Fall is here again and that means cooler weather, chili, and, of course, board games. It’s also the time that the board gaming world turns its attention to the Spiel gaming faire in Essen, Germany – where many new games will be released. That means it’s time for us to look through the giant list of games on BGG that will be there and give you our picks. What are we excited about this year? Read on to find out.


Grease Monkey Garage | Fedor Sosnin | Board Game Circus

Friend of the Pub, Fedor Sosnin, has a new game coming out at Essen this year and we couldn’t be more excited for him. If you missed it, we featured a playtest of his game on YouTube a while back. Grease Monkey Garage is an entry level spatial Worker Placement game where everyone is managing shared workers on a modular shop board with limited resources. It has an interesting mechanism where everyone is moving the same workers to gain actions, in addition to their personal specialists, to work on the cars being dropped off at the garage. It reminds us of a lighter Istanbul style game. Anyway, if you’re going to Essen stop by his booth and let him know the Pub says “Hi!” and don’t forget to grab a copy, you won’t be disappointed.


Last Year’s Recap:

  • Clans of Caledonia was all the hype. We managed to get the Pub together to play Gary’s copy and it did not disappoint. It’s a great game that we all seemed to enjoy. The player board was pretty much everything I wanted it to be.
  • Scythe: the Wind Gambit & Neuroshima Hex: Iron Gang I’ve not played either of these yet, but I did put my money where my mouth is and ended up purchasing both of these expansions.
  • Harvest managed to fall off my want list. It’s not that I don’t like the game, but when am I ever going to play this when I could just play Agricola instead?

The River | Sébastien Pachon & Ismaël Perrin | Days of Wonder

The River is a worker placement, exploration game where you’ll be pioneering along a river bed, collecting resources, and constructing buildings. So, I mean, it’s Days of Wonder, right!? Each year they have their big reveal of the one fantabulous game they’ve been working on all year. Well, this one looks pretty good. That’s an understatement when it comes to Days of Wonder production quality. There’s never a lot of information on their annual release but this one looks like a lighter, more family-friendly version of The Colonists; which was my top 2016 Essen release and currently sitting at #4 in my all-time rankings. I doubt this will beat out Colonists for me but it’s nice having family weight games similar to your heavy favorites.

1st & Roll | Stephen Glenn | R&R Games

I missed out on R&R’s 1st & Goal back in 2011. It’s a dice rolling football game that had many expansions which added unique teams with custom dice. As a native Texan, I love me some football. 1st & Goal has been touted as one of the best football simulation board games of all time but one of the biggest complaints is that it can overstay its welcome. Fast forward to Essen 2018, 1st & Roll is going to be their sequel to the original game. Now it should play in half the time which has made me very interested.

King of Tokyo: Anubis | Richard Garfield | IELLO

I’m a sucker for all things King of Tokyo/New York. Instead of expansions, IELLO has moved onto releasing individual Monster packs. These contain one monster and a new mechanism. This is the third in the series and I’m pretty stoked about it! It’s the first time a new die has been added to the base game (other than some orange dice). The fate die adds another layer of press your luck, giving you a bonus or penalty based on the active curse. Curses can also change by rolling the fate die. I really like how thematic this is to the monster being released and I will no doubt be getting it.


Europa Universalis: The Board Game | Eivind Vetlesen | Aegir Games

As a fan of 4X style games, I’ve long wanted to try the computer version of Europa Universalis but have never had the time to devote to it since my spare time is spent mostly around board games. But now that it is becoming a board game (with a manageable playtime – the first iteration was too long) I may actually get to play it! Europa Universalis is a historical game based in, you guessed it, Europe as it begins the age of discovery. From what I have seen and read there are many viable paths to victory as you lead your nation to become the greatest empire.

Cerebria: The Inside World | Multiple Designers | Mindclash Games

Mindclash Games has a very strong track record in my estimation. Both Trickerion and Anachrony are great games and Cerebria is their next release. I followed the Kickstarter campaign but did not back it. I am still excited to try it and see if it has a place in my collection. In Cerebria, you take on the role of emotions in a person’s mind competing to dominate. It reminded me of Pixar’s Inside Out but with a little Tim Burton twist. I’m really excited to play this unique area control game!

Forum Trajanum | Stefan Feld | Stronghold Games

It seems that a Stefan Feld game often graces my lists with its presence. As a fan of Roman history, Forum Trajanum caught my eye before I even knew he was the designer. In the game, players take on the role of governors in the Roman Empire trying to build their cities while also supporting Emperor Trajan’s building projects. I love the idea of having your own area to work on while having to contribute to a shared area as well. Sign me up.


Captains of the Gulf | Jason Dinger | Spielworxx

The first published game by designer Jason Dinger, Captains of the Gulf is a hand management, pick-up and deliver game set in the Gulf of Mexico. Players take the role of the titular ship captains and use their hand of cards, each of which has multiple uses on your player board such as adding crew members or upgrading your boat or can be used out of your hand when fishing. Dinger is someone who we’ve had some contact with at the Pub (He contacted us after finding our DIY videos on YouTube), and I first heard about the game when I heard him talk about it in an interview on the Heavy Cardboard podcast. Spielworxx is a publisher that I pay attention to, so when I found out that they’d picked up his game my interest was piqued even more. I’m looking forward to learning more about this one and hopefully get a chance to play it in the coming months.

1918 Death on Rails | Aigar Alaveer, Martti Lauri | 2D6.EE

A block war game that takes place during the Estonian War for Independence, which is a conflict I know nothing about other than what I learned reading up on this game. I like the idea of playing a game set in a conflict that (at least to my admittedly limited knowledge) has not been the setting for many other war games. Looking at the rulebook and the few comments on BGG from those who have gotten their hands on a copy at earlier conventions it appears that this is an introductory level block wargame with smaller maps and a very unique unit with the inclusion of a cardboard train piece that the Estonian’s get to use in some scenarios. As I’ve only dipped my toes into the block wargame scene, this one seems to be right up my alley. I’ll definitely be looking for any reviews or impressions from the seasoned wargamers out there.

Pax Transhumanity | Matt Ecklund | Sierra Madre Games

The future Pax Transhumanity paints is much different than the dystopian one often portrayed in movies and other media. According to the publisher in a BGG post, the game will be about “idea development” and feature a central market much like other Pax games I believe. I’ve long been interested in the series (I actually own Pax Pamir but have yet to get it to the table), and the theme for this game seems fresh and, from what I understand of them, the changes to the Pax system seem pretty interesting. Apparently, there are no hands or personal tableaus as in the other games in the series and the idea of ideas opening the doors to further areas of study or research just seems really cool and thematic. This one just seems like one to watch and with a Kickstarter launching right after Essen for this game and Pax Emancipation, we should have plenty of information about it in the near future.