Essen 2016 is here! We may not be there but, by jingo, by George, we are still excited about all of the new games that are coming. We have looked through as many of the 700-800 games that will be at the show as we could and came up with a list of games that we are the most excited about. Did we miss your favorite? Speak up! Let us know which games you are most excited about in the comments.

SHUCK

The Colonists – Tim Puls – Mayfair Games/Lookout Games

I like Worker Placement games, probably not as much as Gary, but I do prefer it to many other mechanisms. I also enjoy when a theme is tied in with said mechanism. This was very true of Agricola and in some sense The Colonists reminds me a lot of that game. What caught my attention here is that the action you place your meeple on determines further actions on your turn. This is because your meeple can only walk from place to place in the colony. This seems very thematic to me and I can’t wait to try it. Lords of Xidit let me down with this so I have high hopes for this one. Another thing I like about the Worker Placement is something I really liked about Trobils, and that is you can use the same spot as someone else. Instead of bumping a meeple off the space, though, you have to pay them. I love this idea. Open-ended Worker Placement with consequence. Bring it on! Anyway, this game has a fairly high price tag on it and interaction is limited but I really want to try this one out.

Raise Your Goblets – Tim Paige – CMON/Horrible Games

The first thing I thought when I saw this game was, “I want to record a microbrew of this!” The plastic Goblets with “wine” jewels in them just look amazing. I would expect as much from Cool Mini or Not. So basically, this is a party game. Everyone’s given a target to kill which is visible to all. You are wanting to kill this person by poisoning their drink while trying to survive via antidotes in yours. The fun lies in the constant moving around of goblets amongst those sitting at the table. This looks like a quick game that will have everyone laughing. I’m excited to get this one to the table.

Dream Home– Klemens Kalicki – Asmodee/Rebel

This is a game that immediately grabbed my attention because of the theme. My wife is an interior designer and so I was hoping this might be a game she would really enjoy. The cutesy artwork also makes it very family friendly which notched its way to the top this year. In this game, you are drafting pairs of cards (or rooms) to place (or build) in your house. At the end of the game, you’ll get points based on certain combinations of rooms and/or furnishings. This is a game that will certainly be compared to Best Treehouse Ever. It’s probably a bit lighter but the production is better in my opinion. I don’t mind the simplicity of it, though. If this is a game my family will enjoy it has two of my favorite mechanisms so I’m good.

GARY

Great Western Trail – Alexander Pfister/Stronghold Games

Alexander Pfister – check. Stronghold/Eggertspiele – check. Cool Theme – check.

Honestly, that’s all it takes for this one to make it to my anticipation list. Pfister had an amazing year last year with Mombasa, Isle of Skye and Broom Service. I’ve only played the first two in that list, but anything he puts his name on will at least get my attention at this point from now on. This one sees players guiding their cowboys to Kansas City in order to sell cattle to various cities in the United States. Along the way, they can interact with various buildings to buy cattle, upgrade train stations and remove hazards from the trail. I really like the idea of each player starting with an identical cattle deck and then upgrading and altering their own deck through various mechanisms throughout the game.

The Flow of History – Jessi Li/Moaideas Game Design

This one looks like a fun civ game in a smaller package. Coming it at only 67 cards I don’t imagine this one is too heavy, but looking at the rulebook it seems to allow quite a bit to be done with each card. You can snipe cards your opponent is building, so there may a nice “take that” element to this game. I think this game is going to pack quite a bit of game inside a small box.

A Feast for Odin – Uwe Rosenberg/ Z-Man Games

Anytime Uwe Rosenberg comes out with a new game it gets some attention. I’m excited about this one, but I’m also wondering if this is the game where gamers start to get a little fatigued with Rosenberg’s game design. A Feast for Odin seems to incorporate some of the spatial elements of Patchwork (and Cottage Garden which is also getting an Essen release), with the worker placement elements of most of his big box games. I have a feeling he will be able to keep things fresh and cover enough new ground with this one to keep the Uwe faithful coming back.

BRIAN

The Oracle of Delphi – Stephan Feld – Tasty Minstrel Games

Zeus has started a competition with the winner getting a trip to Olympus to hang out with the Pantheon. As an intrepid adventurer, you immediately take him up on it by consulting with the Oracle of Delphi – your dice. Stephan Feld’s newest game is a mixture of dice rolling action selection and pick up and deliver to complete Zeus’ twelve challenges and win the competition. Combine all of these things with variable set up and ships that can be outfitted differently and you’ve got my attention. Feld hasn’t let me down yet.

Peak Oil -Tobias Gohrbandt, Heiko Günther – 2Tomatoes/Leder Games

Being that Powergrid and Acquire were some of my first experiences in the hobby games of economics and markets have always intrigued me. In Peak Oil, you are an oil company trying to prepare for a future where oil is not the main fuel source for the world. To do this you must get as much out of the remaining oil reserves as possible and invest in new types of energy. It is a worker placement game with a twist – you must have the most workers at a location to take its action. Interesting. Add to that very interesting black and white aesthetic and you’ve got me interested.

Inis – Christian Martinez – Matagot Games/Pegasus Spiele

This game is said to be the spiritual successor to Cyclades and Kemet so it immediately got my attention. In Inis, you are trying to become…well…Inis, or King of the Island. The game features multiple victory conditions, an intriguing card drafting system, and a really cool looking map you build from tiles. I am really looking forward to trying this one out, despite the cover artwork.