games are tight, tense and make you feel engaged in the scenarios you are playing without any of the games themselves taking too long to set up or play.
When I heard that the same pair of designers were going to be delivering a WW2 worker placement game as their next offering, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. General Orders is a small box, 2 player only game that allows you to compete in a tug of war game over either the mountains of Europe or the islands of the Pacific using a combination of cards and placing workers in an attempt to control spaces. I really like the stylised art of General Orders which doesn’t have the same gritty look as other games in the genre,
I’m really hoping that General Orders game can deliver a game that delivers worker placement to a genre that it just shouldn’t work in the same way as Undaunted has delivered a stellar deck building system to the same genre in a way it shouldn’t have any right to do so.
David Ireland - Wacky Races
This game captures the inner child within me without doubt. I’m not even close to old enough to have watched this on TV when it originally aired in 1968, but as a child of the 90’s, loved watching re runs of this Hanna-Barbera production with my brothers. Something about this very simple cartoon of 11 racers, all with their unique vehicle competing over different terrains each episode for glory. 1 racer being that notorious villain, Dick Dastardly, with his sidekick, Muttley. This team, rather than focussing on the race were obsessed with ruining it for the other racers, which more often than not, resulted in their plans hilariously backfiring on them. My brothers and I would often cry with laughter at this slapstick humour.
Which is what I would hope this game brings to the table top. Given the game has been produced by CMON that gives me reassurance there is a quality game within the box. Having played Zombicide and Marvel United by them, 2 games I love, I would hope for a good standard of game here.
Having a quick glance at what the game is about, for 2-6 players where you can control any of the 10 racers (Never Dick Dastardly and the Mean Machine) all of which bring something unique and individual to the race. I like the sound of that in a racing game where all players are a little different. First one over the finish line simply wins and there are different racing options contained within it. In classic CMON style the game controls an element of it and here the game has its own set of rules for our favourite villain, Dick Dastardly, I would be fascinated to see how he might just spoil the day…
This game is another firmly locked into the Wishlist and with 2 young children growing all too fast, it will come home one day and I look forward to sharing something I loved as a child with them.
Harvey Brewer - Planted
As the days begin to get shorter, the weather (unbelievably) gets worse, and we start down the slippery slope towards Christmas (where has the time gone!), I’m already starting to curate my list of board games with which I will bother my relatives for the next two months. Tragically, the excuse of Santa doesn’t seem to work so well anymore, and so I often find my list growing smaller each year. This year, I was intending to get ahead of the game with my requests, and so when the chance to tell a whole load of people what I wanted for Christmas came up, I was all in. So without further ado, the game on my wishlist - Planted!
One of my guilty pleasures when it comes to gaming is aesthetics – I’m a great advocate for not judging a book by its cover, but all the same, you’ll often find me gazing longingly at a game I’ve just spotted that has particularly beautiful cover art without even picking it up! I keep houseplants for the same reason, so a game that combines all of these things into one sounds pretty great to me! Better still, it is designed by the legendary Phil Walker-Harding (think Sushi Go, Barenpark), which is a sure sign that the game you’re getting will be of very high quality in its design and execution!
An element of Planted which really interests me is the resource management used in conjunction with your growing collection of plants. From an outsider’s perspective, it appears to add a really nice layer of depth to the game which is something I look for when choosing what to play as I think it keeps the game fresh. I’m also curious about the tool-cards you can use – being an avid player of games like Sagrada, I think tool-cards add a layer of depth that’s otherwise quite hard to achieve.
I really could ramble on for hours about everything I like about Planted having not even played it, which I think indicates my premonitions may be right! Looks like I’ll have to ask Santa!
Melissa King - Apiary
I love this time of the year - colder, darker evenings make for perfect board game weather and with both Christmas and my birthday fast approaching, I finally get the opportunity to cut down my wishlist by asking for games that I haven’t yet got round to getting myself! In all honesty, usually what happens is I also continue to buy games for myself, and replace them on my list with more games - it’s a never ending cycle really!
One game on my wishlist that “hive” been so excited about (that I don’t think I can wait to the end of the year for!) is Apiary. Published by board game giants Stonemaier - who we have to thank for incredible games such as Wingspan and Scythe - Apiary is a Sci-fi, worker placement game for 1-5 players. Players are tasked with leading a faction of highly evolved honey bees on their mission to develop the galaxy’s most prosperous hive. Yes, you read that right, this is a game about SPACE BEES! In all honesty, the sweet concept of the game alone was enough to lure me in, but after reading such stellar reviews from people who have already been lucky enough to play this game, I truly bee-lieve that Apiary will be a massive hit when it officially releases.
Apiary looks set to be a game which could quickly become a favourite in our house. It comes with beautifully crafted wooden tokens, a reversible game board to allow you to adjust for the number of players, individual player hive mats and cute little bee shaped hibernation pods. Safe to say, I am absolutely buzzing to get my hands on a copy!
Victor Rios Faria - Forest Shuffle
I am personally a big fan of card games with simple rules and lots of strategies, and I have games like Arboretum, Hanamikoji, Battle Line and Honshu among my all-time favourites. The elegant way they all turn a bunch of cards into hundreds of paths to victory is magnificent.
Forest Shuffle seems to be the most recent shinning baby in this category. Since its release, the game has caught my attention exactly for being a card game with simple rules and mechanics. The animal/forest theme is a bonus to which I confess having a weak spot as well.
The game is based mainly on set collection and combos among different animals, trees, bushes and mushrooms. The variety is big and there is no single path to victory, even though some combinations may look stronger for specific player counts. Even though direct player interaction is non-existent, the game offers good opportunities to mess with your friends’ strategies by discarding or picking the right cards in the right time. The uncertainty around the winter cards, which trigger the end of the game, adds some spice to the strategy: should I play the card that gives me the highest amount of points right now or do I have enough time to set up a future power play? All these possibilities are very exciting to think about and definitely place the game at the top of my wishlist.
I would recommend anyone looking for a friendly and simple game to take a look at Forest Shuffle. It has a huge potential to provide you with hour and hours of tension and fun!