The pandemic affected board games as well. Factories stopped production, borders were closed, stores didn’t serve customers, and the releases of new products were delayed. We will continue to feel this in 2021 – many plans may not be fulfilled in time.
On the other hand, self-isolation has reminded us how great board games are as a hobby. They’re waiting for you on a shelf at any time, can keep the whole family entertained, and some are great to play even alone. So at least a small shelf with board games comes in handy at every home! Take a look at the upcoming releases in 2021 – and stock up on exciting games in advance, because who knows what lies ahead…
The most anticipated board game of 2021. The full-length sequel of Gloomhaven sends us to the northern borders of the world, to a small frontier settlement.
The contents of the box are comparable to the first game: 16 new characters, over 20 enemies, over 100 items, and a hundred missions. In addition to opening new locations, the heroes will need to rebuild the desolate Frosthaven: construct buildings, stick them on the map and thus open up new possibilities (creating weapons, potions, and more).
Lost Ruins of Arnak
This game made most of the noise at the exhibitions in 2020. It has attracted attention not only with its exciting combination of mechanics (placing workers, deck building, and resource management) but also with its remarkable design and theme.
Players will explore a mysterious island where traces of a vanished civilization have been discovered. There are very few conflicts between players, and the rules are not too complicated, so the board game is suitable for the family or the company of non-geeks. But for advanced players, the developers promise tactical depth and different strategies to achieve victory.
Descent: Legends of the Dark
In October, Fantasy Flight Games announced the next game in the popular Descent series – but immediately clarified that this is not the third edition but rather a relaunch.
In the huge box (and this is only the first one of the three announced), there will be 40 hero and monster figures and 46 volumetric landscape elements. Weapon cards will become double-sided, and weapons can be created and customized between scenarios. There are no more classes in the game; each hero will be unique and different from the others.
After the presentation, players were divided into two camps. Some can’t wait to try the new features and twist the volumetric decorations in their hands. Others complain that the price of the box is not reasonable ($175). As we can see, a lot of disputes broke out because of the new design.
Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition
Reissue of the 2012 board game “Civilization” in a new design and two additions in the same box. Players will start with a small settlement, turn it into a great empire, learn new technologies, discover and explore lands, and defeat military conflicts with barbarians and neighbors.
“Monumental Edition” turns an already big game into a true epic. The box is filled with cardboard and plastic: nations and leaders, warriors on horses, elephants, ships, cities, temples, ports, observatories, wonders of the world… And all of this you need to manage during the gameplay! The authors consider the laconic rules with no unnecessary nuances and an incredible variety of development strategies to be special advantages of the “Clash of Civilizations.”
Aeon’s End is about magicians from a post-apocalyptic world defending a city from monsters, and the cards in the deck are their spells. Meanwhile, the reset deck isn’t shuffled here, and players can decide the card’s order while picking new ones from the market. That means you can play strong combinations without the fear of missing an essential card.
The basic box contains eight characters, four bosses, and nine types of cards. But the original game has already been enriched with numerous additions and a sequel with Legacy mechanics.
Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
This strategy about 19th-century Afghan leaders managed to break into the top 100 of BoardGameGeek last year. The first thing that catches the eye is its unusual design: a fabric playing field and plaster block figures. On the map of Afghanistan, the interests of Russia, Britain, and the Afghans themselves converge as they try to use the powerful empires for their purposes.
The game features more than 100 maps with illustrations and historical references. The game’s author, Cole Wehrle, is a scholar who has a dissertation on Victorian literature; he carefully examines historical documents when working on the games. The maps are where the main gameplay occurs: by purchasing them from the market and laying them out in a row, players create armies, build new paths and gain access to other actions.
Bloodborne: The Board Game
No, this isn’t a re-release of the 2016 card game – it’s a new game, with its field and miniatures. Like the video game of the same name, you enter the grim city of Yharnam, where a mysterious epidemic rages, turning the inhabitants into horrible monsters. Players act as hunters who try to reveal the secret of the ongoing events.
The fighting system is based on the deck-building card engine, but you will need to find your own approach to each enemy. And even death is not the end for the hunter. Returning to the same nightmare after a rest, you may find that previously defeated opponents have been revived, and the Blood Moon has risen even higher, spreading madness to the remotest corners of the city.
The fresh Eurogame from Stefan Feld, creator of “The Castles of Burgundy” and “Bruges,” takes us to a distant planet, where we need to light the mystical fires. For this, we will travel around the islands, collect resources, create portals, communicate with mysterious guardians, and hire helpers, big-eared dwarves. Bonfire’s design is wonderful: fires flare up on the players’ semicircular tablets, while in the center lies a field with resources and islands. The game is one of the top 5 most anticipated games at Essen Spiel on the BoardGameGeek website.