My 25 most anticipated Games for 2021

This includes some reprints and expansions and is basically my wishlist for the coming year. Some of which is already preordered either via Kickstarter or otherwise. (Geeklist)

  1. Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile: My most anticipated Kickstarter expected to deliver in early 2021. Designed by Cole Wehrle (Root and Pax Pamir 2 are among my favorite games), I have high hopes for this emergent campaign style game. “In Oath, one to six players guide the course of history in an ancient land. Players might take the role of agents bolstering the old order or scheme to bring the kingdom to ruin. The consequences of one game will ripple through those that follow, changing what resources and actions future players may have at their disposal and even altering the game’s core victory condition.” Game Mechanisms: Area Majority, Tableau Building, Campaign/Scenarios. There is a complete and official TTS mod for this and as soon as I have the game and can teach myself I might consider running a campaign remotely.
  2. Dune Imperium: more and more hybrid deck builder games are published the latest combination meshes the deck building with worker placement. With the addition of the SF theme and an abundance of favorable reviews I am keen to try this one. There is a TTS module I’d love to check out.
  3. Beyond the Sun: I first saw this on a Heavy Cardboard playthrough just before SPIEL 2020. This game has the players research an intricate tech tree with their dice workers in order to explore and dominate a small star system. It ticks a lot of my boxes and made it immediately onto my wishlist. Right now very few copies have been distributed and it is not available to buy. This was my final pre-order of 2020.
  4. Calico: A small tile laying puzzle that was on Kickstarter a while back. Back then I wasn’t sure if it had the complexity I want from such a game. Since then I’ve heard that it absolutely has the complexity and a beautiful production on top. Currently sold out, I am hoping there will be a reprint sometime this year. In the meantime there is a nice TTS mod for this.
  5. The Search for Planet X: Another Kickstarter I didn’t back because I didn’t quite grasp what kind of game it would be. If I had looked a bit closer I might have noticed that it is a deduction game with a solo mode and those two things in combination are right what I want from a game these days. It’s a mix of a complex roll & write with a board. It needs an app but I’ve heard that it is very well done. I’d love to try this on TTS before ordering it.
  6. Nidavellir: A small auction game about dwarves and runes that was already in the shops in December. I am interested because the auction mechanism reminds me a bit of Knizia’s Ra. Also we’re very low on auction games. Yes, there is a TTS mod for this one as well.
  7. Xia: Legends of a Drift System: This one is a little older but it’s a space exploration game and we need more of those. There was supposed to be a recent or upcoming reprint. It is unclear right now if we missed it. In any case I want to learn the rules because there is a beautiful official TTS mod to check out even if we cannot get the cardboard version.
  8. Frosthaven: I backed the Kickstarter to the sequel to Gloomhaven after I had played a single scenario with one of the new characters. I know we’re far from done with Gloomhaven and this is going to be another monster of a box to be delivered sometime in mid 2021… and it will be awesome.
  9. Railroad Ink Challenge: Railroad Ink is my favorite roll & write game by a wide margin. I missed the Kickstarter for these new variants that are coming but I am going to try and gobble up as many of the variants and expansions as I can get.
  10. Under Falling Skies: the CGE version of this print & play solo game includes really pretty materials and a campaign. Naturally, it instantly sold out everywhere and so I am waiting for another print run to give CGE my money. Solo and campaign what more can I ask for?
  11. Flourish: from the makers of Everdell and A War of Whispers this is a tableau builder, drafting game with what looks like a huge combo-potential. And it has a garden building theme. I skipped the Kickstarter for reasons unknown to me. I am really excited to see this up close.
  12. The LOOP: And more combos. This time in garish candy colors. Those may not be everyone’s thing but I love them and it’s a coop game with a time travel theme in which you try to stop the evil Dr. Foo by comboing yourself into a loop. It has the usual Pandemic issue that the random things happening can make you loose the game. But if that is good enough for Pandemic… Apparently, there was a small experimental print-run. After several favorable mentions and reviews I hope this gets a wider release. There is also a TTS mod to try 🙂
  13. The Crew: Mission Sea Deep: I expect we’re getting a slight variant with a new theme because this is Kosmos. But The Crew is so good, I’ll gladly take more of the same especially if it comes in the same small affordable package.
  14. Unmatched: Cobble & Fog: this duel game keeps getting new boxes announced while availability in the local shops and webshops is next to non-existent. If I want any of them, I’ll probably have to go hunting as the few that make it over here sell out quickly. This one comes with very favorable recommendations. We do have enough two player games so maybe I should try out the official TTS mod before I try to buy it.
  15. Kemet: Blood and Sand: I backed the second edition Kickstarter last year on the assumption that I didn’t have that many DOAM (Dudes on a Map) games… in the meantime I bought a lot of those games. In any case this will look very nicely next to my Inis box. Supposed to deliver in August 2021… but this is Matagot so I don’t really expect this before November.
  16. Planet Unknown: a polyominoes exploration of planets with bonus tracks and little rovers where tiles are selected from a central Lazy Susan. I played this game back at SPIEL 2019 and enjoyed it enough to back the Kickstarter last year. This is supposed to deliver sometime around May. There is an official TTS mod to try in the meantime.
  17. Petrichor Cows: “Petrichor is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek (πέτρα) petra, meaning “stone”, and (ἰχώρ) īchōr, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology. Welcome to the lush world of Petrichor; you are a cloud. Your entire purpose in life is to expand, sire other clouds and water crops. Unfortunately, your mates (who are also clouds) have a similar plan. It’s up to you to manipulate the weather and assimilate these rogue clouds to contribute to the growth of as many crops as possible – all in order to claim the title of Most Valuable Cloud. So this is an expansion for a game about making it rain. I backed the Kickstarter for the collector’s edition with all the expansions because of this unique theme and solo mode and also it looks really beautiful and I couldn’t resist the pretty.
  18. 18DO Dortmund: my first ever 18xx game: a game about building trains and transporting beer around Dortmund. If you don’t know what an 18XX game is don’t make me explain, I have never played one. But because Dortmund: I just had to back this Kickstarter. It was delayed from December 2020 due to the usual 2020 issues and I hope it will make its way from Dortmund to here sometime early in 2021.
  19. Spirits of the Forest: Moonlight: I played the base game of this at SPIEL 2019 and found it interesting but not quite complex enough. Since then I have learned that not all games in my collection should break people’s brains and also this expansion looks like it does make the game a bit more challenging. So win win and I backed the Kickstarter for the whole thing (and got Iwari from the pledge manager as well)
  20. Hansa Teutonica: Big Box: not exactly a new game but there is now a big box of this network building game with all the expansions and my favorite boardgame forum is buzzing with anticipation over this most German of German boardgames: it looks like it, apparently it plays like it and it’s in the name! There are TTS mods to try before I cave in and buy this (even the big box is not all that expensive).
  21. Coffee Traders: So a game that is actually new, unpublished, not a kickstarter and not a reprint made it to my list. This looks like a somewhat heavy economic game by Capstone games. Going to watch how this turns out. I don’t have a lot of economic/manufacturing games so this might fill a niche. The coffee plantation theme isn’t overdone either.
  22. Babylonia: Knizia’s big tile layer from 2019. Saw it at SPIEL that year but there were no copies to buy or no more money in my budget. Consequently I waffled about it for ages until even the last copies had sold out everywhere only to hear more and more how it was quite good and definitely more accessible than Tigris and Euphrates. So will I buy it the next time a new print run brings it around? Who knows…
  23. Concordia Solitaria: There will be a solo mode expansion for Concordia. With how much I play all my games solo these days it’s a must buy expansion.
  24. On Mars: Surviving Mars: I haven’t even got my copy of the base game yet (for reasons) but it should arrive here in the next couple of weeks. So this is the cooperative mode expansion for a game I am reasonably sure almost nobody I know will want to play competitively with me. I bought it because I wanted a Lacerda game and it said “Mars” on the cover. And the cover is so so pretty. I saw the base game demo-ed at SPIEL 2019 and I should have bought it right then. I cannot wait to try the solo and I have high hopes that a coop mode named after one of my favorite survival/base builder computer games is going to be just the thing to make it perfect.
  25. Terraforming Mars: The Dice Game: I don’t usually do dice game variants. But again “Mars” and also Terraforming Mars is one of my favorite games that I just don’t get to play enough. I’ll wait and see how it turns out but it’s definitely one I am watching.

So these are the games I am looking for this year. I may not buy all of the ones I haven’t already preordered. Some may not be available, others may turn out to be not as good as I hope. I am sure that a lot more games will be announced throughout the year.

I have more games on preorder and Kickstarters that will hopefully deliver this year but to list all those would make the list way too long. Here’s just a quick listing of other games I am waiting to get: Agropolis, Aqua Garden, Herbaceous: Pocket Edition, Hoop Godz, Izayoi, Lunar Base, Rocketmen, On Mars, Raid, Tussie Mussie, Troyes Dice, Blood on the Clocktower, Zombicide 2nd edition upgrade & campaign.

By Yashima

Writer of code and stories