If there’s one thing summer brings beyond warmer temperatures, summer vacations and trips to the local ice cream shop that we patiently look forward to, it’s game conventions. It has become a family tradition over the past few years to pass on visiting a beach or historic location to participate in our own version of relaxation – playing games with family and friends.
A few weeks ago we started off with a visit to Geekway to the West, a board game convention with over 2,500 attendees all there for one thing – to play games! If you’re ever in the St. Louis area in May, it is something you have to check out. It is arguably the best game-playing convention in the U.S. because it is solely focused on the play – not vendors, not events…just sitting down with friends or strangers and trying out the latest, greatest games.
Next week begins the second-largest game convention, Origins Game Fair in Columbus, OH, and one that many game publishers delay their new game offerings until they can make their debut there. Once again SahmReviews will make the trek across the Midwest to preview the scores of new titles for sale and even get a sneak peek at some yet to be released! Last year we scooped all the major game-industry sites by getting inside information on the Alchemists expansion, saw a prototype of Codenames Pictures and played early versions of a couple Steve Jackson Games titles! There’s no telling what we’ll discover and report on this year!
Of course we’re excited to see what new games have finally made their way to the convention and are ready to be purchased for the first time at Origins Game Fair. We polled all of the game companies we’ve presented in the past, and they provided an extensive list of brand new titles available at Origins for the first time! Although our list has well over 35 brand new games for this one event, we know there are quite a few more that are still under wraps because companies weren’t sure if they’d hit the shores in time for opening day.
If you’re headed to Origins Game Fair, you’ll want to look through this list and start making plans on which booth(s) to visit early to get your copy before they run out. If you’re not one of the fortunate ones to be attending in person, don’t fret – this list simply means these games are as close to being on the shelves of your local game store (or Amazon) as possible! Here is the first half of an alphabetical listing of companies and the games they are debuting at the Origins Game Fair!
1754 Conquest – The French & Indian War
The year is 1754 and France and Britain have thriving colonies in North America. New England expands west into the Ohio River Valley, while France protects their American territorial claims by building a chain of forts extending from Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico! Virginia’s Governor sends a young George Washington with a small force to ‘convince’ the French to leave. Instead there is a confrontation with the French and their Native American Allies which sparks a world war that engulfs the Americas, Europe, India and Scandinavia. ‘1754 Conquest’ is an area control game that continues the award winning is an area control game that continues the award winning Birth of America series. Complete the trilogy with ‘1775 Rebellion – The American Revolution’ and ‘1812 – The Invasion of Canada’.
Mage Wars Academy: Warlord Expansion
Aspiring young mages from all the nations of Etheria flock to Sistarra, the Grand Academy of Magic. Students are trained in the ancient secrets of magic, and choose which path they will follow. Those who hope to gradate must hone their knowledge and skills, and compete in combat to prove their worth. Mage Wars® Academy is a fast-paced strategy card game of magical combat! In this expansion set, play as a strategic Warlord competing to prove that efficient tactics are superior to raw power! Game play is quick and exciting, with tough tactical decisions and devious surprises every round! Players can customize their spellbook, with exciting spells from this and other Mage Wars® Academy products. Equip your battle armor, summon hordes of soldiers, and use tactical formations to out maneuver your opponent!
Onitama: Sensei’s Path
“Let go of the illusion that your Art is superior, that your studies are complete! Take up the Sensei’s Path, and your path towards the true Art is just beginning.” – the Scroll of Onitama. Onitama, Sensei’s Path is a card expansion for use with Onitama! Included are 16 unique, new, cards that can be used as a standalone set of Move cards instead of those found in the base game. Alternately, these cards can be shuffled with the original 16 cards during Game Setup to create a multitude of new card combinations! Onitama, Sensei’s Path requires the Onitama base game to play.
Spoils of War
Spoils of War is a fast-paced and exciting game of bidding and wagering for 3-5 players. Each round, players roll their dice, and then cleverly bluff and bet to outwit their fellow Vikings. The winners of each round get to claim fantastic treasures to add to their collection! With lots of twists and surprises, no one knows who will win until the last treasure is claimed and the spoils are counted!
One Night Ultimate Alien
The sequel to One Night Ultimate Werewolf, but this time Aliens have invaded your peaceful village. They bring technology in the form of random role behaviors and ripples in space time that make each game different!
Easy to learn, difficult to master! Enjoyed by casual and hardcore gamers alike, Aura is the perfect gateway into the world of modern card games. Outwit and bluff your way to victory, but remain flexible, because when the cards are revealed anything can happen.
The King’s Abbey
The King’s Abbey is a worker placement/resource management game that transports you right into the 11th century. This is when great abbeys were a central part of the Middle Ages. Each player leads an order of monks commissioned by King Sivolc to construct a great abbey to defend against the ever increasing darkness that threatens to engulf the land.
Players improve their abbey and gain prestige by training clergy, building towers and buildings, fighting off Viking attacks, and completing crusades. The player with the most prestige at the end of the game wins.
Train Heist is a cooperative board game of rightin’ wrongs and robbin’ trains as 2 to 4 players become a band of cowboys who work together to stop the corrupt Sheriff and the rich folks from stealing all of the townspeople’s earnings. Unlike traditional board games with set paths and places to go, Train Heist uses a free-range board where players can go anywhere they need to get the job done. It also uses a unique game mechanic that causes the train to move around the board and load up new cargo and passengers, all while triggering random hectic events. Featuring a special three-suit Poker Deck, players use hands of cards to loot the train and race their horse across Crackpot Canyon to deliver goods, all while earning reputations and special abilities that will stick with them until the game’s end! If the townsfolk keep running out of loot to pay the Sheriff, it could be game over. Reach the right amount of loot before the Event Deck runs out and the train skips town and you win! In Train Heist, you must think ahead and work together to achieve victory!
FanHunter: Urban Warfare
In the near future, the dictator Alejo Crow has taken over Barcelona and wants to keep the population in line through boredom and apathy. He outlaws everything fans of geek culture would like. No comics, no board games, no video games, no anime, no movies, nothing. The fans will not abide though, and form The Resistance, using all tactics and strategies learned via comics, games and movies to keep their forms of entertainment alive. Choose your side: the FanHunters with superior arms and limited intelligence, or fans like us with limited resources but unlimited creativity. FanHunter: Urban Warfare is a 2-player narrative strategy game with finely detailed miniatures in an absurd futuristic (near future?) world.
Each day in Island Hopper, players auction off the Captain’s seat; the player who becomes the Captain is in charge of flying the plane for the day, but cannot make any deliveries of their own. To make their deliveries, the other players bribe the Captain to fly to the islands to which they need to go, thereby earning themselves cash. When it’s time for the Captain to fly, the Captain must close his eyes, pick up their goods tokens, and attempt to land them in an island’s harbor. A successful landing means that players can fulfill their contracts and the captain collects his bribe — but if the goods splash into the sea, you might find yourself under water…
Lisboa is played on a real map of downtown Lisbon. During the planning of the downtown project, the type of business permitted in each street was previous determined. The economic motor is driven by the wealth of the royal treasure, and this treasure is controlled by player actions during the game, making each match a totally different experience. The game ends after a fixed number of rounds, and whoever gathers the most wigs by the end of the game wins.
(check it out in the Origins library!)
Overseers is a fast-paced drafting and bluffing game with a twist. Each player represents an Overseer, whose objectives are to bend traits to their favor to create the most dominant combination of virtues and vices. Draft cards to achieve the best possible score and try to deceive your way during the game to convince the others you are not the strongest player. Character abilities change the game constantly; after 3 rounds the player with the best score will be declared the winner.
Get Reelz is a movie-themed party game where each round players must scramble to come up with the most entertaining movie title that also fits the demands of the studio. They accomplish this by flipping, rotating, mixing, and matching the movie title cards in their hands. Each side has a word or phrase that can be added to their movie’s title. When time runs out, everyone pitches their title to the group and then everyone votes on the best title. Get the most movies made to win!
Destination Neptune Second Edition
Destination: Neptune is a euro-style game portraying an optimistic look at the next 100 years of space exploration.
It’s been a few years since I designed Destination: Neptune and it’s an ok game, but not a great game. I wasn’t really looking for a solution to make Destination: Neptune the great game it should have been, but anyhow, it dawned on me one day when considering the rules for an entirely different game. We tried it out, and wow! My wife and I immediately started playing every night, and we’ve developed the new rules into an add-on for the original game.
Folks who purchase from us directly at the convention will get the two kickstarter promotional tiles and additional pieces!
Cat & Co. Meow Meow
Each player picks a cat token to play as. Players are trying to get into the basket first, to claim the best spot to rest. Each player will be dealt a hand of 5 cards. These cards will be colored and have an animal picture on them. Your object is to be the first to play all of you cards into the discard pile.
Dragon Tower is a cooperative game for 2-4 fearless heroes, and plays in about 15 minutes. Players are working to scale the tower in order to rescue Princess Zaffira. She has been trapped there by the ferocious dragon Tarax.
Flower Fairy Dominoes
Flower Fairy Dominoes is a 2-6 player game, and plays in about 15 minutes. Player are trying to lay down matching flower tiles, to create a colorful meadow. The player who can lay down all of their flower tiles is the winner!
Hamster Clan is a 1-4 player cooperative game that plays in about 15 minutes. Players are working together to try and store carrots, clovers, and wheat, before winter comes. On a players turn they roll the dice. A player then moves that many spaces. They can move toward the surface to grab some of the food they need. Or through the vast tunnel network to bring the food back down to store for the winter.
You might wish to bookmark this page as we’ll be adding more games to the list once we confirm their availability at Origins Game Fair. Make sure you bring lots of extra spending money, you won’t want to miss out and have to wait for another print run! And if you see one of us running around at Origins, feel free to stop and say “Hello!”.
Tune in here for the remainder of the alphabet!