Take our mittened hand and let Polygon’s Winter Games bundle for 2021 information you thru the playground of wintertime video games — what’s nice, what’s not, and what thrilling options await you within the video games popping out in February and March.
It’s a brand new 12 months, and meaning new tabletop video games are hitting the road. Maybe you’ve run out of puzzles and also you’re on the lookout for a brand new solitaire expertise, or possibly you’ve received a rabid group of buddies who meet repeatedly on-line for a role-playing sport. Perhaps it’s simply been a protracted whereas because you upgraded the household board sport assortment. Here’s what’s new and notable on the earth of board video games, card video games, and tabletop RPGs in 2021.
There’s a brand new set of Magic: The Gathering playing cards, after all, but in addition a brand new anthology of one-shot adventures for Dungeons & Dragons. If you’ve bored with sword and sorcery shenanigans, there’s a brand new Alien-themed RPG and an RPG primarily based on Netflix’s Altered Carbon. There are additionally two new board video games good for households — Umbra Via and Waddle Downtown. You’ll discover them, and plenty extra, in our round-up of the winter’s finest video games.
Remember that you would be able to choose up nearly the whole lot listed under at your friendly local game store in addition to on-line.
Alien: The Roleplaying Game
Free League has a bona fide hit on its fingers with Alien: The Roleplaying Game. The award-winning system depends on strong gameplay mechanics to construct rigidity, whereas drawing on the wealthy, lived-in feeling that makes the movie franchise so distinctive. This winter, there are two new items of Alien content material on the horizon, and each of them are price a glance.
First up is Alien RPG: Colonial Marines Operations Manual, a brand new marketing campaign module written by Andrew E.C. Gaska and Paul Elliott. It contains the whole lot you have to create your individual badass crew of Xenomorph-hunting roughnecks, together with weapons, automobiles, and a wholesome dose of lore.
If you’ve not had the pleasure of taking part in Alien but — or just aren’t in a position to get collectively in particular person — Free League tells Polygon that an formally licensed model of the ruleset is headed to the Foundry virtual tabletop platform this winter.
Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game
New in January is the discharge of the official role-playing adaptation of the Altered Carbon universe. Based on the Netflix sequence, this RPG ought to have a bit extra broad attraction than if it have been solely primarily based on the novels by Richard Okay. Morgan. Physical copies of Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game Core Rulebook can be found now for $50, whereas a $24.99 PDF model could be discovered on DriveThruRPG.
Check out the Hunters Entertainment website for extra info in addition to free downloads — together with the quick-start guidelines.
Dungeons & Dragons’ Candlekeep Mysteries
Dungeons & Dragons followers have heaps to look ahead to when Candlekeep Mysteries arrives in March, with 17 new one-shot adventures from 19 totally different designers.
This ebook is a little bit of a departure from D&D’s typical fare. Often we’ll get a ebook full of new character choices, magic spells, and arcane objects to play with. Sometimes we’ll get an entire new marketing campaign. Candlekeep is an anthology of adventures that may be performed by characters of nearly any stage. Best of all, these adventures are designed to be plugged into any marketing campaign that you just’re presently working, so there’ll seemingly be heaps inside for intelligent Dungeon Masters to borrow.
You’ll additionally be capable to discover the identical content material on-line by means of a variety of sources, together with D&D Beyond, Roll20, and Fantasy Grounds — which can be on Steam.
Magic: The Gathering’s Kaldheim
The latest set of collectible playing cards for Magic: The Gathering takes planeswalkers to the frozen reaches of Kaldheim. This Viking-themed set went dwell on the finish of January each as a bodily set of playing cards and a digital set of playing cards on Magic: The Gathering Arena — which additionally launched on Android on Jan. 28. A model of the sport for iOS and tablets is within the works.
Imperial Struggle is again in inventory
The non secular successor to Twilight Struggle, probably the most critically acclaimed board video games of all time, Imperial Struggle shortly offered out when it launched final 12 months. Publisher GMT has a second printing up for grabs this winter. If you’re a fan of technique gaming, take word, as this two-player sport additionally makes for an honest single-player expertise. And it appears to be like attractive on the desk, as well.
Parks Memories sequence
I used to be instantly smitten with Parks at Gen Con 2019. Here was a thematic sport concerning the U.S. National Park System with numerous delicate picket bits and a shocking set of artwork property. The Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series additionally serves because the inspiration for a brand new, lighter matching sport referred to as Parks Memories.
Perfect for gamers aged 6 and up, Parks Memories accommodates anyplace from two to eight gamers (increased counts require gamers to divide into groups). Best of all, that superb artwork is rendered on richly coloured, thick card inventory that you just’ll get to deal with each spherical. There are three different versions of the game to select from: Parks Memories: Plains Walker, Parks Memories: Mountaineer, and the Barnes & Noble-exclusive Parks Memories: Coast to Coast.
Sword and Sorcery: Ancient Chronicles
If you’re hungry for a brand new dungeon crawler, then Ares Games has excellent news for you. Its newest boxed set, Sword and Sorcery: Ancient Chronicles, ships this winter.
Ancient Chronicles is a marketing campaign in a field that doesn’t require a sport grasp to run. Expect a wealthy fantasy world and many colourful plastic miniatures with this cooperative motion sport. It’s excellent news for followers of solitaire video games as nicely, because the sport scales from one to 5 gamers.
An improve for Fire within the Lake, a part of the COIN sequence
Fire within the Lake: Insurgency in Vietnam is a well-regarded have a look at the Vietnam War co-designed by Volko Ruhnke, an teacher on the CIA. It’s among the many finest video games in his COIN (counterinsurgency) sequence of wargames. First launched in 2014, Fire within the Lake is getting a brand new solitaire bot — successfully an improve for solo gamers.
Many GMT video games have a solitaire mode. One of my favorites, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, as an illustration, comes with a large flowchart that you must unfold and make your method by means of on each flip. The Tru’ng Bot improve for Fire within the Lake makes that solitaire mode a lot simpler to handle by introducing a deck of playing cards — not not like the solitaire system utilized by Stonemaier Games’ Scythe.
Inspiration for this new improve got here from the followers, GMT stated. They needed a model of the card-driven bot from Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India, 1917-1947 — the ninth entry within the COIN sequence — and the designers have been completely happy to oblige. If you already personal a replica of Fire within the Lake, you possibly can preview the rules online, or learn a blog post by the design crew. The improve is obtainable for $25 on the GMT web site.
Pandasaurus Games gives one thing a bit extra summary and low-key than the Vietnam War. Its newest sport, Umbra Via, launches on March 17. The tile-laying sport makes use of a singular bidding mechanic. Players cover their stockpile of flowers behind a display, then use them to buy tiles to fill out the sport board. The authentic design was a bit much less colourful. It additionally concerned recapturing bits of your soul, which is a bit of heavy for a household sport. That didn’t cease it from successful an award from the crew at Cardboard Edison. Now that it’s been picked up by a significant writer, I’m curious to see how the broader reception pans out. The two- to four-player sport runs $39.95, and it’s appropriate for ages 8 and up.
You can pre-order Umbra Via on the Pandasaurus website.
Unmatched: Little Red Riding Hood vs. Beowulf
The Unmatched sequence from Restoration Games and Mondo is a miniatures skirmish sport, a re-implementation of assorted mechanics from Milton Bradley’s Star Wars: Epic Duels in addition to Fantasy Flight’s Tannhauser, each now out of print. It’s a considerate design, one which handles widespread points like adjacency and line of sight with easy guidelines. It additionally makes use of textures and patterns to enhance accessibility for colorblind gamers.
This winter, the lavish sport will get two new combatants. Unmatched: Little Red Riding Hood vs. Beowulf will lastly permit you to pit a preteen woman towards a legendary warrior. Like different Unmatched units, it contains some lovely miniatures which are elegantly washed to resemble a statue. The actual deal with right here is all of the attractive artwork that Mondo brings with it.
Head to Mondo’s on-line storefront to choose the sport up for $24.99.
Last however undoubtedly not least is Waddle Downtown from WizKids. We’ve all been cooped up at residence these final 11 months or so, and humanity’s absence from city areas has allowed nature to start the sluggish technique of reclaiming the land. Perhaps no species has extra aggressively displayed its dominance throughout our absence than the lowly penguin, which may repeatedly be been seen touring the nation’s museums in ravening, ferocious herds.
Designers Raph Koster and Isaac Shalev have captured this new type of avian terror of their newest sport. “The penguins are hitting the town,” says the again of the field, “but herding penguins as they visit places is easier said than done!”
Be protected on the market, penguin wranglers. We’ll see you within the spring.