Conqueror: Final Conquest
On top of our to-be-played list for 2021 is ‘Conqueror: Final Conquest’, designed by UAE’s own Mohammad Al Qadi and published by Cation Arts. According to the publisher, ‘Conqueror’ is a fun strategy board game for 3-6 players. Set in the 3rd century BC, you and your friends play as one of six nations battling for power to conquer and rule the ancient world. Form alliances, go to war, betray your friends, bribe your enemies, feed your armies and recruit heroes to build an everlasting empire. From watching the playthroughs, the game looks like an interesting area control game that should challenge casual gamers but also keep the hardcore gamers engaged. There’s also a nifty time constraint element thrown in which is sure to make the game considerably more exciting, especially if you have gamers in your group who suffer from analysis paralysis. Be sure to check back for a full review of the game soon.
Beautiful quilts and cuddly cats, what else could one ask for? Published by Flatout Games, ‘Calico’ is a tile-laying puzzle game for 1-4 players, where each of you is trying to put together a quilt that will attract cats to come over and rest on them, granting you points — both for the cats as well as the specific colours and patterns of your quilt. The game’s solo variant makes for an extremely enjoyable session as well. The main draw of the game is definitely its strong theme and its eye-catching and sturdy components. Pick it up for a think-y but ultimately rewarding time with friends and family, especially if you love cats!
Lost Ruins of Arnak
Don’t let the big box and the rule book scare you away from ‘Lost Ruins of Arnak’, easily one of the best games to release in recent time. Designed by Min & Elven and published by Czech Games Edition for 1-4 players, ‘Lost Ruins’ is a deck-building game with worker placement and resource management elements that will have you thinking of a certain Indiana Jones a lot. Players will set out as explorers of a newly-discovered island, home to a lost and ancient civilisation. As researchers, your goal is to dig up new sites, fight any guardian monsters that may crop up, mine for resources and find the lost temple. The game plays over five rounds and can take anywhere between 30-120 minutes depending on number of players. The game board itself is massive and will require a large table to play, but be prepared to get hooked to this new adventure.
Designed by Tom Lehmann (of ‘Race to the Galaxy’ fame) and illustrated by Julien Delval, ‘Res Arcana’ is a perfect tableau-building game for fantasy lovers. A 2-4 player game, ‘Res Arcana’ sees players take on roles like that of druids or necromancers or even an alchemist, and all of you are trying to craft magical artifacts, and use them to summon dragons, conquer places of power and achieve victory points. The turns in this game go pretty quick, so if you’re on the lookout for something with less downtime, ‘Res Arcana’ is the way to go. The cards are beautifully designed and bring a strong fantasy flavour to the game.
‘Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion’
Hardcore gamers are probably very familiar with the 2017 Cephalofair board game ’Gloomhaven’, a tactical strategy game, played over multiple sessions. But ‘Jaws of the Lion’, released in 2020, is aimed at the more casual player looking for a point of entry into the original game. A major change is that all of the hard-to-organise cardboard map tiles have been removed, and instead players will play on the scenario book itself, which features new artwork unique to each scenario. The rule set has also been simplified to help newbie gamers. The standalone game takes place before the events of ‘Gloomhaven’. The game includes four new characters that can also be used in the original Gloomhaven game.