A game that is appearing on my wishlist is something I played back in May 2022 in a game café up in Nottingham, after visiting a wedding venue (that I didn’t particularly like and hit my head on a steep staircase, in case you’re wondering). To soothe our disappointment, and because we had the day, we ambled into town and set about playing some games when I spotted something which has been evangelised by content creators for a long time. That game was Ex Libris, the game all about gathering books for a library and attempting to sort these into their shelves. However, it’s not quite as easy as that, as you and your assistants live in a magical world, full of secret objectives, forbidden books and fantastical titles. I really enjoyed my playthrough of the game and felt a little sad that it was likely to be the only chances I’d get to play since Ex Libris has been out of print for a few years… Until this October, where Renegade Games are publishing the second edition! This newer edition boasts a smaller box size, screen printed assistants, improved graphics on Location Tiles, some streamlining to the gameplay and removal of a central board in favour of Scoring Reference Tiles.
I really enjoyed Ex Libris and I’m really excited to see what is to come from the second edition. If you have the original, I don’t think you need the new one, but if you loved the first one and never had the privilege to own it, I think you’d better look out for the revised edition!
Wish Lists are a wonderful thing. It is a nice little reminder of what is coming and what I am excited about. I have a fairly big boardgame wishlist but I want to talk about a couple of specific things from my list, one expansion and one game.
First off is Ark Nova: Marine Worlds. This is an expansion to the very popular game Ark Nova. Ark Nova is currently sitting at No. 4 on the Boardgamegeek list and is a fabulous game. There is a fair amount going on in the game from hand management to tableau building to tile laying. I love building up my zoo, contributing to conservation projects and the combos that you can build. Marine Worlds gives more of the stuff that I like. More cards with sea animals and new enclosures, a new university and new action cards. All in all, more Ark Nova is never a bad thing. I just hope it does not bloat the card deck to the point of it being a problem.
On to an actual game now and this one is from Portal Games called Imperial Miners. I am generally a fan of games published by Portal Games. Empires of the North is probably my current favorite. Imperial Miners is a hand management and tableau building game. Players will be constructing a mine which somewhat resembles an upside down pyramid. Each time a card is added to your mine you activate the card and then follow a path up the mine, activating other cards in turn. I can see this creating some very interesting engine building/combo opportunities. There are also progress boards which are tracks to advance up to gain additional bonuses. Who doesn’t love a track? Imperial Miners, on the surface, appears to have decent replayability and creating satisfying combos always gives me a good kick. I am very excited for this one and can’t wait for this to be released. Fingers crossed it lives up to my expectations.
I had my birthday in September and was fortunate enough to be gifted a good few of the games I’d wanted for a while. That said, there are of course still games I would like but have not got, and I will tell you about two:
Number one is the new Exit advent calendar out this year: The Silent Storm. My partner and I have enjoyed the first two Exit advent calendars and I am eager to get my hands on another. There is something so cozy about working together on a little puzzle every day, all while also working towards the solution to the larger narrative. Having a daily bit of story to read reminds me of being in school during December when our teacher would read a chapter of a Christmas story each day. With The Silent Storm’s framing narrative of being locked in the Christmas workshop on your own during a storm and needing to find Santa, I fully expect this game to be the ideal way to build up my Christmas spirit.
The second game on my wishlist is Forbidden Jungle, the fourth installment in the Forbidden series. When Forbidden Sky came out in 2018, I fully expected that to be the end of the series. Where would be left to escape and fly off from once you’ve built a rocket ship? Yet, here we are five years later and going into the jungle - on a far off planet where we’ve crashed that same rocket ship! I know very little about the actual gameplay, I don’t want to be too spoiled, but I have loved every other game in the series and I cannot wait to see what obstacles this new location throws at us in our attempt to get out of there with our lives.
The current number of wishes on my list is two – Betrayal Legacy and Dune: War For Arrakis. It’s just those two as we’re trying to spend more time playing the games we have and not buying new ones constantly. It’s been a struggle to say the least!
My wife and I both love Betrayal at House on the Hill and were excited to see they offer a legacy edition for the game. This would be our first legacy game, and we look forward to the challenges and entertainment it’ll bring. What caught our attention the most was building the history of our own haunted house. We thought it would be an excellent idea to create the backstory to one of our favorite board games! We’re just waiting now for when the stars align to allow us the proper amount of time needed to dedicate ourselves to the game.
My second wish is the game I’m most excited for. An epic science fiction masterpiece is now getting a board game of equally epic proportions! I missed the Kickstarter for this one and I’m kicking myself for it. The game play sounds great (it’s done by the same creators of War of the Rings!) and looks like it’s on the scale of Star Wars: Rebellion, one of my favorite games. I’m a huge fan of long form board games so I’m in for the all day affair of playing to control the spice. Plus the figures look absolutely amazing! Who doesn’t want a giant sandworm figure?!
I don't often have Kickstarter FOMO remorse but I really regret not backing My Father's Work. In it, players are competing mad scientists, trying to be the first to complete their father's legacy in deranged experimentation. As a huge fan of Gothic literature, Hammer Horror and Mel Brooks, I have no idea why I didn't go for it at the time, but it's finally coming to retail - and the deluxe edition features the KS components also! I mean who doesn't want tiny flasks with stoppers? If you say no, you're lying and you know it. Sign me up to fulfill my destiny!
Now that's what's coming soon, but what's been lurking in my Wishlist for ages? Well, Bitoku for one thing. I am an old school card gamer and I've been looking for a more challenging hand builder/drafter. We have a lot of deckbuilders - particularly DC - and games where hand and deck construction interact with board mechanics to differing degrees such as Red Rising, Lost Ruins of Arnak and Dune Imperium all have a place on our shelves. But I'll admit that I've been put off by Bitoku's notorious setup and legendary complexity - I have to be mindful that I mostly play with my teenage sons - and Brass Birmingham was a step too far even for the elder spawn. But its aesthetic really appeals to me and I'm a bit of a sucker for a Japanese themed game any old day. Thematically it's actually a toss up between this and Iki, but I reckon I should be asking Santa to stick this in his sack.
Finally, I always have to think about the whole family, so I reckon I'm just going to pick up Oh Brother!, the expansion for Stuffed Fables. In this wonderful, whimsical game, you play a child's stuff toys protecting her from the broken, monstrous nightmares that lurk under the bed. It's adorable, yet with surprising depth and gorgeous sculpts. My daughter is 7 and loves it, and her older brothers enjoy the narrative/dungeon crawl vibe; the expansion adds new toys to protect the baby brother, including an Action Figure toy (he can't get the Stuffing - health - knocked out of him!) so that'll really help continue our adventures!